When schools closed in March because of COVID-19, Miller — a Washington-Liberty High School science teacher — made a simple inquiry at the station where he works about recording a few lessons that students can watch at home to keep learning.
The response was a simple, according to Miller: “Go for it.” From that point, Miller set to work on Outside the Classroom, an educational program for kids, from his home in Arlington’s Bluemont neighborhood.
“I did the lessons, that morphed into the idea for the show and now we’re 118 episodes and 116 hours of live television deep into Outside the Classroom,” Miller said.
Miller uses more than 18 years of teaching experience to answer questions and help with homework on the show. Over the course of hosting the program, Miller said he’s received a positive response from viewers.
“Meeting new people, virtually or in person, and learning along with the viewers has been the best part of this experience,” Miller said.
The show features a bevy of guests appearing on it, like coworkers from the station, local teachers and volunteers that have included local parents, Arlington firefighters, and musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra and military bands.
Thanks @ArlingtonVaFD for coming over for @ABC7News' #OutsideTheClassroom.
Today we learned:
– many 1st time cooks due to #COVID19
– fry turkey near a structure
– put frozen turkey into hot oil
– drop turkey into oil
-Temporarily cut fire when lowering Turkey in. pic.twitter.com/XKKFc4o6aZ
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller_WX) November 25, 2020
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller_WX) November 10, 2020
Each week, Miller comes up with a different theme for the program. He then brainstorms lesson plans and activities with his photographer Rich Guastadisegni, producer Kyle Ridley and meteorologist Rachael Kaye. The goal is to keep kids interested in and learning science while at home.
“I’m very lucky to be able to work, usually from the front or back yard of my house, with the incredibly talented and patient co-workers from the station, as well as my APS teaching colleagues,” Miller said. “Bringing together all of these phenomenal people to cover a range of topics is the most endearing component of all of this adventure.”
The show airs live at 3 p.m. on weekdays can be seen locally on the WJLA 24/7 News cable channel, online at WJLA.com or streamed on Facebook Live.
Images via ABC 7