PHOENIX (Good Morning Arizona) -- Cassi Summers is a teacher at Campo Bello Elementary School in north Phoenix. It is a Title I school, so many of her students still go to campus each day as part of the free lunch program. A lot of their families are focused on meeting basic needs.
In the meantime, Summers is working hard to keep her third-graders focused on learning. One of her techniques includes making deliveries to her students.
"I call them 'reward at your door,'" Summers explained. "[They're] for students who are doing a great job on their online learning."
Most of her young students are borrowing computers from the school district. Online learning is a new experience for them in many ways, and it's been tough.
Summers is hoping a goody bag, and a personal visit from their teacher, will help keep them motivated.
"It's been harder because I'm third grade, and we're hands-on," Summers said. "Now I have science in my kitchen. I have to video myself with the science experiment and then I show it to them, but I think I lose a little bit of that excitement for learning."
Her videos are as hands-on as she can be without being in a classroom. In one lesson, she conducts an experiment in her kitchen with celery and colored water. In another, she stands on a chair and drops different kinds of paper airplanes, showing how seeds travel when the wind carries them.
Arizona's Family recently tagged along with Summers on one of her deliveries. She visited Geo Lopez, who was excited by all the goodies in his gift bag, including markers, books and bubbles. However, the third-grader says the best part was seeing his teacher.
"Its really exciting that I get to see my teacher in person, even while this whole thing is happening," Geo said. "It's just really cool that I get to see her after such a long time."
Geo's mother, Ruth Lopez, was also grateful to see her son's teacher. "Oh, my goodness. It's actually amazing, because in order to keep them interested in the learning, (she) still has to maintain that connection," Lopez said. "So, gestures like these are just something that is really, really appreciated at this time."
"It's been difficult, but then when I see them, it's like, I miss them so much and it's hard to not want to hug everybody," Summer said while visiting Geo.
For now, a conversation at least 6 feet apart will have to do. However, even at a distance, Geo soaks up the encouragement.