As I’ve been preparing to welcome small groups of students back come Mid-October, I’ve been as intentional as possible to create a calming classroom space. Here are some elements I’ve chosen to include to develop that kind of atmosphere for my students.
As many plants as possible
With the help of a handful of donors, some local Facebook groups related to plants, and more, I’ve been able to secure about 10 plants to grace the tops of my bookshelves. As COVID-19 has made the prospect of students’ sharing printed books more daunting, it is much more likely students will be reading books on websites like Kids A-Z. With fewer books on display and greater mental/emotional strain on both students and teachers, my plants have become a priority.
Scripture on the Walls
May our students be captivated with wonder for the beauty of God’s word! In order that they will love the Lord with all of hearts, souls, strength, and entire beings, love to share verses on the walls. In addition to teaching about God in conventional and unconventional times of day, Deuteronomy 6:9 advocates for “writ[ing] them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates”. With two posters of verses from the Psalms, one from Jeremiah, and another from Hebrews, I hope that these verses will lead my students into productive day dreaming about the majesty of God.
Focus on the Nations
This year, I’ve sensed such a real opportunity to teach my students to pray in intercession for the nations. I’m hoping to use National Geographic Kids country profiles and other resources from Kids A-Z to focus on 2-3 nations per week, teaching several facts about each as we intercede for them in prayer each morning. Just as I want my students to internalize their responsibility to steward the Earth through plant care, I hope that they will internalize a responsibility for the nations and Church worldwide through prayer.
While our control might be limited as to the contexts of teaching and learning, it has been obvious from our first month of digital instruction that the students are still learning! Some students who even struggle to remain focused in a 20 person classroom have even benefited especially from learning at home. As we learn new ways of being together, accepting that there may be a time to refrain from embracing, we can celebrate knowing that again there will be a season where we can enjoy learning in person.