Last Friday, I did something today I hadn’t planned to do. After receiving an email, I ordered instructional materials for lessons on some conservation topics! Why I did this, I have no idea! I do not have anything planned in the near, or even far, future. Regardless, I felt compelled to order the materials!
After I was finished, all I could think of was that I just took an action that exhibited hope! I must have hope that things will get better! I must have hope that we’ll be able to return to some form of gathering to educate our youth using a means other than a screen and computer. I must have hope that I will teach again.
For me, the drive to teach has always been strong. From the days as a young child when I helped my mom ready her third-grade classroom, to a middle school student volunteering in a second-grade room after school running the mimeograph machine, to my previous role as a pediatric nurse practitioner informing parents and teens of what development stages to expect and providing guidance for their health, to culminating with years of community teaching on environmental topics such as pollinator habitat and the preservation of our forests and prairies, I am a teacher. The desire is strong and creates a need that yearns to be fulfilled.
That is why I bought the curricular materials! The materials on invasive insects join a stack in my room on pollinators, and specifically monarchs, that I had ready for distribution this spring during my scheduled environmental day presentations. Oh, how I hope I can use these materials to augment a real time, face-to-face interactive discussion on how awesome the natural world is and how we need to take care of it.
In short, I miss my students. Whether it be my book clubs, writer’s circle, garden club, or community education participants, I miss them – all of them. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about hatching a plan to provide some kind of fun digital lesson that could be used for a virtual lesson to still connect our youth with what’s happening in the natural world. It’s not ideal – I know that. The ideal would be standing in the prairie, talking about the root adaptations of the prairie plants that help bind CO2 and withstand the high winds that whip across our shrinking plains. The ideal would be to find enough monarchs to tag or milkweed to share. The ideal would be walking through a pine forest and examining the pine cones and needles. The ideal is exploring with not only our eyes but our heart and our hands.
But, we all know this time in our collective history is not ideal. I greatly dislike using technology in the field of environmental education and I have resisted it. But, that said, and considering the bubbling need I have to teach, I completed the digital lesson I wrote about two weeks ago. It is a jeopardy style game on pumpkins! Kids of all ages know and love pumpkins. The game will test their existing knowledge and provide them with at least some facts they probably do not know. This game was based on my years of teaching elementary students about the pumpkin life cycle, a great (and recognizable) example of plant pollination.
The task of completing this lesson was fairly easy. I just needed to sit down to do it. A bulging folder of articles, lesson plans, and discussion notes, as well as previously made student handouts, were just waiting to be used. So, I used them. I constructed questions for which I had previously researched the answers and Pumpkin Jeopardy was born!
Yesterday, I sent this out to a group of teacher friends and administrators. Today, I share it with you. Unfortunately, I am still working through the WordPress process of posting the google slides, but I can share a link that will allow you to download the game if you want to see it. I actually hope you’ll do more than just look at it, but perhaps even use it! It’s free!
There’s that feeling of hope again. It’s all I have right now when it comes to teaching. I hope my game will be used (and, enjoyed). I hope I’ll get to teach again. I hope we continue to inspire our youth to learn about the natural world.
Today is Slice of Life Tuesday! Thank you to TwoWritingTeachers.org for hosting this weekly forum. The support from other writers in this group has been instrumental to my own persistence and success at this craft. Thank you!