Saturday, September 5, 2020

Saturday Sum Up

Happy weekend! Thank you for visiting to read about my week. 

This week I went back to work! We had LOTS of training and did LOTS of prep so everything will be ready when students start Tuesday.

Next week, my students will show up. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll have ONLY virtual classes. On Thursday and Friday, I'll have my "cohort B" students. There are 11 of them. I also have 9 full-time distance learners in my class.

At home, I spent time washing all my work clothes. The crayon wreath was a gift from a student in June. I keep forgetting to bring it to my classroom! I also laminated new schedule cards. This is the first year that I've needed mask break cards. And hopefully it will be the LAST year I'll need them.

We started with our convocation on Monday morning. Usually, all three schools meet in the high school auditorium after a continental breakfast. This year...our meeting was in Google Meets. NOT the same, but it was nice to be in my classroom. A silver lining was that I could prep writing folders during the meeting.

The school has been readied. There are tents set up outside for mask breaks and outdoor lessons. Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and a few desk shields have been delivered to each classroom. There are social distancing spots all over the floors to help kids know where to stand. There are sanitizing wipes near all the copiers. My principal bought lots of cute signs to make all this craziness a little easier to handle. Our PE teacher dropped off recess supplies for JUST my class. My class is a cohort, and they are not allowed to mix with the other classes at recess. 

I got lots of odd looks at our local grocery store this week (Big Y). I stood in line with 12 reusable bags and nothing else. I used the bags to pack up many many materials for my full-time distance learners.  

I wrote plans for the first week. It was weird. Trying to plan for teaching in-person kids and distance learning kids at the same time was tricky. I figured it out though. (I think so anyway.... Next week will be the real test.) This image that my friend sent me sums up my feelings!
This hilarious video probably sums up how the PARENTS  are feeling. This year is super confusing!

My cat missed me this week! She is always glad when I get home.

Thank you for visiting! How was your week?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wednesday Hodgepodge SECONDS

Happy Hodgepodge day!  Each Wednesday, Joyce at From This Side of the Pond shares creative questions to answer. Check out her blog if you'd like to join in the fun.

1. The Hodgepodge lands on the second day of a brand new month. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in September.
School for my students starts next week!  I'll be teaching remotely Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday I'll have 11 LIVE IN-PERSON kids plus 10 distance learners. 

Here are a few photos of the classroom. My kids came to help last week. The desks will be sanitized before students arrive next week. 

2. Do you enjoy browsing second-hand shops? Last thing you bought or 'inherited' second hand?
The only second-hand shops I enjoy are bookstores. There is one in our town that we visit. There is another about 45 miles away that we hit a couple times per year. We usually leave with PILES of books.

Here's a photo from 2017. 

3. Something you had second thoughts about after committing to, purchasing, or posting/commenting  online?
I tend to be very careful about what I post online. I rarely purchase items online, because I prefer stores. I have regretted setting up an Instagram account. For me, it's just too much. I've set up Instagram accounts 3 or 4 different times, and each time I deleted the account. Eventually I'll learn NOT TO GO THERE.

4. What's a product or service you use that you'd rate as second to none?
I have been loving Audible! I have a 40 minute commute, and I listen to audiobooks going and coming. One thing I love is that if I pick a book and find it inappropriate or boring, I can return it. 

Right now, I'm listening to this.
It's the sequel to The Printed Letter Bookshop, which I loved. 

5. Something you do so often or that comes so naturally to you it's second nature ?
During the school year, I almost always get my clothes ready for the next day as soon as I get home. Then I can relax. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I got up every day this week to exercise before work. Three days is not much of a streak, but I am trying to make it a habit. This morning, Herbie the cat was meowing loudly at me because he found it VERY odd that I was in the living room MOVING at 5:30 a.m. He isn't a fan of change. I had to cuddle him for minute after my workout to soothe his feelings. 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Dog Days of Summer Wednesday Hodgepodge

 Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, which is hosted by Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. Joyce is a master at coming up with great questions. I encourage you to join the fun by hopping over to her blog

