Tag Archives: quarantine

My *NEW* Morning Routine

Now that we are quarantined at home and teaching virtually, my morning routine has certainly changed.

6:30- Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

6:39- Alarm goes off again. Debate hitting snooze a second time, but decide I have to be an adult.

6:40- Get up. Begrudgingly.

6:41- Bathroom. Wash hands. Wash face. Apply eye patches to the puffy, dark circles under my eyes. Brush teeth. Brush hair. Get dressed.

6:55- Head into the office (AKA my living room/dining room/kitchen).

My new office/classroom

6:56- Make a cup of tea.

6:58- Fire up the laptop and open MS Teams just in time for my meeting.

7:00- Video conference call with the Academic Leadership Team.

7:01- “Good morning! How’s everyone today?” my boss asks, in his chipper, I’m-a-morning-person voice. Great! I’m good! Excellent! Fantastic!, my colleagues reply, as they, too, are morning people. “I’m here,” I say, still wearing my eye patches and clutching my cup of tea. I don’t pretend to be a morning person.

7:02-7:29- Continue the meeting, addressing any concerns, issues, etc. that have arisen the day before. Discuss what needs to go into our daily updates to parents and staff. Talk about other ‘admin-y’ things. Finish my first cup of tea.

What meetings are now like…

7:30- Log into Seesaw and release my Daily Learning Overview (the document that outlines my students’ day of learning with a schedule, learning objectives, and assignments) and my Morning Message (a video where I outline the day, give reminders, etc.)

7:31- Start receiving messages from students on MS Teams chat, as they check in for the day. Respond to their messages to see how they are doing, if they understand the goals for today, and remind them to reach out if they need anything.

7:35- Release all of the lessons (videos, links, notes, instructions, etc.) for the day on Seesaw.

7:40-8:00- Respond to the barrage of Teams messages and Seesaw notifications that come in, as quickly as possible.

8:00- Run back to my room, remove my eye patches, and apply make-up so I don’t scare the kids.

8:10- Make my second cup of tea and respond to the messages I’ve missed.

8:14- Send a good morning text to the Primary teacher WhatsApp chat with a morale-boosting message.

8:15- Call my Teaching Assistant to check in and chat about the plan for the day. He will reach out to students I’ve identified as needing more support, keep track of who turned in what on Seesaw, and help approve Seesaw posts throughout the day.

8:25- Quickly eat some breakfast. Typically a bowl of fruit or cereal does the trick.

8:30- Have my first 1-on-1 meeting of the day with a student, where I’ll check in with them about how it’s going, what progress they’ve made on Exhibition, give suggestions for various aspects (their action, their art or math components, etc.), ask how their research is going, see how I can help them, discuss next steps, etc.

8:52- Catch up on missed notifications and emails, respond to questions, check on the Primary teacher WhatsApp chat to see if there are any questions I need to address.

9:00- Second 1-on-1 student meeting begins.

My mornings sure are busy, but I’m getting into a routine. Some mornings are more hectic than others, but each day it gets a little bit easier to manage.

Currently…

I’m currently…

Listening to my ‘Hot Country’ playlist on Spotify that I can’t seem to get enough of. I usually only listen to country music when I go home (because, Texas), but the country kick I got into when I was home at Christmas has hung around. My most-played song on the playlist is “You should be sad” by Halsey…which isn’t really country. It’s such a catchy and “girl power-y” song.

Loving the support from the Slice of Life Community. I had literally no idea when I started the SOL Challenge on March 1st that my life would be flipped onto its side the very next day. This community has enveloped me in support and positivity while I slog through one of the most exhausting and uncertain times of my career.

Drinking watered-down iced tea because it’s late and I’m on the couch and I’m too lazy to get up and make a new glass.

Thinking about all the things I need to do this weekend in order to get caught up and try to get ahead for next week, but at the same time I’m thinking about how all I want to do is just bury my head in the sand and take a step back so that I can have some breathing room. Such a tightrope to walk.

Wanting to get away for Spring Break (which starts in just over a week), but knowing I won’t get the opportunity. Sadly and begrudgingly, I cancelled my Spring Break trip to Australia due to fears over travel during the pandemic and strongly encouraged advice from my school that no one travel during the break. Hopefully I don’t go stir crazy being stuck here!

Procrastinating sending some emails. With my focus on my students, my admin responsibilities are less important (to me) at this time. I really should get to those emails. Maybe tomorrow…

Needing sleep, peace of mind, socialization, my family, movement, fresh air, homemade chocolate chip cookies (ok, maybe I don’t need that one, but it sure would be nice!)

Reading some of my past slices to get ideas for what to write about (hence this form slice) because I don’t feel like writing another gloomy post like I did yesterday, but today was another rubbish afternoon and the grumpiness and on-the-verge-of-tears feeling hasn’t passed yet.

