Thanks to Johnston Elementary School’s first-grade teacher, Chrishae Powell, both the roomers and zoomers are loving first grade. Roomers and Zoomers, a phrase coined by Powell’s teacher colleague, Shelby Reedy, represents in-person learners, “Roomers” and remote learners, “Zoomers.”

Although every classroom is different, Powell prefers to teach her roomers and zoomers at the same time. 

“When it’s time for class, everyone zooms at the same time. It’s good for kids at school and kids at home to see each other,” she says. “Everyone is altogether, and everyone has everything they need to learn whether at school or at the house.” 

Just like the video shown above, Powell utilizes fun, interactive strategies to keep her zoomers and roomers engaged. For example, when a student does something that warrants a shout out, Powell throws the student a one-second party. Powell also has a Class DoJo Point Club for students who demonstrate good behavior, attendance and participation. Students who accumulate enough points win prizes like being called Princess Jasmine for the day. 

“I try to be engaging and at the same time, bring out their love of learning,” she says. “I feel like it’s important to love on the kids and make things fun. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious. I’m also really animated when I teach so that helps.” 

And Powell is just in her first year of teaching. Couple that with a pandemic, and that’s a lot of work. But neither of these challenges has gotten her down. If anything, they’ve sped her up. 

Just look at her YouTube channel, SimplyChrishae. Powell has captivated 1,060 subscribers, watching her journey as she graduated from Tarleton State University this past May, accepted a teaching position at Johnston Elementary, worked hard to set up her classroom and welcomed students on their first day of school!

If teaching sounds like a natural fit for Powell, you’re right. As a third grader, Powell turned her bedroom into a classroom. She created fake worksheets and made her younger cousins participate in recess. Powell carried that passion into high school when she jumped at the opportunity to participate in her school’s education training courses, Ready, Set, Teach!. Through the program, Powell spent her junior and senior years making lesson plans, observing classrooms and creating bulletin boards.

It’s no wonder Powell’s roomers and zoomers are loving school this year. Powell has both the energy and dedication to make learning fun. 

Stephen Pollard, principal at Johnston Elementary School, is grateful to have Powell on the team. 

“Mrs. Powell is a first year teacher, but you would not know it if you were in her classroom,” Pollard says. “She is not only developing great relationships with her children, but she is juggling teaching both her online learners and her in-person learners masterfully.  All the while, she is active on social media showing off the great smiles that her kids give her and she gives them every day! We are so happy she is part of our Johnston family!”