1. The Hodgepodge lands on National Dog Day this year (August 26th). Do you own a dog? Did you have a dog when you were growing up, or maybe some other kind of pet? Would you say you're more of a dog person or a cat person? Neither is okay too.) 😊

We do not have a dog. We all like dogs, but they require a lot of work and a lot of attention. We have 2 cats. They come with their own set of challenges. (Cat hair everywhere!) We probably like dogs MORE, but cats are easier. Our cats are quite lovable. Herbie (the gray and white) is also pretty quirky.
When I was a kid, I had a dog named Scruffy. He was just the best. 
This was taken in 1989. I was 18. Do you like my big poofy 80s hair, my rolled jeans, and my snazzy sandals? That's my first car, a 1984 maroon Ford Escort station wagon.
I was SO THANKFUL to have it. It was an excellent first car.

Here I am with Scruffy in 1980 or 1981. I was 9 or 10. 

2. Last time you felt 'dog tired'?
I'm not sure, but probably I last felt 'dog tired' about a year ago! The first week of school with students KICKS MY BUTT every year.  It's wonderful, exciting, and interesting but it requires SO MUCH talking and a great deal of mental energy.  Another problem is that I stink at staying on a normal schedule during the summer. I stay up too late during the summer. So when school resumes it's hard to start going to bed on time and getting up early.

I was also dog tired when Gabrielle was a newborn! That girl didn't sleep at night until she was 3 months old. She'd sleep all day and stay up ALL night. Seth was in kindergarten at the time.

3. It's said you can't teach an old dog new tricks. When did you last prove this idiom true or prove it wrong?
Well... I'm proud to announce that THIS old dog is learning a few new tricks. They aren't super impressive tricks, but I'm pleased. I've never been a video-game player, but lately I've been racing in Mario Kart 8 with my family. I learned to DRIFT AROUND CORNERS. And I hardly ever fly off the track now. 😁

4. A favorite book, television show, or movie featuring a dog. Why did you love it?
The book by Willie Morris is so well-written. I enjoyed the movie too, but not as much as the book. Amazon says it's a "classic story of a boy, a dog, and small-town America". That about sums it up! The setting is a small town on the banks of the Yazoo River in Mississippi, and the language and storytelling are beautiful. 

5. Last time you had reason to (literally or figuratively) exclaim 'hot diggity dog'?
I'm pretty sure I've never literally exclaimed "hot diggity dog".  I think I said it figuratively when I found out that I will be able to eat in the teacher's lounge this year! I thought I'd be eating in the classroom with the kids. I love my students, but a little break for lunch will be nice!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.
We've had very little rain this summer, and my husband and I were saying that a week of rain would probably be a good thing.  Well, we didn't get a week of rain. We DID however, get a downpour just as my husband started grilling the other night! Right after he finished, the sun came out. I did NOT take a photo of my husband dripping wet. I didn't think he'd appreciate me snapping photos while he tried to save our dinner with water in his eyes.

Thank you for visiting! 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Saturday Sum Up

Welcome! Thanks for visiting today to read about what we've been doing lately. 

We continue to have outdoor, socially-distanced worship services. Here, my friend Janet and I got a bit closer than 6 feet so we could get a photo of the two of us with our matching masks. 

Speaking of masks, here are some new ones that I bought from my friend. School starts soon, and my classroom will probably be very hot and humid for at least the first couple weeks. I want to have enough masks so that I can switch out the sweaty one midday! (Too much information?  Sorry about that. 😏)

My friend and I have been praying together for a couple of decades. For the past several years, we've prayed over the phone. Now we sometimes use Zoom.  In the photo above, you can see lights in the background. My friend hung them up for our prayer date, since we usually would've been camping this month. Those lights NORMALLY hang in the shelter at our campsite. 

Last week we also had a get together on my friend's porch. She teaches elementary school music, and we spent some of our time sharing books we plan to use this year in our classrooms. 

