Sunday, August 30, 2020

September -- Red for School Houses

I chose red for September in honor of little red school houses as kids, teaches and staff head back to school.  Some from home, some back to brick and mortar.  Some full time, some hybrid, some home schooled.  Best of luck to them all!  There are no easy choices right now, whatever option you and your loved ones choose, please stay safe, learn lots and keep working hard with grace and appreciation.  These are extraordinary times, we will get through it and come out at the end stronger, more resilient and with new skills that we didn't know we needed.  

New Normal

I made it through the first week!  I would not call it graceful, or fluid or even successful.  It was my very best though.  It just isn't possible to adequately address the needs of at home learners while monitoring and providing for in person learners.  Trying to do that while wearing a mask, from an appropriate distance and with adequate supplies so that nobody ever shares anything -- well, its like juggling flying fish.  I can juggle, but the darn fish are slippery and they keep getting away.  If I knew about the fish, I didn't know about the juggling, and certainly not about the flying part.  They just keep sneaking a new bit in each time I hear the plan. Just when the in person people are really catching on, I switch back to the online people, then I stumble to get the next bit of technology started up.  Rinse repeat and go again.
 I had my AP Capstone Research kids make a digital bulletin board instead of the paper "get to know you" surveys that we usually do.  Here is mine.  They seem to have some topic ideas and are bringing in an article for Monday.  We did two labs in Biology already.  So much time to find enough termites and pill bugs for everyone to have their own!  They seemed to enjoy it though, which is the point of the first week of school.  We are investing in an online lab service, so I hope that will help the online learners to have some data to practice with. 
 I cut out a bunch of masks.  I've got this atom fabric that will be great when we get to Chemistry.  They aren't all sewn yet, but it is a step in the right direction. 
 I did finish this one for Anna.  It is sailboat fabric that I ordered as a sample from Joann's.  Apparently they can print certain patterns in any color on any fabric.  So this is sailboats in blue on canvas.  Kurt is driving over to see her today and will deliver this along with a molecular model kit for Organic Chemistry.  She has been back for two weeks so far with no reports of illness.  Ryan went back yesterday,  He doesn't think it will last long, but he wanted to give it a try.  He has a roommate who's mom won't let him come back to campus yet, so it is just him so far.  His classes are all online, but he wants to be with his friends and go back to his clubs and activities.  I worry, but I guess that is just what moms do.  He is under strict instructions to bring everything home with him if they are sent away again.  Last time he thought he would be back to school in a couple of weeks.  They stored all of his stuff all summer for him.  It will be interesting to see what it all looks like when he picks it up today. 
The sun still comes up every day.   I'm just going to keep on getting through each new day, catching the fish that don't fly away and being happy with little moments of success.  

Saturday, August 22, 2020

ScrapHappy Saturday - Lavender Lovely

School starts Monday.  I guess we are as ready as we can be.  We are stocked up (for now) on hand sanitizer and masks.  My desks are spaced out.  I've worked with most of the teachers at some point to practice meeting with online learners so that we can all do that while teaching our in class learners.  We finally got a list of who are online learners were.  I sent home goody bags for mine with beans and marshmallows and pipe cleaners and pipettes.  All sorts of models and manipulative to use along the way.  I even sent microscopes, slides and coverslips.  Someone sent us a box with hundreds of cardboard microscopes.  That might be fun.  
I  hunted roly poly bugs.  Everyone will need their own this year to avoid having to work in groups or share supplies.  
Kurt bought a sailboat.  I haven't been out with him yet, but hopefully I will do that soon.
I've still managed to see several sunrises, though it makes me sad to say that some mornings I had to leave for school too early and missed starting the day with wonder and joy.  
Kids will be there Monday.  Some in person, some online.  This will be the most fascinating first day of school ever. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

