Introduction: Ok Let's Do This Distance Learning Thing!


Hello students and parents/guardians.


I hope everyone is staying healthy and doing the best they can with this crazy situation that we all find ourselves in. I know my family has been on a bit of a rollercoaster over the past few weeks, enjoying some nice family moments but also feeling quite anxious about what the future holds. I understand that everyone's situation is different, and I promise to be super flexible about this whole distance learning thing, while at the same time doing my best to provide everyone in our class with some engaging learning opportunities over the next few weeks.


What follows is an outline of how I see things happening. Please keep in mind that I am learning how to "distance-teach" at the same time that you are learning how to "distance-learn," and I'm sure there will be some stumbling blocks for all of us. What's important is that we all support each other during this time, and do our best to keep things fun!


• First of all, here is a copy of the SCDSB Distance Learning Strategies for Students. It's really important that all of you read this document (it's short!) and share it with your parents/guardians.

• It's important for all of us to understand that this is a new situation for everyone, and we are all going to figure it out together. I want to hear your feedback, and your parents' feedback, on the distance learning program that I've set up. We can adjust as we go. The important thing is that we enjoy doing some learning together without adding a whole lot of extra stress to what is already a stressful situation.


• I've set up this website at www.mrholden.com, hoping that it can act as a home base for information so we don't have to be constantly digging through emails to access stuff. It should work pretty well on both computers and phones, so please bookmark it if you can.

• The Ministry of Education has set a guideline of five hours per week for junior students and 10 hours per week for intermediate students. I'm going to do my best to assign lessons/work/projects/etc that fit into these hours. My plan is to give you a week's worth of work on Monday mornings and let you and your families figure out what kind of schedule you work on to complete the tasks. This way, students sharing computers or families with different schedules can be as flexible as possible. I will communicate these assignments to you in an email that you and your parents will both receive, as well as in a blog post on this website. Individual weekly assignments - one for Math and one for Language - will be posted on our Google Classroom (I'll link to them in the weekly email/blog post), and that's where you can submit your work on Fridays as well.

• I understand that not everyone has access to high-speed Internet. I'll do my best to keep this in mind as I plan work for you. That said, I will be posting videos and files and, by necessity, we will have to do a lot of this work online. Mr. Stevenato is working with the School Board on individual cases were families don't have access to devices or Internet. You will be hearing from him if you are in this situation.

• I will be available to answer questions about your work every school day between 9 and 3:30. The best way for you to contact me is by emailing bholden@scdsb.on.ca . You can always find that email address at the bottom of this web page. You can access your own email accounts at ​https://login.microsoftonline.com. There is also a blue email icon at the top right of our webpage - if you click on that it will take you to your email login. You will need to monitor your email as we go. This will be new for many of you but we can do it! (For those that need more help accessing their email, here are some step-by-step instructions.)

• It is my hope that we can be in touch frequently using Google Hangouts. Once we get up and running, my plan is to have frequent Grade 6 and Grade 7 hangouts. I will provide times for each, and those of you who would like to take part in a brief "virtual class meeting" can join in. I know I am missing your faces, and I'm sure it will do all of us some good to spend a bit of time together. If and when students need one-on-one help with classwork, we can meet on Google Hangouts as well. Send me an email and we can set a time to meet.


There is a list of important stuff here. This includes instructions for logging into various websites, email, etc. I'll keep this updated and add new information whenever it comes up.


• A few housekeeping things to take care of right away, if possible, before we get going on Monday morning:


1. Students - please make sure you can access your SCDSB email account. You can find it at https://login.microsoftonline.com or if you need step-by-step instructions you can find them here.


2. Students and Parent/Guardians - Please make sure that you can access our Google Classroom. I'm pretty sure every student will have access already. If not, please email me for the class code. I have invited all parent/guardians to join as well... you should have received an email invite to do so.


3. Students - Madame Banwell has created her own Google Classroom where she will be posting French work (the expectation is that you do a half-hour of French every 3 days). I will send you an email with the class code - please join when you receive it. Ms. Engel will be doing the same and I'll be in touch with that class code as well.


• I believe that's all for now. Don't worry - we're going to start slow and make sure we're all comfortable as we go!


• Throughout this whole process I will welcome as much feedback as possible. If you have any thoughts/concerns, please send me an email at bholden@scdsb.on.ca.


• Take care and stay healthy!


Mr. Holden






It's important that we keep in touch!

Send me an email at bholden@scdsb.on.ca

I will be checking emails between 9 and 3:30 on "school days." If you need some face-to-face help, we can schedule a Google Hangout... just shoot me an email to set one up!

 

I will also be setting up some times for us to meet as a class on Google Hangouts. I'll let you know when I have a schedule figured out!

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