Jam Sessions Continue During School Shutdown


Ann Stimer

Ellie and Eliza practicing the ukelele before schools were closed

Brent Rowe, Black River History Teacher

The sound of two ukulele players jamming comes from the kitchen. One player is just a beginner who is trying to learn the chords, while another has been playing for years.

While many activities and lessons have been canceled due to COVID-19, two BRPS students have not stopped their weekly lessons despite the obstacles of social distancing. Since the beginning of the year, Kindergartener Eliza Rowe has been taking after-school lessons from 6th grader Ellie Stimer each week in Ms. Ann Stimer’s Kindergarten classroom.

Despite their age gap, Eliza and Ellie share common interests: animals, musicals, books, and music. Eliza explains one of the many reasons she enjoys her ukulele time: “the lessons are fun due to Ellie and I making up our own songs.” Ellie adds, “I like being able to spend time with someone else and share music together.” 

When school was suspended, Eliza didn’t want to stop their jam sessions; therefore, the two students came up with a plan! They would continue their lessons by FaceTime twice a week and improve their skills together. Ellie would continue to practice lesson planning and teaching, while Eliza practices her chords and news songs.

Now our family is cheered by the tunes of “I am Moana” and Frozen’s “Let it Go” as we work from home. 

What can you do during this time to teach or learn a new skill? How could you mentor younger students from afar?