Saturday, March 28, 2020

Digital & Lights Out Earth Hour 2020 Tonight! 8:30-9:30 pm Your Time Zone

As I wrote about earlier in the month, Earth Hour is an annual event to unite people globally to take action on environmental issues. Typically, it's the 4th Sunday in March, shutting off non-essential lights in your time zone from 8:30-9:30 pm... acting like a virtual wave around the planet of activism and momentum.

This year, as our lives and ability to move about seem to change daily in order to protect lives against the ever-moving Coronavirus, Earth Hour (just like everything else) seems topsy turvy and semi-upside down. 

Some question why World Wildlife Fund doesn't just cancel it--especially in the middle of a global health crisis. On their FAQ page, they argue that now, more than ever, is a time to stand together:
"Earth Hour 2020 is more than a symbolic event, it is a global environmental movement to stop the destruction of nature on which our health, happiness and future prosperity depends. Nature is the planet’s life support system and gives us everything we need; from the air we breathe, the water we drink, to the food we eat. The link between nature and good health has been well documented. Even spending two hours a week in nature is known to lead to better health. Nature underpins our life, health and well-being but it is in a crisis! Now is not the time to pause our collective work, but a time to respond more creatively, work more collaboratively, and listen and adapt more effectively."
To counter the health risks of coming together for any kind of Earth Hour event, the global organizing team is promoting people to celebrate it either at home or digitally this year. 
In truth, it started as a grassroots movement doing just this, so celebrating at home is not different to what most people have done in the past.  Here are some things you can do at home:
Digitally, you can do the following:
As we all are feeling very isolated here in the era of COVID-19, it's going to feel good to be part of a community, a part of a global movement, a part of something bigger than ourselves.  I'd love to hear what you did to celebrate Earth Hour 2020 this year!


Images from https://www.greenroofs.com/event/earth-hour-2020/ and https://parklife.birchwoodpark.co.uk/news/earth-hour-2020-connect-to-earth/ and screenshot from 
Screenshot from https://www.earthhour.org; book cover from Amazon.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Remote Learning Resources.

Remote learning. Online learning. Distance learning. eLearning. Schooling at home. Lots of names are
popping up, all for life and education in the age of COVID-19.

As schools all over start ramping up and creating what their idea of remote learning looks like, lists of edtech resources are surfacing. Depending on how long all of this uncharted educational territory and social distancing lasts, I'll routinely pop up with some new finds. Another good resource is GTG's own archive of "curriculum" or "online resources." May you find something helpful here.

Reading/Language Arts Resources:

Math: 

Science & Social Studies:

General/All Subjects:

Technology:

The Arts:

Virtual Field Trips:

Other Resources:

Image from https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/k-12/online-elementary-school/ and adapted with text at Canva.com

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Digital Earth Day is a Month Away

With Earth Day a month away, and the 50th anniversary as part of that package, seems lie this picture is worth 1000 words. If it looks familiar, you may have seen this full page add in the February 2, 2020 New York Times... a throw back to their January 18, 1970 full page ad.


What are you doing to get yourself ready for Earth Day 2020? It may be looking slightly different than it did a month ago, prior to all sorts of things shutting down around us. But rest assured, Earth Day Network has this to report:


To check out more of the digital Earth Day plans for this year, check out Earth Day Network's website. As we get closer, their portal will continue to grow their resources. The plan, as Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network has said: "use our voices to drive action online rather than in person.”

Be sure to follow tweets from @earthdaynetwork.
Hashtags to follow: #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE

It's time to shift the narrative!! We don't want a crisis ad in the New York Times in 2070, 50 years from now!

Both images from https://www.earthday.org/50-years-later-the-new-york-times-runs-another-full-page-ad-for-earth-day/

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patty's Day--Bring On the Bagpipes!

Just like the clock, the calendar keeps ticking with li'l regard to what's going on around.

March 17th means only one thing...
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you're looking for something to do, here's a way to get a li'l green on and brighten your 🍀 Day--even from far away. Check out Midnight Mackenzie tonight at 5:30 pm EST to put a li'l jig in your step and get the flavor of the day with her bagpipe music. 

I've known her since she was a wee li'l leprechaun, and her live streaming tonight on Facebook may be just what you need to get your mind off all the news and feel a li'l luck o'the Irish instead!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day and ...

For each petal on the shamrock 
This brings a wish your way-- 
Good health, good luck, and happiness 
For today and every day.


Photos from https://www.twotwentyone.net/st-patricks-day-keep-calm-prints/ and https://www.midnightmackenzie.com

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Tackling Tough Times With Lightness, Laughter, & A Bit of Fun Theory

My Spring Break started this past Friday. Yay!

But, even here at the cusp, it's not been a typical spring break.
  • Spring Break Eve began with an announcement from our governor that schools would be closed for the next two weeks due to COVID-19. 
  • Unprecedented and odd, but actually weirdly okay given our independent school already had the built-in calendar gift of 2 weeks off. In some ways, it aligned wonderfully well.
  • BUT...there's also the possibility it won't, so for the previous week and a half, our Tech & admin teams were busy scurrying together a plan for the possibility of remote learning... all as time ticked along, closing our window of time before break.
  • Plus, I was also running up agains the March 17th deadline to turn in our recertification to be a Maryland Green School. (More on that process in a later post.)
It's kind of been the perfect storm. Add in:
  • For the last 2 weeks, on top of the full tech days, I've had late nights trying to get final details in order for the green school application... and long full weekend days of computing--even yesterday. Even after spring break started, I was still heftily in worker bee mode.
  • My spring break plans are (and have been) dissolving. My family had already decided to cancel our train trip to New York City to visit friends, and another overnight the second weekend had to be canceled too. (Although Amtrak canceled us before we even had a chance to cancel them.) I'm also contemplating making a flight trip into a driving trip... just still not sure on those plans
  • Then there's all the news stories that you just can't get away from: "the virus." It's changing daily, and teachers, by nature, like to have a little more control in life than all of this.
So, I entered Spring Break overtired, still in work mode the first day and a half, and hyped up.

