At Home

Friday: At Home

We made it to Friday. Today you should be updating your DS Tracker and making sure it is shared with Sandy and me. You should also make sure and spend time on Headrush and make sure it is reflecting all of the stuff you are doing. 

Yesterday we held a successful Communitas on our Discord server and a real-time text chat for Russian History. The Russian History discussion ended up going on for more than an hour. I partly credit Rasputin for being such an unbelievable historical figure but it goes to show that we can still do good stuff even while we are stuck at home. 

Speaking of being stuck at home, the weather is nice. Get outside a little bit. Sandy’s 5K training group has been taking advantage of the weather, I think everyone should spend a little bit of time getting some vitamins from the sun. Oh, and put it down on your DS Tracker and Headrush, too. 

I think this will be the last morning meeting email that I send to parents. Next week, I’ll just include the students. I wanted the parents to get a sense of how things are going to operate and I think that happened. 

So, check in on Discord. Up date your DS Tracker, keep up with Headrush. Sandy and I will go through and award DS Credits this weekend. In his weekly email this morning, Austin Kleon said, reading a book is the best distance learning. So go outside and bring a book with you. Two for one special.

Have a good Friday.

At Home

Day 3: At Home

Good Morning and welcome to Day 3 of At Home
Things are starting to move and get going.

If you haven’t check out the Discord server, head on over (check your email for the invite code)

A lot of community building/maintaining is going on in the general discussion there and a lot of Learning Opportunities got going yesterday.

  • The first Treasure Hunt was posted.
  • The first Great Bake Off kicked off with a biscuit making challenge.
  • Writing prompts were posted by Joe in both Science Fiction writing and Journaling 
  • The first poem to read and discuss was posted in Short Stories and Poetry
  • The first documentary was posted in Documentary Now
  • The first two photo shoot challenges were posted in Photo Workshop
  • The first meme battle commenced in Meme Battles
  • Russian History posted the readings/videos for the week (we are on the Russian Revolution) 
  • We started collecting addresses so we can send mail in You’ve Got Mail
  • The first runners started their training in Couch to 5K
  • Terri posted her second Math Question of the Day yesterday
  • and a number of students took on the Weird Question of the Day

By the way, Karlee posted two science Learning Opportunities to the sign up document: 

Teacher-Led Learning Opportunities

If you still want to sign up for any of the teacher-led Learning Opportunities, head over there and sign up.

Also, if you want to join any of the Learning Opportunities that started this week, let us know or add your name to the doc. It is not too late to join any of them. 

Starting up soon will be Movie Club, Thank You for the Rain, Charades, Puppet Battle, Connections, Pre-Algebra, and ACT Math.

The weather is supposed to be nice this afternoon. Remember to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine!

At Home

Day 2: At Home

Good Morning u.schoolers and welcome to Day 2 At Home. Thank you to everyone who signed up for teacher-led Learning Opportunities, shared their DS Tracker spreadsheet, joined our Discord server, and kept up to date on Headrush. All in all it was a good start to At Home. If you haven’t managed to do all of those things yet.

Teacher-led Learning Opportunities:

The DS Tracker is here: 

Instructions for DS Tracker are here:

Check your email for the Discord server invite.

Headrush is here: 

  • Thank you to the students who patiently taught us old people how and why to use Discord. I think it will be a useful tool to help us feel like a connected community. 
  • Look for some Headrush training videos to come out soon
  • Check Discord or Headrush for Russian History homework
  • All of the other teacher-led Learning Opportunities will be posting things to Discord and Headrush in the next few days
  • Thank you for your patience as we ramp this up. We will be working out schedules and timing on Learning Opportunities. In the meantime, check your email, look at the blog, join us on Discord, etc, etc. 
At Home At Home: Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of At Home!
Your first big job today is to create your first DS Tracker and share it with me and Sandy. Video Instructions for the DS Tracker are below on the blog.