Worrying about what everyone else in the world is at this moment- Coronavirus pandemic! In addition to all the worries we all have (that I don’t need to spell out again), I worry about whether I’m worrying too much. For every article that says this is serious and you need to protect yourself, stay away from people, etc., there are articles that say not to worry unless you’re really old or are unhealthy. What should I believe?!? Anyone else feel like this? Or is it just me?

Wondering if I’m meeting my students’ needs during this virtual school experience. Hopefully the reflection assignment for tomorrow will give me some insight and I can make the necessary adjustments next week.

Anticipating my move this summer and my new job! I can’t wait to slice about my new adventure, but I need more time to do it justice, so I’ll write that one this weekend. Just thinking about it makes me grin from ear to ear. 🙂

Day 2 of Virtual School was a bit easier

My title is somewhat misleading. While Day 2 of our Virtual School was easier, the fact is that it’s 6 minutes to 11:00pm and I just finished my work for today. My to do list is still quite long, but I finished the work that I absolutely had to do to be ready for tomorrow morning. I’ve still got to film my Morning Message video in the morning before “school” starts at 8:00, but I look a bit worse for wear at the moment, so I thought it better to wait until I at least had a shower and put on some makeup.

My second day wasn’t as frantic. People were starting to get the hang of things, and while I had a steady flow of messages, texts, calls, and emails to attend to, I wasn’t completely bombarded like yesterday. Based on feedback from the students and parents yesterday, I scaled back the workload today. It’s difficult to gauge how long something will take students to do online and at home. In the classroom you just know, but online it’s so different. Something I think will take them a few minutes takes 30 and something the art teacher set to do over two days they did in an hour. We are all still finding our way.

I really enjoyed my 1-on-1 video conferences with my students, where I was able to chat with them individually about what they’ve been working on, what they needed support with, and what their next steps were. I was able to connect with 12 of my students today and I’ll be speaking with the remaining ones tomorrow. They seemed less nervous and awkward on our video chats today.

Something I hadn’t expected when this all began 3 days ago was that I’d end up being IT Support. I’m tech savvy enough, but I wouldn’t call myself a specialist or anything. However, this unique situation of being thrown into virtual schooling with no prior warning given to parents and students and very little preparation of staff presents some challenges. Students trying to figure out the ins and outs of the various platforms we are using while not physically being with me means I then need to troubleshoot issues remotely with a 10 year old. Of course, there were also some issues with loading resources and videos onto Seesaw. With everyone on all at the same time, some videos wouldn’t upload or wouldn’t play after being uploaded. We are learning patience and work arounds for the issues we come across, such as loading videos at night, when it’s calm, and saving them as drafts to be released in the morning.

On a more personal note, I didn’t take the breaks I’d intended to take today, although I wasn’t as worked up since it was quieter today. I managed to snack a bit during the day, but didn’t manage to eat lunch until 4:30. No wonder my stomach is hungry now…the late lunch/early dinner didn’t tide me over that long. Based on a suggestion from a fellow slicer yesterday, I managed to get a car over to school to pick up my standing desk, which was a definite win for today. After being at work for 12 hours, I had only managed to get in a measly 1,258 steps. I took a break and went for a half hour walk to get in a bit of exercise. I think that starting Monday I’m going to figure out how to get in a walk in the morning and the evening. With 11 more days of self-quarantine to go and at least that many days of virtual school, I’ve got to figure out a way to move more (and not go crazy!).

For those of you interested in what it’s like, here’s a sample of the things we’re doing with the students online.

I made my first YouTube video today of me reading a chapter from our read aloud for their library lesson tomorrow, where they will listen to the read aloud, comment their prediction underneath the video in Seesaw, and then do some independent reading.

Here’s a sample of our daily learning overview for tomorrow. My situation is unique in that we are in our PYP Exhibition, so rather than have lots of lessons, they have more time for researching and working through their Exhibition checklist, tasks, and blog.

Lastly, here are a few pictures of things that some of our other teachers have been doing in the virtual classrooms. I spent some time this evening going through and looking at their videos and work they’d loaded so I could give some feedback to them in our group chat.

Early Childhood Maths Activity
Year 1 (Kindergarten) Science/Unit of Inquiry Activity
Year 2 (Grade 1) Math Lesson
Art Lesson
Year 5 (Grade 4) Unit of Inquiry/Language Lesson

Looking forward to Day 3 tomorrow…and the weekend where I can rest and get ahead with videos for next week’s learning!

Day 1 of Virtual School…Check!

