High School in the Age of COVID: Integration, Teamwork, and Learning What’s Most Important

You may have read our blog a couple weeks back about helping our kids, ourselves, and others focus on the most important things. That our “health-mentally and physically, our connections and care for ourselves and one another, little moments of joy-those are going to be what matters now and 20 years from now.”

And then last week, about focusing on what we CAN do, rather than all the things we can’t do right now.

Well, I thought I’d build off of these very important ideas, by providing some further examples of how our middle schoolers and high schoolers are doing the above, and making us so proud in the process.

How they are focusing on what’s most important and what they ARE accomplishing and learning. How they are not focusing on what they can’t do. Because as shared previously, at this point that is just wasted energy.

Here are just some things that these kids are successfully doing right now:

  • Continuing their focus on building gratitude, resiliency, self-awareness, compassion, and having a positive mindset (it’s important to note that the ‘negative’ or not-so-pleasant events, thoughts, feelings, etc. ARE acknowledged as they come)
  • Reading a variety of books together, both fiction and nonfiction. These include some on U.S. History through the lens of racism and antiracism, some excerpts of fiction classics, and others that include stories of adventure and mystery. 
  • Completing some very profound and creative writing pieces. Ranging from informational and persuasive to historical fiction. This is in addition to our daily journaling, writing in other subject areas, and other reflection work the kids do.
  • Integrating their subjects, so that what they are learning in history class for example, is directly connected to, and helps strengthen, their writing work. 
  • Working and learning in small groups and with partners. For everything from math practice, to social studies, to reading, the kids work with each other to ask questions, synthesize information, build understanding, and form deeper connections – with each other and the content material.
  • Completing original long-term projects on topics of their choice. Our inquiry projects that you are probably familiar with. Something that kids of any age are capable of. Pick some subject you are interested in. Investigate it. Ask questions. Push yourself intellectually and creatively. (There’s a lot more to them of course, but that’s the gist.)
  • Learning from each other, their teachers, and experts! Examples include physicists from both CERN and NIH, well-known authors, and more.

As always, we share these examples with the very real awareness that this may not be the case everywhere. That there are times when academic learning may need to take the backseat. That some people are facing challenges so great, that things just seem impossible right now.

But we do share with the belief that kids are usually much more resilient and strong than given credit for. And that even in the face of such uncertain times and challenges, they CAN and will learn. 

As long as the connections are there first, their curriculum is meaningful, and they understand what they are learning and WHY, they will learn.