As I prepare for the week ahead, I can’t help but think about the unknowns. They worry me and consume me. However, I must try and stop thinking this way. Instead of worrying about the unknowns, I need to focus my attention on what I can control. I can control my mindset. I can make the classroom a happy place for my kindergarteners. I can create fun and engaging lessons for my students. Today, I try to focus on the things I can control. If I focus on what I can control, when the unknowns pop up I will have a healthier mindset to overcome them as they happen.
Since the beginning of the school year we have been transitioning back and forth from in person to virtual, then virtual to in person and then back to virtual again. With winter upon us we are transitioning back and forth even more. Our district put out a survey about how many snow days we would be given. The district voted and said we wouldn’t have any snow days and we would always learn virtually if it snows. We were barely given time to pack up before remote learning back in December, but now with snow, we may not be given any prep time at all.
It is not easy transitioning back and forth, but we are doing it. I have found some tricks and tips that have helped me to find balance between the two.
My Home “Classroom”
My School Classroom
As kindergarten teachers, we need a lot of materials in order to keep our kids engaged. It seemed like I was bringing home boxes and boxes each time I would go home for virtual teaching and then have to bring all of the boxes back when we returned in person. I learned to keep supplies at home so I don’t have to keep bringing them back and forth each time. Here are some tips and tricks I have learned through my transitioning that helped me make everything easier.
My district did not give teachers devices, so we have to use our own personal computers to teach. With this, I make sure that I have access to all of the drives I would need on my home computer. I make sure I have my passwords at home. I try to keep all of the digital resources on a shared drive where I can access them from any computer. If it is not on a shared drive, I email them to myself everyday. It eliminates the chance of not having it when I need it.
Any materials I use everyday, I have made a digital version of. For foundations, we use the letter sound cards, vowel extension posters etc. I use the physical copies when I am at school, and if I am given time to pack it and bring it home for virtual learning, I would. But if we have a snow day and learn virtually, I have a digital version so we can still complete the activities.
Any anchor charts I create at school, I take a picture of. Therefore, if we are virtual, I can put the picture in my daily slide presentation and we can still reference it.
I have a chart paper at home hanging up in my “school” area at home. This helps for making anchor charts when virtual and it also makes my home “school” area feel a little more like a classroom. It is one less “big” thing I would have to move back and forth.
All of our center activities and games are “mostly” both printable and digital. We are able to assign almost everything digitally. We don’t prefer it, but if we don’t have time to send things home with the students, everything can be done on their tablets.
I keep manipulatives at home. I have a white board, dry erase markers, smelly markers, cubes, dice and counters. We also use the foundations program which has student notebooks, dry erase boards with the foundations lines and a letter magnetic board. I keep a set at school and a set at home.
One last tool I wouldn’t be able to live without is my document camera. I am fortunate to have two, being able to keep one at school and one at home. If I didn’t have two, I would keep this in my teacher bag and bring it back and forth!
There are still a few things I bring back and forth to and from school. My computer and iPad. A folder with my class checklists. A folder of test scores and reading groups/ reading levels. My plan book and notebook. My favorite pens and pencils. A few read
for the week. These are things I felt that I need to tangibly have with me. I cannot re-create my plan book to have in two places and I reference it all the time. So these are the things I always have on me!
Prepping my students for virtual learning is a different story. I will begin to write a blog post about how/ what we send home with the students when they are going to be learning virtually. But for now, I hope this has been helpful for you to see how transitioning back and forth can be made easier for teachers!