Nevada Governor Sisolak closed schools for the rest of the school year at a live press conference Tuesday evening (April 21). Although I’d been saying it out loud for weeks, sort of trying it on for size, it felt so heavy and dire to hear him say it. For it to become official. And I realized that the impending doom of officially not seeing my kids face to face for the rest of this school year is why making the 2nd round of Bags of Home Learning seemed so difficult and dreadful.
It shouldn’t have because I had so much more warning than for the 1st Bags of Home Learning. And because I had completed 2 1/2 weeks of distance teaching to reflect on. And because Spring in kindergarten is so awesome. The kids have a ton of foundational skills in their brains and we can really take off with project based learning and independent projects and enjoying each other’s quirks and personalities and strengths and FUN!
But making Bags of Home Learning round 2 wasn’t fun at all.
The process started out feeling pretty terrific. My normal school day routine carried me for 2ish days. After 4 1/2 days of Spring Break where I was mostly a blob but did get outside with Zack and watch some movies, I cleaned a very little, I slept a lot, and I started to panic about school. I had a school dream, I woke up at 4 am thinking of all the things I might forget and knew it was time to get back to work. So that Thursday, I succumbed to the panic and spent most of the day planning out where we (kindergarten) would go in the next stretch of unknown amount of time together online.
That went well so I planned to go into school the next day. I woke up, exercised, showered, packed my breakfast and lunch, and headed out. It felt so much like my normal routine that I smiled on the drive to school. Yes! This is what I’m used to.
I knew what I had to photocopy, what piles I would make, what supplies that I had bought that needed unpacking and being made into a pile.
I got a little off track a couple times, so spent some time remapping it all out. This was my initial plan:
Then when I was physically putting out the packets, I was able to edit it onto my normal 6 week planning page.
But then for some reason, even that didn’t feel like enough control so I had to write every single page down (in addition to taking pictures of it all, which I do to write the Must Dos for the families). Too much redundancy, I know, but it’s what felt the most comfortable!
Because I made so much more work for myself and apparently threw any semblance of efficiency out the window, I didn’t finish actually putting the students’ packets together. I drove home Saturday evening feeling so defeated and sad. While I had nothing to hand out to my students, I did not want to go back to school. I did not want to keep working on the Bags of Home Learning. I did not want to spend more time in the classroom without the kids who belong there.
I took Sunday (Easter) off, zoomed with my kids Monday from the kitchen table and drove back to school early on Tuesday morning. I zoomed with them from the old, familiar kidney table and spent the morning hustling around finishing the preliminary piling, picture taking, documenting, labeling so I could turn them all into student piles and bags.
What felt like against all odds, I had the Round 2 Bags of Home Learning in labeled boxes in the school foyer at noonish the day before family pickup. It only took 2 full days, 2 half days, hours of concern, several reams of paper, a new black toner cartridge, hundreds of paper clips, more single use plastic than I care to recount.
Hopefully, my students and their families also see that there is a lot of love, care, worry, and hope stuffed into those Bags. ♥