• April 13, 2020

    Posted by Colleen Sweeney on 4/13/2020 3:20:00 PM

    Dear Families,


    Let’s begin this week with some deep breathing!  Apparently, the weekly update I typed and sent earlier did not get published.  So, this version will be much shorter!!!


    Please see the email I sent this afternoon to guardians (it may have been sent to students, too) that has a code for students to enter Sweeney Humanities 2019-2020 Google Classroom.  I am not able to do this for students. 


    Tomorrow there may be a Google Meeting for students to join, if an issue is resolved before then.


    Humanities 1/2 meets at 10:00 AM

    Humanities 4/5 meets at 11:00 AM


    I will send out further information as it becomes available. 


    Many thanks for your support of learning in these trying times!

    Colleen Sweeney

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  • March 30th Update

    Posted by Colleen Sweeney on 3/30/2020 12:00:00 PM

    March 30, 2020


    Dear Families,


    In alignment with guidelines from OSPI (Office of Superindentent of Public Instruction) and our district,  this week's activities are intended as invitations for review and enrichment.

    Friday is now a holiday because it is your teacher's birthday!  Kidding!! It is my birthday though the reason it is a holiday is because the school year has been extended by one day to June 19, 2020.  

    This week students are invited, but not required, to:

    • Spend 20 minutes a day, three times a week to complete at least three exercises in Quill
    • Read 30 minutes a day a book of your choosing
    • Write a paragraph summarizing what you read in your 30 minutes a day

    After Spring Break, per guidelines from OSPI and our district, we will be moving toward a continuous learning model.  Because this is all so new and so sudden, it is not yet clear exactly how this will look.  Any feedback or suggestions that students and/or families have are welcome by me!  Please feel free to email at: csweeney@vashonsd.org with any questions, comments, concerns, and/or suggestions.


    Well wishes to all,

    Ms. Sweeney

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  • March 23rd Update

    Posted by Colleen Sweeney on 3/23/2020 12:00:00 PM

    Dear Students and Families,


    Our textbook is a great resource that will enable us to continue our study of ancient civilizations. Let us begin a unit of study about ancient China this week! 

    In our study of China, we will see an ancient and continuous civilization that developed independently from the West.  We will learn about the grandeur and diversity of China’s landforms, which both divided and united the Chinese people.  We will discover in China’s Neolithic cultures and early dynasties elements similar to those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.  We will see how the development of writing unified China.  We will learn about the ideas of Confucius and his opponents, the impact of Emperor Qin who was the first emperor of China, and the remarkable achievements of the Han Dynasty.  China is a land that is important today as home to vast populations and as a major international power.


    On pages 254 and 255, read the chapter title and the opening text.  China is different from other civilizations that we have studied so far.  The Chinese were not influenced as much by outsiders, so they came up with unique customs, values, and inventions.  Remember that India's culture was a blend from a variety of ancient people who moved there. The bronze pot on the far left of p.254 was made about 1300 B.C. It is enormous! It was used in rituals for offering sacrifices to ancestors. The ancient Chinese believed the wise spirits of their ancestors controlled their lives. 


    The photo of the Great Wall of China was taken from a guard tower about 43 miles north of Beijing, the capital of China.  Construction of the Great Wall of China was ordered by the emperor Qin in about 214 B.C. and was completed in 204 B.C.  The wall wound like a catepillar covering about 2500-3000 miles.  In most places it was about 30 feet high. The wall's thickness was 25 feet at the base and 15 feet at the top.  A road upon which Chinese soldiers could travel ran along the top of the wall.  The wall contained 40,000 watch towers that were bulit about 750 feet apart. Light signals could convey messages rapidly from one end of the country to another. The trememdous task of building this wall, which at one time was the largest in the world, is even more astounding in light of the lack of technology and tools in the ancient world.  

    As the story of Meng-Jiang Nyu on pages 256-261 tells, many men lost their lives to the cruel hardships inflicted on them by the building of the wall.  I recommend reading it!

