We are so fortunate at Indi-ED that our focus is on connecting with the real world. We don’t just teach you about a topic, we reach out to professionals in our community to not only help our kids make the connection to how a skill will be helpful to them in life, but we also make sure we have fun doing it. That was one of the many things we could have said we “can’t do” and that Covid took away from us, but we didn’t. We worked hard to figure out how we “can do it” and have been fortunate enough to be able to find people, even outside of our own communities, who have been willing to help us do that virtually.
This is an important part of teaching 21st century skills, for this unit it has been courage. In a few weeks the kids will present what they have learned to their families at our showcase. The goal is that it connects to our theme, courage, everyone learns something new, they challenge themselves, they connect the theme to a topic they are passionate about, and quite frankly that throughout the three months it takes to prepare for a showcase that we experience joy along the way. I think we can all agree that experiencing joy during these times should be at the top of our priority list. I will be honest with you in saying that as I planned this unit and decided that our end product would be a puppet show, I knew it would be fun, but I had no idea how much joy that it would bring to my cohort and myself, or how important that would be.
There have been multiple activities over the past several months that have nurtured this state of delight and feeling of bliss: creating our own puppets, watching and learning from professional puppeteers, learning about puppetry through the documentary “Being Elmo,” practicing our lines while learning how to share emotion through our voices and the body language of our hand made puppets. However, we had no idea the level of joy we were going to experience when we scheduled our guest speaker for this past week.
We were fortunate enough to connect with the Center of Puppetry for the Arts in Atlanta, GA. Not only was Aretta a master at her craft and incredibly talented at teaching us all that she knows, from the history of puppets, the five different types of puppets, and the basics of how to bring a puppet to life, but she brought an incredible amount of joy to each and every one of us in the process of doing all of the above.
I don’t know about you, but for me right now in this time of uncertainty and heightened levels of stress, this was just what the doctor ordered. So by following her passion and doing what she loves, Aretta refilled my joy jar and each of my student’s as well. Not only are we grateful for the gift of joy that Aretta gave each and every one of us, but we were reminded of how important it is to search for experiences that bring us joy and to do what we can to fill up the joy jar of others around us?