Top 10 of 2020

One thing I enjoy the most about the end of the year is looking back and finding the best parts of the past 365 days. Obviously, we all know 2020 has been ROUGH. Like most people in the world, I lost a lot. I got dumped (twice), I lost my job, I wasn’t able to go on an international trip I had planned, and I got COVID. This year was easily one of the worst years of my life. That being said, because of all the bad it made me respect the good parts even more. I’m looking back at my top 10 of 2020! (I was going to do the top 20 of 2020 but I’m a realist!)

10. True Team Gymnastics

I love gymnastics. If you’ve been following me the past few years, you know that gymnastics rules my winters. I have been coaching high school gymnastics now for 3 years and love every second of it. Last January, our girls were ranked one of the top 10 teams in the state of Minnesota. Because of that, we got invited to compete in the Minnesota True Team tournament. The top 10 teams in the state are invited to compete. It’s a huge accomplishment for the girls. The girls ended up placing 7th that day. We were so proud of them!

9. State Gymnastics Tournament

In February, our team was able to advance 3 individuals to the state tournament. These 3 girls were able to represent our team with the best individual gymnasts in the state. We had a few falls, and it was a rough day, but they made it to the most important meet of the year which was huge! We stayed in a hotel the night before and had some serious bonding time together. I loved it!

8. Easter

Easter came around the time of lockdown. My family wanted to do something together that was special but also safe. For the first time ever, I “hosted” my family for Easter at my apartment. We ordered take out from Olive Garden (I don’t cook) and we spent the day playing cards together while spending some much needed quality time together. (Something that we hadn’t been able to do in a long time!)

7. Graduate

In May, my baby sister graduated from college! I was so proud of her. She graduated with a 4 year degree in 3 years. She gradated with a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Studies. She is an incredible young lady who was able to get a job before she officially graduated. (During this time she also wrote her own devotional book because, why not?)

6. Maid of Honor

My best friend was proposed to back in the spring. She is like a second sister to me. Growing up, we were a few years apart in school but only a year apart in age. Our personalities are 100% the same so we’ve been there for each other through everything! I was so happy for her when I finally got the picture of her ring with no caption. About a month later, she surprised me by asking me to be her maid of honor. I was so honored I started to cry. I’m so excited for October 2nd, 2021 when I can officially do my maid of honor duties.

5. New Job Alert

Thanks to COVID, I was let go from my previous school district last spring. They ended up cutting every nontenured teacher in the district because of budget issues that came along with COVID changes. It was a huge blow and one of the worst days of my life. I was fortunate enough to get hired in August back in the original district I taught in 3 years ago. I am so grateful for that. I love my “new” district. It’s the same district I grew up in and the same district I coach in so it was meant to be!

4. Best Friends Forever

This year has tested the relationships in my life. I have lost friendships and gained deeper friendships. I was dumped by two different guys but I became much closer to another guy in my life. My best friend (not the one who’s getting married) and I have had an interesting relationship these past 5 years. Anyone who knows us, knows how close we are. People are always assuming we’re dating because he’s a guy and I’m a girl and we know everything about the other one. We’ve had some major ups and downs in our friendship but this year made us even tighter than we were before. We have spent so much more time together and talk daily. He is family and I love him to death. Quarantine has shown the both of us how important we are to each other and how we will always be there no matter the circumstance. (He also is the one who gave me COVID so we share that unique experience!😂 )

3. My Students

I love my kids. Anyone who knows me knows how much my students mean to me. The spring was just awful, not being able to see them every day. It was also awful knowing that, because I was cut, I would never be able to see them in person again. Distance learning in the spring really showed me how much the students in my life mean to me. My class this year is just as special. I love each and every one of them so much. (Even the ones that test me on a daily basis!) I have been so impressed with the maturity and flexibility they have shown through this pandemic. My kids this year are so used to change that they can handle literally anything I throw at them. It has also been so refreshing to see how grateful they are for even the smallest of gestures. They’ve lost so much this year as well so they are thankful for things my classes in the past wouldn’t even bat an eye at. As much as distance learning has sucked for students, they have gained so much through this experience that will make them incredible people in the future!

