• Virtual Learning Launch!

    Posted by Eleanor Gund on 4/3/2020
    Hi everyone,
     
    Virtual learning is officially starting on Monday, April 6th! I'm so excited for this opportunity for my students to learn at their own pace, and to give them more frequent and personalized feedback! This email has important information about how to access technology, and grading policy. Please read through to the end!
     
    Assignments
    I will be assigning work in pace with the district-wide science materials in the 6-8 packet. New packets covering Weeks 3-5 of distance learning will be available for pickup at meal sites throughout the district. I highly recommend that every family pick up those packets, even if your student has consistent technology access. This way, your student can keep learning even if unexpected technological difficulties pop up. If your family is unable to pick up packets from a meal site, please email me your address and the grades of each of your children before Monday, April 6th at 11am, and I will drop off packets on your doorstep later that day. 
     
    Enrichment opportunities like virtual field trips, academic games, interactive simulations, and videos will be posted on Microsoft Teams. Students should continue to spend 15-30 minutes on science daily, and should complete a daily learning log and turn it in on Teams. Students who are interested in spending more time learning can explore geologic processes in more depth by engaging in online enrichment linked in Teams, or can join my Khan Academy class (https://www.khanacademy.org/join/UMBRZT59) to review math they will be using in Physics next year!
     
    Contacting Me and Office Hours
    While I will be answering emails and phone calls throughout the school day, students will be able to interact with me and their peers during virtual office hours in Microsoft Teams. These office hours will happen M-F 12 pm-1 pm. For students' safety, they must turn off their video cameras when joining the meeting. Recordings of the meeting will be sent to administrators at the conclusion of the meeting: please remind your students to behave appropriately while using online tools. (I'm anticipating some technical difficulties the first time I try this, so please be patient and remember that you can always call/email me.)
     
    As always, you can contact me whenever you or your child needs help with their schoolwork via phone: (314) 329-1885, email: eleanor.gund@slps.org, or Microsoft Teams. I will be responding within an hour from 10 am - 6 pm M-F (shifted back an hour to accommodate parent work schedules), and within 24 hours outside that window. 
     
    Technology Access
    The district is distributing iPads and hotspots at the downtown office, and at select schools. To get access to that technology, you must first fill out this form: slps.org/tech, then wait for district representatives to contact you. Please do so as soon as possible: I do not know if they will have enough devices for all students. If you need help or encounter problems, please send me an email. 

    Technology Troubleshooting
    Once you have a device, please download and log in to Microsoft Teams using your student's username and password they use to log in to computers at school. The username should be in the format: username@slps.org. If your student has forgotten their username or password, please email me. If you have trouble downloading or logging in to Microsoft Teams, please take a picture of what you are seeing, and send the picture and your phone number to me. I will call you to help you figure out what went wrong, and forward the information to the IT department if needed. 
     
    If your internet is struggling to handle many people using it at once, the tips in this document will be helpful: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-teams-for-schoolwork-when-bandwidth-is-low-5c5675f7-1b55-471a-9daa-ec1e6df38262

     

    Grades
    For 6-8 graders, 4th quarter grades will be determined by copying over students' 3rd quarter grades, then raising them depending on the quality and quantity of the work they turn in during distance learning. Students will not get a lower grade during the 4th quarter than their 3rd quarter grade. If your student got an F during the 3rd quarter, their teachers will be reaching out to give them special assistance and support with completing and submitting assignments to help them raise that grade. More details about how grades will be determined are discussed here: http://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20200403/40/fd/b5/66/73ef708f09c7ee6033dd4f63/SLPS_Virtual_Learning_Communications_for_Parents.pdf
     
    I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please reach out if you need anything.
     
    Thanks, 
    Ms. Gund
    Comments (-1)
  • March 30 - April 3

    Posted by Eleanor Gund on 3/30/2020
    Hi 8th Grade Scientists!
     
    As we settle in to distance learning, I'm beginning to develop systems to structure learning for you.  I have set up a virtual classroom on Microsoft Teams, and I will be populating it with instructional activities throughout the week.
     
