School Year Finally Launches


One kid per table; 6 feet apart

I’m sure it will be a year unlike any!

We started a whole month later than planned. The COVID situation is actually worse now than it was a month ago, with near-nightly helicopters transporting severely ill people up to Fargo or down to Sioux Falls for ICU care. We have had two positive COVID cases among staff/teachers, and two primary classes and their teachers are out on 14 day quarantine due to exposure. Each Wednesday, they “fog” the entire school, and teachers are to wipe down surfaces between classes and at the end of each day.

The delay did allow us to get some new technology (these fancy display boards take the place of a white board… which took the place of a chalk board of years past.) Of course, they didn’t give us any information on how to make the display boards do anything, so we’re going to have to wait to figure that out.

Not high-tech, but low tech: each student gets a plastic box with school supplies to use. No more shared crayons or markers or…anything.

These boxes will also go home to the students whose parents have opted to have them as “distance learners” full time. They’ll not come in to school, but will participate via internet five days a week. The rest of the kids come in 2 days a week, and work o
n the internet the other three days. The Chromebooks and internet funding comes from some of the federal COVID relief funds, making it possible for no one at our school to have to go without internet. Thank you to our elected officials for that!

This year, during the mornings, I am teaching reading and also math to a group of 12 third and fourth graders from our Dakota Language Immersion Project. Their program is open four days a week, closed

on Wednesdays for our “deep cleaning” day. As you can see, we’ve started right out with measuring. That’s applied math, and generally one that no one has mastered. We started off with inches. Only kids who live in the same household could measure each other. My class has two sets of siblings, so that turns out to be a large portion of my class! 

We measured height, length of feet, length of arms, and length of furniture!

You will notice that my students (and I) wear both a face mask AND a face shield. That’s because three in our class are at high medical risk, so we’re trying to decrease any chance for sharing of germs if we can. In two weeks, we’ll go a step further and I’ll start teaching remotely from home; four of twelve will learn from their homes. The other eight will be at school, in my classroom, with their Dakota Language teacher. He will be co-teaching with me, so the kids will get to learn about science, math and reading in both languages. 

As I said… this will sure be a year unlike any other!