You might remember that back in March when all of this first happened, and our schools went online, and we were all told to self quarantine and shelter in place that I spoke on Instagram (and maybe even here on my blog) that I was completely and totally against primary students using digital resources because BY GOLLY, THEY NEED TO PICK UP A PENCIL AND USE IT.
And while I was at it, I said they needed to work on their fine motor skills, and their printing, and anything else that sounded good, and relevant, and made me feel better, and I also said, and I quote:
“I’m not going to do it.“
I think I may have also said something along the lines of and I won’t be creating anything digital either, I’m against it, I’m a first grade teacher, and this is ridiculous, I don’t care.
Oh, you guys.
Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and tape my mouth shut.
What was I even thinking?
I think I was pretty darn sure we were all going to be returning to the classroom in three weeks’ time. I was pretty sure this wouldn’t last. I was pretty sure I could pick up right where I left off in April and my kids wouldn’t have missed a beat.
You know. I’m all knowing and psychic and aren’t I just the best most positive and optimistic person you’ve ever met?
AY YI YI.
Who am I? I’ll tell you who I am.
I am ridiculous.
If only I had known!! If only I had known on March 13th that I needed to send home paper and pencils and crayons with my students, and packets, and BOOKS! ACTUAL BOOKS! I would have sent home tons of books with my students, but I didn’t know.
I didn’t know!
So then it dragged on. I thought . . . well this is okay, I’ll just make sure what we use in the classroom is available online and the parents can print it, and it will all be okay.
But it wasn’t okay for ALL of my families, it wasn’t equitable, some of my families didn’t have printers, enough ink, or even the school supplies necessary for cutting, gluing, coloring, writing, etc.
Then I thought . . . no big deal! I’ll deliver packets and supplies!
But nope. We weren’t allowed. We were NOT allowed. We weren’t even allowed to do one of those cool Teacher Car Parades. No. I live in Southern California and we were told to STAY AT HOME so our superintendent told us to STAY AT HOME.
Do you know where this is headed?
How did I not know where this was headed?
Seriously? How could I have been so stubborn and stupid?
Our families without devices were given one device. And that’s it. No printer. No school supplies. Nothing else. Just a Chromebook.
This meant that I had to adjust my thinking EXTREMELY QUICKLY and look for digital resources that were meaningful, purposeful, and engaging.
And then I decided to start making some digital resources of my own.
Who am I?
I am sheepish, and I am foolish, and I am trying to keep up with the times even though I am absolutely against it AND JUST WANT TO GET BACK IN THE REAL CLASSROOM WITH REAL LIVE STUDENTS AND CARPET TIME.
I want to share books and supplies, and hugs, and pats on the shoulders, and laughter, and I want us all gathering around the map or the globe to look up something, and I want us all gathered together looking out the window at a thunderstorm . . . I just want that feeling of family and community in the classroom.
I still HAVE NO CLUE what August is going to look like. NOT. A. CLUE.
I’ve been told:
We will begin online
We will begin in the classroom
We will begin online and then transition to the classroom
If we are in the classroom, be ready to go back to online in a moment’s notice several times throughout the year . . .
It hurts my head!
I just want to be prepared for whatever happens so that I am not shocked or acting ridiculous again or wishing I could start over.
I would also love a clear, solid plan for August but at this point, I think I’m dreaming. HA!
Anyways, with all of that being said, I’m most likely going to spend the summer fine tuning Google Classroom, but also prepping for school and real live human children in a real life classroom setting (which is my FIRST CHOICE, just FYI).
And, to that end, I’m going to continue to create resources for my kids . . . but I’m going to create a mix of printables and Digital Resources so that I’m covered on all fronts.
I just felt the need to put this out there in case someone thinks WAIT A MINUTE. YOU SAID YOU WEREN’T ON THE DIGITAL BANDWAGON, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
I’m just trying to be realistic and prepared for any scenario.
I’ll be back to share some digital resources (with printable options) that I’ve created recently . . . but, in the meantime, do YOU know what you’re preparing for? Are you going back? Staying remote? Do you even know?
I am praying for all of us! I pray daily that God prepares me mentally, emotionally, and physically for school in August, however it looks! That I’ll be flexible (this is hard for me) and accepting (also hard for me) of whatever it is without complaint (extremely hard for me). It’s not what happens to me, it’s how I handle it so that’s what I’m trying to do.
In the meantime, go enjoy a summer day while I sit inside and rock back and forth in a corner.
While working on Google Classroom, and real life classroom prep, and creating digital resources, I’ll be eating and reading and lounging, and spending time with Murphie and Steve, and family.
