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GEMS World Academy Chicago is commencing remote learning Monday, March 16. Wishing you health & safety. 
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5 Minutes (or less) with Ms. Annadurai

Well, we all know Spring Break isn't exactly the same this year, but we thought we'd take a few minutes to check in with our teachers & staff to see how they're spending their time.

What were your initial plans for break?

Every spring break for the last three years, I take my kids on a cruise with their grandparents. This year we were going to go to Florida for a Caribbean cruise. 

What are your plans now?

With us staying home, this is year our spring break is filled with FaceTime calls with family and friends. My kids and I are trying to cook new recipes from different kinds of cuisines. We made a really great Chinese beef and broccoli that was a hit! We are also looking up new craft ideas on the Internet and trying them out at home.

What positives are you taking away from this experience?

I love having more family time at home. It has been nice to slow down a bit, and reconnect with family and friends that I don’t usually have as much time to talk to. Teaching Zoom classes has become really fun. The highlight of my day is seeing the kids online and sharing jokes with them. My dog Toby really likes being able to take long walks in the morning and afternoon together as well!

Is there a project that you've now found time to tackle that you had been putting off for years?

I’m finally letting my daughter redecorate her room! For the first time we’re going to try painting it ourselves. Wish me luck.

What is the first thing you will do when the isolation is lifted?

I think I’m going to hug every single one of my friends when this is over! I’d love to drive to Ohio and see my mom and dad. Not being able to see them and the rest of my family, including all of my nephews and nieces, has been difficult. I‘m also making plans with a GEMS coworker to host a giant potluck dinner party when this is over! I will have lots of new recipes to try out.

What book are you reading right now?

I love reading and have a loaded up my Kindle with free e-books from the Chicago public library. One of the books I’m really into right now is called A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah about the Civil War and child soldiers in Sierra Leone. I’m also reading a book with DIY recipes on natural beauty products. My daughter and I made a really great natural whipped coconut oil lotion!

Thinking back on the first few weeks of remote learning, what has surprised you about your students in this environment?

I’m surprised with how positive learning experiences have been. My students are still engaged and excited to learn. I love that they’re still giving 100% effort and just as excited to learn outside of the classroom as they are inside. It’s been fun trying new teaching methods like online Kahoots and online discussion boards to help engage students in fun and exciting ways. One of my favorite activities has been creating PSA videos with my eighth graders on social issues that they picked and researched.

Read more about Ms. Annadurai here.

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