Our school is 120 years old this year. Al Raja School was the first private school in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We’ve been using the 120 years as a theme throughout the school year in celebration of this milestone. Today, though, it just was a sad reminder that the students are not in school.
We were going to have a carnival two weeks ago, and one of the activities I was responsible for was the 120 Museum. We had a little room that would be decorated with collections of 120 items. The students were just bringing in items when school was cancelled for a month due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Today as I was spring cleaning in my classroom, I looked at all the items and took a few pictures. Recently we got word that the carnival will be cancelled altogether this year.
I posted a video explaining today’s lesson on what would have been our 120th day of school, a day we had planned to celebrate. I wore my shirt that had 120 ponytail holders sewn on, but the day wasn’t celebratory at all. I was a bit sad and lonely in my classroom.
The lesson today was about our project 120 ARS Stories, a book we are writing. Students are turning interviews into stories today, at home. They had done the interviews of siblings, relatives, teachers, and others affiliated with our school.
I cleaned off our bulletin board, removing students One Words for 2020. Now the bulletin board is ready for new creations that they will bring back after our break. I can’t wait!
This morning a handful of our staff went out for breakfast. We’ve been staying indoors mostly. Most of our events are being cancelled–a Lauryn Hill concert, wedding receptions, church services and more, because of the Coronavirus. Today we ventured out, a small group, armed with sanitizer bottles and appreciation for face-to-face conversation, after a long ten days of Zoom meetings, phone calls, emails, and What’s App messages. More messages, I’m sure, were sent in the last ten days than in the whole past year combined. Teachers and administration will go back to a disinfected school tomorrow to continue our Virtual Learning Initiative with the children who are still required to stay home.
I am becoming sedentary. I can’t help it. I sit at this table for what our school is calling the Virtual Learning Initiative. The virtual learning is coming along, and still I sit. How can I walk and answer emails at the same time? Hmm…that reminds me! Maybe an aerobic exerciser hooked to my table will be my next household chore invention.
That was on Tuesday–the day for my second lesson; it was definitely better than the first. I’ve had lots of fun responses to our Flipgrid topic of making a household chore invention. The time it took children to complete this lesson was more realistic and has been leading to success for all.
This morning, I continued answering all my emails at least every 15 minutes. Often it takes me 15 minutes to give detailed feedback, activate the Flipgrids, and answer questions. Then when I check back more have come in, so I have been working constantly for a few hours this morning.
Then I got distracted when I laid eyes on my #100DaysofNotebooking notebook. Oh, I forgot to post yesterday, I said to myself. I picked up my notebook. It was still yesterday in the U.S., so I posted a lesson idea I worked on yesterday. Then I thought about today’s entry, and I got a bit lost in creativity.
I keep a box of word cutouts on my table, inspired by fellow Slicer and #100DaysofNotebooking notebooker, Donnetta Norris. My box called out to me this morning, so I made up a quick challenge. Choose five random words and use them in a story.
OK, I thought. I can do this. Forty-five minutes later I came up for a breather, and (oops) to check my email again.
We all need that once in a while, even when we miss the 15-minute email challenge.
Here is the result of my Five Random Words Challenge (leading, develop, lives, animals, slam-dunk)…
“Try again,” said Dad. “You’re close. You can do it!”
The son tried one more time. His pencil arms, delicate and coursing with bad blood, swung like a pendulum and let go of the ball. The thud against the metal rim before it hit the earth was music to the ears of the father and son.
“You did it!” Dad jumped up and down, lifting the boy onto his shoulders, leading the two-person parade, celebrating the success of his little boy. It was the first time he had managed to get the regulation-sized ball all the way up to the rim.
Bad blood. There was no ill will or anger in the boy’s blood or relationships. Rather it was leukemia. Recently-diagnosed, the cancer had not deterred the boy from trying to develop his hoop skills.
He is only five years old. Why do the gods toy with the lives of children? Animals! Dad would weep into his pillow, making demands during his nighttime wrestling.
But when morning came, he willed himself to be a new man, celebrating the successes of his boy.
“You hit the rim! I’ll call you Rick Barry Boy now! You’ll be the next underhanded free thrower. Next time you’ll sink the shot, I’m sure. After that, who knows? Maybe a slam-dunk contest! For now, let’s go home and rest.”