Audio Postcard 2021: Three, of Six, Weeks of School

DSC01722 (2) -01 DSC01722 (2) -01 flickr photo by suzyhazelwood shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

Last year, I took part in a research project in which teachers recorded weekly audio postcard journey entries for the first six weeks of school. It was the Pandemic Year, so I was already trying to document my time as an educator in such a disruptive time, and I found the audio entries were helpful for my own reflective practice. (See my last post with all six audio files)

This year, they are doing the Six Weeks project again, and I agreed to be part of the project again, too. So far, I have recorded three entries for my first three weeks.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

 

Peace (listening in),
Kevin

Memory Drop and the Pandemic School Year

I Don't Remember When

This was inspired by a real conversation I had with my teaching colleagues on the last days of school … seriously, we were having trouble remembering when things happened. It was that kind of year.

Peace (recalling it),
Kevin

Slice of Life: This Is How The School Year Ends

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

In the short but provocative novel Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher, the classroom of sixth graders has a tradition that they enact whenever someone is set to leave the class during the school year (either by moving or some other event). They conduct a Rock Ritual. The way it works is that the student who is leaving chooses a mineral or stone from a class collection, and then each classmates passes the rock around the circle, telling stories of the student who is leaving. That student takes the rock with them, with the idea that the rock has collected the words, stories and memories.

When we read Flying Solo in the middle of the year, my class of sixth graders all asked if we could do our own version of the Rock Ritual at the end of this crazy Covid year. I said yes, of course, and this morning, on our last day together, we will gather in the classroom to have our ritual (using Ring Pops instead of rocks).

Yesterday, we spent part of our morning with a sheet of all of their names, writing down ideas for the stories we would tell.  (Frequent Question: Can we write about ourselves? Answer: Of course). You should have heard the noise and laughter, and sharing, even though I suggested we wait until today’s actual Ritual to share (this is a rather boisterous and louder-than-usual class of sixth graders that is relentless in its socializing).

I’ll have to circle around another day to really reflect on this year of teaching and learning in the Pandemic, and all that I have learned and wished I had learned, and everything else. For now, I will settle into a final act of Community in the Classroom, as we tell stories of our time together in a year like no other.

Peace (and tradition),
Kevin

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: Some Semblance of Normal

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

The classroom seemed unusually crowded and louder than usual as some semblance of normal, or as close to normal as one can get in a Pandemic, settled in, with every single one of our masked-up sixth graders returning physically to the building for the first time in a year. *

Peace (with the energy of the young),
Kevin

*We’d been in Hybrid Mode since October, with half the students in school some days.

 

Slice of Life/Day in a Sentence: Why, Indeed

(The Slice of Life Challenge in March is hosted by Two Writing Teachers as way to encourage teachers-as-writers. You can join in, if you want. There is also a monthly call for Slices on Tuesdays. You can write then, too)

Why am I spending so much of my free time refreshing government websites that don’t seem to function right in order to find a scheduling spot on a calendar that doesn’t seem to have openings for a vaccine that may not yet be in abundance enough to be readily available?*

Peace (refreshing it often),
Kevin

*Our school is coming back full, in phases, starting next week with my grade. That’s one reason why.

Slice of Life: Audio Postcard Update

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

At the start of the year, I took part in a research study that asked teachers to post an audio postcard each week for the first six weeks of school. I found it valuable as a reflection point to what was (and is) a pretty hectic and uncertain time.

This week, we were asked to provide an audio postcard update on things are going, now that we are pretty far into the year. There were some guiding questions, and again, I found it useful to think about how the year is unfolding, when each week and month seems to have a different challenge.

Here is my audio postcard: (link)

Peace (voicing it),
Kevin

PS  — If interested, here is:

DSC01722 (2) -01 DSC01722 (2) -01 flickr photo by suzyhazelwood shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

 

Comic About Teaching: Zoom Mutterings

Teacher Zoom TalkI find it fascinating how pretty much universal this is: a presenter/teacher talking out about the technological things they are doing as the Zoom crowd waits for whatever comes next. I’ve even found myself apologizing to my students to narrating what I am doing to get things ready for class when we are on Zoom.

I always imagine my students having a chuckle about it at my expense. Which I don’t mind at all. The mute button is … right … over … here.

I put this into my album of Pandemic Comics, started last year.

Peace (out loud),
Kevin

Music: We Won’t Be Missing You

I wrote and recorded this song – We Won’t Be Missing You — over the summer, as part of a larger Pandemic song collection called Notes from a Quiet Corner (listen over at Bandcamp, if you want).

I wrote it after watching Trump tell lies after lies about Covid when he was still trying to lead the daily briefings, rambling on about the spread of the virus, about the impact on people’s lives, and how he would then pivot the conversation to its impact on himself and his own businesses.

It wasn’t pretty. It still isn’t.

Now that the foot has nearly kicked him out the door, I figured I would share this song again.

Here are the lyrics, if curious:

We Won’t Be Missing You

I hear a whole of talking but I don’t see a change out here
You might be on the screen but we don’t have to hear
I see your mouth still moving and reality disappears
If you listen to the whispers – the whispers are everywhere

We don’t surely know
where this is gonna go
When you’re gone
We ain’t gonna shed a tear

I know you got a lot of money and you think that makes you cool
then you turn your back and you act so frickin’ cruel
If I had to find a reason – I might resort to fool
But all those people listen so what are we gonna do?

We don’t surely know
where this is gonna go
when you’re gone
we won’t be missing you

I got my own news station playing inside my head
it’s got static and its tragic, to hear what it is you said
the world’s gone crazy and all you wanna know instead
is if the hotel’s standing and the money flowing again

We don’t comprehend
how this is gonna end
when you’re gone
we won’t be missing you
(bandcamp link)

Peace (shouting it),
Kevin