Despite the craziness of yesterday and utter exhaustion I felt, my mind was racing last night and I didn’t fall asleep until after 1:00 am. The call to prayer at 4:00 followed by my alarm at 6:00 were very unwelcome disturbances. After peeling myself out of bed and trying my best to cover up the tired on my face with makeup, I made a cup of tea and got ready for my day. First up was a meeting with the Academic Leadership Team, followed by posting all my videos, lessons, and communications to students and parents.

The excitement of the morning, with eager students ready to check out this new way of learning, energized me, the fatigue no longer wearing me. We all went live at 7:30 and encouraged one another through our various chat groups and channels of communications. By mid-morning, I felt like a yo-yo, bouncing around from platform to platform, approving students’ posts, fielding questions from students, teachers, and parents, responding to emails, reacting to situations we hadn’t thought of yesterday, and creating video tutorials on the fly when students weren’t sure how to access this or that.

Throughout the day I was messaging with students on and off in our Teams chat, checking in with them, answering their questions, and encouraging them. A few of them didn’t understand a math concept or were confused about how to get started, so we video chatted so I could work with them 1-on-1. Their reactions were adorable! They were shy, giggled a lot, and commented on how weird it was to see me on the screen. They’ve just seen me two days ago, but I guess the newness and strangeness of talking to me through a computer screen threw them off. It’ll get easier as we go, as they become more comfortable.

Welcome to my new classroom 😊

I was a little better at eating today, snacking every few hours, but the incessant screen time and lack of movement wore me down. A little after noon I noticed my mind wasn’t as sharp, I was not as motivated, and I had a hard time getting things done. Pushing through only made it worse. At 2:00pm I had to step away. I messaged the students that I needed to take a break and laid down for a 30-minute power nap. I definitely didn’t want to get back up, but I have to say, the nap really did help. I was able to get back to students and teachers and finish up my lessons and videos for tomorrow.

Throughout the day, I was reflecting on how it was going, what I needed to do differently tomorrow, and what new techniques I wanted to try. This is the most intense PD I’ve ever had. You’re learning all the time, out of necessity. You know how you hear about this new tech thing or that new teaching strategy and you think, yeah, I should learn more about this or try that out? Well, this is forcing me to learn so much and by the end of it, I’m going to be a much better educator. Gotta look on the bright side, right?

Meetings look a little different these days 😂

For me, the hardest part is trying to balance everything. I’m not taking breaks or caring for my physical or mental health like I should. This year is a unique year (understatement of the century) and I’ve taken on many new roles, which if I’m honest, I wasn’t balancing well even before this virtual school started. Officially I’m the Head of Primary at my school, but due to a staff reduction in October, I took on the role of PYP Coordinator, and then when a staff member left suddenly in November due to health issues, I took on a full time Year 6 (Grade 5) teacher role, too. So while trying to balance virtual school with my own class of 20 students who are in the midst of the PYP Exhibition, I’m also supporting my teachers and support staff through the process. It’ll get easier, I know it. It’s just going to take a bit of time. Fingers crossed for a negative result and quick healing of the teacher in question!

For those of you who are new to my blog, check out my last 2 slices, which give a bit more about the situation (Coronavirus is here and Prepping for Virtual School in a day).

Today I…

For those of you who read my slice yesterday, you know that my school is now closed for a minimum of 2 weeks due to Coronavirus. It’s now 11:30pm local time on 3 March, so all I’m going to be able to do today is a “Today I…” slice. Here we go.

Today I was in crisis management mode all day.

Today I sat in front of my computer and worked nearly nonstop from 6:30am to 11:30pm, only stopping to pee and take 20 minute walk outside.

Today I toggled between email, video chats, What’s App messages, phone calls, group chats, and Seesaw messages as I tried to respond to the hundreds of messages I received.

Today I forgot to eat, until my tummy started rumbling. Lunch at 5:30 is normal, right?

Today I blew my screen time out of the water.

Today I learned so much about this new world of online learning we’ve been thrown into, but know there’s still so much more to learn.

Today I prepped for all my lessons tomorrow. At least I can go to bed and not have that on my shoulders!

Today I typed about a gazillion words. On a positive note, my typing skills have greatly improved!

Today I realized what I’m made of when faced with a crisis.

Today I realized that I can really focus on something when I need to. No breaks for social media, TV, or reading for me today.

Today I logged a whole 4,005 steps, and that’s with taking a walk to clear my head when I was going stir crazy. Man, this is going to be a long ride.

Today I realized that this whole self-quarantine thing is no joke! I need to be more balanced and move my body so much more tomorrow.

Today I realized that rumors spread faster than wildfires.

Today I realized that when push comes to shove, my team comes together and just gets it done. We really played off one another’s strengths and pitched in where needed.

Today I realized that working at this pace is not sustainable. With that being said…it’s time for bed!