I spent quite a lot of time in my classroom. I needed to pack away many, many books since there just isn't room for them this year. Currently, the plan is that I'll have 11 students in the room Thursday & Friday. I'll also be supporting 10 distance learners who will be learning from home full time. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays all 21 of my students will be participating in distance learning.  I'm still a bit fuzzy on how to support distance learners while simultaneously teaching the kids in front of me. I guess I'll learn as I go. This is uncharted territory! I feel a little bit like a first-year teacher, even though this is will actually be my 23rd year of teaching.  
I drafted some letters for my students and their families. I'm waiting to send them, because things may change again before school starts.  School was supposed to start for students on August 31st. Now that date has been pushed back to September 8th. (I'm not entirely clear on they whys of that decision. I'm just rolling with it!) 

My friend sent me this. It made me smile and say "yep" at the same time. 😁
I'll be back soon with more classroom photos. My room still needs some love. Right now, it's a little austere in there. 

Thank you for visiting! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

High Five Wednesday Hodgepodge

Welcome! I'm awake EARLY this Wednesday morning to answer the Wednesday Hodgepodge questions! Thank you, as always, to Joyce for coming up with such great questions each week. To join in the fun, visit Joyce at From This Side of the Pond.

1. What were you doing five years ago this month?

My son turned 12 five years ago. That shirt was GINORMOUS on him. Now, it has been passed down to Gabrielle. 

Five years ago we also went on our first ever camping trip with my friend and her daughters.The first day was gorgeous. We camp near an ocean beach, so we spent some time enjoying the sand and waves. The next day it POURED. All day. That last photo is of my friend's daughter rinsing her toothbrush in the rain. More about our camping adventures...
This year we didn't go camping because of the pandemic. I miss it!

2. What was the last 9-5 job you worked? Tell us about it.
I teach third grade, which is really an 8 - 4 job. I blog about that all the time, so I'm going to tell you about my first full time job instead!

My first full time job was in an infant/toddler nursery. I worked in the infant room, and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. There's nothing like playing with and cuddling babies for a living. I became a master at feeding 2 older babies and soothing a 1-month-old infant at the same time. (I jiggled the infant seat with my foot while doling out Cheerios and spooning food into faces!) One of the little ones would often start falling asleep halfway through her lunch! If I wasn't careful she'd have her face in her food. 

3. Plead the fifth, high five, take five, it's five o'clock somewhere, or the big 5-0...which number five phrase relates to your life in some way currently? Tell us how.
THE BIG 5-0 applies to me. I'll be turning 50 in November. 50 sure arrived quickly. One of my friends once said that when you're 16 a year seems to take FOREVER. Once you hit your 40s a year seems to go by in 20 minutes. So true!

4. During this season of spending so much time at home, what distractions get in the way of being your most productive? Or have you been extra productive since this whole thing started?
TV... We don't actually watch a ton of TV. It's off all day, but my husband and I turn it on for a while in the evening. But since we've been home more I've stayed up later than I should watching just ONE MORE EPISODE. (Or 2 more...) That causes me to sleep later than I probably should. It wasn't too bad when I was teaching from home, because I had responsibilities and had to start on time. Since summer started though, I've been staying up WAY too late.

5. Give us a list here of your top five anything.
Five movies I love (not really in any particular order). 

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I had my first back-to-school dream! I usually have at least one "oh-no" kind of dream about going back to school. In this one, I had a room full of students. It was the first day of school, but I was trying to have them work on some very elaborate crafty sort of project. Kids kept getting pulled out for different services right as we were getting to the fun part. 

THEN I noticed the clock, and it was almost time for dismissal! I tried to get the kids' attention so everyone could clean up & pack up so nobody would miss a bus. But not one child was listening! They just kept wandering around the room or working on their projects. 

At that moment, a parent arrived and wanted to have a very serious discussion with me while the kids kept milling around loudly chatting. The parent was persistent too. 

A bit later, I noticed that the last bus was pulling away and there were NO STUDENTS in my room! Yikes! 

It was ridiculous. 

Thanks for visiting! Happy Wednesday! Head over to Joyce's blog for more Wednesday Hodgepodge goodness.