Hello Hello Hello!
It is Saturday and I have officially completed three weeks of Remote Teaching. 🥳
There have been SO MANY tech issues. I have yet to have a day where everything goes smoothly, but the kids make it ALL WORTH IT. For real! 💗 I love their little faces through the screen and I’m already starting to figure out their interests and hobbies. It’s not ideal, but we do what we can, right?
The best thing I’ve done so far is come up with a plan for my Morning Whole Group Zooms. Before that, I was a wreck. 🤪 Each night, I was scrambling to find something to do with my class for a “morning meeting” type of situation and I felt so stressed and panicked.
I did find some fun games for us to play, but mostly, I just felt like we were going around, taking turns, and trying to make connections with open ended Building Community/Restorative Circles type of stuff AND IT WAS KILLING ME.
KILLING ME, I said.
It is SO DIFFERENT through a screen. After talking about it on Instagram, several people messaged me to tell me that it was happening to them, too, and they think it’s because the kids’ families are nearby and can hear EVERYTHING which means the kids do NOT WANT TO SHARE OUT. They feel inhibited!! Doesn’t that make sense?
Sharing out and going around and taking turns – I HAD TO STOP.
I decided I had to change things up. There had to be a better way. I decided I needed to treat our whole group morning time as if we were in the REAL classroom.
AND LET ME TELL YOU – it’s transformed my morning meetings!
I’m not being dramatic, either. I am telling you LIKE IT IS.
Even if we have technical difficulty, even if I have kids waiting in another waiting room on a different Zoom call (it happened), even if I have a kid with me in their little square instead of themselves (yes, true story) even if my admin pops up because a parent informed her I wasn’t holding a Zoom (I was, just in a different one??? Still don’t know how that happened, but my admin saw me and then left quickly) . . . whatever happens, I have a plan!
A PLAN, I SAID! 🥳
I have a plan that ensures ALL kids are participating. They’re not just sitting there waiting for their turn or . . . heaven forbid . . . being bored.
I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS, I can’t even tell you (well yes, I can, actually, because we all know I am a nerd!). It’s such a relief to know what I’m doing every morning. And the best part is that if/when we return to the real life classroom setting, I will STILL use this as a way to continue our structure and routine so that it’s familiar and comfortable for the kids. Because it IS going to be a transition and this will help with that!
Plus, if we do return to the classroom, and then have to PIVOT (gah! who hates that word as much as me now? It’s only good on the couch episode with Ross in Friends!) back to remote teaching, it will just “travel” with us.
With one click, you can add it to your Google Drive and you are ready for the month! I created it so that it is INTERACTIVE!
We start off with our Good Morning song (it’s an embedded video), followed by Morning Greetings (these will change weekly), and a quick Check In to see how everyone is doing. Next, I pull a few sticks for kids to share anything they want us to know. It could be anything from a loose tooth to a new toy – it doesn’t matter. But the key here is that it’s just 3-4 students and then we are DONE. I just keep those sticks out so that by the end of the week, everyone has had a turn to share.
From there, we read a story and then watch a short Sesame Street clip for our Word of the Day! My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE these videos and beg to watch them twice. We use our whiteboards (I sent home these Dry Erase Pockets with Expo Markers on our Pick Up Day, but students can use scratch paper and a pencil, too) to write the word next.
For the Quick Sketch, we draw a picture of the word of the day! My kids LOVE this part because I embedded a different tune for each day. I chose theme songs like Mission Impossible, Jeopardy, and the Price is Right because they’re short and peppy! They have to finish their “sketch” before the music stops. Unfortunately, I can’t sell these slides with the music attached, but I included links to the songs, and a tutorial of how to insert the audio into the Google Slides if you like the music idea.
If you don’t want to go through all of that work, I embedded countdown timers (a different one for each day of the week) to use instead!
After our Word of the Day, we get up for a Brain Break. It’s time. We’ve been sitting for a bit. So far, I have a different Brain Break for every day of the month. When we started these, I had one or two kids join in and that’s it. Now I have almost the entire class participating! YAY!
Next, we either do a quick ELA or Math review. I read the question or the prompt, and my kids write their answer on their whiteboard and then I tell them to hide it until I shout “SHOW ME”. They write the number that they think is correct or the letter or draw a picture. However they do it, we are ALL doing it. EVERYONE gets to answer. That’s the ticket!!! We aren’t going around and taking turns which was killing me!!
Lastly, we practice a sight word. We write the word and a sentence using the word (they can copy mine or write their own) and again, we ALL do it and we all show it. I use Heidi Songs for this part – and while the song plays, the kids write the word as many times as they can before the song ends. I provided the link to Heidi Songs and shared a tutorial of how to insert the audio onto this slide if you like that idea.
We wrap it all up with a Goodbye Song – it’s super catchy and fun!
I’ve rearranged the slides a few times, trying to find the JUST RIGHT flow, but each day, this whole routine takes about 35 minutes or so. It depends on the length of the book, etc. But it’s FUN, it’s a ROUTINE, it’s REVIEW, it WORKS!!
Everything is already embedded and ready to go. Just push PLAY! 🎉
Any slide can be deleted or rearranged. You’ll find 13 title slides (some with clip art) if you want to add your own content, and another blank slide for anything you want.
I’m telling you – it has made my mornings SO MUCH BETTER!
It’s such a relief to know I know what I’m going to be doing, the kids know what we will be doing, it’s saving me. Really, It is SAVING MY LIFE right now when Technology is trying to kill me.
What are you doing during your Whole Group Morning Meeting time? Am I missing anything?