As I write this, I am preparing (once again) to return to in-person teaching. This, of course may change in a couple of weeks (again). Like so many teachers right now, I don’t really know what to plan for because so much is up in the air. My new mantra is to take one day at at time, and to keep putting one foot in front of another. Tomorrow, I am teaching remotely and that is what I can plan for.
Right now there is a lot of change in all of our lives. It can be very unsettling, because change is not something that we can plan for. The nice thing about being a teacher, however, is that we know history. One thing about history is that change is constant. Many before us have endured change, and lived to tell about it.
My class recently completed a then and now unit where we looked at things in the past, and things in the present. We had fun looking at cars, homes, and various other things in the past and comparing them with their present day counter parts. When we got to schools, I assigned my first graders the project of comparing schools of the past with schools of today and presenting them (virtually) to their classmates. They had so much fun! We acknowledged all of the changes they have recently lived through and they were able to articulate much of what they’ve been feeling in a healthy manner.
At the end of their presentations I told them that they are the experts on schools today, because they are the only generation that has learned remotely. It was also a fun project because we acknowledged that in spite of everything else going on – we are still learning.
We are preparing to study change in our country now, as we prepare for our black history unit. This year, I really wanted to focus on the journey of African Americans. Not just during slavery, but to follow what happened to African Americans once they claimed their freedom. I’m working on several projects, and the first one is my Underground Railroad Virtual Field Trip. This lesson explains what the Underground Railroad was, and links to actual sites along the Underground Railroad.
We will also look at the settlements free slaves built to create homes for themselves. Here are more fresh ideas for you as well. I will be sure and share any other projects with you as well.
During times of change it can be comforting to study previous times of change. It lets children know that change has happened before, and that change will continue in the future. It’s also reassuring to people of all ages, because it gives us all hope that we can (and will) persevere.
For more fun January ideas check out the blogs below: