Spirits were high upon entering Soo Kim and Eunice Chung’s Zoom room on Wednesday, September 23. Inside the checkered boxes that filled the screen were smiling faces and an array of materials.
“Hello, friends!” Ms. Kim greeted. “Are we ready to plant today?” Although muted, the students’ expressions made it clear they were eager to begin the day’s activity. Ms. Kim began listing the materials they should have with them, which included soil, an egg carton or plastic cup, newspaper and water.
“This is a fun activity but it’s important that it’s done step by step,” she explained as she pulled up a video to help demonstrate these necessary steps. The anticipated activity was the planting of their ‘Hope and Dream’ plant, that will flourish throughout the year, just like its caretaker.
After watching the video, students began their planting by adding soil to their desired container. “Pour most – but not all – of the soil,” Ms. Kim said as she surveyed the Zoom boxes. “Make sure that if you’re using an egg carton that it’s distributed evenly through the holes.”
Next, the young scholars ripped open their seed packets to add to their soil. “Good job sprinkling in carefully!” Ms. Kim noted cheerfully. She emphasized that the number of seeds to plant was dependent on the size of the container. After dispensing the seeds, students used their remaining soil to make sure the seeds were firmly packed and coated in soil.
“If you’re not with us, that’s okay. Take your time,” Ms. Kim said as they reached the final step. “Now, don’t drink the water! We’re going to carefully pour it into our soil. It should look moist, you don’t want to overwater your plant.”
She continued, saying, “You’re going to want to take good care of your plant so it can grow just like your hopes and dreams!”
One curious student asked if they could house these special plants in their classroom when they return to 100 East End on October 5. To their delight, Ms. Kim replied, “Of course!”
Once the planting was finished, students were tasked with two jobs. First, they had to name their plant. Second, they were to record a video of themselves, using Seesaw (a digital platform for student engagement), saying their name, their hope and dream and a special cheer for their plant.
Ms. Kim offered an example with her own plant: ‘The Listener.’ She explained that her hope and dream for this year was to listen to what students say so she can be a better, more understanding teacher. In a soft, melodious voice, she sang her unique cheer, “Listen, Listen, make sure you listen! They all have creative minds, so listen!”
The students got straight to work, muting themselves so they could record without disturbing others. Ms. Kim and Ms. Chung circled the virtual room, offering help to any of those who needed it.
“You will continue to grow this year, just like your plants!” Ms. Kim stated. “They will become just as big and strong as you.”
Students’ Hope & Dreams Examples:
Hope & Dream: To be more organized and on top of my math work so I can keep track of my thoughts
Cheer: ‘Go orchy, be neat! If you’re neat, you will grow!’
Hope & Dream: To try my hardest in school so I can grow in all my subjects
Cheer: ‘I wanna work hard! Participate more so my ideas are heard!’
Hope & Dream: To add juicy details to my writing to make it more exciting for readers
Cheer: ‘Awesome, Awesome, Go Awesome!’
Hope & Dream: To focus more in class and listen to friends and other people
Cheer: ‘Focus more! Focus more!’
Hope & Dream: To keep a growth mindset in writing workshop so I can keep practicing
Cheer: ‘Gooo writing! You gotta keep on going, even if it’s hard, you gotta keep on persevering!’