Mustang Mail

MJH Online Instruction Edition

8/2/2020

Good Morning, Mustang Families-


The 20/21 school year officially begins on Wednesday, 8/5 (online). Certainly not the way any of us had planned, but we are excited to welcome our students “back” nonetheless!! Please review all the information below regarding the online education schedule. Student schedules will be available beginning Monday, 8/3 (**Note: Due to the situation some minor class changes may occur through 8/4).


*Note: As finalizing our schedules is the primary focus, no additional changes to learning options (full online, flex, in-person) will be accepted at this time. Whichever learning option was chosen will be in place moving forward. Changes will be possible as we move to the end of the Semester/Grading period.



Given the circumstances, we’ve adopted a “Semper Gumby” (Always Flexible) approach to this school year. The challenges and frustrations may be many, but our ability to control our attitudes and remain flexible will ultimately be a huge factor in the success of our students. We ask that our amazing Mustang community adopt the same mindset to best assist us in helping our kids.


We know that there will be challenges and changes as we move forward with online instruction. This is uncharted territory for everyone, so we will continue to adjust as necessary. Our MJH teachers have Office Hours, as well as other contact opportunities each day of the week. Please allow them (24) hours to respond to either calls or emails.



MJH Online Learning Schedule (see link immediately below and at bottom of newsletter):


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SLij4nQ5o1WCXh3sjy2ZSgrtvqFsY225s3zmcHRKLps/edit?usp=sharing


The “Bell” Schedule:

  • You’ll note that this is setup to allow for live instruction on alternating days, periods 1-3 in the AM (8:30 - 11:20 am) on Mon/Wed and periods 4 &5 - 7 in the PM (12 - 2:50 pm) on Tue/Thur. This breaks up the workload on students/parents and ensures that students are not stuck in front of a screen the entire day. That said, it still allows for teacher assistance, in every class, each day.

  • As the eventual goal is being back on campus, we will maintain a consistent bell schedule that models that of a regular school day. This will allow for smoother transition from online to on campus. Most importantly, it will make it easy for students and parents to remember.

  • (50) minute class periods, with (10) minutes between each class and a (40) min lunch.

    • The (10) minute break between classes allows time to transition between classes, as well as restroom breaks, snacks or simply take the eyes (and body) away from the screen.

  • We will not have a 1 hour “Early Release” on Wednesdays while in the online format. The schedule will remain consistent, Mon. - Fri.

  • Students will follow their class schedule in order, per class period and with their current teachers, as they would in-person.

  • Alternating the live instructional days was designed to create some flexibility for our students and their families. We know that a JH student sitting in front of a screen from 8:30 am - 2:50 pm is generally not realistic, nor helpful. Granted, many would stare at their phones for that time frame given the chance!


Instruction:

  • The first three days (8/5 - 8/7) will be focused on our teachers/students having the opportunity to connect and begin building rapport. Additionally, students will receive guidance on navigating the various online platforms, receive instruction about their specific classes/procedures and begin setting a foundation for the curriculum in each class.


  • Beginning Monday, 8/10 - Live Instruction Days:

    • 1st, 2nd & 3rd periods - AM: Monday & Wednesday

    • 4th/5th, 6th & 7th periods - PM: Tuesday & Thursday

      • Live lessons are not exclusively direct instruction or lecture. Teachers will use a variety of instructional strategies and modeling based upon the curriculum.


  • Friday - Office hours: On Friday, time will be reserved by all teachers, each period, for students to make one on one appointments for live assistance with assignments or content. Drop-in visits during the first 15 mins. will also be an option.

  • Live lessons will be recorded and available for students in all classes. We realize that technical difficulties will occur and there will be conflicts that prevent students from logging in at specified times. Teachers posting all lessons and activities will ensure students continue to have access outside the “normal” school day.


Additional Notes:

  • When students return to campus, they will have already been using a similar schedule each day. That, and the rapport they have begun to build with teachers and fellow students will aid in making for a much easier (and less stressful) transition.

  • Upon return to on campus instruction, we will be using the following bell schedule(s):

  • Grades: All assignments and assessments during this online instruction period will count towards a student’s overall grade. The Buzz platform will be used for grading all year, so grades will carry over regardless of it being online or in-person.

  • Attendance: Will be tracked/monitored every school day based upon students logging in to the Buzz learning platform.


Successful Habits For Online Learning:

  • Create a consistent schedule. This is largely created for our students through our online learning schedule.

  • Time is built in weekly for live instruction, as well as working both individually and with classmates. Additionally, students are encouraged to utilize the available office hours throughout the week and on Friday to keep pace and receive additional individual assistance as needed.

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Example schedule for an MJH student: “J.J."

Period 1 - Math with Mr. Steele

Period 2 - Band with Mr. Foley

Period 3 - Social Studies with Mr. Korbel

Period 4 or 5 - English with Ms. Sulski

Period 6 - Science with Mrs. Schwartz

Period 7 - PE with Mr. Powell

AM live instruction (8:30 am - 11:20 am) on Monday and Wednesday, JJ will:


  1. Signs into Buzz 1st period Math from 8:30-9:20 am to receive online instruction.

  2. Signs into Buzz 2nd period Band from 9:30-10:20 am to receive online instruction.

  3. Signs into Buzz 3rd period Social Studies from 10:30-11:20 am to receive online instruction.

**Note: Depending on the lesson, it is likely that students will not be “in class” the full (50) minutes. The instruction portion will be followed by individual work time (with support), so some students may very well complete the work prior to the end of the class period.


