Living—and Writing⁠—through a Pandemic Institute 2020: Grades 2-8

Wed, April 22, 11am-3pm Eastern Standard Time
Thurs, April 23, 11am-3pm Eastern Standard Time
Institute will be offered live, over Zoom.

Grade: 2-8
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Network, 525 W 120th Street, Box 77, New York, NY 10027

As the world faces the prospect of new routines and rapidly changing circumstances, many teachers are recognizing that a priority for ourselves and our students is to build community and care throughout this challenging time, and to innovate curriculum that helps kids engage with the world they are now experiencing. Writers throughout time have responded to moments of crisis by writing their way through trouble, and capturing unexpected moments of beauty, and our students are no different.

In this course, we’ll build our own writing muscles as we simultaneously develop ways to help teach our students how to write their own history, as they live it. We’ll suggest that kids might keep Pandemic Journals, in which they capture stories, ideas, and information - so that your writers who lean towards narrative and the ones who lean toward informational writing will both flourish. Years from now, others will ask: what was it like? Your students will be able to answer that question.

We will explore strategies to capture time and place in our stories, encouraging strategies journalists use like tracking data, capturing quotes, carefully observing for detail, and attending to point of view. And we’ll think together about what it means to live, read, and write through a historic moment.

We’ll provide you with an ongoing Padlet of resources that captures some of the most gripping charts, articles, and visuals across the timeline of the pandemic. Some of your students will turn to this resource for information. Others will mine their daily life. You’ll help kids turn independent writing into something significant and beautiful.

Then, too, you will learn some simple ways that you can support students as they write not only as a way to track their thoughts and experiences, but as a way to reach out to others in the community, using their writing to connect and celebrate others.




This institute will be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.