    Contacting Me
    As always, you can contact me whenever you need help with your schoolwork via phone: (314) 329-1885, email: eleanor.gund@slps.org, or Microsoft Teams. I will be responding within an hour from 9 am - 5 pm M-F, and within 24 hours outside that window. I will be holding office hours via video chat on Microsoft Teams from 12pm -1pm daily, M-F, starting tomorrow. I will send out more information on how to access office hours soon.
     
    Weekly Assignments
    Here's what students should be doing this week:
    1. Download Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Word on their devices, and sign in with their school logins. Take the quick survey about digital learning, called Science Class Online Learning Introduction.
    2. Continue spending 15-30 minutes/day on science and noting their work on their learning log. There is an assignment on Microsoft Teams where they can type in their learning log to turn it in. Encourage your student to check the rubric to ensure they're meeting all of my expectations!
    3. Take some time getting familiar with Microsoft Teams and with digital communication norms. I will be uploading short readings to Microsoft Teams about how to write an email, how to communicate respectfully in digital workspaces, and how to stay safe on digital platforms. There will be a short (low stakes, open notes) quiz on digital communication due on Friday.
    Access to Internet
    If you do not have consistent access to online work, please reach out to let me know. The district is working on getting devices and hotspots for internet access for all students who need one. In the meantime, you are excused from any online assignments, but should still be maintaining a learning log.
     
    Thanks,
    Ms. Gund
    Comments (-1)
  • Distance Learning Overview for Students

    Posted by Eleanor Gund on 3/22/2020

    Hey everyone!

     

    I miss you all a lot! I hope you are staying safe at home, and making good decisions to stay away from public places unless necessary, and to hang out with friends virtually instead of in person.

    Gif showing the exponential spread of coronavirus, and how it can be interrupted by decisions to socially distance

     

    Being out of school for so long is tough on everyone, so here are some strategies to make this time less stressful, more fun, and more productive.

    1. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. 

    Having a routine makes it easier for our brains to deal with stressful situations. Pick a bedtime, and a time when you'll be out of bed and dressed. Make sure you're getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night! Plan to spend 2-4 hours a day on schoolwork (still less than being in school!) so you're not as overwhelmed by work at the end of the time. Plan in breaks, time to socialize (at a distance!), and time to move around and exercise.

    The work packet SLPS is handing out at meal distribution locations has suggested schedules. Look over it with an adult, and work out what a good schedule for you would be.

    2. Do bookwork, or use this time to learn about something you're interested in!

    Your assignment from me is to spend 15-30 minutes a day on science, and to note what you did and what you learned. If you'd prefer to work in longer blocks, I'm fine with you spending 45 minutes to an hour on science every other day instead. You can use that time to do bookwork, either in the district packet or in your Space Science workbook, or you can explore something you're interested in!

    You can do bookwork this whole time if you want to, but I'm going to encourage you to take this time to explore some part of the natural world that you are interested in! Start by noticing and wondering about something you observe, and check in with me about your plan to learn more about it. This is a unique opportunity to drive your own learning, and the time you spend now could develop into a business idea, more advanced study in high school and college, or a career!

    This page has helpful advice for science distance learning: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sy6uVcn73G36rDCI5kWY5w-zYN2p3A3F/view

    3. Take time to take care of yourself and your family.

    Make sure you're paying attention to only reputable sources of information about coronavirus: I recommend local government and newspapers. A lot of misinformation can make you unnecessarily confused and worried. If you have questions or worries about COVID-19, I would be happy to answer them. Take breaks from the news if you are getting stressed or anxious.

    Make healthy choices based on recommendations from doctors: Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and especially when you get home from being in a public place. Do your best to spend in-person time with only people you live with. Don't go out to public places unless its necessary (for food or medical care). When you go out, stay 6 ft from people you don't live with. Taking walks or playing outside is fine if you're staying distant from others and not touching public surfaces like benches or playgrounds.

    Even though meeting up with people you don't live with is not a good idea right now, its important to stay connected. Your phones are a blessing here: text, video-chat, and call your friends! I fyou don't have a phone, go old fashioned and pass notes, either by dropping them off or mailing them.

    All of us, adults included, are dealing with something we've never experienced before. It's ok to feel scared, sad, or uncertain. Talk about those feelings with someone you trust, and know that there are a lot of adults working to keep you safe.