For the remainder of the school day, JJ will have the option to "drop-in" to periods 4 or 5, 6 and 7 during the first 15 minutes of each class period to ask questions, receive clarification on assignments and receive support. JJ should login for each of these classes at some point during the day, but IS NOT required to login during the regular class times (unless specific help is needed). This allows students some flexibility, and prevents them from being stuck in front of a screen all day.


For drop-in assistance on Monday and Wednesday: PM


Period 4/5 English from 12-12:15 pm

Period 6 Science from 1-1:15 pm

Period 7 PE from 2-2:15 pm


PM live instruction (12:00 pm - 2:50 pm) on Tuesday and Thursdays. JJ will:


In the AM, JJ will have the option to "drop-in" to periods 1, 2, or 3 during the first 15 minutes of each class period to ask questions, receive clarification on assignments and receive support. JJ should login for each of these classes at some point during the day, but IS NOT required to login during the regular class times (unless specific help is needed). This allows students some flexibility, and prevents them from being stuck in front of a screen all day.


AM - Drop-in assistance

Period 1 8:30-8:45 am

Period 2 9:30-9:45 am

Period 3 10:30-10:45 am


PM - Live Instruction

Signs into 4th (8th) or 5th (7th) period from 12:00-12:50 pm to receive live online instruction.

Signs into 6th period from 1:00-1:50 pm to receive live online instruction.

Signs into 7th period from 2:00-2:50 pm to receive live online instruction.


On Friday:

Students have the option to "drop-in" to all of their classes during the first 15 minutes of each class period to ask questions, receive clarification on assignments and receive support. Students may also make appointments (Office Hours) with their teachers during their assigned class periods to receive additional assistance as needed. **Students should login in to ALL of their classes at some point on Friday, however; it is not required that they follow the regular bell schedule.


*Online Instructional Bell Schedule subject to change if In-Person Instruction is delayed past August 17th


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The Online Instructional Bell Schedule for the First Day of School:


We are asking our Mustang students to sign-in to ALL of their classes, each class period, on Wednesday, August 5 and Thursday, August 6. Our Mustang teachers will share welcome back activities that allow students to navigate the Online Instruction realm and assist with communicating what the schedule and procedures will look like in each class.

These are the only days where we are asking our students to login to all of their classes according to the bell schedule - please plan for logins from 8:30 am - 2:00 pm.


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Getting Started Online August 5th


As all of our students will begin the school year online, there are some key resources our parents should be aware of:

  • During online learning students will be using the Buzz platform, our official district online learning platform, to connect with their teacher(s), and to access the Florida Virtual curriculum.

  • Students will use the GPS Portal to access Buzz on a daily basis while learning online.

  • Our GPS Parent Technical Support website is now live, providing parents with all the information they need to be successful online including login information for our district online platform, Buzz.

  • Click here to view a ‘Parent Onboarding’ video for Buzz.

  • Student orientation for Buzz will be available prior to have access to their courses on August 5th.

  • Communication will continue to be sent out from your school(s) with information regarding schedules, meet the teacher etc.

  • Please reference www.gilbertschools.net/backtoschool for clear expectations regarding online learning, for our students, and our parents.


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Student/Parent Tips for Online Instruction:

Link: https://www.gilbertschools.net/Page/2044


Time Management

  • Set up a ‘study area’ with a desk or table. Make it your own!

  • When you are working on school work make sure your mobile phone is on silent and put away so that it does not distract you.

  • Use break times to go outside and get some fresh air.

  • Give yourself 10-minute breaks between lessons.

  • Grab a healthy snack to eat while learning, and have your water bottle nearby.

  • Give yourself time to socialize with family throughout the day.


Balance Out Your Day

  • Eat healthy snacks throughout the day

  • Drink lots of water

  • Check-in with friends remotely

  • Try a new stress reliever or mindfulness technique

  • Listen to music that makes you happy

  • Get outside and enjoy the fresh air

  • Find a free exercise video

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your teachers, counselors, and administrators are just an email away.


How to Stay Focused and Motivated

  • Pick a place that will be your consistent study area and make it your own - Keep your study area clean and organized, with no clutter. Your study area should include a desk/table with a comfortable chair.

  • Minimize distractions - Choose a location for your study area that is as quiet as possible, let your family members know that this is now your study area, and don’t forget to put your mobile phone on mute and out of eye-range when you are studying.

  • Take breaks - Taking regular short breaks helps with learning and maintaining your focus.


Parent At-Home Learning Tips

  • Please use resource lists as a menu from which to explore and select activities of interest. Everything is an opportunity to learn; keep it fun and explore out-of-the-box ideas.

  • Have a family meeting to develop a daily schedule/routine and post it somewhere where everyone can see it. Routines help provide a sense of security, help children develop self-discipline, help children take charge of their own activities, and maintain consistency in expectations.

  • The schedule could include slots for different types of activities (reading, math, science, social studies, writing, physical activity, arts/creativity, free time, and educational TV/podcasts). Slots could be between 20-30 minutes long unless children want to extend them on their own. Learning periods can be distributed throughout the day with plenty of active, creative, free choice or play, snack/lunch or break times in between.

  • Help students create a workspace at home. Children benefit from different work spaces for different types of activities (i.e. table or desk for writing/drawing), comfortable chair for reading, indoor/outdoor spaces for physical activity). Set up the workspace(s) with materials needed for learning like pencils, paper, art/drawing supplies, books, and puzzles.

  • Have a daily wrap-up meeting. Check-in with children about what they are learning, what they liked best, what support they need or questions they have. Don’t be afraid to adjust the routine or schedule based upon reflection and feedback.