You can’t play basketball over Zoom: a second grader’s take on virtual communication

Frank, my second grader, had to write a poem for school. It could have been about anything, but he decided to write about how the only opportunity to see his friends in during his small group Zoom sessions with his teacher, Mrs. Schafer and special educator, Mrs. Brashears. Even at 7, Frank noticed that there are some things we can only do with our friends in person, but he is grateful that he can still see a few of his friends online.

I imagine this is the way that a lot of kids his age are feeling and a lot of adults, too. For example, every once in a while we do a family zoom party on Friday night with all my cousins, but I miss gathering at someone’s house and potlucks and being able to play games. Heads Up! is one of our favorites, but it requires the player to hold up a card with a word on it on their forehead and have everyone else give clues. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to play in Zoom because you can see your own word with the rear camera! It’s also hard to play card games, Monopoly, Twister and Jenga when you aren’t in the same room!

Still, it’s good to know that we can still see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices without leaving our own homes. I have often thought about how difficult this would have been for me and my friends in high school in the late 1990s with minimal internet capacity and one shared phone line for the entire house! Yes, social distancing can be miserable, but at the very least we have each other.

Here is Frank’s poem:

Seeing My Friends on the Computer

It’s lonely at home without my friends.

I can still see my brothers and my sister.

I like being with my mom.

But, I miss my friends.

 

I miss my friends because they are like my brothers at school.

When we are at school I get to eat lunch with them.

I get to eat my favorite food: french fries.

And I also like peanut butter and jelly.

And grapes.

My friends like those foods, too.

We like to talk about writing stories.


William, Mark, Axl, and Frank are my friends.

We all like recess.

I play on the slides. 

I can’t swing on the swing because it’s too small for me.

I play basketball with my other friends.

Boing! Boing! Boing! Chh. Chh. Chh. Chh. Pshwoot!

 

Right now, I can’t eat lunch or go to recess with my friends.

But I can eat lunch at home with my mom 

And play on the playground with my sister outside my house.

I wish my friends could come over.

But they can’t. Waaa! 

Because the coronavirus. Waaa!

 

The good news is I can see my friends on the computer!

Mrs. Schafer and Mrs. Brashears teach me things and make me laugh.

Last time we had to talk about a B.

I found blueberries

I liked to see what my friends found

Like a yellow ball and a banana

And a basketball.

 

Someday I can play basketball with my friends again

But for now, we can have fun together on the computer.

 

Robyn Barberry

Robyn Barberry

Robyn Barberry is married to her high school sweetheart, Patrick. They are raising four imaginative and adventurous children, one of whom has autism.

Robyn teaches English at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore and is a former art and language arts teacher at St. Joan of Arc in Aberdeen, where she worships with her family.

Robyn earned an MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College in 2011 and she has been blogging for the Catholic Review since 2012. If she could have dinner with any living person, it would be Pope Francis.