I don’t usually notice things like Netflix Top Ten, but I couldn’t help it as I clicked my tv on this morning. It’s not really a surprise that Pandemic showed up as #7 in TV shows and Outbreak as #7 overall in the USA. I do think it’s a little curious that both lined up in the lucky 7 slot on St. Patrick’s Day.
I doubt too many of us are feeling lucky or wearing green or worried about getting pinched today. There’s just too many other things to worry about, if worry is your thing.
I’m not letting it be mine.
This past nine weeks I taught my first ever science fiction literature course. My students and I read a lot of stories and articles about the genre, and we watched a lot of sci-fi movies, followed by meaningful discussions about humankind and the characters’ actions and reactions to a variety of conflicts. A few ideas surfaced again and again: the will to survive, the courage to sacrifice, the need for innovation, and the strength to persevere.
And now we are here: Covid2019, self-distancing our way through what should be science fiction.
So what do we do in such stressful times?
I think we have a choice: we can hunker down into the drama–joining in with the complainers and the I-don’t-wannas–or we can hike up and embrace the adventure of it all. I think our students need us to see it as an adventure. And every teacher I know knows how to turn a stressful situation into a less stressful one. Yes, we are living in a time of crisis, and, yes, we can use it to do what we do best. Teach.
If you’re already teaching remotely, or if you’re like me (finally on spring break) and gearing up for it, there are tons of resources that will help.
You’ve probably already found the lesson plans and YouTube videos and flipgrid Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle have shared.
Maybe you’ve seen the resources Caty Dearing posted. Or the pandemic inquiry Shawna Coppola created.
I have two ideas to add: They are a bit light-hearted (something I think we all need).
My family is a funny bunch, and we use an on-going Snapchat thread to crack each other up. Yesterday, my son-in-law who is now working from home and daycaring my almost 15 month old grandson, shared this series of photos:
For visual story telling, I gave my son-in-law an A+ (as a dad, too!). And I think this might be my next model text. Think about the stories students can create with the cameras in their phones–Covid-19 crisis related, or not. Maybe even pair visual stories with found poems or other poems, stories, or articles they find online–anything that helps them make connections and think critically.
Another thing my family Snaps at each other is memes. Every single day. And if you don’t think memes can be used to teach social commentary, sarcasm, irony. . well. . .
There are tons! Check out Memedroid for more. Our students can even make and upload their own. Imagine an online discussion board where they share and then evaluate their creations.
Our students need to laugh. They need us to laugh. It’s so much better than crying. Or being scared. Or feeling anxiety. Or. . . hoarding toilet paper.
Thank you all for reading this post and this blog. You are the best of the best, and I appreciate all you do for children every day. Know that my prayers are with you during this troubling time. I’ll leave you with my early morning thoughts strung into a little poem:
This too shall pass
Read a good book
Go for a walk
Listen to Mozart
Look up Mozart
Water some plants
Dig some dirt
Dirty some clothes
Learn something new
Try a paint brush or a brush pen
Pen a letter
This too shall pass
Amy Rasmussen lives and teaches in North Texas. She’s a fan of positivity and purposeful doing, and she really wishes she’d packed up boxes of books from her classroom library before spring break and brought them home for the neighborhood kids since the public library is closed. She may just put her personal collection of picture books on the porch and post a sign that says “Borrow books here. Free Clorox wipe when you bring ’em back.” You can follow her on Twitter @amyrass