2. Lucy

My baby! ❤️ This year we celebrated her 4th “got ya day!” I love my kitty so much (and I’m not shy about it!) Thanks to COVID and quarantine, I’ve got to spend so much more time with her than I ever have been able to before. Pets are true happiness. I don’t know how I would have survived this year, being locked by myself in my apartment, without her. (I apologize for the Lucy collage I’m about to share!) She is my best friend and I’m not ashamed to say that!

1. Family Love

This year has been amazing for my family reconnecting. 2019 ended with my parents being separated. They had a bad end of the year and we weren’t sure what would happen between them. My sister and my dad had a very strained relationship as well. They could hardly be around each other without the toxicity starting. I was stuck in the middle of it all. We didn’t spend much time together for the longest time because of all the issues we were dealing with. Because of COVID and lockdown, we all really reexamined our relationships with each other. I think we all separately realized how important we were to each other and we wanted that back. It wasn’t easy, and it took months to work through, but we are back to being a strong and happy family of 4. If it wasn’t for the time we had to sit and think about what matters in life, we might not have worked through all of the issues we had going on. As much as COVID and quarantine sucked, this was the best thing that came out of it. I love my family and I love how we are stronger than we have ever been!

We all know 2020 was terrible and I’m so excited for that ball to drop in 6 hours, but I am thankful for the year we had. I’m grateful for the positives that occurred even with the tragedies going on around us. That being said 2021, I’M SO READY FOR YOU!

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12 Days of Christmas – Day 12

Would you rather bake or eat Christmas goodies?

Oh my goodness, it’s already day 12!!! This has been such a fun experience this year!!! I’ve LOVED the would you rather theme, it’s added such a fun twist to this year’s Blogmas and it’s all thanks to the amazing Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl!! Thank you Abbey for once again making my December extra exciting!!

All right so this is going to be a short post because I think I’ve already mentioned something like this in an earlier post. I would definitely rather bake Christmas goodies over eat them! I used to be a sweet tooth but as I got older, that went away. I’ve always enjoyed baking when I was younger but I also loved eating as I baked. Now, I just love the baking and I’m 110% okay with giving away everything I make to others.

When I was in high school, I used to spend Sundays in December making batches of different goodies for my friends. I would wrap them up all cute and hand them out at school on Monday. I loved being able to share what I made with people I loved and that has not gone away!

Unfortunately, due to this year being as it is, I didn’t get around to baking anything because I knew it would all go to waste. I haven’t been seeing people because of COVID so I knew if I made anything, they’d only be for me and I know they’d sit in my freezer until next Christmas. (Plus, I HATE cleaning up after I bake or cook ANYTHING so I didn’t want to create multiple messes for no reason.)

Again, I can not believe this year’s 12 days of Christmas is over!! Where did the month go? This is my FAVORITE time of the year but for some reason, I just can’t grasp that Christmas is already tomorrow!? As slow as this year has gone, I think December went by way too fast!

I hope you all have a wonderful and SAFE Christmas! Please, enjoy your family and your break away from the craziness that is 2020. (I also can’t believe this insane year is almost over!) I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay healthy right now! I’m still recovering from COVID that I tested positive for OVER A MONTH AGO! There are days that I feel great and then there are days that I feel awful again. I know that I’m a relatively healthy and fit person so I can’t even fathom how others handle the side effects of post-COVID syndrome. Be smart friends, as much as seeing and being with family right now is great, everyone’s health is much more important!

Have a very merry Christmas! Here’s to Blogmas 2020!!

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12 Days of Christmas – Day 11

Would you rather wear light-up Christmas lights or wear a red nose every day during the holiday season?

Oh my goodness, before I even get started I just have to say how crazy it is that this is already day 11 of Blogmas!! It’s crazy how fast this goes by and I’m sad it’s coming to another end. I love doing this every year and I have been honored to take part in this again!

Okay so the question…would I rather wear light-up Christmas lights or wear a red nose every day during the holiday season? I think I would for sure choose to wear light-up Christmas lights every day during the season rather than wear a red nose. I love those necklaces you can buy at Target or Walmart that are Christmas bulbs and they light up. I find them so fun!

I think I would for sure rather wear the lights than the nose because I think the lights are less abnormal and more festive! I think because of those necklaces, people are used to seeing others wear Christmas lights on their body. Sure, you’d probably be wearing more than a necklace but I think it would still be less strange than wearing a large red nose.

I also just love Christmas lights more than anything! They are so pretty and festive!! I would love to wear them every day just to show how into the season I am. I like Rudolph but I wouldn’t want to walk around with a giant red nose on my face.

