The actual first day logging into school was...wild. I don’t want to use the term pandemonium but it was quite the whirlwind. Everyone woke up on time, got dressed, and chrome books ready. Then once 9am, there were a couple hiccups. Let’s start with Google classroom. I enjoy Google classroom and think it’s pretty cool however there were some issues with the link to access the classroom. Our first grader had the most complex setup because she had a separate classroom for each subject, like for a high school or college student. So all the while we thought to log into the home room classroom, we were 2 minutes late as we soon figured out that everyone was in the Language Arts classroom. The other 2 kids’ account kept giving a message to reload. The kids are in all diff areas of the house which was a workout. We have them separated to minimize distraction but I’m rethinking that strategy cause when they need help, we have to run quick and be like an octopus. Thank goodness Mike is here today. Not to mention Miles is screaming his throat off as he is hangry (hungry and angry) during this time. After everyone successfully logged in, I go to check on Bubs and he whispers “I can barely hear what she’s saying”. So we troubleshoot his headphones and get his sound back in order. He’s a pretty independent young man so I feel confident he will thrive with this new method of learning. I go to put Miles in his playard and in walks Mariah with tears. She says “The teacher was calling attendance and marked me absent cause I couldn’t find where the un-mute button was!” Sigh. We hurriedly run to her room to re-demonstrate how to mute and unmute the microphone in the Google classroom. She suddenly gets “stage fright” and is afraid to chime in so we yell in the background “she’s here!!”. Mariah then says with a low voice “here”. The teacher recognizes her voice and thanks her for checking in. Next, I go back down to check on Marshall and the teacher is calling his name to check in for attendance. He knows how to unmute but is afraid to click the button and speak. I try to encourage him to speak up and he says in an extra low tone “here”. He then mutes the microphone and starts busting out in tears. I give him some reassurance that this is new and to imagine himself in circle time with his friends and to try not to be afraid. I tell him “no one can laugh at you and I’m here with you today to help. It’s ok to be nervous. This is first grade so you have to be a big boy and speak when the teacher asks you questions as she will be grading you on it”. He shakes his head in understanding. So I hang out with him as the teacher soon reads them a story. I then hear a lot of rumbling and items dropping on the balcony floor above me. I run upstairs and Bubs is rummaging through his stuff like a madman looking for a worksheet the teacher asked them to work on. I calm him down, find the sheet, and re-organize his table area so that he has space to color and write. Whew! Back down to Marshall’s area I go. I sit with him until his session is over. Marshall was ready to log off at 9:30am but I had to convince him to stay on until first break. The ironic part is that the teacher called it a day around 9:55am. Say what now? Yes, she said she would be connecting with some parents and students individually from 10a-1p to discuss homework plans. While I greatly appreciate her wanting to take the time out to meet with 6 parents this day, I’m just like “now what does Marsh do for the rest of the day?” So I ended up just assigning some pages in a first grade workbook we have for him to do.
We laid them out some snacks (grapes & muffins) in preparation for their first break which was around 10:20am. Bubs was doing great as his teacher helped them set the timer to know when to return back to the computer after breaks. I also made the kids 2 signs (a hand for raising & a potty break sign to hold up if they need to run to the restroom). For lunch, we made them some sandwiches and put them in the fridge alongside a juice and snack so that they could just grab and go to the counter to eat when it was time. After lunch (around noon), things were going pretty smooth as the kids’ day ended around 1:30pm. The usual schedule says that their day should end around 2:05pm except for modified Mondays. Today, I felt like the Mr. McDowell from the movie “Coming To America” when the boyfriend kept ringing the door bell lol. Later during dinner, I was telling Mike that I believe most of the kinks have been worked out and started to brag about Bubs doing so well today in adapting to virtual learning. As soon as I said that, Mike reads a message emailed from his teacher asking if Bubs needs assistance as she couldn’t hear him talk the entire day when she asked him questions. Sigh, go figure. Welp, tomorrow is a brighter day. After dinner, we had the kids each go to their chrome book and we (parents) hosted a tester Google Meet to have the kids practice coming in & off mute by themselves as well as ensure each of them could hear the presenter and could be heard when speaking. All thumbs up. Let’s get ready for Wednesday!
Here are a few Tips for your first virtual week:
For the first week at least, keep the kids near you so you can listen in to your child’s session to ensure they are actively participating.
If you have more than one child, especially in elementary, it may be wise to sit them not too far apart from each other.
Prior to the start of school, practice with Google Meet and/or Google classroom. Allow the kids to practice with the mute button and screen views. Teachers, ensure you practice with the students as well.
Make lunch and snacks ahead of time when possible so that you can continue working or do have to take a lot of time out to prepare it and align with their time schedule. If you plan to make an oven-bakes meal, pre-heat your oven about 30min prior to their lunch break time so things cook timely and they can eat promptly.
Create signs or paper hands that the kids can raise when they don‘t want to be disruptive but need to ask a question. (Available for purchase with pencil case in the Yo! Mama Shoppe)
Set timers for yourself and give each kid one too to help keep track of break times and schedule.
Ensure all school supplies are within your student’s reach as they will be needed throughout the day.
Set out their clothes for the week (Mon thru Friday). Saves tons of time and the kids can grab them quickly to put them on in the morning. We have the Monday thru Weekend cubbies that hang in their closet (courtesy of Amazon. Hit me up if you’d like to see a pic)
Create a lunch & snack menu for the week
For the first week, it is recommended to at least take off work for the first day or two to get everyone setup, comfortable, and work out any kinks or understand their schedule and needs.
Have a great rest of the week guys!
Yo! Mama Mesh