The Triton Tribune
Be Kind ~ Be Awesome ~ Make The Right Choices
Volume 2 ~ Issue 3 ~ August 10, 2020
Amazing Triton Staff,
"The genius thing that we did, is that we did not give up." Jay-Z
As we ready to begin Week 2 of this most unusual school year, I want to say that YOU MAKE ME PROUD! Starting a new school year is challenging enough; having to do it through the virtual lens makes it more than challenging and tests our character. I have to say that you have demonstrated so many of our Triton Traits; you showed resilience, gratitude, kindness and so many more. Most importantly, as the quote above says, YOU DID NOT GIVE UP!
I want to continue to encourage you to demonstrate all the Triton Traits this week, first, to yourselves, then to students and their parents. This is experience is all new to us. Many of you have shared with me the rollercoaster ride this week and how this experience has brought back memories of being a first year teacher. In many ways, that is true as teaching via a new medium (online) is very complex. This is both scary and exciting. Scary because we might have to let go of instructional practices that were fine for in-school teacher but no longer applicable for synchronous instruction. Exciting because we are navigating a whole new world of instructional possibilities. To encourage you, I have asked your colleagues to share one moment of success this week. Please take time to read the section called Celebrating First Week's Successes as I believe you will realize that you have experienced at least one success last week that you can use to propel you into trying new ways of teaching and reaching your students.
On Thursday, August 6, I met with the ELM SEA representatives to discuss the new MOU. I am still in the process of writing a summary of our meeting but for purposes of planning, I have included a couple of understandings in this newsletter with regards to attendance and duty hours. Please read below.
We also discussed the amount of work that many of you put in last weekend with regards to preparing for opening on August 3. It was agreed that my directives to complete certain tasks were to be done during your duty hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and NOT over the weekend. It was also recognized that while there is a certain expectation that all of us put in extra work on the weekend before school opens, most of you put in much more than normal. SEA asked for you to have reasonable compensation through flex hours or PLC time. I asked for the weekend to think about my decision. After having much thought and considering practices with other bargaining groups, I will be giving everyone to three hours of flex hours or PLC time back to you. Please talk with your PLC to determine when you will take this. Then Lidia know for record-keeping purposes.
After the technical glitches last week, some teachers will be switching from Google MEET to Microsoft TEAMS. I have given us one more week to stick with Google MEET. If at the end of this week, we are still experiencing significant connectivity issues, I will direct you to switch to TEAMS.
Below are information that are pertinent to the week. They appear in this order:
- Celebrating First Week's Successes
- Necessary Class Changes Starting This Week
- Teacher Duty Day
- Attendance Information
- Textbook Distribution
- ELM Virtual Daily Schedule
- ELM Technology Support Line
- A Guide to Student Login Credentials
Here is the link to this week's parent/student newsletter.
WE GOT THIS!
Let's have an amazing week!
Below are vignettes from your colleagues. I hope they encourage you.
Last week, we (each class) did an icebreaker challenge where we had to work together to count up to 30 together out loud without anyone saying the same number at the same time. If we said the number at the same time, we had to start over at one again. It was a lot of fun. Students and I were laughing together, and students even started to strategize together. It was the first time I realized that while teaching online is VERY different, it IS possible to create classroom community. I considered this activity a success because while it seemed like a simple activity, it's actually not. And it forced us as a class to work together for the first time. Many students even gained comfort in turning their cameras on or speaking up. Creating community was something I was nervous about all summer but activities like this helps me visualize what it's going to look like virtually.
Katy Petty, 8th Grade PE Teacher on Providing Structure Virtually
Honestly, I was pretty strict with the 8th graders the first week to prevent chaos in the chat and to get them to all be muted. It's a lot with 50 of them at once. Here are the lessons I learned on structure:
- It is important to begin with expectations (mute yourself when you come into class. Do not use the chat room as your time to talk to classmates, it is meant for instruction/questions).
- Be sure to take attendance then explain the learning objective of the day and remind them of any asynchronous assignments that were/will be due.
- Teach your lesson and end with a closing (what is upcoming, what is due, etc.)
The students need structure just as much/even more with distance learning. The live / synchronous session should be structured just like your physical classroom
I would say a positive moment was the kids who I kept behind one on one to help them figure out how to find and submit their first assignment on google classroom. They were proud and happy they were able to do it and were grateful that I gave them one on one attention.
Kate Dzierzek, 8th Grade Math Teacher on Learning New Online Tools
As a teacher who errs on the side of caution, I want to make sure I am maintaining a safe learning environment free of inappropriate material. In using Padlet for a "Getting to Know You" activity, there were some posts that I did not know if they were acceptable or not. The first had tanks, toys though they may be ...the 2nd has a skull and crossbones ...anime as it may be! After asking Easter for guidance I approved the two posts. I slowed down and read the text in his post and discovered that student builds WWII vehicles out of cardboard and paints them. That was some of his work!!! These kids are so creative. Here is the link to my Getting To Know You Padlet. Thank you Matt Seat for sharing.
Courtney Quinn, 7th Grade English Teacher on Knowing Her Students
On Thursday, while greeting student into class, one of my students’ dogs walked by the camera. “What a cute dog you have,” I said. What is it’s name? The student proceeded to show me the dog and tell me her name. Then another student said, “Do you want to see my dog too?” I told the student I would love to, and the student went to go get her dog. This started a ripple effect. “Ms. Quinn, let me show you my dog, cat, pet.” And before I knew it, I had ¾ of my class showing me their pets. And while I enjoyed seeing everyone’s pets, I also got to see my students’ faces, a large majority of the class. “Can my dog sit with me in class?” a student asked. I said yes, and then taught class to at least 10 students with their cameras on and their pets. Both students and pets were very well behaved. We are teaching in such different times now, and making connections is extremely important. I connected with my students Thursday, I saw them not just as students, but as pet lovers, something that I am too. The time taken to compliment their pets, gave me a window into what is important to them. Sometimes we have to look at our surroundings, ask questions and just be flexible. Our kids really do want to share who they are.
Your child's schedules may be changed this week. Please read below for the reasons this may happen. Counselors have done a great job to minimize these moves but this is part of the annual process of what we call balancing classes.
Please read the instructions below on how to take attendance and what students should do on their end to ensure that they will not be marked absent. All attendance must be submitted at the end of the day.
- Create a window shield/dashboard sign like shown below. Click on this link to access the template.
- Come at your designated time. If you are not able to make it then, Friday is a make-up for those who cannot come. .
- If you cannot come on the make-up date on Friday, please email Mr. Nafarrete at firstname.lastname@example.org to make appointment for a special time.
- If you have an 8th grader who has NOT returned books, this is an opportunity for you to return these books. Place unreturned books in the trunk, and when you get to the pick up station, we will take your 7th grade books and replace them with 8th grade books.
- NO WALK-UPS or BIKING TO SCHOOL to pick up textbooks.
- Students do not have to be present to pick up textbooks. But they will need the receipt to clear attendance with their Social Science Teachers.
Students will be receiving two books: Social Science and English. Spanish textbooks will be distributed at a different time because Spanish teachers are giving placement tests this week. This will result in students moving to different levels, if applicable.
If you need help with any technology issue, please contact Mr. Doyle, our site IT support. He will get back to you faster.
Click on the title which is a link to the pdf version of the picture below.