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader Abbey’s page at Three Cats and a Girl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas and her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day action and live activities!

Go check out my most recent posts!!

Holiday Week 2020 Style

Well people, we made it to break! (Or if you’re not at break yet, you’re very close!) This is usually my favorite month of the year because of all the activities we do and the projects I have. In fact, my first few posts ever were from December activities that I wanted to share! It’s been hard adjusting to this new normal. This whole month was spent getting used to distance learning rather than enjoying the season. These past 2 days, I wanted to change that. I wanted us to have fun. I wanted to be as creative as possible so my students still felt the fun of the season even though they’re at home.

My favorite Christmas movie of all time is Jim Carrey’s The Grinch. (The reason is because when I was little, I used to look identical to Cindy Lou Who. My parents also used to tell me her character was based on me because our personalities were so similar as well.) I always like to have a whole day centered around Grinch themed activities. I was not letting that go this year.

Yesterday was my Grinch day! We started the day by doing a series of Grinch would you rather questions which were amazing and hilarious! My kids loved it and it was interesting to hear their reasons for their answers. After a little fun, we had to jump into our reading lesson. I love doing the lesson where you listen to “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” and then find similes and metaphors in the song. I’ve done it every year since I started teaching but I had to be creative with it this year.

We have been using Seesaw and Google Meets as our teaching tools. We pretty much are on our Google meeting live all morning while they submit assignments on Seesaw. I created a Seesaw assignment where they first had to highlight the similes and metaphors in the song. I had them highlight in two different colors so I could tell they knew the difference between the two forms of figurative language. After they highlighted, they had to pick one simile or metaphor and then had to decorate their Grinch to represent what they chose. It was very fun to see how creative they were with it.

For math, I made another Seesaw assignment full of Grinch themed word problems. I split them into breakout rooms and let them work on them together in small groups. I organized the groups so they were with kids who were at all levels but who they also felt comfortable with. It was fun to just bounce back and forth between the different rooms and listen to their conversations. The one thing with distance that is lacking is having the opportunity for them to just talk to each other.

Because of our schedule, that was most of the Grinch themed activities we did. We spent the afternoon making our parent gifts (which were adorable snowman ornaments made out of buttons) and catching up on work while students went to their intervention groups. It wasn’t as much as I usually do, but it was something and that’s all I cared about.

Today I wanted to have fun and even though we were distant, I still wore my traditional “day before break candy cane” dress (because that’s fun!)

I wanted to throw them a surprise virtual holiday party. I tried hard to come up with fun activities to do throughout the day to keep them entertained. I wanted them to have a special day because that’s what this day in elementary school is supposed to be. The day before Christmas break is supposed to be full of treats, movies, and presents. I didn’t want them to lose out on their last elementary school holiday party!

We started the day doing a fun little “Guess the Mystery Sound” activity. I had a Google Slides presentation that had them listen to a mystery sound and then guess what they thought each sound was in the Google Meets chat.

We then did a real reading activity to get some sort of school in. We read an article on the science of the snowflake and then discussed different parts of it. (I definitely didn’t spend as much time on it as I should have but at least I can say we did it!) We then moved into our math time. For math, students had a holiday packet that was sent home last week. I put them in breakout rooms with their friends and they got to work through the packet together.

The packet wasn’t math related. It had a bunch of puzzles, mazes, and coloring pages. It was more of a way to allow them to work together again while having fun. Again, it was so fun jumping back and forth between groups. I miss seeing and talking to them so it was nice to have silly little conversations with them in small groups. I even had a competition with a couple of my kids over who could finish a sudoku first, it was a blast!

We spent the afternoon having our virtual holiday party! I started the party by having Christmas music playing in the background while they all slowly popped back on to our meeting after lunch. We then played a few different games. I first had them take out a piece of paper and a marker. We did the directed drawing activity where they had to follow my directions on how to draw a snowman while the paper was on their heads. I LOVE this activity and was so happy to be able to share it with them even though they weren’t right with me. I also made another Google slides game where they saw a zoomed in picture of something holiday themed and then had to guess what it was. We then shifted into a few rounds of holiday charades which was super funny. I then had an ugly sweater making contest. I assigned them a blank sweater template on Seesaw and gave them five minutes to create the ugliest sweater they could. We then went through each one and voted on their favorites. My favorite was one with my name on it. I don’t know why but it made me laugh way too hard.

