While students and staff at the Ysleta Independent School District stay safe at home during school closure, teachers and administrators are coordinating a variety of online games and activities to lift spirits and spark friendly competition across the district and El Paso area.
Since the school closure began March 23, Ysleta ISD schools have been busy posting on social media, sending video-recorded thanks to custodians and cafeteria workers, challenging followers to exercise and stay fit, sharing team photos, conducting read-alouds for elementary school students, and organizing popular eSPORTs competitions.
“Keeping students engaged during these difficult times is important,” said Mario Rodarte, an Innovative Technology support teacher at Ysleta ISD who has collaborated with colleagues at Clint ISD to host three Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Online Tournaments for the Nintendo Switch this week for students, parents, faculty, and staff from both districts.
All three tournaments, which started Monday and continue on April 1st and 3rd, take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Participants can join all tournaments by selecting “Online” in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, then selecting “Tournaments” then “Search by code.”
In order to compete, gamers must have a Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and a Nintendo Online account.
“eSPORTS has a tendency to bring students together. I have observed students, who have never met or talked to each other, collaborate and work out a strategy to win the game,” Rodarte said.
“They have the ability to put into practice their social-emotional skills while preventing the feeling of isolation. They can compete in real-time events with real people, and put into practice real-world skills,” he added.
Virtual games aren’t just for students – Ysleta ISD is once again hosting an online Easter Egg Hunt for Central Office employees, long considered a great way to relieve stress while prompting friendly, healthy competition among departments.
Although most Central Office employees are at home this year, the Easter Egg Hunt can be played by one person or a department team, with a small prize being awarded to the top-scoring team after the contest closes Wednesday, April 10.