Dear Westlake Parents and Guardians:
We made it through the first week of remote learning! It was great to reconnect with kids this week and see their shining faces either in live class meetings or in pictures of them posted in the classroom spaces. I know it is a challenge trying to balance your own work from home and overseeing what your children are doing in the virtual classroom space. We are working hard to learn from the feedback our students and parents are giving us and what we are seeing in the virtual classroom space in order to create the best possible learning opportunity for students under the circumstances. I came across this Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Google Classroom that I thought you would be interested in it. Check it out by clicking HERE. I hope this helps you! If you have questions please feel free to reach out to the teachers or school administration any time.
We have put together a one-stop-shop location for access to all the Westlake teacher’s remote learning access points. To access this information click HERE.
Online Class Etiquette Tips and Tricks
Across the nation schools have moved to a remote learning environment and it has highlighted the critical nature of understanding how to interact with one another in this virtual environment. Below are some guidelines for students as they engage in the online environment:
1. Be respectful. While it is easier to say hurtful or disrespectful things without standing face-to-face with someone, it is important to remember that your classmates and teachers are real people who are affected by the words you say and write. It is essential to keep in mind the feelings and opinions of others, even if they differ from your own. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it online either.
2. Be aware of strong language, all caps, and exclamation points. It is easy for written text to be misread and misunderstood. Have you ever sent a text message with good intent but your recipient thought you were being rude? If so, then you’ve experienced this firsthand. By being cognizant of strong language, you can identify potential confusions before sending messages. Tip: Read everything out loud before you send it.
3. Be careful with humor and sarcasm. Certainly you shouldn’t avoid being funny. We love to see your personality shine through in online classes. Many of our teachers are exceptionally funny too. But like mentioned in Rule #2, make sure that it is clear you are being funny and not being rude. Emoticons and smileys can be helpful when conveying humor or sarcasm so that it is read correctly. Just remember to keep the smiley faces away from academic papers. 😉
4. Yes, grammar and spelling matter. While texting, textspeak can b gr8 4 ur friends. In an educational setting (even online) however, keep it formal. Your written communication should be professional and reflect proper writing style. Save written shortcuts and less than stellar grammar for Snapchat if you must, but follow grammar rules for school.
5. Cite your sources. Whenever you are sharing an idea that originated from someone else (even if it is not word for word), it is good practice to cite that source. This applies to discussion forums too. If you read a great thought in your text, share it, but be sure you let your audience know where you saw it first.
6. Don’t post or share (even privately) inappropriate material. Enough said there. Nothing is truly private online.
7. Be forgiving. Remember that not everyone will know these rules before posting. Try to be understanding of others when they struggle with written communication. It is very different than simply talking to a person face-to-face.
(“7 Rules for Online Etiquette.” Achieve Virtual Education Academy, 7 Feb. 2019, achievevirtual.org/7-rules-for-online-etiquette/.)
Technology Help and Support
Our district has tech support for you! If you are struggling with the Remote Learning technologies, we have several options for assistance with technical issues, including:
For each option above, please provide as much information as possible to help us respond to the issue you are experiencing (student name, student ID / lunch number, a phone number or email we can use to contact you, a complete description of the problem).
Dr. Heide, Principal Westlake Middle School