We finished our party by doing a winter themed Kahoot followed by a directed drawing on Arthub of a winter village. It was a nice and fun way to end the day.

Finally, during the day I had my kids go onto PixtonEdu to create their own personalized avatar. I then used those avatars to create our virtual class photo. I know some of you have seen these before! I’ve seen them a few times and thought they were the cutest thing ever. Today I had to do it as a special little surprise to “give” them at the end of the day.

It was for sure not the way I would normally have spent this day but I made the most of it. The best part was how grateful my kids were. They were very appreciative of the activities we were able to do. I know they know this is not how we would normally have celebrated but they were troopers and loved whatever we could do.

I am SO happy to relax for the next two weeks! I know for a fact we will be distance learning for at least another month so I’m ready to have some screen free time and some family time. The best part of today was realizing teaching in 2020 is officially over! 2021 is going to be a much better year, I can feel it. If we made it through teaching in this, we can make it through teaching in anything!!

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Go check out my recent posts!! Blogmas 2020 is almost over 😢 so don’t miss out on our fun 12 days of Christmas would you rather game!!

12 Days of Christmas – Day 10

Would you rather have to put up outdoor Christmas lights for all your neighbors or wrap all the holiday presents for extended family members?

This one is an obvious choice for me. I would so much rather wrap all the holiday presents for extended family members! I’ve never put Christmas lights outside so I think I would fail epically if I offered to put up all the lights for all of my neighbors.

I LOVE wrapping presents. I think it makes me sound crazy but there is something so relaxing about it. One of my favorite parts about buying gifts for people is the wrapping that comes after. I thoroughly enjoy making every gift look nice and embellished. Growing up, I know my mom despised the day she had to wrap all of our gifts. I never understood that because it gives me so much peace.

Another reason I would totally choose the gift wrapping over the light hanging is the fact that my extended family isn’t even that large so there wouldn’t be a whole lot of gifts to wrap. On my mom’s side, there is only 9 of us. That’s a piece of cake. We also are all adults so we don’t have a whole lot of gifts that we give to one another anymore. We are more into spending the day together rather than the presents. My dad’s side is a bit bigger. There are 12 cousins, 4 pairs of parents, my grandma, and 3 kids of cousins. Wrapping all of their gifts would probably take up the most amount of time, but again I wouldn’t mind. I would make the day of it. I would have Christmas movies playing all day long.

Growing up, my house never had lights on it. I love looking at Christmas lights but since I never watched my parents put them up, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Plus, staying outside all day to put up the lights would be freezing and miserable! (Remember, I’m a Minnesotan so being outside this time of year for long periods of time is not fun!)

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader Abbey’s page at Three Cats and a Girl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas and her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day activities and live action!

Go check out my most recent posts!

12 Days of Christmas – Day 9

Would you rather always know what the perfect gift for someone else is or get the perfect gift from others?

Well this one is special to me because I think I’m a pretty good gift giver if I do say so myself. I would totally want to know what the perfect gift for someone else is rather than getting the perfect gift from others.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year for many reasons but one of the main reasons is the gift giving. I LOVE searching for the perfect gift for everyone in my life. Ha December is easily the month of the year my bank account hates the most. I feel like I’m financially stable up until holiday shopping comes around and then, not so much!

I definitely spend way too much on people but it’s just so fun to put together something you know they’ll love and truly appreciate. For example, my best friend is a Star Wars nerd as well as super into vinyl records. This year I got him the original 1978 Empire Strikes Back Vinyl that has the whole score for the first movie on it. Since it was an original from 1978, it wasn’t the cheapest but it was so worth it because he loved it!

I am the worst when it comes to buying things for my sister. (When I say worst, I mean I’m the best at getting her what she wants but the worst to myself because it leaves me broke!) I have a soft spot for her and Christmas really shows that. The first year I actually had some money in my bank account, I got my sister an iPad….I still don’t know why I did that but I know she wanted one so bad and I wanted to make her happy. (That easily cleared out my bank account that year.) When she was little she LOVED anything pink and sparkly, so one year, everything I got her was pink and sparkly. Just seeing her so happy makes me happy. (She’s also obsessed with bows so I always get her a giant one every year to embellish her gifts with because it adds just a little big more of that joy to her face!)

