Hawthorne Students Share Stories through The Pandemic Project Book

Hawthorne Students Share Stories through The Pandemic Project Book
Posted on 06/23/2022
Hawthorne Students Share Stories through The Pandemic Project Book

Students at Hawthorne Public School celebrated as they held the first copies of their very own published book: The Pandemic Project. These books are the result of two years of school-wide collaboration, led by a class of grade 6 students and Learning Support Teacher Karen Reyburn.

Their goal? To document the experiences of Hawthorne Public School and the local community during the pandemic, creating an archive for future generations of students and historians. The book covers topics like online learning, COVID safety measures, teaching during the pandemic, how daily life changed, and what students want kids of the future to know.

Conversations are at the heart of The Pandemic Project. The class learned how to conduct effective interviews through a virtual session with a CBC journalist. They came up with questions, invited peers and staff from across the school, and wrote content based on these conversations. They brought the stories to life with photos they’d taken over the past two years.
The project first began with a group of five students, who came up with the idea in the fall of 2020. It soon grew into a class-wide initiative, with students working together on the book and a companion website.


We expanded the "leadership team" to include the entire Grade 6 class. A few members were added to the class. Expanding the project meant new ideas, big enthusiasm, a new classroom teacher and new learning opportunities. Fridays were declared "Pandemic Project Day" and we usually spent those days in chaotic but focussed work where you could walk into the Grade 6 room at any point and see different students doing all kinds of different tasks; they might be chatting, brainstorming, drawing, coding, photo-editing, interviewing someone via Google Meet, editing video or even making a making a t-shirt. - Karen Reyburn

Students looked forward to the work every week, saying, “This is the best project I have ever worked on in school!” They made strides in their writing and design skills, leadership skills, responsibility, organization, and ability to work with different people. Their engagement and confidence grew.

The book was printed thanks to funding provided by OCDSBXL, the District’s experiential learning department. It’s available at the school library, and each student involved in the project also received their own copy to keep. The companion website provides a space for sharing the stories virtually, and students have also started planning a film for The Pandemic Project, which they hope to complete in the fall.

Congratulations to all of the students involved in this project on your success!

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