Friday, April 3, 2020

As we finish the first full week of virtual learning, there are so many positives to share. Administrators and educators are rocking it with innovative ways to keep students and staff engaged.

South: For one class, virtual learning had already been in place and has helped in the transition. In remote Calculus BC (calc 2), 25 students from South had been taking the class in their classroom while eight students from North simultaneously learned through a TV using WebEx. The class is co-taught by Dan Schreier and AJ Raebel.  “This actually may have helped a lot going into virtual learning,” said Schreier. “North students were certainly used to watching me through a screen. And it gave AJ and I practice with WebEx.”

Educators are finding ways to support students and their well-being, too, through the creative use of video chats about topics such as technology struggles, lesson questions, and loneliness (just needing a person to talk to).

North Physics Teacher Greta Voit gave some examples. “The lessons need to focus on more than just the content,” she said.  “I am also trying to find ways to stay connected and check in with students in order to help support their mental well-being too. I just sent out an email message to my student entitled “A Message from Voit (the Human) to Physicsland” with the goal of showing them support, empathy, etc. Also, when students fill out their attendance form at the beginning of each lesson, they identify an emoji for how they are feeling—and they can share a comment.”

West: Special Education Teacher Joe Jenna invited author Rayna R. Andrews to join WebEx to read her book, Alex McGreen and the Tale of the Mysterious Kale. She discussed her mission to educate people, especially kids, about healthy eating. She then shared the actual recipes for the smoothy, kale chips, and kale cookies mentioned in the book.  “The students in this class are mostly non-verbal,” said Jenna. “They love being read to and doing physical activities, like dancing, when we do things in class.  Virtual learning is very tough for them.”

Horning: Collin Anderson, a 6th grader at Horning, has been sewing protective masks for the elderly in his neighborhood and for Children’s Hospital. He is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma when he was in 4K and went through a year and half of treatment at Children’s. He has been cancer free for 6 years now and now wants to give back. He learned how to sew in summer school a few years ago. Collin was featured on tmj4 this week and will be in the Waukesha Freeman.

North Junior Trey Wisner has been selected for the State Honor Band on Trombone and Laura Dewey, also a Junior at North, has been selected for the State Honors Choir as a Soprano 2. More than 1,400 students auditioned for 428 spots among five ensembles. This is one of the highest honors a student musician can win in the state of Wisconsin. The groups rehearse in the summer and then perform at the state music educator’s conference at the end of October.

Whittier’s great idea of spirit week caught on at several schools throughout the district. See the slider for a great collage of photos!

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