Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Back to School 2020

Well, my school has been back in session for a few weeks now and it's going ok! For posterity, I'll explain a bit about what we're facing right now.

Last March we went on spring break and didn't return to the building. Covid-19 had hit the US and we didn't know a whole lot about it. We finished the year doing school from home. 

My district is small enough that we are able to open at full capacity. We do have a virtual school option that several families opted for, but most are in the building.
My StuCo kids have a tradition of chalking the walk so that students are greeted with encouraging messages on the first day of school. This year we also added some yard signs and got out "Francis" to make things more fun.

The first change for this school year is that face masks are required for students over 5 and for staff. I am glad that we have this requirement. It makes me feel a bit better about being around so many people. It shows that we care enough about others to try to keep them safe. My room is at the end of the hallway so if we finish clean up early, it's easy to step outside for a quick mask break before the kids go on to their next class.
Sanitation procedures have been amped up this year. I put together personal art supply kits for students to use in the classroom and for me to send home with them if we go remote. I ordered 2 gallon Ziploc bags because they are big enough to easily hold 9x12 inch paper inside along with all of the tools we need. I didn't want to pass out the supply kits until students were done switching classes but since most of my sections are graphic design or computer graphics we just started with some quick digital projects.

I have a classroom that makes it kind of impossible to have all students facing the same direction. The district ordered sneeze guards to divide the space on my tables. In some classes students can have a whole table to themselves since my enrollment is lower this year between virtual families being off campus and a drop to a smaller enrollment with graduating a larger class last year. I do have one class of 18 in a room that seats 24 in a normal year so that feels pretty crowded. We have 4 students at 4 tables and 2 students and a Para at another, which is also the table I use when I need to hook up to the tv for a demo. I'm a little nervous about having 23 kids in that classroom 2nd semester but I guess things could change before then!
Another change is that I am "zooming" in to the elementary classrooms for their art classes. A recently retired teacher came back as a Para and she supervises the class while I teach from my classroom. They were trying to cut down on people crossing between the two buildings so I think it was a smart move. This morning I was the "art fairy" and dropped off paper for the week's classes. The students mainly use the supplies they brought to school so I'm just planning based off of that. Teaching in this way is not that conducive to TAB but I'm hoping I can figure out how to make it work.
This is a photo of the end of an elementary class when the students came up one at a time to share their work. We actually have more instructional time since clean up is faster and we don't have to walk back to the other building so sharing at the end of class is a bonus.
This is my set up when I need to demonstrate something. I have an iPad with the camera pointing down in an opening of an old shelf and hook the iPad up to my laptop. Books hold the shelf up high enough to give me room to move beneath it. When I'm ready to demonstrate, I just share my screen and select the device. It's kind of bulky, but it works. I also use the iPad set up like this but hooked to my smart TV for demonstrations since I can't just call the class around a table anymore.

Here are a couple examples from my advanced class's first assignment. We watched a video from the Art Assignment on the Definition of Art and students wrote their own before creating a graphic in Canva.

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