Wash and Pray

Slice of Life 2020: Day 4

altered books
a student discusses how she made her book

The story I wanted to tell today was how much I enjoyed my students’ Altered Book Projects. Every year, after reading Romeo and Juliet, I have each student take an old book and alter it to reflect a scene and a theme from the play. I usually bring a big pile of old, low-value books to class that I’ve begged and bartered from various places like thrift stores and estate sales. Each kid selects one. Then, I show examples of altered books from previous years, give them lots of ideas and instructions and set them loose to embrace their inner artist.

They write about their projects and present them briefly to the class.

Top notch, colorful, thoughtful, and graphic are all words I’d use to describe this year’s crop of books. The symbolism was right on. One person covered a real rose in red paint and then embedded it in the pages to represent the fleeting love of the star crossed lovers. Another took a sharp knife and cut the balcony scene into the thickest part of the book. It was a true celebration of learning.


The story that unfolded today was centered around the Coronavirus. So, as it turned out, a friend texted my 13-year-old to tell him that he knew a kid that had Coronavirus at another hybrid school he attended. Gabe mentioned this at dinner last night.

“Huh?” I hadn’t heard of a person in our county having the virus.

“That’s what I heard. I’m not lying,” Gabe said casually.

I went about planning my lessons last night and went to bed. Then, somewhere in the night, it was discovered by the director at my school that a young boy in our area, attending a local hybrid school had contracted the virus from his dad who somehow caught it when he was on a business trip in Italy last month.

Home school circles are small and my email blew up! Apparently there are several kids that attend both our school and the school where the infected child attends.

Thankfully, the teachers came together and implemented a plan to clean desks and tables, talk up hygiene habits, and promote the importance of staying calm. The director told those students attending the other school to refrain from coming to our school until March 12. Thankfully, that infected family has a very mild case. I did have one student who didn’t attend today due to family concerns over the virus.

For the most part though, school went on! It was great day. I told everyone, “We are going to wash and pray!” And, that’s basically what we did. These hands are chapped from all the washing and I wish I had stock in Soft Soap!

As teachers, there’s just never a boring moment. And, there’s always that need to make split second decisions which keeps us mentally youthful!

2 thoughts on “Wash and Pray

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