By Marlee Ginter

LODI (CBS13) — Parents and students now have one semester of distance learning under their belt. After a lot of ups and downs in a virtual classroom, now comes the first holiday season during a pandemic.

That’s why Kathleen or “Kat” Ellis is really stepping up her game. She doesn’t just want to keep her students on track, she wants to keep them happy.

You may recognize her as the singing teacher who’s been shared on social media. The 2nd-grade teacher at Live Oak Elementary in Lodi now goes by a few names.

“I’m Satellite Surfer sailing through the grammar galaxy or I’ve been puzzle penguin for math. So I’ve got about 10 to 15 different costumes now,” said Ellis.

She’s even been called “that singing teacher” on TikTok. Doing things a little or a lot differently has never been more important. It’s not just with distance learning, but now with the holidays.

“And with the holiday season coming through, a lot of the kids, they’re not getting to do the normal things that we do,” said Ellis.

Many kids don’t have the holiday crafts materials at their house that they would in the classroom.

Christie Handel has a six-year-old son, Oliver, who goes to the same school where Ellis teaches.  Handel can’t thank teachers enough for going above and beyond right now.

“We’re used to having 5 to 10 kids here on the weekend just to have fun,” said Handel. “I have seen some of her videos.  She has the green screen in the background, dinosaurs coming out and they’re having fun.”

“All of the warmth that goes into the classroom during the holidays, they’re not able to do that.  So it is very heartbreaking, but we’re doing a lot of things to try to make it better for them,” said Ellis.

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