Too often, school is a place where students are told what not to do. It's all to common for teachers hand out or write their "classroom rules." Lately this has been renamed "expectations."
Whatever its called, these are usually not the most motivational or inspirational statements. So I thought about how I could change this.
This is something that resonates more with my ideas about teaching...
This is a letter our lead teacher wrote to parents...
I hope this email finds you well! I look forward to working with you and your students over the coming weeks as we pilot this new program. My hope is to meet with you in person as soon as possible to help better understand the philosophy and logistics of the program and to clarify expectations to make for a successful learning experience for your children. Until we can meet in person, I hope to answer some questions in this email. In general, the first two weeks will have the students learning introductory concepts, gaining fluency with the technology and processes and will involve learning content often through reading and question sets. The second two weeks will be more hands-on and exploratory.
-About 50% of the work on the curriculum is intended to be done outside of school, either in the evenings or on the weekends. I imagine this works out to be about 1-2 hours a night, more on Fridays as travel allows and over the weekend. This program is flexible and academically rigorous and as such there is a lot of work to be done, much of it will need to happen outside of school. There is a potential that if they use their time at school well, they can complete all assignments for the day and not have homework.
-If students are sick and/or unable to come to school but feel they can work at home they should continue to work on assignments as they are due. There won’t be make up work, just have them keep plugging along.
-Please give us feedback so that we can improve the program’s outcomes and student experience.
-Please be patient with us as we problem solve issues that arise with a new program and new technologies.
How you can help:
-Check in on students to gauge progress on work at home
-Ask to see their “progress report” which should be in their notebooks and helps them track assignments throughout the week.
-Have them explain how motivis works, how they see which assignments are due and in order.
-Check for periodic updates and announcements on the TSS online academy website <https://sites.google.com/a/tetonscience.org/tss-online-academy/home>
-Please make sure your child has the following materials at school and when working on their assignments: computer, access to internet, headphones (especially for Spanish work), notebook, glue stick, pencils and/or pens, food for snacks and lunch and a water bottle.
Who to contact and for what purpose:
(PK): Primary contact for day to day logistics, social studies curriculum and I will also serve as your student’s advisor during the program.
(MA): Primary contact for English Language Arts and Visual Arts. MA lives in Virginia, so please keep time change in mind.
Primary contact for technical issues
Primary contact for science related questions and all other questions/thoughts/concerns about the program
Please let me know if you have any availability to meet in person at TSS this week or early next week.
Thanks so much and please feel free to be in touch with any and all questions!
In an effort to expand the reach of the mission of Teton Science Schools, we taught students in grade 5 and grade 8 a pilot of an innovative hybrid online curriculum from November 16 - December 18, 2015. This free pilot is part of a larger effort to design an experiential, place-based, online school to better connect students with communities, real-world experiences, and relevant learning.
A Conflict Within: Understanding Civil Wars.
Are conflicts inevitable? We know they are part of human history and based on power struggles, but are they necessary? What can you learn from the wars in your area? Though inquiry and design, 8th grade students will integrate English, Science, Social Studies, and Visual Arts to understand civil wars. Their goal will be to connect to with their community and learn from the wars in their area. Competency based assessments will guide students through the unit at their own pace, supported by an instructor. The unique model consists of both core learning and experiential education all combined to offer a relevant, engaging, and challenging experience for students. Pilot offered at no cost from November 16 to December 18. Participant families must be interested in providing feedback and supporting student learning.
The Melting Pot: A Global Perspective on Community
How has the culture of your community changed? Historically, the United States has experienced waves of different cultural influences. Though inquiry and design, 5th grade students will integrate English, Science, Social Studies, and Visual Arts to understand the cultural influences of their community. Their goal will be to connect with their community to learn about the cultural shifts and historic impacts. Competency based assessments will guide students through the unit, at their own pace, while the instructor facilitates the process. The unique model consists of both core learning and experiential education all combined to offer a relevant, engaging, and challenging experience for students. Pilot offered at no cost from November 16 to December 18. Participant families must be interested in providing feedback and supporting student learning.
This winter, from January to March, we are piloting a very innovative learning experience. This semester students will strive for excellence on certain competencies in the visual arts, English, Social Studies, Math, Spanish, and Coding. The program is based on national standards and rests on six core beliefs:
Students in the program learn to manage their time, interact with professionals, think and connect content areas, and understand how to make change happen in the world. We expect that our graduates are highly functioning, creative, and involved members of their adult communities.
"Your only as good as your record collection." -DJ Spooky