ScrapHappy Saturday - Stil August

 Monday was the first day back for teachers.  It is surreal to walk around trying to stay away from people and not able to hug anyone.  I want to hug people!  Maybe not that much anymore though, because I am scared of everyone.
During yet another 2 hour ZOOM training session, I actually managed to get my desks 6 feet apart.  I have an unusually large classroom, but I was able to make it happen!!  There are 22 desks in there.  As long as all of my kiddos don't decide to show up at the same time, I should be fine.  Everyone gets to decide whether they want to come in person or learn synchronously from home.  That means I will teach the kiddos in front of me, while synchronously handling the e-learners who are logged in to a live-stream.  Sure, no problem!
So Wednesday and Thursday there was training to make sure teachers could handle that.  Wednesday the district provided a bunch of videos and Google Classrooms for teachers to work through self-paced instruction.  Then Thursday, our school based team did a live training in the same form we are asking the teachers to do with their students.  There were three of us.  One teacher delivered instruction, another monitored chat to answer questions.  I was the crazy lady running from classroom to classroom helping the people who couldn't even get in to the training.  I did that Wednesday all day as well.  If you couldn't find the training, or sign up for it, or log in to your silly computer, you called me and I came running.
Then Thursday afternoon I went back to check on our teachers who were having issues, and one of the rooms was under quarantine.  Well that just stopped everything in its tracks.  I had been in there two days in a row helping the teacher find the right menus and navigate the platforms.  Right next to her, because when someone can't use their computer you have to get up close and personal.  Well DAMN.  I don't usually swear, but dammit, dammit, dammit.  So 4 people from our school have gone out sick.  We don't know what kind of sick.  So we just wait patiently for the test results to come back to figure out if we need to get tested too.  Since we have been reclassified as "essential workers", we do not quarantine any further until we have symptoms or a positive test.  Dammit.
There is no reason to think that I have COVID.  I wear a mask and wash my hands, and only have the contact I need to do my job.  Unfortunately, what I need is to do is to sit next to every sick, fragile, elderly teacher at our school and help them use their computers to teach the kids who won't be here.  If I do end up sick, the contact tracing will be a nightmare.
What a strange week it has been.  I caught a couple of sunrises before things got really crazy and I stopped being able to sleep at night.  It is going to take a while to learn how to gracefully navigate this new normal.  I'm a bit worried that the positive tests will start rolling in as soon as the kids come back, but I guess that we will all handle those cases as they happen.  The kids are able to choose to stay home, but I can't do that until someone figures out that having us all come together in shared spaces in a state with HUGE community spread of a deadly virus might not be the wisest course of action.  I can see all the sides of the issue, truly I can.  I'm just a little stressed right now because I'm on a side with no good choices, in shared spaces with people who are going to end up sick.  

Saturday, August 8, 2020

ScrapHappy Saturday Lavender Lovlies

Though sewing time for me hasn't been at the top of the list, I will certainly enjoy all of your purple creations this week.  Preparation for school is a bit more intensive than usual this year with the new realities of education and wrapping my mind around it all is taking quite a bit of my time and energy right now.  Hopefully we will all figure things out soon and life can get back to some of its usual patterns?
Until then, I'll live vicariously through your scraps and look longingly at mine waiting patiently for me to put away the technology training and online tutorials. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

ScrapHappy Saturday PURPLE

I love new months. New colors are so much fun! Not that I have been able to fully enjoy sewing time recently, but I have enjoyed thinking about sewing time. We are watching and waiting for a Isiais. So it might turn into a rainy weekend. Just one more week before teachers return to school. They are giving us two weeks to work at school, and we will need every minute of that time and more. I just wish I was sure how long we will last in the classroom before being sent home for good. Watching how things are going with other large scale organizations opening up, I am predicting that it will happen fast. Three entire graduations have been quarantined from our county, and baseball has been fascinating. Our local stat representative popped up positive right after visiting our school. I have no control over any of it of course, but I'm not working too far ahead on in person teaching plans.