In the classroom, Paula and I rarely participated in special days. During our spring shutdown, I blogged more about this topic. We are now about to begin our fifth week of remote learning, and once again, we’re looking at how to bring some added joy into our online environment that comes with a little bit of “special.” As Paula and I were planning and reflecting together recently, Paula made a really important point: “During this lockdown, there’s little to look forward to. Everybody needs something to look forward to.” While we’re still not prepping for Crazy Hair Days, Hat Days, and Pyjama Days, various Maker Days have seemed to increase excitement in our online classroom. Nothing though seemed quite as popular and enjoyable as our Fort Day.
The joy wasn’t just for kids: Paula and I really got into planning our own forts. On Wednesday, we used some time prior to our afternoon playdate to start the planning process.
Paula’s evolving fort plans inspired me to begin my own. Maybe some #CommunicationOfLearningProcrastination helped increase my interest in this special day. 🙂
The best moment was on Thursday though when every single child logged in to join our Fort Day. A few cardboard additions to Paula’s fort and an unexpected word found on a plastic chair even led to some wonderful reading, writing, and phonological awareness opportunities.
In the past, Paula and I have never been fans of forts. In fact, we’re both apt to remove blankets and pillows from the classroom to dissuade students from creating them. The magical moments that happened online are harder to support in-person, when the focused fort play quickly becomes silly social time with too many children under the blankets at once.
Online, I was tempted to keep my fort set-up well past Thursday. It seemed to epitomize for me both comfort and joy. While the dysregulation that stems from most special days will likely make these different days not my favourite ones when we return to school, I have to wonder if our COVID realities might still require a little additional joy. Something special to gleefully anticipate. What might this look like in the classroom? How much will both kids and adults need some “special” in their lives? This is something else that’s on my mind for when we return. And if for any reason you can’t find me when we go back, check under our desk space by the door … it might be my perfect new place to escape! 🙂
I agree with your thought on special days. We did have fort day about two weeks ago and there was lots of excitement and joy. One of little ones had use a small basketball hoop post. He showed everyone how to make a pulley, as he used the hoop and a string to lift his device. Another sparked conversation about bridges and supports as he planned the destruction of his fort at the end of the day. We found siblings joined us that day as well. We haven’t made forts in class but do use old Christmas trees donated to our Kindergarten yard to create them outside.
Thanks Wendy! It sounds like you had a really successful Fort Day. I love all of the science (simple machines) connections here. The family engagement part is wonderful, and we found the same in our online class on Friday. Thanks for mentioning about making forts outside. This reminded me of when we were at our last school, and students used to build small enclosures out in our forest space. You have me wondering about what might be possible outside when we return … and what will also meet our COVID regulations. Hmmm …
Thanks for continuing the discussion!