Older Announcements

4/30/20: Grades

Many of you have been asking me about grades, and I completely understand your concern. I'm sorry I haven't been able to give you any real definitive answers, but that is largely because I still have questions about what I can or can't offer. I believe some final decisions are being made today about how we can handle grades, so hopefully I'll be able to give you a clearer answer tomorrow. However, I'll at least give you what I have in mind. It is my understanding that I can give you grade opportunities to help bring up your third quarter average. (I don't know how yet, because I tried it yesterday in Skyward, and it didn't work.) Supposedly, that's what I can offer.


So, two things that are part of my plan: 1) I have a grammar test that you took before school ended, so I am going to record that; and 2) if you want to bring up your average, you will have to turn in your completed research paper, and you will still need to have your sources in your "Research" OneDrive folder that we set up. I may have more grade opportunities for you to pull up your average, but it starts with the research paper. And let me repeat it in a different way, just to be clear, you will not be able to bring up your average unless you submit your research paper. We almost had it completed when all of this hit, and it is a skill you need, so the research paper is the main component of adjusting your grade.


What can you do right now? I'm glad you asked. If your grade is currently below an "A" for the third quarter, polish your research paper and get it ready to submit. I will have instructions on submitting it, soon. I know some of you have sent me your paper for feedback, and I will respond to those, but I will only grade those that need to bring up their average. I will have more instructions by next week at the latest (hopefully tomorrow), but for now, that is what you can do.


I hope you are doing well, and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way. :)


4/30/20: Online discussion tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow morning (May 1) at 11:00am, we will have our sixth online discussion. This one will cover Great Expectations chapters 36-39 (major, shocking revelations in these chapters!), so bring your thoughts, opinions, and questions.


4/27/20: Online discussion tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow morning at 11:00am, we will have our fifth online discussion. This one will cover Great Expectations chapters 27-35, so bring your thoughts, opinions, and questions!


4/27/20: Online "office hours" this morning

I have virtual office hours this morning from 10:30-11:00 in Microsoft Teams. Stop by to talk to me about any of your concerns or questions.


4/22/20: CANCELED: Online "office hours"

Sorry everyone, I forgot I have to be at school tomorrow to clean out my room, so I will not be able to have virtual office hours. I will schedule them again for Monday, so you can come by to talk to me, then.


4/21/20: Online "office hours" Thursday morning and GE Chapters 20-26 discussion Friday

Thursday morning I will have virtual office hours in Microsoft Teams where I will simply be hanging out for you to stop by. You can drop by any time from 10:30 to 11:00, and I will be there to answer any questions you have. Also, our fourth Great Expectations discussion will be Friday at 11am, so make it if you can. We've had 7-12 students show up for these discussions, and as long as someone is showing up, I'll keep scheduling them. Hope to "see" you there. :)


4/17/20: Online "office hours"

Next week, I will begin posting Microsoft Team meetings as opportunities to come by my "office" to ask any questions you might have. I will simply post the beginning and ending time, and you can drop by just to say hi or to ask any questions about grades or the reading or the meaning of life or anything. :) I will begin Monday from 10:30-11:00, and I will probably schedule one more for next week--unless there seems to be a need for more. So, I will be online. Drop on by!


4/17/20: Ongoing online discussions

Thank you to the twelve of you who came to this morning's discussion. I hope it helped. For those of you who can't make these meetings, I have opened up some online discussion "channels" in Teams. They are divided by reading assignment, and for each assignment, there is a "Questions" channel for you to post or answer any questions you have as you read, and there is a "Passages" channel for you to post any quotations or passages that stand out to you in your reading. Anyone can join in, whether you attend the meetings or not, just be sure for each new quotation or question that you are starting a new conversation. If you are replying to someone else's, please click on the "Reply" link. I will be posting there as well, so please check it out and participate!


4/16/20: Good resource for reading questions...

In yesterday's discussion, some questions were brough up about "tar-water" and being "brought up by hand." The website I posted in the sidebar (Discovering Dickens) is a great resource for answering questions like this. They have notes divided into chapter groups, and if you have a question about an expression that you don't understand, likely they have a note about it. Click here for the page that explains the terms I mentioned above, and then keep checking back as you read. There is some good information here.


