Thursday, March 17, 2011

Normalcy or not?

The Earthquake in Japan is very hard to process. We are grieving so hard. We are all tired and overwhelmed. After my sons (@3-1/2) death in 2000 and my daughters @ 5 heart transplant I have learned it is important to try as hard as it is to get back to some kind of normalcy. I thought about ending all my ESL classes and just bury myself into the relief work. Problem is the danger of losing touch with reality. Processing grief is real and very hard but not processing real life is escapism and leads to darkness within the soul. Depression will settle in and isolation will dominate. It is very important we extend ourselves out to serving and loving others. Focusing on self will only spiral into deeper depression and will lead to dangerous behaviors like medicating self or seeking ways to end self. The road to normalcy is very rough and hard. But is is absolutely necessary.

Today for our kids ESL I tried to keep it simple. I also allowed the kids to process their grief and fears through play. We first taught the phrases "I need help?" We substituted the word help with water, medicine, my mom and the last one was Chocolate. I also taught the phrases, "Are you okay?" and also "I'm hurt." "I'm hungry." "I'm thirsty.""I'm crazy." 

We then modeled our lesson with building a city for 15 minutes reviewing past vocabulary: truck, people, animals, building, store, park, zoo...etc. I had each student pick a lego character and place themselves in the city. After we built the city we then simulated an earthquake and destroyed it. Then we played search and rescue. Using our flash lights we then looked for ourselves and went through our ESL phrases. "Are you okay?" No I'm hurt. I need chocolate.

At the end we modeled our phrases once more after clean up we ended with the phrase I need chocolate. Then I rewarded our good students with good chocolate. I hope they will remember the sentences. It was a fun class.

These pictures were my Tigers level 2 class and I also did it with my next class Zebras level 1 both responded to the play very well. My daughter Jane enjoyed being in the class too. It was at least therapeutic to see these kids process and play and learn. Thanks guys you helped me more than you realize.


Tim said...

Nice! Sounds like a fantastic class.

Felice said...

The class must have been such a blessing to the kids and their parents. Great job!