Today was a good day! It’s interesting, as Kenzie is adapting to change much easier than Jeff and I are. For example, her school is closed till at least April 12. In an effort to maintain a relationship with her students, our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. M, is doing a live story time every morning through Google Meets. She logs on, the kids get to spend time seeing each other and saying hi to each other, and then everyone is muted and Mrs. M reads them a story. It is INCREDIBLE to see. The kids have the same wonder in their eyes as if they were there in person.
To Kenzie, the transition is seamless. It doesn’t seem to matter to her that she can’t feel physically close to her classmate, she is still entranced by the community, and by the obvious emotion that Mrs. M exudes. I think what makes the most difference, is that there was a pre-established relationship. We’ve watched other tutorials, and that same rapt attention isn’t quite there. An authentic relationship has to exist before an online one can flourish.
We are beyond lucky to have Mrs. M as a teacher, and it should come as no surprise that she’s a Golden Apple winner. Everything she does is motivated by her love of her students, and it really comes through. The downside though, is that while Kenzie’s class is wonderfully diverse, it’s obvious from the attendees, that a divide still exists. It might be a demographic divide, a technology divide, or most likely, a bit of both. I worry that this crisis will widen that gap…
Ironically, I used technology to fuel a different community effort today. With social distancing etiquette in place these days, there was a push to celebrate St. Patrick’s day by displaying a decorated shamrock on your door. Then others could go on a shamrock hunt, and try to find as many as possible. It gets you outside, and interacting with others, but while maintaining distance. The challenge here though, is that you literally have to go up and down every street to find a shamrock. Which is probably fine for adults, but not for kids. You kind of want to put your kids in a location where shamrocks are concentrated.
So I used everything I learned this year, about collecting geospatial data and importing it as a layer into a map, and created The Great Shamrock Hunt of 2020. It’s simple, but I tell you what. I’m a layperson and it full on taxed my brain. But it’s working.
I created a form using Zoho Forms (you can create three for free): The Great Shamrock Hunt of 2020 Form
It feeds into a Google Sheet.
That feeds into a Google Map: The Great Shamrock Hunt of 2020 Map. (Which is silly, because i have to manually update that map since Google apparently discontinued support for it. Next time, I’ll pull into an ArcGIS map so I don’t have to manually update the data.)
One of probably many ethical concerns: Respondents are self-identifying as someone who cares about families. Solution: I’m not collecting names, and I’m deleting everything (form, database and map) on April 1, 2020. Ethical question number two: you can enter in an address to draw people to you. Solution: None. I’m relying on parents and guardians to exercise their best judgement.
Other things we did today: a scooter ride (to look for those blasted shamrocks), lots of partner and private reading, lots of coloring, and we even built our first leprechaun trap. It’s a box, with a ladder made out of pencils and crayons. Not very effective, but it’s only our first attempt.