I woke to the unusual sound of the radio. My mother stood in the kitchen staring into space. Also unusual. Something was very wrong.
That morning I learned that Bobby Kennedy was shot a few miles from my home. Assassination was a word I learned a few months before.
I knew about Martin and Malcom.
I knew about protests and the Vietnam war.
I knew the world was full of unrest.
I was nine.
My parents had lived most of their lives in uncertain times and I don’t think it occurred to them, to exclude their children from their nightly conversations about the news, no matter the topic. Every evening we got a full dose of politics, opinions and a bit of Walter Cronkite or Roger Mudd.
Times were and are uncertain. This is and will always be our world. And our young ones are aware. As the conflict in Ukraine had worsened into war my nine-year-old students have been asking questions. Looking at maps. Asking why. Many are making connections to what they are learning in our historical fiction unit. World War 2. The allies. This war sounds familiar. Students are thinking and talking about it. World War 3 comes up on the playground.
All of this pointed to the need to bring news into the classroom.
So we are investigating.
Maps. News articles. Who is involved, where is this, and why is this happening.
And all the skills we have been working on when reading history are being used to figure out the answers for the history we are making.
Each day we try to piece together our uncertain times.
13 thoughts on “SOLC#22 Day 2: Uncertain times”
As if the pandemic was not enough, now this war. It is tragic. It is good for children to know what is happening.
I too have followed news since I was quite young. I saw JFK’s funeral when I was five. I’m obsessed w/ events in Ukraine and think it’s important even young children learn what’s happening. After all, Ukrainian children are living it.
I love that you’re taking time and making space for them to learn about what’s happening– kids are curious and silence and secrets don’t help anxiety at all. I admire your writing as well, Julieanne– you weave in the past and your own priorities and experiences with the moments, capturing a powerful balance of the here and now with the past.
“Times were and are uncertain. This is and will always be our world.” As a millennial growing up in a world full of crisis can be too much. But it is indeed the only world we have, and so we persevere and we do our part.
It’s an important and challenging responsibility to explain to kids the war and at the same time hold space for them to feel the feelings they have.
I’ve been wondering about this. We launched historical fiction in fourth grade this week and I hear the connections to current times too. I think you’re wise to make space for this, to help them understand. You’ve got me thinking.
This line … And all the skills we have been working on when reading history are being used to figure out the answers for the history we are making. Beautifully crafted — thank you for doing this work with your students. Looking forward to connecting this month.
I love how you started this slice describing your world at age 9. Then moved to your world now teaching 9 year olds. Such power in reading historical fiction and doing research with nonfiction text to see a map and read a news article. You are serving your 9-yr old students well.
I am so glad that your students have you to guide their inquiries and conversations. Life is so uncertain for adults. I cannot imagine how frightened children might feel. Thanks for providing us with information on how children are handling the news.
“Times were and are uncertain.” I have to wonder if they ever have been certain and if they ever will?
The anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin was also recent. So much heartbreak.
I’m sure you are leading them with sensitivity and compassion. Yes these are still uncertain times but your classroom is a safe place to land.
Love your comparison to your childhood to the childhood of the children in front of us. Not shying away from topics gives the students a way to process.