Adventures in Distance Kindergarten

It’s hard to believe that just a couple weeks ago, we celebrated Super Hero Day together. At school. In quite close proximity to each other.
And then on Tuesday and Wednesday, I was scrambling around school – mostly between the kindergarten room and the copier – making word family books and pbl books and math books that I would normally teach whole class, intentionally and purposefully. Then the kids would practice reading them with a partner. Then to themselves. Then aloud in their Seesaw app so I could hear them. But last week I made about 300 books and gave them out all at once.
Piles all around the classroom were condensed into the first Hefty Jumbo bag, an invention I learned about at Thanksgiving when my mother in law arrived to Santa Fe with several loaves of pumpkin break safety tucked into her jumbos. The first bags contained their ipads (we are incredibly lucky to have an ipad per student) cord and charger, a lined and a plain white board, book bags complete with high frequency word cards and stickers to help keep track of what they’ve read, their literacy and math journals, a pencil case with a brand new mechanical pencil and lead, white board markers and an eraser, sidewalk chalk, a new gluestick, and a mini tub of playdough.
Then it was onto the specific work that I was asking the kids to do each of the 12 learning days that were lined out until our scheduled Spring Break. I had copied a progression of digraph learning and practice, math review and practice, math journal prompts that review and spiral skills from the whole year, and literacy journal prompts that will go with the Book of the Week for the 2 complete weeks that we’ll be together via zoom. Each kid gets 12 days of work laid out by the day # and date. Their 12 packets went into a gallon ziplock labeled Must Dos. That ziplock went into a 2nd jumbo bag along with a bag of May Dos.
Their May Do bags included skip counting cards, blank books to write stories in, Brooke Brown’s Maker Station choices, primary lined paper stapled into books, and maybe some other fun things that I can’t remember now!
and voila! Kindergarten in a Bag (2 jumbo bags). Waiting for socially distant parent pick up in the lunchroom.
Thanks to my colleagues live Ms. Diana and still Ms. Diana. Ms. Edwards also helped with zoom practice!
And just like that, it was time for our first zoom session Thursday morning! I felt and was a bit unprepared but everyone was so happy to see each other, most of all me. We spent several minutes just smiling and waving to each other.
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And in the height of my weeks long panic which seemed to be at its peak Tuesday (but would continue through this morning – Saturday), I received notes like this one and knew/know it’s all worthwhile.
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I’m grateful that we’ve used Seesaw all year so my kids really know how to use it. In the past 3 days, I’ve loved interacting with them on this app.
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Feeling down? I dare you to not smile while watching your student and his sister dance to GoNoodle! (You can’t press play – it’s just a screenshot. Sorry.)
Friday’s zoom session was good mostly because I stole my colleague’s idea for a show and tell. I unmuted my students one at a time and let them talk and share and it was fantastic!
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I’m grateful to Seesaw that I’m able to see my kids’ work, give them immediate feedback and then work my overall impressions into next week’s plans.
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E wrote a story then read it outloud while his dad videoed him. πŸ™‚
M did send me photos of her work but also sent some artistic photography that I really enjoyed!
And now it’s Saturday evening and I’m so happy to have worked all morning to get next week set up with more pictures, explanations and examples. At lunchtime, Zack and I went for a bike ride, which I took as a reward! Fresh air is fantastic!

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