     

    Please email or call me if you need any help or support. I care about all of you, and I hope we can see each other again before the end of the school year!

    Ms. Gund

    Comments (-1)
  • Distance Learning Overview for Parents

    Posted by Eleanor Gund on 3/22/2020
    Hi everyone,
     
    I hope all of you are staying safe at home. This is an unprecedented situation, so I appreciate your patience with me, your student, and yourself as we work together to help students continue to learn. This email will be an overview of the distance learning plan. I will also post it on my teacher website, so that you can refer back to it. Please read all 5 sections!
     
    1. Non-Academic Resources
    While schools are closed, SLPS will be handing out bagged lunch and breakfast daily at many locations throughout the district. A map of all the sites is linked here: https://www.slps.org/meals Many precautions are being taken to make sure the coronavirus does not spread from these distributions.
     
    If you or your student requires support from the district, call the hotline at (314) 345-6900 or email studentservices@slps.org.
     
    2. Academic Resources
    The district has a website listing all of their suggested activities for helping students continue their academic work. It is linked here: https://www.slps.org/Page/46686
     
    At any of the meal distribution sites, students can pick up a packet of academic materials they can work through. The packet is also linked here: https://www.slps.org/cms/lib/MO01001157/Centricity/Domain/8188/Grades%206-8.pdf 
     
    Charter is offering free install and 60 days of internet access to students without home internet. Call them at 844-488-8395.
     
    3. Teacher Update
    My priorities for this period when we are physically distant are:
    1) The mental and physical health of your student
    2) Helping your student use this time to continue learning
     
    Over the next two days (Monday 3/23 and Tuesday 3/24), I will be reaching out to each family via phone to check in. First, I want to make sure that your family has everything you need during this difficult time, and connect you to resources where I can. Second, I will ask how I can best support your child's learning in this time. I am happy to develop independent explorations in their areas of interest, to tutor them to complete the district-assigned work over the phone or video chat, or to provide non-academic support as needed. 
     
    I will be available to help your student via email or phone: (314) 329-1885. Please encourage them to reach out to me directly whenever they need help.
     
    4. The Assignments
    At this point, my expectation is that students spend 15-30 minutes every day on science, and note down what they did and what they learned. Here are some options: 
    a. Work on the science section of the district work packet. 
    b. Help a younger sibling with their science work 
    c. Work on parts of the Space Science workbook that we did not get to yet. 
    d. Watch a science-related video or documentary 
    e. Read a science-related news article 
    f. Make observations of natural phenomena (weather, the night sky, pets, plants, cooking, etc.) and develop questions to explore
     
    After checking in with all of you, and hearing more concrete guidance from the district, I will develop and send out some more concrete recommendations for what students should do to continue their learning. Unfortunately, I think it is unlikely that I will be able to collect and grade student work, so I would like students to focus their learning on what motivates them: their own interests and goals, and what they think is most important for preparing for high school. I think this is an exciting opportunity for students to develop the skills to drive their own learning, and I look forward to supporting them! 
     
    5. What Can You Do?
    The most important thing you can do to help your child is to help them maintain a routine. Work with them to plan a schedule (including a bedtime and time they should be dressed and out of bed). Having a routine will help your child cope better with stress and uncertainty, and will allow them to learn more. The district distance learning packet has suggested daily schedules. Discussing them with your student and allowing them some choice over when things will happen will help them buy in.
     
    Your child does not need to spend the full school day working on academics. For most students, 2-4 hours a day is plenty. Much time in school is spent transitioning between classes, socializing with friends, and with "non-academic" time like lunch, gym, and recess. Encourage your child to use their free time to learn new household skills, to play with siblings, to exercise, or to read. Students are probably missing their friends a lot right now. Getting together in person is not advisable, but encourage them to use technology to connect.
     
    This document has other useful suggestions (both general and science-specific) for making the transition to distance learning: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SYXYQPlPZga7q3QwQPQD_Seh5eXCNz42/view
     
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this challenging time. Please do not hesitate to let me know how I can support your child. 
     
    Thanks,
    Ms. Gund
    (314) 329-1885
    Comments (-1)
Ms. Eleanor Gund

Phone: 314-241-2295 x22107

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Ms. Eleanor Gund

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