The coronavirus pandemic has meant Americans are navigating uncharted waters.
The Frankfort Christian Academy Principal Carrie Beth Tigges wants to make sure her students remember this chapter of history.
This week, the fourth week of NTI (Nontraditional Instruction), or remote learning, at the school, students have been creating their own primary source documents about this period in time.
“At the end of the day, we care about people,” Tigges said. “I want our kids to remember this, to see how their loved ones and the ones they live with responded, how it impacted them, how they showed support and made them feel safe in a very uncertain time.”
How the students kept their documents was up to them.
“I gave them flexibility,” Tigges said. “I didn’t want them to run out and buy something. They could make do with what they have, whether it’s an old scrapbook, photo album, even a notebook.”
Students could also do the project digitally.
They were given guidelines for the project, which contains five sections for each day.
“Each day they’re given a question of the day,” Tigges said. “The little kids might answer in two or three sentences. The older kids go more in-depth.”
Students then needed to find a Biblical connection to the question of the day. Younger children were given a Bible verse to go with the question, while students in middle and high school looked up a verse on their own to go with the question.
Students also had to find at least three artifacts a day.
“It could be a news article, a news headline, a picture of them doing different things with their family,” Tigges said. “They have different options.”
The fourth section was prayer, and the fifth section was the subject of the day. Monday was science, Tuesday math, Wednesday history, Thursday language arts and Friday electives and Bible class.
“On science it could be doing a weather log, what the weather has been like, or cooking a recipe with their family,” Tigges said. “With history you could interview an older family member, some medical workers to get their perspective of the situation.”
TFCA didn’t have much familiarity with NTI before the pandemic.
"We build snow days into our calendar, and we rarely use all of them,” Tigges said.
Teachers at TFCA sent home two weeks' worth of work with students beginning with the week of March 16 and had another NTI week before spring break last week.
“I knew we had spring break the next week,” Tigges said, “but I had feedback from teachers, families and children that they were feeling the weight of the situation.”
That led Tigges to this week’s plan.
“I love to read, I love history, and I felt God provided me with this,” she said. “I was sitting on my couch late one night, and I thought what do writers do with history? It’s all based on journals, first-hand accounts, and this could be one of those situations.”
Tigges is in charge of grading this week’s work, and students will be showing it Friday, some from car windows as they drive to the school and others digitally.
“Last week was spring break,” she said. “This gives teachers a chance to regroup and prepare for the next chapter. It takes some of the burden off them.”
And it gives students a piece of history they can hold.
“I hope 10, 20, 30 years from now, this is something they’ll want to keep and not something they had to do,” Tigges said.