Living Through History: A Hidden Opportunity
Introducing: My Message to the Future
In this special interactive, expressive arts class, students are guided through a series of creative prompts with the goal of compiling documentation of their experience in this unique time in history. We will focus on fun and easy dimensions of the self as openings to build awareness, resilience, and community.
Each week, a new series of writing/drawing prompts will be introduced. Each set of prompts offers the chance for completion of a visual bookmark as well as a seed for further individual creative inquiry (if desired). The prompts will explore a scope of themes related to identity, goal/ intention setting, emotional awareness, and relationship-building.
We will use class time to discuss and work on these prompts as well as generate ideas for further creative expression. Students will walk away from each class with a deeper understanding of themselves, a sense of connection to others, and strong encouragement to explore these new found dimensions (in any medium) between class meetings. This is a low-prep class designed for families in isolation due to school closures and public health protocols related to COVID-19.
Please read on to learn more about the community work I've been engaged in that has helped inform the creation of this class (as well as future projects).
"Last March families all over the world found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly homeschooling. In the midst of a global crisis, parents were sent scrambling across the internet in search of anything of value to supplement their child’s education. Pretty soon parents were drowning in apps, online courses, live streamed study groups and more; immobilized by overwhelm. Most parents ended up trashing the idea that their kid could have a meaningful educational experience at home. As educators, we were scrambling too! We knew we were in a unique position to help, but how? "
This is how sunnysideonlinelearning.com came into being.
What started a few years ago as a unique center serving a handful of 2e students with individualized learning plans has developed into a viable answer for many families who suddenly need online education. A sliding-scale, pay as you go, online school designed to serve 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who need access to thoughtful and engaging lessons led by experienced and caring educators... is here. Founded by the brilliant, Jade Ann Rivera, Sunnyside Micro School is a STEM project-based program offering each student a differentiated plan of study with group accountability and the opportunity to work one-on-one with a skilled educator in math and language arts. We also offer live, a la carte, group classes in poetry, Spanish, and more. I've been fortunate to be apart of the more.
I started working with Sunnyside back in 2018, bringing the Elements of heART program to some of Jade's students. In August 2019, I began a part-time internship shadowing an incredible Educational Therapist, Cindy Miner Kapelke, as ongoing training to provide direct 1:1 instruction in language arts to all of their students. Jade and Cindy, with over forty years combined experience in education, have been amazing mentors. Now that we find ourselves amidst a global pandemic, their role in my life has become even more instrumental.
Working with the incredible Sunnyside team is how my newest Transformative Arts class and CosmicKIDS offering has evolved. Finding myself infinitely stretched by learning how to offer engaging 1:1 literacy opportunities online, coupled with grief at having to close my CosmicKIDS sites for the school year so unexpectedly, I've found various creative outlets to once again become my lift raft. While I designed "My Message to the Future" with 2nd- 5th graders in mind, the process of developing it has implications for people of all ages and walks of life.
The question of how we are showing up in this time, whether you are an educator, a parent, or a human living through any other role during this formative time, is an important one for all of us to be asking ourselves. It likely has a different answer for each of us, but the process of showing up to ask this (and other potent questions) can do wonders for our well-being. Documenting and exploring dimensions of our ever-evolving selves, especially during times of struggle or uncertainty can be powerful medicine and impetus for embracing change.
How have you been occupying these past seven weeks? Just take a moment to ask yourself what the arc of your experience has entailed? Has your pace slowed rapidly? Do you feel like you're juggling? Have you found yourself working endlessly from home in the midst of a massive new learning curve? Regardless of your answer, you're bound to notice that your life has undergone a massive shift. Everyone's has.
Out of my own need to both simultaneously slow down (to take inventory) and speed up (to survive financially in the Bay Area), I've found myself engaged in a series of reflective activities that have brought valuable catharsis and insight for me, ultimately shaping this time as a meaningful platform with which to assess the trajectory of my values, mission, and vision in this life.
For most, business as usual has shifted dramatically, if not halted altogether. It seems the whole world is at a standstill, waiting to see what will happen next. The opportunity (or misery) for each us lies in how we wait.
Documenting who you are, what you are thinking, wondering, learning, hoping, fearing, pioneering and/or any of the other thousands of thoughts you are having each day, may not only have powerful benefits for you, but for posterity as well.
Think of it as compiling your message to the future, even if just your future self. We are all writing history together. Chose your story wisely.