Also, I hope to see a bunch you in the next discussion meeting tomorrow morning at 11:00 in Microsoft Teams. We will be talking about Great Expecations chapters 1-10, and it will last about 30 minutes.


4/15/20: Great discussion this morning!

Thank you for those of you who came to our first literary discussion. It was really productive, and I think it will get better as we get used to the online format. I hope to find out more about how to manage the flow of the conversation so that we don't talk over each other, but you all did a wonderful job of participating and working through some of the minor speed bumps in communication.


Our next discussion will be Friday morning at 11am, and it will cover anything from chapters 1-10. If you missed the first discussion, don't feel bashful about jumping in on the next one. You can at least listen if you don't want to share.


Try to bring at least one idea or question that you want to discuss. It really helps the flow of the conversation. Talk to you Friday! 


4/14/20: Our first online discussion has been scheduled!

We will have our first discussion over Great Expectations tomorrow at 11am. You can access the meeting through Teams, so email me if you have had trouble accessing the Teams page. The meeting will last for about 30 minutes, and we will discuss any questions or comments you have about any of your reading or about the background material you've seen. We will have at least one a week, so if you can't make it, don't worry. You'll have other opportunities. I hope you can be there!


4/14/20: Try out a Microsoft Teams conversation

I have posted a new conversation called "Just for fun..." to our Team page. This gives me a chance to check in on how all of you are doing, lets me know how many of you are keeping up with the website, and shows me how this conversation feature actually works. Try to answer sometime today, and I'll start posting some conversations for Great Expectations. My next plan is to set up a live meeting to talk about the novel, so check in every day to see when it will be.


4/13/20: Assignments Posted along with Reading Schedule

RCS April 13-17 Instructional Guide

The second distance learning assignment has been posted and I included the link to the RCS Learning Plan (COVID-19) in the Quick Links over on the sidebar. The process for this assignment will be the same as last week, and have included instructions under the assignments below. You'll recognize the passage on this one. :)


Great Expectations

I am posting the assignments today. Check back later today, as I will be posting several things as I finish them. I'm about to the point I wanted to be last Monday, so I'm only a week behind. :( But at least I have the reading assignment posted, and you can dive in.


Background: Victorian England and Charles Dickens


Literary Terms for Great Expectations


4/10/20: Announcement Video from Mr. Barham

This is a short... well... 7-minute video of ME delivering a personal message and an explanation of where we are going from here. You will only be able to watch it if you are logged into your RCS Office 365 account.


4/6/20: Distance Learning Assignments begin today, April 6!

Hi, everyone. I know this has been a difficult time, and there is a lot of uncertainty about what is to come, but we are all in this together, and we're learning how to adjust as we go. Now we're ready to continue learning for those of you with the desire and capability to press on. The county is offering optional assignments and activities beginning today, and I am supplementing with other optional assignments for those of you daring enough to challenge yourself. :)


But first . . . grades!

Keep in mind that the online assignments and activities are optional and will NOT be recorded as grades as part of your yearly average. Any grade you receive is simply offered as feedback. Several of you have asked me about pulling up your semester grade since all we have are your quarter 3 grades. The school board will be deciding on the semester grading policy soon, so be listening for more on this. I believe they are considering ways for students to recover grades, but there have been no official decisions made yet. Please try to relax and trust that you are in good hands. The school board knows the county's needs and works hard to take care of all of us.


RCS Learning Resources

The county has posted some great learning resources along with their assignments at RCS Learning Plan (COVID-19). I will have further instructions with each assignment, guiding you on how to submit your work.


Optional Novel Assignment

I'm posting optional assignments to guide you through Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. I haven't had the chance to teach this novel in several years, and I'm excited about offering assignments, discussions, and even assessments for those of you who are interested. It's a difficult book, but definitely worth reading. If you like twisted plots and subplots with lots of characters and surprises, then you will like this novel.

“But how will I read it?”  I'm glad you asked. I will provide several links to online copies of the novel, but if you are interested in the stable, comfortable feel of a book with physical paper pages in it (like I am) then you can mark that you want a copy of this novel on the materials form that Dr. Ash sent out, and we will check a copy out for you and give it to you on Tuesday, April 7 when you come to pick up your other school materials.


More updates coming...

Keep checking back. I will make updates as I get more information and as I prepare each of your assignments. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well! :)