Weekly Newsletter – March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020  / 24 Adar 5780

Shabbat Begins: 7:08 p.m.   Shabbat Ends: 8:15 p.m.   
Parsha: Vayak’hel-Pekudei: Exodus 35:1 – 40:38
SHIFT HAPPENS: FROM IN-CLASS TO ONLINE LEARNING


This photo from Monday shows how we used social distancing. The picture in our header is from Wednesday – where more than half the staff joined via Zoom

As King David, along with most Canadian schools, begins the massive shift to online learning as part of the strategy to cope with COVID-19, teachers, students, and parents are having to quickly adjust to the realities of virtual education. In this difficult moment, our King David teachers are working to create as much normalcy for our students as we can. We are navigating unchartered territories and embracing this new challenge. The love for our students is fueling our energy, and we have lots to spare! 

The new reality is that teachers and students find themselves facing a sudden deep dive into a digital learning world. This past week, our faculty and administration spent three full days learning how to teach students to do science experiments in their kitchens, or run the "double loop" in their homes instead of PE class. We expect lots of changes as we all learn together. One of the really interesting pieces for us is that our students have so much to offer us, since they are much more technologically savvy than many of us born before 2000 (which is all of us!).

Along with mastering the art of setting up an online classroom in Zoom, we have been discussing the importance of being very clear with students about new expectations, guidelines on how to use technology, and allowing students time to try out unfamiliar technology well in advance of setting new deadlines. This is an active experiment and we will be sharing surveys with students and parents to learn more of what works best.

"It takes a tremendous amount of trust and a tremendous amount of understanding. At King David, we are looking for ways to minimize the disruption to our students’ learning, to help parents and students maintain a consistent schedule, and more importantly, to keep our strong sense of community alive. We know that we will experience bumps in the road as we implement this new model of learning – it takes planning and training, and we haven’t had sufficient time for that. We do feel that many teachers, along with their students, will learn that there are creative and effective ways to teach and learn remotely."

~ Russ Klein, Head of School
WHAT ARE TEACHERS SAYING?

Yesterday was our online learning launch. A few teachers chose to try their first class at school, where immediate support was available to troubleshoot any technology issues!

"Attendance has never been so great! Students were all there. We spent time catching up and then discussing how we will move forward in these new circumstances. What surprised me was that our group was not filled with panic and/or personal insecurity. Our discussion produced a feeling of mutual responsibility. Our students know that they are safe, that they are doing all of this because they don’t want to hurt anybody else and because they don’t want to endanger people who are vulnerable. 

Besides the course content, we discussed how we might take advantage of the numerous opportunities that now present themselves for us to help others. If I knew it was going to be this much fun and this productive, I would have Zoomed earlier!"

        ~ Rabbi Stephen Berger


Above left: Rabbi Berger teaches his first Jewish Film class online while walking on the treadmill in his office!


Ms. K. engages with students in her Math 10 Class, and Madame Neary explores teaching French online

"Thursday was my first Zoom class and it was pretty neat. The students were really great as we worked through raising your hand, muting and unmuting, switching screens (I messed up there a bit – more learning to do!!) and working with questions via chat.
 
We successfully reviewed material from our last class together and I introduced a new concept. Students asked very good questions. It will take a few more classes until we are fully comfortable, and the students are helping me as I venture into using Google Classroom. It is certainly different, a little exciting and a little scary. We will continue to strive to present the very best education in this new platform."

~ Julie Lane, Math Teacher


Staff joined a Zoom meeting at the end of the trial day on Thursday to share 
their experiences – all were so positive! An excellent start!
DAY 1: HOW ARE PARENTS FEELING?

GRADE 8

"Thanks for keeping [my child] totally occupied. I haven’t heard an ‘I’m bored!’ yet today."
 
"[My child] just came downstairs after first period class very excited and happy! He said it went really well and that he was so happy to see all of his classmates. It is frankly the most excited I have seen him in days!"
 
GRADE 9

"Just wanted to give you a thumbs up on the online learning so far. (My child) said it seems to be working well; he loves seeing his friends on Zoom, and the content and teaching is clear. He also likes that he can eat snacks while learning."
 
GRADE 10
 
"I wanted to commend your leadership and support of the King David staff in getting the online learning/classes up and running so quickly. I say this not at all from the perspective of wanting the kids to keep up with their academic requirements – that is not my concern or priority – but rather from an engagement, daily structure and social connection perspective which is so crucial for everyone’s mental health, especially for our youngsters during these trying and anxiety-provoking times." 
 
GRADE 11

"We are all so impressed at how well the move to online teaching has gone this morning. The girls are engaged and working and your team should be commended."
 
"They enjoyed the online class. Nervous at first and then they quickly found it "very chill" in their words. Nice to keep some routine!" 

"Please let your team know that (my children) enjoyed their online classes. We can imagine how much effort, time, resilience and energy you have all put into these. You can call Day 1 a success!"
HOW ARE STUDENTS FINDING ‘SCHOOL’ AT HOME?
 
"I thought that both teachers and students were able to adapt to a completely new system of education in a very short time. I was impressed with my teachers’ willingness to change their routines to make it easier for students to learn."

~ Isaac Liedemann, Grade 11

"The first day of online school was definitely interesting. It was really amazing to see everyone together again in one place, on screen. What I found so incredible was that in most of my classes, we spoke about coming up with some sort of initiative to keep everyone connected during these hard times. Although everything that is happening right now is definitely not ideal, it brings me joy to see that the entire community is so supportive and everyone is working their hardest to make these dark times as bright as possible."

~ Romy Ashkenazy, Grade 12

"Even though switching to online school is a big adjustment, so far, it has been surprisingly smooth and seamless for me as a student. My teachers were all very understanding about workload and the emotional stress that comes with this time, and they answered any questions I had to the best of their abilities."

~ Ella Pekarsky, Grade 12 

"I thought it went really well for the the first day of online learning. We started off with all getting used to how Zoom works and teaching each other as we go. It will definitely take a bit of adjustment, but I think we can get used to it."

~ Sagiv Fadida, Grade 12


Shabbat Shalom!

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