All posts by engagetheirminds

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 4

For those of you who are keeping up to date with our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World, today’s update is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices being made by many to help stave off the spread of this horrible pandemic.  As you can read in the entry below, some first responders cannot live with their families during this time because their work opens them up to being infected every day.  Let’s thank Mary, her family, and all of the other people who are doing so much to help us during these scary times!

P.S.  If you want to have your student add to the diary, please read the post linked above.  It gives important information about how to share it, and why some may be having technological issues.

ECE LFH 2020 Diary

Project Zero Thinking Routines

UPDATE 3/30/2020:  Here is a link to a video where Smithsonian educators demonstrate use of the Thinking Routines with a piece of artwork.

You would have to drill down a bit into these resources that I posted about from the Smithsonian for “A Woman’s Place” to find this excellent compilation of Thinking Routines from Harvard’s Project Zero, so I thought I would give this page of free downloads its very own post.  Although the routines are specifically aimed toward discussing works of art, you will quickly see that these questions are adaptable to many different situations, and that they will elicit deep thought about any topic.  One of my favorite Visible Thinking Routines is 3-2-1 Bridge (here is a post I did on that, which includes a free template).

I also like the: Artful, Global, and Agency by Design Thinking Routines that are included on this page.  For example, I’ve added one of the Global cards below.  Imagine applying these questions to the current pandemic, and what answers you might receive from your students!  Some might find literal beauty in the microscopic image of the virus, while others may see the beauty of human nature being revealed as people jump in to help their communities.

truth and beauty

If you are preparing curriculum for distance learning, I hope that you will consider adding some of these to get a more detailed understanding of the thoughts your students are having while they learn.

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 3

If you haven’t seen the updates that I’ve made to this post, please check it out.  There have been some difficulties out there in accessing the COVID-19 Diary that I shared.  I think I inadvertently turned off editing when I tried to fix them, but I’ve turned it back on.  Unfortunately, you may still have issues if your district blocks access.

Here are two more entries from Our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World.  It looks like a lot of contributors own cats, and all of them, so far, have pets!  Hmm… I’m already seeing lots of math possibilities with this project as more people add to it – graphing pet numbers, mapping locations, etc…

If you haven’t shared the Diary with your students and asked them to add to it, please do!  I would like to make this as globally inclusive as possibly.  (Did I just make up a new phrase?  I’ll have to Google that…)

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (9)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (10)

Smithsonian Distance Learning Resources

I recently mentioned the Smithsonian Learning Lab in this post , which features some great lessons for Women’s History Month.  Now, the incredible educators at Smithsonian have a page of links to resources they have specifically curated for distance learning during this time of quarantine.  It includes information on how to use the Learning Lab, links for learning more about COVID-19, and resource collections with a national audience in mind.  In addition, there are D.C. specific lessons (which are separated by grade level, and can certainly be used whenever they fit in any curriculum), lessons for caregivers to use with children, and resources for tweens and teens.  The last two categories also include games and maker activity links.

Thanks to the Smithsonian for providing these well-organized spreadsheets full of links that will appeal to any age group and in any subject!

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Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

 

Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 2

Traffic is starting to pick up on our COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World.  I wanted to share the following entries from two friends who have been separated by miles and a pandemic, but still keep in touch.

Keep sharing out there!  As you can see, I am trying to comment on each one!

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (6)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (7)

 

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (8)

 

 

Distance Learning and Chronicles of COVID-19, Part 1

One of my biggest pet peeves is filling out paperwork at doctors’ offices, especially ones that I have already visited in the past.  I feel a quiet rebellion overtake me when I am given a clipboard full of forms that ask me questions I’ve already answered about everything from my gender to my health history.  I’m tempted to use biographical information from Anne Boleyn to see if anyone notices.  Birthday? 1501.  Major health issues?  Decapitated head.

