Cutouts Create a Connection for Volusia Live Students


Kindergarten teacher Ashley Houk’s classroom setup was inspired by Major League Baseball with its life-size cutouts of fans in their stadiums.

Houk’s class is all virtual this year, through Volusia Live (real-time streaming). She credits her husband Travis, an avid sports fan, with the idea to place photo cutouts of the students at their desks at Pine Trail Elementary.

“I asked the parents to send me photos of the children smiling, laughing, raising a hand, etc.,” Houk said. “We then sent those photos to a graphic designer who printed the cutouts.”

Having the cutouts in the classroom is good for her and the students, said Houk, who’s in her 15th year as an educator.

“As a teacher, I thrive on connections with my students. Having my class sitting at their desks, even if they are photos, makes the classroom feel a bit more warm and normal in this unusual situation,” she said.

“The children and parents have seen the cutouts during our Live instruction and have responded positively. My hope is that it will help the kids feel like they have a place in our classroom and the Pine Trail community, even if they cannot physically be here.”



Houk also hopes the cutouts will ease any fears the kids have when VCS transitions Volusia Live back to traditional, in-person instruction. “The students will have already seen our classroom and that they have a place here,” she said. “I want them to feel welcomed, safe and cared for.”

The brick-and-mortar students enjoy the cutouts, as well.

“They can see the cutouts through the windows, and I frequently overhear their comments as they walk past my classroom,” Houk said. “Some of them made me laugh. I've heard a kindergarten student say that my class is always so still. Another student commented that one of the kids is always raising his hand to say something.”


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