Post October Break Check-In

Hello good people,

Some announcements to get you settled for and on our return:

  1. September was a very busy month, not only for students with extra-curriculars and college apps, but for me as the teacher. I was out a lot do on school business and I want to reassure you all that I recognize that.
    1. History students who wish for their rewrites to be calculated in their quarter grades before reports go home must submit them no later than 12PM (Noon) on the 11th of October. That’s as late as I can go and still give me time to grade them. No exceptions made for late submissions of any kind. Plan ahead.
    2. Students who are slammed with work and are comfortable riding out the quarter with their current grade will be allowed to submit their rewrites up until October 21st and I will update grades officially later. Students who received 6s and 7s, please choose this option. As our new policy states, everyone must re-write their essays, but there is no grading urgency for a student with a 6 or a 7.
  2. I will be sending an email to any student, and the parents of any student, with a predicted quarter grade below a “B” this week.
  3. All History students are required to review their current grade comments by Wednesday and then send me an email of 50 words or less that tells me what grade they think they have earned for the quarter and why. If we agree, we may or may not have a conference. If we disagree, I will email you to schedule a conference. I will attempt, however, to meet with everyone whether we agree or not. The subject of this email must follow the stated guidelines in our coursebook or it will be ignored and you will still be regarded as having been offered the chance to negotiate your grade.
  4. History 1 students, your essays did not go through to Turnitin and I do not know why. I will pursue this tech issue, but in the meantime you will get your papers back the old-fashioned way (paper, with written comments) on Wednesday.
  5. Global Politics students, as we have been delayed in terms of writing our first essay, we will compensate by starting in class this week under my guidance. I.e., you will still submit the essay for the quarter, but you will have the benefit of my feedback for at least 65-85 minutes. Make sure you take advantage of this–if you work with me to establish a strong intro paragraph, you are likely to much more successful than otherwise. We will discuss the deadline in class.
  6. Again this week I will stay at school every night until 6 to hold appointments. Look to the schedule I shared, and then send me an appointment request via Outlook. Do not just email me for an appointment. If no one schedules a late appointment by 4:40 on a given day, I will assume I can go home. –I will probably stay, but it’s not a guarantee.
  7. Next week I will be distributing a lot of information about our next quarter’s projects. This would be a good time to take another look at our assessment schedule and make requests for large changes. We have a few essays on the horizon, and I want to make sure you are carefully planning for their successful completion–without last minute requests for changes.

See you soon!

–WJT.

 

 

 

 

Check-In: It’s September

 

G Class Work

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” 
–Socrates


Well, we’re off now.

Off to an encouraging start, that is. Our classes have moved passed Phase One, into the more rigorous and content-heavy Phase Two. Now that our focus has shifted to Research and Development, several students have noticed that we are not learning in the style of a traditional history class where the teacher stands in front of the room as a gatekeeper of knowledge. This has prompted several students to ask me some form of the question:

“Do we have to remember and use all of this information?”

To which my reply has been a gleeful, “Yes!” Comforting, innit?

But relax, we are only starting Phase Two. You still have 4 weeks until your final assessments. Weeks that will be taken up by:

Tech Boardwork

  • A long lecture from me on both wars–cementing your knowledge of the data and the ideas.
  • Another critical film viewing.
  • A debate on the resolution of World War Two.
  • A cooperative review session.
  • A mastery quest sequence that will ensure you have the requisite knowledge to write your final exam.
  • Three (3!) practice essays that will not hurt your grade and that will receive full feedback from me on your way to your final paper. (First one due next week!)

In short: you just started, and you’re doing better than fine.


These exchanges also reminded me that I forgot to mention in our introductory week the best reason to study history: it’s hard. As in, really difficult. You will be required to remember a vast amount of detail, synthesize it into coherent themes and use it to judge history and history’s inventors. The skills you will develop in history are those daily practiced by the best lawyers, politicians, diplomats, activists and correspondents. Being proficient in history demarcates the difference between the hacks who create Disney Princess quizzes for Buzzfeed and the investigative journalists who interview world leaders for the BBC.

Learn to enjoy the pain now–because it won’t go away for at least two years. And be warned: the study of history is a marathon: always challenging, often painful, seemingly endless & something that non-runners cannot fathom.

But would you rather be on the sideline handing out Gatorade?