Now that I’m a teacher in the real world however, I don’t have much money to spare when it comes to Christmas. I know how over the top I can be so I’ve started a tradition to buy custom mugs for my family members. It’s a cheap thing to do that is also super personalized to them. I’ve loved watching their faces these past few years when they open their yearly mug.

I am going to add that I wouldn’t mind getting the perfect gift from someone. I have to admit that I am a hard person to buy for so if I was surprised by something perfect, I would love every minute of it.

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader Abbey’s page at Three Cats and a Girl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas along with her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day fun and live activities!

Go check out my recent posts!

12 Days of Christmas – Day 8

Would you rather vacation somewhere cold or hot during the holidays?

Let’s see….this is actually difficult for me. I live in Minnesota so Christmas is NOT Christmas without the cold and the snow but a nice hot holiday vacation wouldn’t be too bad either. I think if I’d have to pick I’d choose to vacation somewhere cold on Christmas Day but then spend the rest of my break somewhere nice and warm. (Haha that’s probably cheating but I’m going with that answer!)

Like I said, being a Minnesota girl means a white and cold Christmas. I truly can’t imagine what a hot Christmas would be like and I wouldn’t want to start now. I think the perfect cold place I’d want to vacation to over the holidays would be to some cabin in the mountains of Colorado. I’ve always wanted to go to Colorado and I think spending Christmas in a small little cottage in the middle of the snowy mountains would be perfect!

The weather has always been a huge part of Christmas for me!

Now, like I also said, I would spend Christmas Day in snowy Colorado but then I’d jump on a plane on December 26th and head to someplace nice and hot like to an all inclusive resort in the Bahamas! I’ve never been on vacation to a “hot” place before. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic but that was a volunteer trip and not a vacation. I would love to spend a week of my break off from school sipping drinks on a beach while getting a nice tan. To me, that sounds like the perfect way to relax and enjoy the last week of the year!

I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to look at this when it’s -15 degrees at home?

I know I’m not being very decisive but those are the firsts thoughts that came to my head. I love white having a white Christmas but I would love a nice hot vacation as well! This is Blogmas, anything goes right?

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader’s page Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas and her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day action and live activities!

Go check out my most recent posts!

Outside Cafeterias and Masking Up – COVID Classroom 2020

Our first full week is complete and I’m shockingly not as tired as I have been in the past. It was a good week full of lots of housekeeping and FINALLY starting some curriculum lessons! This week started off with a pretty normal couple of days but then the bomb came. We found out Monday … Continue reading Outside Cafeterias and Masking Up – COVID Classroom 2020

12 Days of Christmas – Day 7

Would you rather meet Frosty or Santa?

Two of my favorite holiday characters, Frosty and Santa! Who doesn’t love these two classic magical characters? If I had to choose one to meet though, I think I would choose to meet Santa.

This is going to sound crazy but I’ve always had this weird idea that, like in some of those classic movies, Santa’s son would be on earth looking or a wife, he’d find me, and we’d become the new Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
😂😂😂 I know, I sound like I’m losing it but I’ve seen too many cheesy movies growing up that my imagination has definitely gotten the best of me.

I’ve also always loved the classic Santa Claus is coming to town and the Santa Claus movies! I think it’s fascinating to see the different interpretations of the same character. I would love to see what version I would meet. Frosty is a great character but there aren’t too many versions of Frosty. What you see in one movie is what you get in another. At least with Santa, you’ll be surprised by something.

Which is your Santa?? Tim Allen is mine!

Finally, I’d want to meet Santa just to prove that he’s real. We’re all little kids at heart and what kid doesn’t want the concrete proof that Santa exists?

Gymnastics Christmas party 2017 with my best friend playing Santa!

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader’s page Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas and her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day action and live activities!

Go check out my latest posts!

12 Days of Christmas – Day 6

Would you rather star on a popular holiday music single or star in a popular holiday movie?

This is a quick and easy one. I would LOVE to star in a popular holiday movie!

I am one of those hopeless holiday romantics who love Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, they all have the same plot, but they are all so sweet. I’ve always wanted my life to play out like one during the holiday season. I think it would be so fun to star in one of those movies. For a few weeks, you could pretend you were actually living in that world and take in the Hallmark magic.

