Finding Joy and Inclusion Online

School or No School?

If you have kids at home, I am sure you are very focused on what is going to happen with school in the Fall. There is very little clarity and every week that goes by, things seem very different. I can imagine how challenging this uncertainty must be for teachers, parents, and students! I know that uncertainty can unfortunately trigger anxiety and stress, which I think we are all feeling right now.

Speaking of Teachers

This week I had the pleasure of spending time with over 100 teachers in the Chicago area as the keynote speaker of a teacher training camp led by The Nora Project. The project was co-founded by an educator and the parents of a child with disabilities and aims to normalize difference, demystify disability, and promote meaningful connections between students and their peers with disabilities.

My involvement in the training camp included:

  • a break-out session
  • a keynote delivered live over Zoom
  • moderating a panel

It was all a complete joy. But, interacting with the panelists and the teachers who attended the keynote live was my favorite.

Translating Live Into Online

The team at The Nora Project did a beautiful job of taking what was supposed to be live and translating it into an effective online experience. At the end of the keynote, we had a Google Jamboard where participants could post their reflections and commitments. There were 4 pages like the one below with the participant’s ideas on how to make their classrooms more inclusive this year. I was inspired by their positivity and enthusiasm in the face of a great challenge.

The panel I moderated was also a delight (see Zoom screenshot below). I was a bit of a “fangirl” when I saw Gaelynn Lea was going to be on the panel. She’s a musician who won the NPR Tiny Desk contest a couple of years ago. There were 6,000 entries and she won the contest. Since you probably need something beautiful to listen to right now, I encourage you to click this link to enjoy Gaelynn Lea’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.