Well, Knights, it appears that we are on a new quest of epic proportions. Like most quests, the road ahead is unclear, there are fierce dragons to overcome and unforeseen challenges that make our quest scary. As brave knights, however, we have all the tools that we need to make it through this quest victorious!
An NDA Knight's Guide for a Successful Quest
Connection is Key: A knight never journeys alone. Just because you can’t see your pals in person, doesn’t mean that you can’t stay connected! Join the teacher’s Zoom calls, phone your friends and family members, and send an email to your teacher or classmate. Even if you're not a huge social media person, consider making an Instagram account (you don’t have to post anything if you don’t want to) and follow NDA on Instagram (@Instandae). Instagram is a great way for us to share what we’re doing. Send us pictures and videos of your daily adventures and we’ll make sure to share them! By staying connected, we are reminded that we have a strong, supportive, NDA family and together we can overcome any obstacle.
We’ve got to be Squires before we can become Knights: Before setting off on a quest, a knight goes through training as a squire. Every year, the first few weeks of school become squire training grounds. Students learn new systems and get readjusted to school work. Distance Learning requires us to begin as squires, and get adjusted to new ways of learning, new schedules, and new locations among other things. It’s not going to be perfect and there will be lots of hiccups, trials, and errors. As a result, we are rolling things out slowly. Teachers are giving feedback, but not grades, they’re being flexible with due dates, they’re trying out new technologies that may or may not work for everyone. Parents are trying to balance working from home while also supporting their children. With everybody onboarding and trying out a new way of working and learning, this is a good time to remember that slow and steady wins the race. We promise they are still learning, we won’t let them get behind, and you are doing a fabulous job helping them learn from home.
Don’t Panic! Think Flexibly: When things don’t work out as planned, a knight stays calm and looks for alternate solutions. The internet is slowing down as it is getting bombarded with more users than ever. In the last two days alone, Google, Facebook, and Netflix have all experienced outages. As the TKers say, technology takes time, and that is true today more than ever! If you can’t open or upload an assignment, don’t worry about it. You can try again later or let your teacher know that you did the learning even though you couldn’t submit it. Parents, we trust you, and your children. If your child is missing work, we are going to reach out to make sure you all are okay, but we aren’t looking to “ding” your child; we know there’s a lot going on.
Make a Schedule: For a knight on a quest, each day might look a little different, but the knight follows a general schedule. Set a time each day to wake up. Eat a healthy breakfast. Review the assignments and tasks for the day and estimate how long each task should take. Then create a schedule that includes breaks, snacks, exercise, and play. During a regular school day, kids have lots of opportunities to get up and move around, interact with their peers and teachers, have a snack and lunch, play sports on the yard, and explore art, music, Spanish, and technology (check out these fun lessons here on Google Drive). Taking small breaks in between tasks helps us focus better when we are working and be more effective and finding some balance is key.
Look for the Positives: On the knight’s journey, there are many scary obstacles the knight will face. While the brave knight is well-informed, takes precautions to stay safe, and makes plans to face a variety of outcomes, the knight doesn’t dwell on all of the dangers. To be successful, the brave knight keeps his eye on the goal, has a positive mindset, and seeks to find joy in the world around her. As you go for a walk around the neighborhood, spend time looking for things you haven’t noticed before--the flowers growing up through the sidewalk, the beautiful sunset, the clouds that look like animals. As you watch the news, listen for the stories of dedicated health care workers, brilliant positive messages written in sidewalk chalk, members of communities that parade through town from the safety of their cars to wish a child happy birthday, or neighborhood serenades from balconies. There are stories of kindness and joy all over the world and many within our own NDA community. Keep your eyes open for them!
Be Creative: Being stuck inside can get boring really quickly, Knights! There’s only so much tv we can watch and only so many video games we can play. Instead, encourage your children to play make-believe, build something, solve a puzzle, play an instrument, make up a new dance, create an obstacle course for your pet hamster...really, the sky's the limit! Just have fun!
Show Some Spirit: Knights are always looking for fun, silly, and creative ways to show off their school pride and connect as a community, so next week is our Virtual Spirit Week! To kick off the week, on Monday, wear your NDA spirit shirt (Bonus points for anyone that can incorporate something Knights/Dragons into your outfit)! Talent Tuesday has students showcasing their singing, dancing, musical instrument playing, baking, designing, juggling, gymnastics, puppeteering, and acting talents (Think NDA’s Got Talent!). Whether you just roll out of bed or go all out to get your hair to look ridiculous, Wednesday is Wacky Hair Day. Thursday is Crazy Hat Day! From sideways baseball hats to homemade derby hats, wear your craziest hat on Thursday! Friday will be Fitness Friday. Wear your favorite sports jersey or showcase a favorite fitness activity. Let’s see how NDA stays fit!
Keep the Faith: When the Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land, the journey was hard and they were constantly worried. Throughout their journey, God constantly provided for them, giving them both physical and spiritual nourishment. Like the Israelites, we are on a journey, and like the Israelites, God is with us through every up and down. While the churches are closed to worshipers, we are reminded that the true Church is made up of God’s people. During this Lenten season, we encourage all Knights to spend time in prayer, put your worries in God’s hands, and trust that God is always with us no matter what.
Alrighty Knights, with your guidebook in hand, I am confident that you will succeed on this new quest. Remember that your NDA family is here to support you, help you to feel connected, calm down, be effective, get pumped up, and have faith.
Sending lots of love and prayers to all our NDA family and looking forward to connecting with each of you again soon! Stay healthy NDA!
Ms. Hobbs, Principal NDA Elementary