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