To the families of Tamarac Elementary School,
I hope this update finds you well and well into your plans for the holiday season. Happy Chanukah to all who celebrate. Although this season will be different for most of us, we will still try to keep some excitement in their lives. We do not have any building-wide plans for the holidays, but classroom teachers may have parties planned, which is totally fine. If parents are asked to contribute to these parties, the only request we have is that any food/treats/drinks be pre-packaged; we will be happy to deliver items to classrooms for you so the kids don't have to carry these items in their already overloaded backpacks.
Keeping with the season, please remember to dress your child appropriately for the weather, as we will try to be outside for recess as much as possible and will be sending the kids out in what they brought. The cheering from the kids when outdoor recess is announced is so worth it.
We are also doing our best to keep everyone safe, especially as the incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in our area. We have needed to quarantine some of our students this fall and will always follow the guidance of the Rensselaer County Department of Health in this matter. Fortunately, we have been able to ensure that we have a Chromebook for every student who may need one should we need to quarantine select groups or if we, as a building, should go to fully remote instruction. One of the things we have learned this year is how to teach remotely quite effectively. Our teachers who are dedicated to remote instruction are providing daily instruction and have learned a number of do's and don'ts when it comes to learning remotely. The list below may come in very handy if we are out of the classroom for any amount of time.
1. Stick to a Schedule at Home: Eat breakfast, dress for school (no pajamas), and have homework and materials ready for the day before school starts in the morning. Eat lunch at lunchtime, not during a lesson.
2. Keep the School Schedule Handy: Be ready to log on to Google Meets 5 minutes before it begins, this includes using the bathroom and drinks before class starts. Be on time for all the Google Meets for the day.
3. Make Sure They Have Materials: Pick up work from school in a timely manner, make sure your child has their books, packets, worksheets, papers, and pencils ready.
4. Provide an Environment Conducive to Learning: Set up a quiet environment at a surface like a table or desk away from other siblings. Provide a good pair of headphones to hear their teacher, block out sibling’s teachers, or dogs barking in the background.
5. Be Aware of What Is Going On In Your Home: microphones and cameras on your child’s laptop do pick up on background noise and conversations. You don’t want your child’s virtual class to hear inappropriate language or anyone walking around undressed.
6. Don't Teach–Help Them Understand: Your child’s teacher has carefully planned lessons at your child’s level, if you give them answers or do the work for them, the teacher won’t know the breakdown in understanding and adjust their lessons accordingly or even know when to intervene for extra help.
7. Make Sure All Work is Completed: even though the Google Classroom assignment says turned in, it may have been turned in empty or incomplete. Check to make sure everything is completely answered and fix any assignment that was sent back to redo or finish.
I hope that we never need these tips, but they are good to know.
Have a great weekend.
Stay safe, be well.