Shark Video Highlights Teacher Creativity

Skipcha Elementary teachers explain math video
By: Todd Martin
Now known as the “shark teacher,” one creative Skipcha Elementary School instructor and her fast-thinking colleague are teaching the world “this is what teachers do every day.”
Second-grade teachers Ashlee Skelton and Hannah Roddy are situated in adjacent classrooms. Like teachers everywhere, they have been working, along with the rest of the school’s staff to make learning as interactive as possible in a virtual environment.
Earlier this week, Skelton broke out a shark costume she acquired for the purpose of bringing to life a math lesson.
Using the popular, repetitive “Baby Shark” tune and dancing around in the costume while forming an arrow was a creative, interactive way for students to learn about greater than and less than in numeric relationships.
It also provided a way to urge students watching at home to stand up, use their arms and learn a math concept while moving.
As Skelton taught the lesson, her next-door teaching neighbor, Roddy heard the song, grabbed her phone and did what any friend does - recorded the humorous scene.
On Tuesday afternoon, she posted the video on social media and quickly attracted 1,000 views.
“We thought, ‘that’s nice, people like our video,’” Skelton said, explaining Thursday the origin of what became a viral post.
Answering a reporter’s question, Roddy checked her phone and said the number of views surpassed 16 million. That was before their efforts broadcast on local television news.
Incidentally, the second-graders enjoyed the lesson.
The two teachers expressed surprise at the level of interest the video spawned and are making sure that anyone listening knows that creative, interactive, sometimes embarrassing efforts are nothing new at Skipcha Elementary, in Killeen ISD or in classrooms across the state and nation.
“This is happening every school day,” Skelton said. “This is what teaching is.”
Killeen ISD started the new school year Aug. 17 all virtual and is adding face-to-face instruction for those who choose it Monday, Aug. 31.
The two Skipcha teachers said they are excited to get to see more of the personalities they are seeing on a screen.
Like many teachers, they will continue to collaborate with one another and with their peers to make lessons as fun and engaging as possible for both virtual and in-person learning.
“We’re trying to make lessons fun and interactive,” Skelton said. “We like to come up with games to play and not just rely on virtual worksheets. We know it’s hard for children this age to be in front of a screen for a long time.”
“To get up and dance for 2 minutes gets them refocused,” she said. “This is a normal day except for the shark suit.”
“They love when their teachers include pop culture in their teaching,” Roddy said. “That shows them that you are taking an interest in them, that you care about them.”
“That happens all the time,” said Skipcha Principal Jane Apodaca. “The public doesn’t usually get to see it. This video is giving a glance into the classroom. Teachers are weary, but they are not stopping. They are coming up with ideas to make their students’ experiences great.”