I think we all know by now that I’m a huge nerd and creating and playing with my computer is actually a hobby so no one feel sorry for me and wonder what’s wrong with me.
I do that enough for all of us.
Karen Lyon says
Nice post! I am going to start off by saying that I was not against having some things in a digital format. For a couple of reasons. For one, trying to have all 23 or so teachers at my site put together packets that would work for all of their students just was a no-go. The likelihood of our temperamental copy machine breaking down under those circumstances was pretty high, and the other reason is that our district told us we were not to go back into our rooms once our county (Santa Clara, up in the SF Bay Area) declared SIP. So, there’s that. Here’s the other thing, and please don’t take this as a knock on how you felt, because you are an amazing teacher — the kids we teach live in a digital world, which isn’t going away. Now, let me say this, too: I teach Transitional Kindergarten, just finished my 5th year at that grade level. My “littles” are four when they first start school, and don’t start turning five until the middle of December. My background and experience is in early childhood, and I know the value of social emotional learning and developing fine motor schools as well as anyone. I’ve just had to come to the realization that if I’m serious about preparing these kids for the future, then I need to include technology in my curriculum. I get how you feel, I do — my district is starting the fall on distance learning mode for all grades. When they came out with that announcement, I wanted to cry. How am I going to build classroom culture with a bunch of babies who can’t even look me in the eye? A BIG part of TK in California is teaching them how to “do school”: share the rug, line up nicely, take turns. If you think Kinder and 1st is herding cats in the fall, trust me, TK in the fall is like herding kittens! I understand the district’s rationale, and I’m on the work group that is planning for fall, plus doing a bunch of other stuff on my own this summer so that I have an idea of how to start the year through a computer. I’m not crazy about any of it. What I tell myself is that God put me in this place in time for a reason. If He didn’t think I could handle it, I would be five years older and retired already. I also felt that I learned so much as I worked my tail off preparing lessons for my class. That’s not a bad thing!
Melody Jones says
I share all the same feelings! I think I may have said already I am going to a new school in the fall so I don’t even know what my classroom will look like. Oh and I am changing grades too so there’s that. Here in Texas we hear a lot of what might happen, but not a lot of certainty anywhere. Especially since people here still think the virus is a joke and won’t wear a mask or social distance! The number of people infected goes up every day and every time it does, I think, “how will we ever get back to class this way?” I am a praying person and I guess that is all I can do. Pray for everything going on, including social issues. Nothing will be the same again. I am struggling on every front. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and being open and honest.
We are still waiting for the final word (which could change back to “completely online” if the virus dictates) but it looks like elementary will start with a hybrid model. The classes will be split into two groups and each group will attend two days each week. The parents will likely have two other choices for the their children as well: a district provided, completely online learning program separate from their home school, or, an independent study program. Teachers are concerned about running a classroom and managing at home learning at the same time. District and union are working this out I believe.
So Kristen, I can’t remember if you mentioned before….did you end up using Google Classroom last spring? I used Seesaw for interacting with my first graders, and it worked well, but I posted all of the lesson plans and links on my website. I wonder if Google Classroom is a better place for posting the assignments and keeping track of completion. I want to play around with it, but I’m not sure where to start. I can’t add students yet, so what would you recommend that I do to get a Google classroom ready? Also, I like reading your short prayer for readiness once again. I think I need to print it out and hang it over my desk at home.
Karen Lyon says
I used Seesaw with my TK class, but did post my lessons and links through Google Classroom. I still had to set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of completions, because not everyone got on the Classroom site. Many of the parents had issues with how the district set up things — couldn’t get access, or didn’t get my email, it was a mess. I personally like using Google Classroom as my communication platform, but everyone needs to be on it for the completion part to work.
….and sorry, I misspelled your name Kristin! Need more coffee.
Thank you for the post and sharing your feelings…I so relate and appreciate knowing we are in the same boat. I also would love some google classroom info as I used Seesaw and didn’t love it. Thank you for being an encouragement and being so real about all this! Our jobs that we LOVED have changed completely and it’s so sad, difficult, and scary!
Angie P says
I have the same feelings and questions about what transpired this spring. I listened to our board meeting tonight and I didn’t hear any definite plans. So many questions and no answers. I would love to see some digital products!
susan allen says
I do not know how you manage to express my thoughts and feelings so perfectly! Friday, March 13 was the end for us. Never thinking we would not be back after spring break. I teach K, but have been following you for years, way back to the finger issue! You always started my morning off with a smile! Thanks!