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Synchronous Learning in Kindergarten
Old 09-18-2021, 01:48 PM
 
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Last year we taught half our students in person in the mornings and the other half of our class virtually in the afternoons. Administration told us that synchronous learning was not appropriate for kindergarten. We agreed.

Now it is a different story. This year we have all our students back in the classroom. We do not have any help in our classrooms. We've been told if we have any students, who have to quarantine, we are expected to teach synchronously. We can't use the video lessons or Seesaw activities we created last year.

How do you teach synchronously when you have a classroom full of kindergarteners (some who are in school for the first time) and no help? K teachers don't stand in front of the class lecturing. Our students are not independent. We use manipulatives, do hands on activities and move around. My schedule might say phonics at 10:00am, but that doesn't always happen-especially at the beginning of the school year. We are dealing with criers. We don't have a bathroom in our K classrooms so we might be dealing with a student who had an accident or checking to make sure the bathroom monitor is at the post at the end of the hallway. (The bathroom monitor also takes students to the nurse at the end of a different hallway, fills water pitchers/bottles... so is not always there.) Plus, several teachers are dealing with major behaviors-screaming, throwing things, meltdowns, runners...

We are dealing with wearing masks (in high heat and humidity and no AC) and supposed to social distance (impossible when you have 5-6 kids at a table). We have to do frequent hand washing/hand sanitizing. Our kids aren't allowed to use the water fountain in the hall (covid protocol) and can't drink the water from the sink (unfiltered). They are supposed to bring in a filled water bottle. Half don't, so we have pitchers and cups in the hall on a desk. (I brought in a cooler with ice and fill my own pitcher so I have it in my classroom to save some time.) This year they added electronic ordering for lunch and we have some students eating breakfast in the classroom.

What about student privacy issues-the student who struggles learning, the student I need to redirect often, or the kid having a meltdown? Parents talk.

Last year, when I taught virtually, I had to move my teaching easel so it faced the camera. It needed to be very close so the kids could see what was on it. When I am teaching in person, my easel faces the students-the completely opposite direction.

Kindergarten classrooms are not quiet. How do you teach the students in your classroom and be aware of the student on the screen at the same time? Last year, when I did Google Meets with small groups it was hard enough to keep students engaged. Students were playing with toys, watching TV, eating, spinning around, jumping on the couch... Some had just gotten out of bed and were in pajamas. It was difficult to get them on during their assigned time for their Google Meet. Now I am going to expect them to get on all day.

How do you do synchronous learning and stay sane?


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Old 09-18-2021, 02:15 PM
 
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We are not expected to tech synchronously and I still can't stay sane.

You mentioned so many of the issues I am having this year.

What are bathroom monitors? Older kids or aides?
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:54 PM
 
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A few years ago we got moved from our kindergarten classrooms that had a bathroom so they could expand our preschool program. We got moved to a different wing and now the K classrooms are in two halls. The girls and boys bathrooms are in one of the hallways. The district had to get a waiver because the K classrooms don't have a bathroom and two of the classrooms are in the other hall so the bathroom is not visible from their classroom doors.

NJ State Code says
Quote:
) In lieu of providing an individual toilet in each classroom, toilets may be provided adjacent to or outside the classroom, provided they are readily accessible, and the toilet room and signage are visible to a child from the classroom door.
There is an exit door close to the bathrooms so K teachers had concerns about sending students to the bathroom on their own. The district hired some lunch aides to work some extra hours to cover the bathroom so there is supposed to be someone monitoring the bathrooms at all times. That doesn't always happen because they now expect that person to fill the water pitchers in the hallways, replace cups when they are gone, walk students to the nurse who is at the end of another hallway.

It has been interesting and maybe a little eye opening for some administration. You know how it is in K. The normal, "I can't button my pants." Some kids get butt-naked to have a bowel movement. We had one walk out of the bathroom naked because he wanted someone to wipe his bottom. Little boys aren't used to using a urinal and have tried to use it for other things. Some boys drop their pants to the floor when they pee at the urinal. Some boys and girls make a game out of locking the doors and crawling under the stalls. It doesn't just happen at the beginning of the year either.
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Old 09-18-2021, 08:02 PM
 
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I honestly cannot even fathom trying to teach both at the same time. Not in any grade, but most especially not in kinder. It's just not possible, and the privacy issue is huge IMO. Both for the kids and for you. It's one thing to be conducting classes to all virtual learners, but to have parents be able to see and hear what you are doing in your classroom all day long? I know we have nothing to hide, but we all know how parents can make mountains out of molehills... And yes, they are totally going to talk about the other kids because they are going to see/hear it all.

I think I would have admin come in and watch a very interactive part of your day, and then ask them how you can make it work for a student at home. See if they have any life changing suggestions that will make everyone successful (because, of course, they won't because it isn't possible).

I suppose you could just find a place to place the camera so the student is behind everyone else (as if they are sitting at a table or on the rug, just like everyone else) and let it be. There's really nothing more you can do.

I feel lucky that I just have to provide an independent packet for any kids who have to quarantine.

I'm sorry for the sh!t you are having to deal with. All of those regulations and protocols are ridiculous.
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:57 PM
 
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I don't know how on earth you are expected to accomplish that. I would be very concerned about Ferpa compliance as well.

There are just too many covid rules that are impossible to follow. I am sorry they have added extra stress to your plate.


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Old 09-25-2021, 10:03 AM
 
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FERPA only applies to educational records so I don't think that's in play.

Teaching Roomies and Zoomies at same time is a nightmare.
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