Saturday, March 28, 2020

A School Visit Before the Coronavirus Struck

        

So much can happen in a month! I had the good fortune to read from Carnival of the Animals at Elder Creek Elementary School, on February 28th, and March 2nd of this year. The              school was celebrating Read Across America. On Friday, I read for two morning assemblies, one primary, and one intermediate. On Monday I read for 4 individual classes, 1 kindergarten and 3 first grade. Then after school I sold some books!

For the assemblies, I read from Carnival, as I did for Monday's 3 first grade classes. For the kindergarteners on Monday, I read from Dragonella. All of the kids were just wonderful. So attentive and involved. I have always loved reading to Elder Creek kids. I've read there several times from my various books through the years. I used to teach at Elder Creek, and I've basically adopted the school,

I don't have pictures from the assemblies. The principal took some and was going to mail them, and then Sacramento schools, like so many schools all across the nation had bigger things to think about — Covid 19. Our schools are closed for the rest of the school year, and the teachers and students are having classes online — a brilliant solution, although I can only imagine how much work for the the teachers and school administrators, not to mention parents. Let me just say, I would definitely find it daunting and I applaud how they are all stepping up to the challenge.

While I don't have assembly pictures, the teachers in the classrooms were kind enough to take pictures with my smartphone. (I just haven't gotten around to downloading them before today.) I hope you enjoy this little sprinkle of the experience. First, the kindergarteners:


It was great fun to read from
Dragonella again! I missed
that little dragon!






















You will notice the students have their back to the camera. That's a policy in many schools now, so that kids aren't easily targeted by strangers who troll the internet sites, including blogs. (A policy I totally approve of.)

Then, it was on to first graders and The Carnival of the Animals, and I had a lot of fun acting out the stories that I read.




















So today is a little bit of "catching up" with my blog friends. Next, I'll go visiting blogs that I've missed this month. I've meant to post and visit before now, but somehow house and yard projects have kept me busy, as well as spending a lot of time contacting friends and family to make sure they are safe and well from this Coronavirus. Luckily, my husband and I are faring well so far. We take all the precautions, and we do take walks (being careful to maintain social distancing). How about you? How are you using your indoor time, as we wait out the dangerous period? And how is your health and the health of your loved ones? Do take care and stay safe and well.


18 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

It sounds like a wonderful couple of days for you, and for the students.
On-line teaching will definitely be a challenge and I am super impressed that teachers/administrators/parents are stepping up to the pass world wide.
Stay safe, stay well. We are all in this together.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good morning, EC. Yes, all in this together indeed. It's heartening to see all the support in this together/apart situation. I'm glad I had the school visit before it began. I also had an April visit lining up and a couple of bookstore readings in the wings. But all of that can wait. First things first, and our country needs to survive this and get well. Take good care.

Rosi said...

I'm glad you had the chance to do this. I think the eason the kids are facing away fromt the camera is because they were so enthralled with your presentation! Stay well.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

HI, Rosi, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your kind comment. They actually were quite engrossed, but I purposely had them photographed from the back, because these days many schools do have the policy not to show kids' faces. In addition to protection from trolls, there are also protective custody issues, etc. We do live in strange and difficult times, even apart from the corona virus. You stay safe and well, too.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

It's great you got the opportunity for those readings. How wonderful!
May you stay safe too in these difficult times.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Lynda, yes I'm grateful I got the readings in while I had the chance. It's so sad the way this virus is ravaging countries, and I'm glad that the school systems have worked out ways to meet student needs so that the educational year isn't thrown away. But it still must be so daunting. Thanks for the good wishes, and back atcha. Take care.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

It's wonderful that you could spend that time with the children right before the shut down. Super idea to share your art with them. I am sure they were thrilled and mesmerized, too.

Wichita schools are shut down for the year. The schools are sending out work packets designed by each teacher. Lots of hard work, but so many children don't have access to computers in Wichita. Only the kids from the more "affluent" schools. I have a neighbor who lives two houses north of me who has five children. It would be a nightmare to schedule computer time with each child and I'm not sure they even own a computer, much less have the internet. I'm glad the schools provided options, because one size doesn't always fit all.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Elizabeth (& Bleubeard), Yes, I agree, "one size doesn't fit all," and it's true that many areas don't have the home computer situation that affluent areas have, so I'm glad Wichita Schools figured out an alternative. Regarding the school visit, I wasn't sharing art. With the kindergarten class, I read from my picture book, Dragonella, which has wonderful illustrations. Then for the first graders, I read from The Carnival of the Animals, a story collection with only the occasional illustration. The latter tales are told "fairytale" style, and there's something appealing to kids everywhere about fairytales. I hope you are weathering this period well, enjoying your innovative art and other indoor activities. Take care and stay well.

Kenda Turner said...

What neat opportunities your author visits must have been--both for you and for the children! I bet they asked some pretty interesting questions :-) And glad to know you are doing okay in this time of uncertainty. We are well here, and keeping in touch with family and friends via texts, emails and facetime. So glad we have such means of communicating from a distance...

Tanya Reimer said...

What a wonderful experience and glad you got it in before the virus shut down our schools.
When I went for my very first school reading one of the students asked, "Why won't my mom let me read 50 Shades of Grey?" A group of teachers in the back just burst out laughing. I was ready for absolutely anything they could ask me except that. hahahahahahaha.

Sandra Cox said...

Looks like a wondrous time!
Stay safe and healthy.

Mirka Breen said...

In the last two weeks, whenever I see photos of gatherings, they feel unreal. It's as if these are historical... Glad you got that school visit way back when, only days ago.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

To the most recent blog friends stopping by and commenting:

Kenda, yes these were special opportunities to interact with the kids again. The teacher in me at times missed being in the classroom, and I always love interacting with kids over books. Glad to hear you and loved ones are well. And, yes, it's wonderful to have today's technology as a way to keep in touch. In the past, one just had to wait and worry from a distance.

Tanya, thanks for that humorous anecdote about your first school visit. It certainly put a smile on my face. Stay safe and stay well.

Sandra, thanks for the good wishes, and back atcha!

Mirka, I agree: It's all very surreal: "The time before, and the time after" sort of thing. We can still take walks, but it's like a bad movie, walking by closed stores and restaurants, all the windows dark. I was arranging another school visit a few days later, as well as book signings in two bookstores, when our "shelter in place" took effect. Glad it did, though; it will save so many lives.

To all of you, stay safe and stay well.

Vicki Lane said...

Glad to hear you are well. We are staying safe and busy. I hope the days of book readings in person return soon! Stay safe!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Vicki, and I'm glad that you, too, are safe and well. Yes, I'm looking forward to the day when all this is over, but I'm glad that so many states are taking it seriously enough to put curbs on Covid 19's spread.

Sandra said...

The students look so engaged. Fun. Fun. Fun.
Continue to stay safe and healthy.

DMS said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time visiting with the kids to celebrate Read Across America. Looks like fun! I am glad you got to have the visits before the coronavirus struck. My last day going into work was March 12- and I haven't been anywhere besides my house and yard since. I have someone who does the shopping once a week- but we are definitely doing our best to social distance and stay home here. :)

Glad to hear you are healthy! Stay safe!
~Jess

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Jess, thanks for stopping by. Isn't it nice that the Internet does allow one way to visit! Yes, I enjoyed both days so much. At home, I've been doing yard work and a lot of reading. (More reading than writing for now.) Only going out to shop for essentials or take walks — all at a safe distance. Stay safe and stay well.