Weekly Information

  • 30 March-3 April - First Week of Online Learning
    Here we go: This week is the full roll-out of our online learning. I hope working through Friday helped you see where potential trouble spots may be so that you can adjust and provide your students the best experience possible. I will continue to post relevant things on the Online Learning Resources page as I find them.

    Since we are still following the school calendar, there will not be any online classes this Friday (3 April) for Family Home Weekend. And yes, I get the weirdness of having a day off to be home with family during a time when everyone just wishes they could be anywhere besides staying at home with family. Based on my experience and feedback from others, students appreciated seeing each other in homeroom, so you may still choose to have an optional homeroom on Friday this week. Just let your students know.

    Next week, there will not be classes on Thursday or Friday for Holy Week. To adjust, we will have time for all 8 classes on Wednesday, 8 April (the way a typical Friday would run (although, what is typical at this point?)).

    We will pick back up with morning devotions this week: HSD devotions will be on Tuesday mornings in the HSD Zoom Room; all-staff devotions will be on Wednesdays in the Personnel Zoom Room. Devotions on those days will begin at 8:30am and run for about ten minutes.

    After Tuesday this week, I will share a sheet with you all so you can let us know if there are students who have not shown any activity in your classes. That will help us see if there are trends across classes and know how better to respond. Moving forward, we will use a system similar to eligibility to raise flags about potential problems.

    Later this week, you will all receive a candidate evaluation form. We are looking for teacher feedback on everyone running for ExCo or house chair to try to avert potential problems before putting someone into office. It will be similar to the NHS evaluation you received early in third quarter (back when we only had volcanoes to worry about). Be on the lookout for that.

    Please remember to cross post assignments to Sycamore, tagging them as 'Current' and setting their due dates. You will end up putting them all in your grade book anyway, and putting them there sooner really helps parents track with their kids' work.

    If you give any instruction over Zoom or another live platform, make sure you record your session and post it to your Classroom so it's available to students who may not have been able to attend the Zoom session. Due to a variety of accessibility issues, attendance at live sessions is not required for high school students. Last Friday, our family was able to make it work with five people in our house attending Zoom sessions at different times, but I can easily imagine having to pick and choose which Zoom sessions our family members will attend in the coming days.

    I am putting together an Easter video for next week. If you would like to help me out, record a video of yourself saying, "He is risen, indeed!" and send it to me. I need videos by this Friday (3 April), and it would be helpful if you could record them in landscape, not portrait - even though I know that's counterintuitive now. Recording with a phone or webcam is sufficient.

    Thanks again for all your work in modifying your classes to happen online. I hope things go smoothly as we move into making this happen for a longer stretch, but don't be hesitant to adjust if you realize something isn't working out as you had hoped. And please don't feel constrained to cover all the material you would normally cover if your classes were meeting in person.
    Posted by HSD Principal
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Thank You

  • Out and about in the community
    Thanks for everyone's work on Ministry Day last week. We could not have done everything without you.
    Posted Mar 1, 2020, 3:58 AM by HSD Principal
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Teaching Thoughts

  • Some follow-ups from last week
    As you are processing what Jan shared with us over the past, here are a few complementary resources that have come through my feeds in the past week:

    Mark Ward at The Gospel Coalition wrote an article titled Teacher, Watch Your Jargon. While ward is specifically writing to non-professional teachers who may be teaching the Bible in various contexts, his main points apply equally well to your classrooms. He says that as teachers, you need to:
    • Know Your Audience - Although Ward usually writes heavily academic material, he writes that, "one of the great privileges of my life was to lay aside every weighty word, and the syntax that doth so easily beset me, for the souls I preached to every week for five and a half years in an urban mission work... I loved whittling away words that weren’t simple and clear; I loved working to find the words that were appropriate to the ears in front of me." As you plan your classes, think through what words will communicate meaning to your students - particularly your language learners.
    • Distinguish Between Words and Things - A single thing - or concept - can be communicated through a variety of different words. We need to make sure we are using the right words to ensure our students understand the things that make up our benchmarks. "Our words are an offering to others, or at least they’re supposed to be. They’re a service. We must ask ourselves repeatedly: Will my audience know this word? Will they know this thing?" 
    This month's Educational Leadership is focused on developing readers, so there's a lot it in about developing language. One article - and accompanying video - is Show & Tell: A Video Column / Using Language to Learn. Authors' Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey argument is that:
    When it comes to teaching adolescents, specialized language approaches are important... But adolescents also need more all-purpose approaches to literacy. Generic approaches to literacy, such as note taking, vocabulary learning, and summary writing, are transportable from content area to content area. Such tools help students navigate routine tasks and allow for more specialized, disciplinary skills to develop. For example, annotating texts generically opens the doors for students to notice differences in the structures of various texts used in specific disciplines.
    You can see some of those language skills being developed in a home ec. class in the video linked in the article. 

    One final thought from Ward: "Edification requires intelligibility; you won’t build people up if they don’t understand what you’re saying."
    Posted Mar 1, 2020, 4:47 AM by HSD Principal
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