A lot of us had to quickly adjust to a distance learning system back in March. I must admit, when we went online at the end of last years school year, we did not develop much of a routine. We signed on in bed some mornings, in the car if we were driving somewhere, sprawled out across the living room floor. The goal was to get through the zooms and lesson plans as quickly as possible so we could enjoy the rest of the day on the lake in Big Bear at our vacation home. Then, I had no idea how long we would be online.
Now that it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which I (like most of you I am sure) was not happy about at first, I must admit setting up a good learning space for Mason (my 6 year old) at the start of this school year has made a WORLD of difference. So I turned my home office space into our 1st grade classroom/office space for both Mason and myself. Mason's school, Mary Star of the Sea Elementary, has done a fabulous job zooming with the kids and training them to do everything on their own. I pretty much need to sign him on in the morning and that is it. Which is AWESOME!!!! At the end of last year I literally had to sit with him the entire time and help him maneuver through the school day. Now, he does it all on his own LIVE with his teacher everyday from 8:30am until 1:30pm. She even leaves the zoom on for break time and lunch so he can walk away, play, eat, and then she sets a timer and rings a bell when he needs to be back in front of the camera. His schedule is
8:30-8:45 Morning Announcements with the Principal and Entire School
8:45 -10:00 Math (Live ZOOM)
10:00-10:20 Break Time
10:20-12:00 Language Arts and Religion (Live Zoom)
12:30-1:30 Science and Social Studies (Live Zoom)
This schedule gives me plenty of time to answer emails, respond to inquiries, and put together blogs like this one :-) After he signs off at 1:30, I do my best to work out and get the kids outside and active. Were jumping into the second week of school and I feel really good about it. This is definitely a schedule we can stick to and also one that is legitimately the next best thing to him physically being in class.
I think one of the biggest game changers, was getting his iPad Screen mirrored to a Big Screen. It took a little bit of googling to find out how to do it without an extra device like an Apple TV or Roku, but I found an app called AirScreen. It downloaded directly to our Samsung Smart TV. If you swipe down from the top corner of your iPad or device, (where the flashlight is located) you simply click "Screen Mirroring" and then select AS-AFTKMST12[Airplay] and you are all set. Different brands of smart TVs have different screen mirroring apps to download (for example; this app is not offered on my LG Smart TV). Google your TV brand and it should pop up.
My little work area is so cute and cozy. I find myself at my desk each day until 6:00pm or 7:00pm just working away. My desk was gifted to me from a friend, but I believe she got it at IKEA.
My daily planner sheets are great. I get a huge satisfaction of checking to-do items off a list. These sheets allow me to time out our day (I normally fill them all out on Sundays for the entire week), make to do lists, plan work outs, meals, etc. They keep me super organized and I love it! I also have Mason on a Star system that he is really into. On my daily planner I mark stars throughout the day when he is good during that zoom. He gets a star for:
Language Arts/Religion Zoom
Science/Social Studies Zoom
Completion of All Seasaw Activities
As soon as each subject is finished, he runs over and asks, "Do I get a star for that one?" It is the cutest thing. 5 stars means he gets to put one big star up on the monthly calendar board. Once he gets 10 big stars (so essentially it will take him two weeks), he gets to pick out a prize. He hits 10 this Friday (if all goes according to plan) and has already picked out a Spiderman toy on Amazon. Well worth the $1 a day to have a well behaved child.
I display his spelling words on a black dry erase board. Anytime I over hear something I think he should practice outside of his zoom class I throw it up on the board. I love that it is black and framed in wood. Goes more with my rustic vibe than a regular white dry erase board. He uses it to draw on during his breaks as well.
I definitely knew I wanted to set up a little reading corner. The chair I had in my office before, so I repurposed that. There are jewels on mine. I purchased those on Amazon as well and stuck them into the buttons myself to add some bling. Mason was so excited to see the circle rug. "Mom, is this where we do criss cross apple sauce and read stories?" It sure is buddy! I got the white tubs and plastic bins from Dollar Tree.
The block letters we use when were practicing spelling and reading. It came with several copies of each letter. Mason loved punching them all out. We have them all stored in one of the Dollar Tree bins. I figured I can even use them for spelling words and things on his dry erase board.
If you know me or have been following me for some time now, you know I am ALL about ambiance. So of course, I had to set us up a space that was organized, practical, and pretty. I have linked several of the products that I ordered on Amazon below. The rest of the items shown I had around the house and reused.
By far the most special part of the room is his art door. His teacher taught him how to draw an American flag on zoom and then gave them a history lesson on a few other patriotic things. Mason came running upstairs telling us we needed to come look at what he did. He not only did his assigned flag but also drew The Liberty Bell, an American Eagle, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty. I was thoroughly impressed!
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