Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Slowing Down to Learn

At this point, we are a couple of days into social distancing and staying at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Michigan schools, like so many other schools around the country, are closed for the next few weeks. In response, educators are sharing an abundance of digital learning tools and home-schooling suggestions. I must confess, even though I am an educator and consider myself digitally saavy, this is all just a bit too overwhelming.  Too many suggestions, too many lesson ideas.  It's just too much! I love the passion and collaboration that is growing as a result of needing to quickly address our new learning landscape, but slow down!  My own boys, now 4th and 5th graders, have received messages and optional assignments from their classroom teachers, art teachers, music teachers, physical education teachers. And although they are communicating with the best of intentions, it is overwhelming my dudes...and me.

I want to encourage my own kids to pause and reflect on this particular moment in time. Yes, it is scary. We've never lived through something like this before, and so we don't know what to expect.  The adults don't have all the answers right now.  But, we have the gift of time. We don't need to rush. We don't need to try to replicate a traditional school day at home. We have time to reflect and explore and learn together. So rather than trying to cram in a science lesson and a math handout and history project and a writing activity each day, we're taking it slow.

Each morning, my boys and I get up, chat, make breakfast, and take the dog for a walk.  Then, I use the prompts above to guide our morning reflections.  We talk about the prompt, write a little, read a little, and make something.  Yesterday, after we talked about what we would like to learn in our next four weeks together, my boys and I went outside to build an epic fort.  We then came inside to figure out the best tools for learning how to code.  Today, we talked about the power of our hands after listening to Sarah Kay's spoken word poem "Hands." My boys and I completed a writing activity that had us writing our own poems about a something special that we've held in our hands.  After viewing the photojournalism piece posted by the BBC on Tim Booth's photography of hands, my boys wanted to take a black and white photo of their own to add to their writing piece. So we discuss, we write, we read, we create.  And that's enough for now.  We don't need to fill every moment.  We have time.

Feel free to join us and use the prompts above.  I will add new prompts each day.  We'd love to hear about what you are learning, reading, and making during this time.

Remember, we're in uncharted territory. It is okay to not have the answers. It is okay to slow down.

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