"During this time, it is important that we continue to encourage children to read books (offline) as much as possible and write daily (in a notebook or on loose paper)."
On Sunday night, I shared a letter with all of my classroom parents. Some of what I shared is mentioned above. Urging parents to encourage their kids to read books and write offline, I offered only two resources. One of those resources was our classroom blogging platform, Kidblog.
This is our first week of staying out of school, due to COVID-19. I am at home. Students are at home. Things do not seem normal. As adults work to adjust to the new normal, we are continuously bombarded by headline news, school shut downs, planning online lessons (if you're a teacher), sanitizing, and keeping a distance from all other forms of life. I thought about what my students were missing and tried thinking up ways to keep the growing... well, growing. I made sure to reach out to parents and made myself available to help answer questions. Through all of that adjusting to the "new normal," there was something important that I missed and one voice that helped me to notice.
One single student voice brought to my attention an important thing I failed to do. I failed to ask how my students were doing. I didn't think of them, not really in the way I should have. Not in the way that reached out to ask how they were feeling or what they were thinking about what has halted our lives. It wasn't until one student reached out to me today.
"What about our trip on the 18th?" She asked. Her question completely stopped the whirlwind of change that surrounded all of us. She had one simple question, and it broke my heart to know that her normal was now gone.
"We will not be able to go to our field trip this week... I'm sorry." I answered. I couldn’t tell her when or how long it would be, but I answered her question. I don’t know exactly how that made her feel or what it made her think about. I didn’t ask her.
Today, many of my students began to write narratives, poems, and other writings. Just a short while ago, I decided to reach out to all of my students to ask, "How are you guys?"
My hope is that they not only respond, but write. Through all of this new normal, I hope they find ways to document stories and experiences. Through writing, they will know that they are not alone.