I wouldn’t mind staring in my own holiday single but I can’t sing to save my life. It would not be pretty! I love to sing Christmas songs but I also like to be good at what I’m doing. Being a teacher, I think I know how to put on a show. I think I would be much more successful staring in my own holiday movie than singing my own single.

All 3 of us love our Hallmark Christmas movies!

Come join our 12 days of Christmas Blogmas fun!

To join in on the festivities, go check out our amazing leader’s page Abbey@ThreeCatsandaGirl! If you find her 12 days of Christmas tab, you’ll see her posts from this Blogmas and her past 3 YEARS worth of Blogmas posts!! If you want to read more Blogmas fun, go check out the pages of my other friends; AJ at Petite Slice of Life and Amber at To the Great Western World!

Go check out my Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher for more day to day action and live activities!

Go check out my recent posts!!

The New Normal

What world are we living in right now? It seems like things get more intense every single day. I don’t know what to think. Up until yesterday, I was doing okay handling all of this. We were told on Sunday that Minnesota schools would close officially as of today until at least Monday, March 30th. … Continue reading The New Normal

What is Happening

Well well well…I feel like I need to share my thoughts on everything going on considering the education system is being effected pretty hard. I know some other states are closing schools but Minnesota has yet to follow in their footsteps. Our neighbor state Wisconsin announced yesterday that they will be closing for the next … Continue reading What is Happening

Distance Learning Take 2

We are officially wrapping up our 3rd week of distance learning round 2 and I have felt so much better about it this time around than I did in the spring!

Don’t get me wrong, I still hate that we have to be distant instead of being at school but we are so much more prepared this time around. Ever since our Welcome Back days the first week of September, we have been preparing our kids for the inevitability of going to distance at some point. From day 1, I told my kids that we wouldn’t know when but we were going to go back to distance learning during the year and we had to be ready. That definitely has helped us be much more successful this time around.

In the spring, we didn’t have a whole lot of rules or expectations for our students and that was the biggest problem. Because it was such a strange time, we had to go with the flow and we couldn’t penalize a student for anything. I had a few students who I wouldn’t see for weeks and I couldn’t do anything about it. On top of that, students knew they wouldn’t be graded on anything so I had kids who flat out refused to do work because why would they? Being so loose on everything made my job incredibly challenging because I couldn’t teach.

I made sure my kids knew that we would be taking this much more seriously this time and learning was going to take place. They have been doing amazing with it! In the spring, we were encouraged to do a Google Meets with our kids once a week to check in. I tried to do one everyday but I couldn’t make it mandatory so only the same ten kids came. This time around, we have to teach live all day on a Google Meets and it’s so much better! Sure, it’s not fun staring at a screen sitting on your computer all day but my kids are in front of me all morning and we are getting things done.

Another helpful thing we’ve been doing this year is posting our daily agendas that are super detailed. We post them every morning at 9:00 and our follow them exactly how they are written. I go through it with them every morning during our morning meeting so they know what is expected of them that day. It has been super helpful keeping them on track while also getting them on our Meets at the correct times.

This is an example of the one I posted today:

The other helpful thing this time around is that our kids actually have binders with assignments for them to do with them at home. In the spring, we were flying by the seat of our pants every week because we had to do everything over Seesaw or Google Classroom. We taught using resources our kids weren’t used to. This time, we get to send things home weekly so our kids are using materials they would be using if we were in person. It reminds them that this is still school.

When we went to distance learning in the spring, I felt a huge disconnect from my class. I thought we had such a great bond all year but, when we left, I lost all connection with them and it killed me. This year, I’ve felt the same with them that I do in the classroom. It makes me so much happier to log on everyday. I actually think I’ve bonded more with this group being online because, at school, we couldn’t do a whole lot of relationship building due to COVID rules and procedures. We were so busy making sure we were at least 6 feet apart at all times, wearing our masks, and following all the new rules that there was no time for fun and I couldn’t play all of my classroom team building games that I have in the past.

It’s definitly been a hard few weeks, I’m not going to deny that, but it could be so much worse right now. I love my class and we will get through this. The best part is knowing that at some point, we will be back at school which, again, is much better than not going back at all last spring.

Also, can we just take a moment and love the fact that T. Swift just dropped her second album in 6 months? She kills me! I will forever be a huge fan and will never be ashamed of that! Evermore is pure beauty!

Fore more day to day action and live activities, go follow my class Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Go check out my recent posts!

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Fairytaletopia

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