This year your student will be exploring their English Language Arts education through a digital lens. While I will encourage students to be journaling weekly using paper and pencil and reading from physical copies of novels at home, many of their homework assignments and checks for understanding will be completed digitally using a variety of methods including: Quizlet, Adobe Spark, Goosechase, Padlet, Kahoot, and other tools we discover as we go. Your student will make memes, create and share presentations, study vocabulary words, write responses to reading, take tests and quizzes, and submit almost everything online. This year presents a variety of new challenges due to Covid-19, and I will not be accepting hard copies of assignments unless it is discussed ahead of time with both the student and their parents/guardians. Anything submitted this way will sit for three days, as this is the best practice being followed currently by libraries and other similar societal structures. As such, please note that a grade will not be immediately entered into the gradebook for that assignment.
Why? Our students currently exist in one of the most digitally-rich eras of society, and things are only going to continue in that vein. I believe that literacy includes digital literacy, and that by having students learn and explore the English language through a variety of digital methods in school they will be more prepared for "life after school" - whatever that looks like for them. Not only will they have the opportunity to learn a set of hard skills that they can continually update and evolve alongside technology, but they will be able to learn soft skills as well in a safe environment - presenting something you've created is tough enough in middle school in front of what is mostly a group of friends, but imagine if your first presentation ever was in your workplace in front of people you didn't know. Another benefit of digital literacy is the critical thinking and problem solving skills that come from trying new things and learning to interpret various forms of instructions as students encounter new technology and new ideas.
Google Apps for Education
Our school is a Google Apps for Education School. Each student has a Google Account. Within this account, they have access to the following Google Applications: Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Spreadsheets, Google Drawing, and Google Email (GMail), as well as many other add-ons that work with these apps.
Students will be using the full suite of apps on the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) platform in my class this year. In order to ensure that students receive credit for the work they complete, they will need to be sure that they are signed into the correct Google account when using any of the Google apps. Per the policies stated in my syllabus, on-time points will be determined based on the time-stamp showing in Canvas, and as such, students are responsible for ensuring that they have attached any necessary files, completed any forms/documents that are already attached, and that they have actually fully submitted the assignment (Canvas has either a "submit" or a "turn in" button depending on the type of assignment).
Students will also use their Google email to sign up for any other apps/programs we use this year - their email address is SIN@ccusd93.net (SIN = Student ID Number).