Friday, May 08, 2020

Thoughts on Teaching & Learning: Creating a Time Capsule

Over the past several weeks, I have found myself doing a lot of reflection trying to get this online teaching right.  I keep meaning to get my thoughts on paper but then get caught up in the day-to-day work of teaching in this pandemic era.  I know if I can catch my breath, there is a lot to learn and reflect on during this time. So, I decided that every day in May, I will share my thoughts on Teaching and Learning.  This is Day 8.

I've been thinking about how to help students capture this time in their life, without adding to the stress they may or may not be experiencing at home. I want to make sure that the have the opportunity to think and  make sense of all they are feeling if that is something that would be helpful for them right now. If I have learned one thing as a teacher for over 30 years, it is that students are ready to deal with things at different times and in different ways. I never want to push a child to deal with something difficult with an assignment that they are not ready to deal with.

So this week, I decided to assign a Time Capsule assignment for Social Studies.  I think this is an interesting way to have students think about how we learn about history and about primary sources of information. I know there are lots of prepackaged Time Capsule ideas out there but I wanted it to be more open-ended as I wasn't sure what each student would want to do.

So this week, I shared this assignment with students. (You probably won't be able to access the sound but you'll get the idea:-)

 I can tell by our informal conversations before read aloud today that students are really thinking hard about what to include and we've already had some great conversations around that.  Students talked about including special events that they've celebrated at home and capturing those in some way. Some students talked about including things they've learned and made. Some have been thinking about writing they may include. Some have considered what to include to show that schools were closed and learning was online.  Many were worried that they have to share this next week (our school year ends in 8 school days) and we talked about making this a living thing until the pandemic or the school closings are over.  That of course they might add things over the summer and many seemed very excited about that which tells me they see a real life purpose to this--a reason to do it beyond because it is a school assignment.

I have been thinking about what I would include in my Time Capsule if I end up creating one. I have many ideas and creating a time capsule reminds me a little bit of notebook writing--you live your life differently inside this piece of history, when you are constantly awake to what you might include, what is important to capture during these days at home. I am sure I'll get many more ideas as kids share their time capsules next week. 

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