One of the biggest and best belly-laughs I’ve had this year was when I read this Twitter post in March 2020:
After finishing “LOLing,” I thought about the role educators play in the fabric of society. Not surprisingly, in a survey by Osmo, 80% of U.S. parents have a newfound respect for teachers as a result of stay-at-home orders. Not only are parents and families appreciating teachers more, but students are, too, as seen in this video.
SILVER LINING 1: We Have a Renewed Appreciation and Respect for Teachers
With the heartbreaking loss of life, the pandemic has been devastating. As human beings experiencing grief and loss, it is important to reflect and to seek glimmers of hope as we move into 2021. Beyond the gains in respect and appreciation for teachers, below are some pandemic “silver linings” and our hopes for 2021.
SILVER LINING 2: We Can See the Stars
According to this article from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the Covid-19 lockdown has helped the environment “bounce back” with environmental pollution down 30%. Beyond the obvious advantages of less pollution, there has been an improvement in our ability to see the stars at night. This article from the Minneapolis Star & Tribune explains how Voyageurs National Park, on the Minnesota-Canadian border, was recently certified by the International Dark Sky Association as a Dark Sky Park. Certification comes when the ability to see stars in the night sky is exceptional.
SILVER LINING 3: We Are Growing Gardens
Another silver lining has been the increase in the popularity of gardening, and the powerful impact gardening makes on our mental health. According to the International Association of Horticulture Producers, gardening provides a place for experiencing nature, improves mental health, cognitive functioning and emotional well-being. Beyond these benefits, gardening is shown to reduce depression, anxiety, obesity and heart disease while creating a sense of community, improving quality of life, pride in growing your own food, and recovery from sickness. If you’re short on green space, grow a windowsill garden, or plant seeds in a pot. This book “How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving Your House,” can help. That is quite a return on your investment. Let’s hear it for gardening!
Beyond our renewed appreciation and respect for teachers, the environmental comeback and growing gardens, there are other silver linings, too…
- An increase in bread baking created a yeast shortage which resulted in the explosion of sourdough starters-Teaching Science Using Sourdough Starters
- Gyms closed, so many began spending time outdoors walking, lots of walking. Need a quick brain boost? Take a walk.
- With more walking, podcasts gained momentum
- Reading is big again! Check out the reading trends of K-12th graders
- There has been a resurgence of board games—particularly chess as a result of the Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit and jigsaw puzzles have made a comeback, too
- Have you heard of hygge? (“hOO-gah”) Speaking of hygge, with so many of us at home, a lot of home improvement projects have been happening
- With the quick shift from face-to-face to distance learning, teachers have been learning a lot of tech tools and have gotten creative during the pandemic!
- Student test score data shows reading has held steady with small declines in math scores from those surveyed
- Technology, like Zoom, has supported at-home work
- Handshakes, touch screens, signatures in ink? In this article, Things That Will Disappear Soon-Pandemic Edition is a list of things that will no longer exist post pandemic
- What scientists have worked for and what we have hoped for, The Vaccine Miracle: How Scientists Waged the Battle Against Covid-19
Hope for 2021…
What are you hopeful for in 2021? Eating at a restaurant? Going to a movie? Time with family? For students to be back in school? Although 2020 carried with it some inevitable silver linings, we at Learners Edge wish you good health, continued gratitude for the work you do for children and families, and of course, for this global pandemic to end.
Here’s to 2021!
For lesson plans about the environment, astronomy and gardening, click here.
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