I was pretty amazed this morning when I checked the calendar and realized this was the end of week five of distance education. Like everything else with time, it is just so hard to fathom. We’ve just heard NJ Gov. Murphy proclaim we are at it until May 15th. I personally think we’re at it for the remainder of the school year. How would we know it is “safe” (however that may be defined) to return? Take the temp of all 1800 kids that enter the building? Take their temp AGAIN at the start of every class? Sanitize all touched surfaces between periods? And how exactly would I socially distance my choir? I have a pretty large teaching space, but I don’t think it warrants a 6-foot space between singers!
I am writing reflectively this morning because next week is SPRING BREAK! (Blessed relief!). What have I learned? While I pride myself on my organizational skills, I just can’t seem to organize my Dining-Room-Table-Office in a manner that flows. There ain’t no flow here (Sorry Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Google him!). I appreciate the school’s decision to create “A” and “B” days. All my classes fall on “A” day. Doesn’t matter. My anxiety about all of it is hard to keep in check.
I have tried to put myself in the homes of many of my students. Only children who refer to themselves as the “Lonely Only”; kids with much younger siblings – with everyone participating in Distance Learning; parents who have lost their jobs; one PC in a house with multiple users; it just seems to be a limitless number of combinations. To try to change it up I’ve created In-House Scavenger Hunts, Show and Tell, PERFORM and EXPLORE projects and most recently a PHOTO ESSAY and BINGO (Everything but the BINGO on previous blogs). I have created PADLET’s as a place for them to write. I refer to them as my New York City apartment building when I see 30 of them on separate “floors” on my ZOOM screen. They are tired of this. I am tired of this. It’s so hard to realize that we are in the middle of “history”- like the comparison to the 1918 Spanish Flu.
The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Holy Guacamole.
Our administration has, once again, asked us to scale back on content. That’s a bit of a challenge with my Music Theory class – who are simply a dream to teach. We do meet as a class at 9a on every “A” day…I prepare PowerPoints as if I were teaching from my whiteboard and they review on separate PADLET’s as if they were in class with their whiteboards. I’m making it work. They tell me I am the only class that meets on ZOOM. All their other classes have Office Hours and they get their work over Google Classroom. Man, oh man.
Since the 16th of March, (missing only 2 days – one for rain and one for Easter!) – I have walked a 2-mile neighborhood route with colleagues, their kids and our husbands. (a plus of being home!) It’s a lifeline. We talk about everything – from the appropriate distance, of course. As the ladies are all Choral Directors, we brainstorm. We share. I can do that with an extended choral texting group as well. Don’t know how I could have done any of this without them. I hope you’ve had similar daily support.
Before I close, let me tell you about the “lifetime purchase” ($14.95!) I recently made. BingoBaker.com. What fun! I created a MUSIC THEORY review board and explained to the class that they would earn their box if they demonstrated an understanding of the term I called. For example, if I called “major”, they could answer, C-E-G and get the box! They received the URL in Google Classroom as an assignment. You click on the board to “x” the box. They raise their hand on the screen if multiple kids have the term and I go around and verify their answers. It changed up the lesson and reviewed material at the same time. I just created another with the names on the roster of all my girls in Chorale – adding their Spring Concert song titles and other concepts learned in class. We’ll play BINGO on the “A” Friday we return.
I don’t know. I hope it breaks up their routine. I know it’s helping mine.
Okay, enough writing. Back to grading projects so I can ultimately finish episodes 4-5-6-7 of Tiger King. (Don’t judge me…)
Thanks, as always, for reading.