To begin… my personal history with the rise of the coronacrisis can be traced through my communication of it to my 7th grade students over the past few weeks. I first started hearing students blurt out, “coronavirus!” when someone would cough, or say it for no reason instead of “cooties” when they wanted to tease someone. After a day or two, I decided to address it directly by making the warm up word when they entered the room “pandemic” (boy, did that turn out to be prophetic! This was about 3 weeks ago.) We discussed the breakdown of the word (pan, meaning all; dem, meaning the people; ic, meaning related to) and I had them guess what the word as a whole meant. They thought it had something to do with relatives or people who you are related to, like your extended family. Good guess, but no 🙂 I parlayed that into a brief discussion of the difference between an “epidemic” and a “pandemic” and mentioned that coronavirus was currently an epidemic which authorities were worried might become a pandemic. I thought it was a good lesson on semantics. The students liked it and understood. That was that.
I followed up with a short video about the hospitals they were quickly building in China to deal with the crisis there, and we watched CNN10 (student news) to get the full update. We discussed how racist it was to say that “Chinese people” or any Asians had coronavirus. They understood. That was that.
Flash forward to 1 week ago. I have a persistent cough and I decide to show an instructive hand washing video to every single one of my classes, including Advisory (homeroom.) I knew it was important, but boy, I had no idea how timely and crucial those videos really were!
Three days later, school was cancelled and all the students were sent home with iPads and chromebooks. By Monday it was announced there would be no instruction for two weeks. Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom said in a press conference that school would probably not resume until fall in California. I showed that handwashing video last Wednesday, not knowing how important– 1 week later, no school for the rest of the year?!?
We are all reeling from the turn of events and trying not to feel too much anxiety. So much is happening so fast. Even though I have been told not to give my students any assignments, I already have all of them on Google classroom and I have been posting some light and interesting things for them to do to stay busy. I imagine they must feel anxious, bored, and unsure as anyone.
A wealth of online educational resources and services have suddenly become free to use, and I am so thrilled by the possibilities of this along with the rest of the educator community. My favorite, simple, idea so far which I plan to try to implement to day is called Padlet. It is an interactive timeline to which the entire class can add writing, videos, images, or uploads to create… their very own time capsule!
If you can’t tell, I’m really into this time capsule idea 🙂
Until next time…