Tales from Distance Learning

Teacher at computer with Text

Such strange times we are living in.  As I write this post, I am still in quarantine, but the state is slowly starting to reopen.  I am in an area with more cases of COVID-19, so we will be a week behind the rest of the state.  The last day that I was in school with my students was Friday, March 13, 2020. Our school year is winding down, with only a few days left of school…

A little background…

I am fortunate enough to be in a school system where the students have 1:1 devices.  All students in our schools have a device provided to them through book rental.  They also have access to repairs in case their computers are broken or malfunctioning.  We also have a Learning Management System, and most of our curriculum (at least for reading and social studies) are provided through this Learning Management System.  This is something that we used on a daily basis before this whole quarantine thing happened, so my students were familiar with doing some learning on their computers.  I know that this is a major advantage in this distance learning adventure.  I take my hat off to all of the teachers who had to create their distance learning from scratch.  Teachers are some of the most creative, resilient, brilliant people I know.  Your herculean efforts to benefit your students through this is legendary!  Thank you.

Distance Learning Negatives

  • This probably goes without saying, but the worst part of all this is not being able to see my kiddos. I miss them terribly.  I didn’t realize how much their energy energized me as well.
  • Sitting too much.  Now that I spend most of my teaching time in front of the computer, my step count is less than half every day.  I am working on that, but being tied to the computer really doesn’t help!
  • Access to the fridge.  So, this one is positive and a negative.  I love to eat.  Being close to the fridge is great for this!  But, I love to eat and I am not moving as much.  It doesn’t take much to do that math.
  • The computer.  I LOVE my computer.  I really do, but being on my computer all day has been bad for my eyes (eye strain) and my head (headaches).  I am working on this, but it has been a problem.
  • Computers for kids.  I know that kiddos love technology, but I am really concerned about screen time for students.  While I was in the classroom, we used technology daily, but in short bursts with lots of time to be off the computer as well.
  • I LOVE my family.  But, we now are all home together, 24/7.  My husband works from home as well, so coordinating everyone’s “call” schedule as to not interrupt each other has been interesting.

Distance Learning Positives

  • I am at home safe with my family.  My husband works from home as well, so I have gotten to spend more time with him and our boys.
  • We don’t eat out as much. This was something that we were trying to work on before this quarantine, so that is something that has been easier.
  • I am reading a lot!  I have always been a reader, and now I have more time for that.
  • I am learning a TON!  I would much rather be at school with my students, but I really enjoy making digital lessons, videos, and doing Zoom calls!
  • The “Mute All” button.
  • The outpouring of love and support from the world at large.  Companies stepped up to offer their services for free during this time.  Artists, authors, and celebrities, reading and showing us how to draw live has been amazing!  Zoos, museums, and amusement parks are posting great stuff online to help to keep students learning and entertained from the safety of their living rooms.
  • I have THE BEST teaching team.  We have all worked together to help each other and lighten our load during this time.

What I have learned…

  • Children are pretty resilient.  My students miss their classmates, our classroom, and me, but they are generally in good spirits when I speak with them.
  • Zoom meetings are hard.  They are great so I can see and talk to my kiddos, but they are tough.
  • I will miss the “mute all” button when we are back in our classroom
  • I enjoy making digital items for the students to use from a distance.  Google Apps are my friend.
  • Working together with my team has been critical.  We all worked together to make and share our distance learning load.  They have been great!  I can’t imagine doing this without them.
  • We ALL deserve some grace.  This has been really tough for everyone.  Teachers, Parents, and students.  Everyone deserves to feel proud of what we have accomplished during this unprecedented time.

Looking for digital items for your classroom?

I have been working to make things for my own students, and I have made these items available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store under “Distance Learning”.  You can check out all that I have available HERE.  Here are a few of the things that I have made.
Looking for more fun teaching ideas and freebies?  Sign up for my newsletter get access to my free resource library!
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Tales from the Distance: Image of woman on the computer.

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