Landry, age 5, enjoyed her first day in kindergarten with Mrs. Steppe (a friend with whom I taught 20 years ago.) Landry actually got to go to school in person for two hours. I think they had three 2-hour shifts.
Yesterday, Landry got to learn from home—quite a different experience. She has her own little corner of the dining room where she has her iPad, a special desk with a table beside it, and her “kindergarten kit” that she received yesterday. She pointed out to me that she’d gotten her desk for Christmas from Aunt Gina. At Christmastime, no one could imagine how useful it would be!
Her dad, Stephen, was in his office, her mom, Kelsey, upstairs in their bedroom, and her brother, Finn, in his bedroom working independently with his fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Brenner.
Landry remembered some of what she’d learned about getting online with her class, and Stephen helped us with some of it. At 8:30, we were on with the other children in her class in little squares on the screen. Landry was a bit intimidated and needed some pretty intense coaching from her dad and me to get her to participate.
Mrs. Steppe also mentioned that they should look for a video message from Mr. H, the gym teacher. Each day he leads the pledge of allegiance and has the children do some exercises.
When she finally got in the groove, I think she enjoyed it. Mrs. Steppe greeted all of the children as they logged on, and several children introduced themselves. Mrs. Steppe led a “morning meeting” where she explained what they would be doing on their own (with adult help not mentioned, but understood) after we left the meeting. In fact, though I was trying to stay out of sight, at one point Mrs. Steppe laughed and said, “Is that Mrs. Boyd I see?” Busted.
As they looked at the back of the reading/writing workbook, Landry saw the alphabet and starting singing the “Alphabet Song.” Mrs. Steppe said, “Landry, that’s a good idea. Let’s sing the song together.” Several were muted, but we could hear some singing along.
In order to do her reading/writing workbook and her math workbook, Landry could listen to a recording that Mrs. Steppe had made as well as written instructions that I could read on her iPad. (Or could have read if I’d taken my computer glasses with me—a mistake I won’t make tomorrow.) Stephen helped a lot.
After she did the workbook pages, she took a picture of it with her iPad and submitted it to Mrs. Steppe. Isn’t that amazing? I can’t imagine how smoothly that’s all been worked out. Mrs. Steppe sent back a page to be completed better, so she did that during her work time.
At 10, Landry’s small group met to have a chat with Happy the Frog, Mrs. Steppe’s puppet. They talked about what they remembered from being together the day before, and at the end Mrs. Steppe asked for questions. Landry’s hand shot up and she unmuted her screen. She said, “We couldn’t find Mr. H.”
Mrs. Steppe explained that we could find it on the Journal tab. I said, “We went there but we could only find the one from yesterday.” Sure enough! Mrs. Steppe couldn’t find that day’s, either, so she said she’d check on that. I was proud of Landry for remembering and speaking up nicely.
We had a break from 10:30-12:30. During that time Landry picked a book for me to read to her that was actually educational—Aesop’s Fables. We had some pretty good discussion on those stories, especially “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” You can imagine. She also ate lunch and watched a “Magic School Bus” episode.
In the afternoon, the teacher assistant, Mrs. Henry, had “Craft Time,” where each child cut out the letter A that was printed on green paper in their kindergarten kit. Then they glued it on the first page of a spiral notebook with their names on the front, also in her kindergarten kit. Could the next craft time be the letter B? We’ll see. She practiced writing B in her workbook today. I wondered what had happened to A! They cut out an eyeball and teeth to make the A into an alligator. Landry has excellent cutting skills.
After Craft Time, Landry spent a long time doing the activities on her iPad called “Duck Duck Moose.” She loved it, and did many of the math activities over and over.
At 3, I told her the school day was over and she could go play. Her mom had just finished her school day upstairs and she came down to get a report about Landry’s day. It was a good first school-at-home day, but it did make me glad I volunteered only for Tuesdays and Thursdays!