Early this week, we learned about the Board’s pack-up-for-summer plan, and my teaching partner, Paula, and I quickly realized that there would be more involved than we thought. Faced with the task of organizing everything in cupboards and bringing home personal materials from the classroom, we knew that our few hours over a couple of afternoons would not be enough time to get everything done. For a frame of reference, look at all of the personal materials that Paula and I moved from our previous school at the end of last year.
I was becoming quite overwhelmed with the prospect of packing this all up again.
Knowing our packing reality, Paula and I made the difficult decision to cancel our online classes on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, so that we could spend full days at school cleaning up.
We thought about trying to broadcast from our classroom, but as we keep physical distance in the room, having two different devices on the same call in a small space would likely lead to a lot of feedback. Paula and I also wear masks in the classroom, and we’ve never worn masks online. We were worried about how students would respond to seeing us in this way, and we want our online sessions to be a way to calm and support kids … not cause additional stress. And so, there will still be asynchronous learning options for the full week, but a few days will be without synchronous options. We’re only talking here about an hour (or so) a day. Not a big deal … right?! But as Paula and I were discussing this the other day, we realized that these hours are incredibly precious!
- They are when we get to see our kids.
- They are when we get to laugh with them.
- They are when we get excited about their insightful comments and great new learning.
They found clay to create fairy wings when the leaves wouldn’t work. This is now a huge family project. It’s fantastic how they’re working alongside each other & problem solving throughout the process. Such joy here! Thanks for the inspiration, @mrslyonslibrary & @AngelaStockman!
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) June 17, 2020
Best comment from our online meeting this morning. “That video was actually really helpful. I learned how to make my dad’s beard.” 💕 Thanks @msamylemons! Our child’s reflections speak volumes about the impact of your video!
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) June 17, 2020
We showed our JK/SK class the top 3 images this morning during our online morning meeting time,& had the great conversation around equity & equality. Some wondered if it was still equitable, as there are not the same number of apples on both sides. Others had different solutions. https://t.co/0HGBST66Tn
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) June 10, 2020
- They are when we get to experience a little bit of what we had before. When we were in the classroom. With the kids. Playing together.
That was THE BEST experience ever!! We just played with our class online. Played. Built together. Created together. Talked together. Offered feedback & extended learning,but in a real play-based online atmosphere. My teacher heart is beyond happy right now!! @GSmith_ @moojean_seo
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) May 12, 2020
The greatest thing happened during our online meeting time when kids led a conversation. They started to share about Messenger Kids. Then it was back & forth questions. They invited others in. Paula & I didn't say a word. And for 8 min. it was total magic!💕these special moments.
— 𝘼𝙫𝙞𝙫𝙖 𝘿𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙚𝙧 (@avivaloca) May 27, 2020
Based on a comment shared by Kristi Keery-Bishop last week, we planned on using our last week of online meetings to celebrate some special memories of the past school year. Our hope was that we could extend on the learning from before, and re-explore topics that brought our kids the most joy. Now we’re down half the week due to packing up commitments, and while we understand why this has to happen, we’re also feeling sad. Our hope is that we can finish packing and organizing on Monday, and maybe sneak in an extra day of synchronous learning. This could be wishful thinking, but Paula’s giving me hope.
- Yes, these online meetings are short.
- Yes, they do not involve every child. (But if we looked at participation through asynchronous learning, we’d have regular contributions from about 30% of our students, and with synchronous added, it’s 90%.)
- And yes, we’re fortunate to be able to have had as many meetings as we did, and with fairly active participation.
But next week is the last week of school. It’s a week to celebrate, to make memories, and to reflect on a great year … even if this year was one of the strangest ones yet. I want this week with our kids, and I want to find a little happiness together because we all need this right now. Maybe it will be possible. Maybe it won’t. I do know though that Paula and I plan to maximize the time that we do have with our class, regardless of if it ends up being only a couple of days. What are your plans? What do these short bursts of time mean to you and your kids? Here’s to a wonderful last week of school, no matter how bizarre the week might feel!
The last week of school is always so emotional. You’re lucky to have partner to share it with. I had 5 hours to pack up my room, though I could have had more time if I really needed it. I would normally carefully sort and purge, but this time I did a lot of shoving. My closet is probably going to explode one day in July!
I feel like the last week has snuck up on me. My online teaching hasn’t been a great experience, but I have learned some and enjoyed it. Today a lot of my school staff met up to do a surprise drive-by wedding shower parade for a colleague and I realized home much I miss being with everyone! We’ll be at school handing out shoes, etc. to families this week and I’m looking forward to it!
I find myself thinking a lot today about how it will look for school to be part distance learning and part in person learning. I wish there was a book club for this! Maybe I need to organize an August “think tank” with my PLN! It’s going to be so weird and hard to figure out and I want to have it all figured out before we start. (Is that even possible?!)
Thanks for the comment, Lisa! It’s definitely strange right now. I’m very grateful to have a partner to experience online learning with, and also, to work through possibilities for next year. Yesterday was the first time that we’ve seen each other in person since March 13th, and that was also strange. Thankfully we can and do connect online each day. I love your idea of an August Think Tank. I’m not sure everything can be all worked out, but I wonder if discussing possibilities might make people feel better. Good luck with your last, very different, week of school.
P.S. I hope your cupboard doesn’t explode. Ours was close, as everything you see on the ground there was inside it. Kind of like an ultimate JENGA experience. We’ll see what it looks like when this week is done. 🙂