It was here, as I was contemplating this is a strange and unusual time for the world, that I ran across the idea of fun theory--one I'd encountered before, and perhaps that timing was heaven-sent:

We need to take a breath, embrace the lightness and the laughter, and ultimately go with the flow as best as we can. That, in part, is what Spring Break is always about. And just because we may be under a bit of house arrest, we can take advantage of the days, these warm sunny spring days, and the nights that are now lighter because of daylight savings time. Maybe what we need is less news and more comedy. Maybe more books and outside and less social media. Maybe a bit of game playing, movie binging, and approaching it all appreciating the gift of time. What have you been waiting to do? Maybe now's the time to do it.  Maybe the place to start is by watching these, part of the Volkswagen about 10 years ago showing that fun can bring about positive changes:








Quote from https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/randy-pausch-quotes; Videos from https://youtu.be/SByymar3bds, https://youtu.be/qRgWttqFKu8, and https://youtu.be/zCt_MzsnIUk

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Nature Is My Therapy

It's been a week! No point in boring everyone with the details, but let's just say that living in the age of Coronavirus where things change daily AND being in the Tech department and there's talk of potential remote learning makes for a busy week.

So I'm finding I need this...just the thought of it calms me. My hope this weekend, as we start spring break, I can soak in some of the nice weather that's been cropping up, and just breathe!



Saturday, March 7, 2020

Mark Your Calendars: March 28th is Earth Hour

Recently I got a Shutterfly email of my photo memories from 13 years ago. (Shutterfly is a photo storage service.) The first photo was a family birthday picture at a family birthday party with all the cousins and grandparents. While 2007 doesn't sound like that long ago, the li'l ones' faces (who are now not so li'l) in the photo told a different story.

The reason I mention this? 13 years ago, 2007, was the year of the first Earth Hour.

Earth Hour started in 2007 as a grassroots movement in Sydney, Australia. Not something that was even on my radar 13 years ago. But now over time, just like my kids and their cousins in that photo, Earth Hour has grown and blossomed. It has now become one of the largest environmental grassroots movements. People in over 180 countries and territories turned out their lights for one hour as a symbolic gesture to make a visual impact of how we all can make a difference.

To take part, it only involves switching off your light switch, at you own home, on Saturday, March 28. Mark you calendar. That night, turn off all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm in your time zone as a wave of darkness will travel across the globe. Of course you could always take part in a bigger event too, which is great if you are searching out community. But it just goes to show you how much you can be a part of something bigger than yourself even by only doing this one action at home. It's a great way for you and your family to "unplug" too and get a little meaningful time off tech!

The power of one, multiplied out numbers times, makes a world of difference. Symbolically & literally.

To learn more about Earth Hour:


Video from https://youtu.be/eOGWsOEE710, Screenshot from https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/earth-hour

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Kids' View on Coronavirus

It's everywhere--not the virus, but the feverish frenzy all about Coronavirus. 

I was struck the other day with just a scroll through my Facebook feed how just about every other post was about it. True, I follow a lot of new sources, but there were also the posts by friends sharing reports, but it even popped up on in other ways. Rick Steves, TV travel show host, was addressing travel fears he has heard. (He's still planning an April trip to Istanbul at this time.) Memes are popping up left and right, as are news reports that sales on Corona beer are down. (It's completely not related to Coronavirus, people.) Economic concerns and drops are happening due to the trying to contain goods and services from going from one place to another. Historic passages about the Spanish influenza of 1918 are surfacing. Yes, it's all enough to get everyone stirred up, frenzied, and alarmist.

While the reality of it is all out there and it needs to be monitored. It makes sense that people are concerned for their loved ones. But the misinformation is swirling too. All of which kids are hearing too, because more contagious than the Coronavirus is the fear factor surrounding it. 

Here are some excellent pieces I have seen online--aside from the biggest: the incredible importance of handwashing:
  • NPR article entitled "Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus."It's all a hand-drawn comic directly for kids, attempting to neutralize their emotions on the facts. There's even a link to the entire graphic and directions on how to fold it into a little book with its eight informative panels. Included in the NPR comic are details about hand washing, including getting all the "nooks and crannies," and keeping your hands away from your face as much as possible to keep germs from entering in your eyes, nose, or mouth. 
  • When in doubt, the World Health Organization has amazing  resources on hand washing and protecting yourself--the visual are more kid-friendly than their videos, which I'd reserve for parents. There are also 2 posters on their website that you can download on how to deal with the stress of it all--for both parents AND kids.
  • Even a 2018 Buzzfeed hand washing article has resurfaced--and it has great graphics, which I'm posting below. By focusing more on keeping all germs at bay (it is still cold and flu season), and less on the hype and hysteria, we'll all be healthier along the way.


Graphics from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus and https://www.buzzfeed.com/terripous/how-to-wash-hands-properly-according-to-science?fbclid=IwAR01g1d5m73G5zkiOB_3HfCiyNTUhF70Khr6nlMW1XaQoUwK0gDYZFp7Cb8