California Educator

February/March 2021

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Once Upon a Time There Was COVID-19 By Cara Nicoletti Fruitvale Teachers Association member Cara Nicoletti, a fourth grade teacher at Quailwood Ele- mentary School in Bakersfield, wrote and illustrated this book for her students — and for posterity. "I wanted my students to know how much they meant to me," says Nicoletti, who has taught for 21 years. "I wanted to give them something personal they could have for the rest of their lives. We went through things together that people have never experienced before. In a way, it really is like a fairy tale, so I had fun with the title and used Once Upon a Time." Her book, pub- lished this past summer, chroni- cles the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, from schools shutting down to kids feeling lonely and missing their friends to the stress of work- ing at home. But it also shows the positive side of distance learning, describ- ing fun activities such as sidewalk chalk-drawing contests, creating videos, and making homemade butter by shaking heavy cream in mason jars. Her book shows another silver lining: families spending more quality time together doing things like baking, playing games and creating TikTok videos. Nicoletti and her book were featured on Bakersfield television stations. She gave each student a copy as a gift, and they loved it so much she decided to self-publish a paperback version. It is available on Amazon. "I wanted to give them something personal they could have for the rest of their lives." —Cara Nicoletti Cara Nicoletti 52 Teaching & Learning DISCOVER OUR KEY TO STUDENT SUCCESS! K-8 tutoring tailored to your student. a f f o r d a b l e l i v e l e a r n i n g S C A N M E

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