    Later in the week, please read Chapter 9, Lesson 1 (pp. 262-269).  Try answering the Review Questions at the end of the lesson.  Restate the question in your answer and write complete sentences.  If there is interest, I can post answers to the Review Questions!   

    For Language Arts, please consider honing your grammar and conventions skills through the use of Quill, connecting through Clever, not Google.  Be sure to read, read, read!  Writing is also important.  There are many resources shared last week on my Blog, as well as the district webpage.  


    Please feel free to reach out to me through email.  I am happy to support you in your efforts!


    Kind regards,

    Ms. Sweeney




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  • March 16th Update

    Posted by Colleen Sweeney on 3/16/2020 1:00:00 PM

    Dear Students,

    These are historic times! As a result of the Covid-19 virus, we will not be together for the foreseeable future.  As we navigate this new territory, please be as kind as you know how to be to yourself and to others! I know you can do this because I have seen you do so, and you know “Seeing is believing”! :)

    Even though we will not be together physically, remember that we are all still connected in many non-physical ways, as we learned in our string activity at the beginning of the year. (Remember when we all held the piece of yarn together outside and then let go?) You may reach out to me via email, and I will do my best to respond as soon as possible.  I do not have internet access at home and am still working out how to best stay connected.

    One way that we will continue to be connected is in our learning, through our education. Much of the responsibility for your continued learning will be with each of you over the next six weeks and, ultimately, as we have also discussed, this responsibility for your own education will grow through the years as you grow, so that you may one day consider yourself to be a life-long learner. Imagine that!

    I know that you can undertake this unexpected responsibility. I know that excellence resides in each one of you.  I know that this excellence can shine brightly when you set your mind to it. I know this because I have seen that invisible quality of excellence made visible many times this year, and, like the Sun god, RA, it was especially evident at our Egypt Festival.  So, let your light shine!  It will make the world a better place to be!

    As your teacher, I let go somewhat at this point in time and ask you to recognize the following Chinese proverb (China was to be our next unit of study in Social Studies): 

    “Teachers open the door, but you must walk through it yourself.” 

    As ever,

    Ms. Sweeney


    Dear Parents/Guardians,


    What historic times these are!  This is uncharted territory that we are going to work through together. I am striving for a delicate balance of keeping students curious, while putting an equity lens on our situation, and recognizing that not all students have the luxury of parents eager and available to implement these offerings for the duration of this shutdown. Many of our students, especially as this situation unfolds, will be asked to shoulder childcare and other responsibilities. We are all going to do our best to get through this unique time in history.  Whatever learning does or does not occur in this time, please know that we will meet your student wherever they are when we return to school and work from there to get them to where they need to be.  


    Each Monday, I will continue to update my Humanities Blog for students and families. The suggestions made are an invitation and not a requirement.

    That being said, I know many of you may be looking for guidance on what you can do to support your student during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can only manage one thing, it would be to have kids read.  It has been shown that 30 minutes of reading a day is the single biggest contributor to accademic progress. Second would be to try to keep your student on some type of schedule. Schedules and routine anchor kids giving them a sense of purpose and predictability. 


    In addition to the recommendations listed below, please see the district website for these links should they not work when you click, as well as other resources.

    General recommendations: 
    •Read 30 minutes minimum 5x/wk IRL (in real life—try to avoid screens)
             Books—fiction, non-fiction, the textbook
             How-To and Recipes—make a fun project or tasty meal!
             Reading for other classes
    •Write daily 20-30 minutes 5x/wk
             Diary/memoir of your thoughts, observations, and experiences during this time therby creating a primary source document!
            Nature observational writing (go out and write about what you see and experience)
             Stuck? try a writing prompt—
                     Tell the Story being Told in the Art
                     Visual Prompts 
                     Photo Prompts 
    •Quill 20 minutes 3x/week
    •Listen to a podcast, write a summary and your thoughts about it
    •Watch a documentary about a topic of interest with family or friends and discuss
    •Visit a museum virtually
              Google Arts and Culture: Museums, Heritage Sites, Monuments, etc.
    With well wishes to all,
    Colleen Sweeney



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