In this day and age of computer technology, I have an overwhelming suspicion that the medical office database already knows more about me than I do, and that I’m just being given these sheets in the hopes that I won’t notice that I’m still in the waiting room 30 minutes past the time my appointment was supposed to begin.

I’m sure you’ve deduced that I’m making the connection between my own hatred of “busywork” and the way our students feel when they think they are being given assignments just to pass the time.  The number of homeschooling/distance learning resources out there are overwhelming right now, and many educators are spending this week coming up with plans for their students.    As Sonya Terborg, one of my favorite colleagues who I need to meet in IRL, mentions in this blog post, it is important that educators begin with the end in mind.  Mistakes will still be made, but we can avoid the largest and most predictable one – assigning busy work that will serve no purpose.

The above reasons are why I provided the COVID-19 Diary by Kids Around the World yesterday.  I know that many students love to share about their own experiences, and that they often like an authentic audience.  I am also hoping they will learn from what others have to say, and will gain a broader perspective.

I considered using other tech tools such as Flipgrid or YouTube, but settled on using Google Slides because of the flexibility of being able to choose if you want to add your own video or just write.

As Sonya asks in her blog post, “… what are we doing to connect them with each other in meaningful, authentic ways, and how are we supporting and planning for the same opportunities for student agency that have become so revered in the classroom?”

Here is a slide provided by one student today who has chosen to connect, and I hope that I will have many more to share in the future!  Please share this with any students you know!

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World (2)

Our COVID-19 Diary

UPDATE 3/18/2020: I am receiving requests for access to the Google presentation from several people.  It is shared publicly for editing, but some school districts have blocked Google files that are not from the same domain.  Unfortunately, I cannot change anything on my end if that is the issue. Please feel free to start your own diary for your students if you are unable to access mine.  Also, please see the note below if you are trying to share this with your students.

We are navigating unfamiliar territory right now as countries around the world struggle to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  As we witness unprecedented actions being taken such as extended school closures, I feel that it is important to capture the different ways that our society chooses to cope with the surreal existence that we suddenly face.  Of course, we can see this all around us thanks to the firehose of social media.  But, what if we took a moment to strip all of the extraneous political blustering and toilet paper hoarding away so that we could focus on the real thoughts and feelings of people who are dealing with this completely unfamiliar disruption of our normal lives?

Anne Frank’s diary gave us incredible insight into a period of history that many of us would never have understood, and compels us to learn from the mistakes of that dark time.  Would social media have amplified her voice or drowned it out?  So many of us have the opportunity to speak now, but have we actually increased the numbers of those who listen?

With these thoughts plaguing me deep into the night, I decided I wanted to find a way to concentrate the stream of experiences, especially of children, during the next few weeks.  So, I started a collaborative Google Slides presentation to which I would like to invite any student, ages 5-18, to contribute.  With so many students home from school for the foreseeable future, my hope is that those with internet access can take a few minutes to add their own perspectives to this presentation.  They will be able to read what others have to say, and I will choose some to post on this site for a larger audience. (NOTE: DO NOT MAKE A COPY OF THE SLIDE PRESENTATION UNLESS YOU JUST WANT TO USE IT WITHIN YOUR DOMAIN (WHICH IS FINE WITH ME).  JUST GIVE YOUR STUDENTS THIS LINK.  IF THE LINK DOES NOT WORK, PLEASE SEE THE NOTE AT THE TOP OF THIS POST.)

Here is the sample slide I provide in the presentation.

Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World

I will be monitoring the slide show closely for inappropriate content, or for any private information that should not be shared.  I hope that students in any country will feel comfortable adding to the slide show, although translating other languages may be a challenge.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me, engagetheirminds@gmail.com  (Also, if you are in need of educational materials regarding the Coronavirus, please see this post.)

Please share the link to Our COVID-19 Diary from Kids Around the World with educators, parents, and guardians, so we can get a variety of contributions.

Thanks to SlidesMania for the great template!