STA English teachers Mary Pate and Mariah Kirsch are a creative duo who collaborate well in order to bring out the creative side of every student. When St. Thomas Aquinas moved into remote learning in March, they sought out ways to channel students' feelings into creative outlets.
In a nod to Kelly Gallagher, a well-respected teacher and author in the English education world, Ms. Pate and Mrs. Kirsch adopted a “Seed Writing” lesson that would not only honor student agency and voice, but it would give our Saints a tangible journal of sorts by which to share with their children and grandchildren.
A “seed” is an article, a broadcast, a TED Talk, a Tweet, an Instagram post, podcast, photograph, graph, political cartoon, poem, news article, etc. that spurs some thinking about the crisis. Years from now, our students’ descendants will ask them about this moment in time, this COVID-19 pandemic, this season of quarantine.
This is, after all, their history.
The assignment tasked students with capturing their feelings during the time of quarantine. “Because these days are historical, it is critical that we not let these events pass without capturing how they affect you, your family, your school, and your community.”
Students responded to prompts that asked them to discern how the virus disrupted their school year (including sporting events, concerts, assemblies, Prom, etc.), how it disrupted their daily life and affected their family, and how it impacted the larger world.
The results were honest, vulnerable, and poetic- raw in rhetoric and tender in transparency. While we aren’t able to include all of the writings in their totality, the excerpts reflect the best qualities of humanity and adolescence- strength, hope, and resilience.