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You know by now that the Cobb County School District has decided to close all campuses and move to distance learning as of Monday, March 16th. At this point, we don’t know how long the campus closures will last. What we DO know is this: school isn’t canceled. It’s just moved online.
For every day that we do not meet on campus, you will have a lesson for AP Comparative Government and Politics posted to this blog. Each lesson is meant to last about 45 minutes. Often, there will be an assignment that you will complete to show me that you have worked through the lesson– this might require filling out a form, or submitting a FlipGrid recording, or taking a quiz through CTLS. Whatever technology I choose to use, I will provide written instructions for, and– if necessary– a video on how to use it. I suggest that all lesson be turned in by 11:59 PM on the date of the lesson. This is to make sure that you aren’t procrastinating– and if I see that you aren’t completing your work, I do plan on reaching out to parents to inquire as to what’s going on.
I will also be following county guidelines and having set Office Hours during which I will be online and available to answer any questions you might have. My office hours will be from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, Monday through Friday. I will handle these office hours by using YouTube livestreaming: at the bottom of every blog post with lessons there will be an embedded YouTube video and associated link. I will be live to discuss any questions you have about the lesson or technology, and you can communicate with me either directly through the YouTube chat, or through a Remind text message, and I’ll answer via video. These videos will archive and will stay on the lesson page, so if you need to go back and rewatch them later, you can. If you need to contact me outside of office hours, please do so by Remind or by email, and I will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.
Suggestions for Working at Home
First off, please remember that this is NOT a vacation: I absolutely expect you to complete your assigned work. It is not optional. This means that you need to treat Monday through Friday as school days– which they are. To best do this, I suggest:
- Create a schedule and stick to it. Set your alarm and have a routine. Set a specific block of time aside for your school work, and make sure everyone in your household knows that’s time during which you need to be left alone to work– it isn’t time to do chores, or play games, or whatnot. It’s school. Schedule time to do fun things, too– art projects, video games, workouts, or whatever. Make sure that you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
- Come up with a dedicated place to work. I would STRONGLY suggest that this not be your bed. Find a desk or table, and declare that to be School for the next little while. It helps to separate relaxation space from work space– makes it easier to focus.
- Try to eliminate distractions. TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. And while most of us like listening to music while we work, it’s often a distraction, so make sure you can think and focus with any background noise. If you need some gentle background chatter that isn’t distracting, I totally recommend using Coffitivity (creates sounds like a coffeeshop– just background chatter and noise). I personally like the “University Undertones” track.
- Make sure you give yourself space to connect with friends and family, even if you’ve got to do it through virtual means. Isolation is going to be good to help prevent the spread of the virus, but it can be hard on mental health. If you feel anxious or depressed, please email your counselor, reach out to your parent or guardian, talk to friend, and consider: what can you do that will give you an outlet? Journaling can be a good way to work through anxiety, as can meditation. (I like to use the app Headspace, but there are lots of good ones out there.) Art or physical activity can help, too. And so to help you focus on what’s good out there, I’m going to send out a Remind message every day with my One Good Thing: something good that I saw or read or did that day. I’d like you to text me back with your One Good Thing, too.
I’d much prefer to be in the classroom with y’all. But we’re going to work together and figure this out, even if it’s hard– because protecting the most vulnerable among us is important and worth doing.
See you online, Warriors.