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Confessions of a Cooped Up Teacher 4

Day 18: April 8, 2020

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Walking the dog. Walking her again. And again. And again.

Hours at the dining room table, covered in papers, notebooks, sticky notes, and tech.

Bleary-eyed from wearing glasses for so many hours of the day. Remind me to get my eyes examined. After.

Cooking from the freezer and the pantry. Weighing the urge to pick up groceries against the fear of picking up the virus, and deciding to stay home. To stay safe.

Learning to use Zoom, then not using Zoom. Learning to use Google Meet, then learning how to get rid of that echo. That horrible echo. Learning how to conduct online meetings with nine year olds who are just happy to see one another, and hopefully me.

Learning to sleep through the night in spite of my increased anxiety. Learning to avoid napping in the afternoon as an escape (which in turn messes up the sleeping at night).

Trial and error creating masks. Wearing my mask. Making one for my sweetheart and my son and his roommate and my aunt… Being productive. Helping. At least in a small way.

Appreciating nail technicians. Pedicures are so much more than the polish. I always tip them well, it’s a job I would not want, but I will tip more when I go back. After.

Thinking about everything I see and read in terms of social distancing. Starting to get anxious on those dog walks. Even while wearing my mask.

Appreciating my home. Knowing I have it easy. Appreciating the safety and space and comfort it provides. Appreciating my job and my sense of purpose. Appreciating others who are doing far more and making do with far less.

Waiting. Waiting for this thing to wrap up. For it to stop taking lives. For it to stop interfering with lives. For it to stop ruining lives. Waiting for it to end. Waiting to see the world come alive again.

 


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Online Summer Writing Camp for Teachers

I’ve written about summer writing camp for kids, and how much I love being involved with it, but today I’m talking about something different. This time I get to be the camper! This is summer writing camp for adults, specifically teachers of students in grades K-8.

There’s a Facebook group run by Jennifer Serravallo (of Reading Strategies and Writing Strategies fame) that invites you to write along. It’s still week one, so if you want to join in, you absolutely can, and really, I think you can jump in on any of the weeks, since each week explores a different type of writing.

This week we’ve been working on a fictional narrative piece. Each day Jennifer posts a short video introducing and teaching the strategy. She models its use, both in mentor texts and in her own writing, then she sets us off to try it out. The videos are in the 5-10 minute range, and the writing time is about 10 minutes too. For twenty minutes a day you’re learning new strategies, writing samples you can use with your students come next school year, and having fun doing it.

Many people are posting their work and comments, too, but I haven’t gotten into that part of it. I’m doing the “streamlined” version, short and sweet.

Have I mentioned how much I love summer camp? Even if it is in front of my phone or laptop.

Here’s the link in case you’re interested:

Writing Strategies Summer Camp

 


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Getting Busy With Prezi

What do you do when you’re busy? Get busier, of course.

Why is it that when I’m already pulled in a million directions I feel like it’s the perfect time to take on something new? Maybe because my brain is in overdrive and it feels competent and energized? Or maybe because¬†my common sense has abandoned me?

Either way, IUnknown.jpeg decided that I should learn how to use Prezi presentation software. I’ve seen it in action a few times, and to me it’s far more engaging than good old PowerPoint (no worries, PP, I’ll still be using you for many years to come, I’m sure).
I visited their website and was delighted to learn that educators can use a version of Prezi for free upon verification of their status (it was easy, just submit school email and website). The tutorial is straightforward, and blessedly short. In under five minutes I had created my first Prezi.

Of course that first one had about as much complexity and polish as a first grader’s attempt at poetry, but it’s a start. I keep pushing my students to try new things and stretch their brains, so it stands to reason that I should do the same. I plan on playing around with Prezi more in the future. In fact there’s a report on the Mayan culture that we just wrote that would look great as a Prezi. Oh yes, this is going to be good!