When we were shopping for houses, one must-have characteristic for the neighborhood was to hear laughter and children at play—happy to say we found it. Now, when we go outside it’s rare for us to see another human, let alone a group of kids playing.
Last week, in an attempt to maintain sanity, my wife and I took a break to play a game of charades. Edison watched closely and then repeated each clue—dancing like a monkey or flapping imaginary bird wings—in his own funny way. Of course, this imitation is both adorable and a natural stage of human development, but it reminded me of the importance of modeling as a teaching tool.
Amidst nationwide social-distancing recommendations and widespread school closures, our kids are struggling to adjust to a new normal. So much is changing in their lives: their daily routine, the people they see and interact with, even the availability of their favorite snacks or meals. As we settle into new routines and figure out how to complete work and school from home, it’s important to consider the social and emotional impact this pandemic will have.
Last week, I shared that learning will happen—no matter what you do. I hope that statement provides you with some comfort in today’s craziness. But I also recognize that teachers and parents are scouring the internet for resources to help kids stay engaged in learning, despite the changes we’re experiencing during the pandemic.
For four years, I taught middle school design classes at a small private school in Boulder, CO. At the end of each year, I received a letter detailing my employment for the following school year. Part of that letter described what would happen in the event of a school closure. I never gave that part much thought, convincing myself there was no possible way the school would have to close. Yet, here we are. Thousands of schools across the U.S. (including the one where I taught) have had to quickly enact distance learning plans. Teachers are adapting resources intended for teaching and school environment to support learning at home.