You will be using the DS Tracker to indicate and track the stuff you are working on. Speaking of which, also on the blog are some ideas for you to consider. We have a couple of lists of ideas of stuff you can do at home. “No Screen” Ideas and “Screen-based” Ideas

Your second big job is to take a look at the teacher-led Learning Opportunities we created and sign up for any of them that seem interesting. Our goal with these is to have fun, learn together, stay connected with each other. That document is here:

Remember, we want you to Do things that are meaningful to you, Reflect on those things, and Record that you did them. Today we want you to get comfortable using the DS Tracker and think about the kind of things you want to be Doing for the next few months. 

Later this week we will be creating some instructional videos on how to use Headrush for Reflecting and Recording the things that you are Doing.

Enjoy your day. Feel free to reach out to Sandy or me over email or text.

At Home

Working from home

Until further notice we are going to be doing from home. This guide is designed to help you understand how we will be making this work.

We are building off of our simple model:


We will be using our DS Tracker tool and Headrush to REFLECT and RECORD.

We have designed a weekly system that should be pretty easy to keep up with.

On Monday you will plan your week using a copy of the DS Tracker spreadsheet.

On Friday you will update your tracker to reflect what you did that week.

In between you will be using Headrush to REFLECT on your Learning Opportunities and to RECORD your Evidence of Learning.

Step One is to create a copy of your own DS Tracker and plan your week. The link to the read-only DS Tracker is at the top of this blog.

Click on that link. It will open a read-only version of the DS Tracker. To create your own copy, click on File and scroll down to Make a Copy.

Rename that copy to include Your Name and the date at the start of the week.

Finally, fill out the tracker with your plans for the week. We know that this is somewhat of a guess as to what you will be working on. But go ahead and think about what you want to do; don’t worry, on Friday you can adjust it to reflect what you actually worked on.

At the end of the week you are going to finalize your DS Tracker and make sure that your Headrush is up to date and matches what your DS Tracker says.

The first step is to open the DS Tracker you created at the start of the week.

Update it with the actual hours spent. You might have guessed high or low, you may have done things you didn’t plan on, or you might have not gotten around to things you did plan on. Don’t worry. Just make sure the Tracker represents what you spent your time doing.

The last step is to ask yourself, “Are these Learning Opportunities also in Headrush?”

Remember, the DS Tracker is a tool to plan and report on what you did for a single week. Headrush is a different tool that is used to capture your Reflections, Evidence of Learning, and Learning Targets. We use Headrush to award your credits, generate your transcripts and give you a longer term lens on your learning.

Even if there is a little bit of overlap, these are two different tools that are used for two different things.

At Home

Keeping up with

Since we will be exclusively working from home it will be very important for you to…

Check Email daily

Use Google Apps

Use Headrush

Check the school blog daily

If you have any trouble with these services or maybe lost your password or don’t know how to login, please contact Sandy or Pat immediately so we can help you.

At Home

“No Screen” Ideas

  • Write a novel – Check out Nanowrimo 
  • Capture your family history: interview grandparents, parents, capture family stories, make a family tree, find out about family names, stories, etc.
  • Play board games
  • Play card games
  • Learn a new game. Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Mahjong. 
  • Learn how to fold a paper airplane
  • Learn how to do laundry
  • Learn how to check air pressure in car tires
  • Learn how to iron
  • Learn to cook something
  • Learn how to knit or crochet or sew
  • Learn origami
  • Learn the guitar
  • Read a book
  • Plan a family garden
  • Write a journal about what is happening around you.
  • Make a zine about what is happening around you. What are your parents doing? What are your siblings doing? Here is a guide to making a zine from a single sheet of paper.  
  • Hand write a letter or postcard to your friends, relatives or to residents in a nursing home.
  • Set up a treasure hunt in your house for siblings or parents
  • Set up an obstacle course on your front yard
  • Take a walk or go to a park – we have many local trails to explore
  • Draw, doodle, paint, animate, color, collage
At Home

“Screen-based” Ideas


Communitas 83 Agenda

Please add agenda items to the comments.


The Future of Cars

I created a spreadsheet for you to claim your research topic on The Future of Cars

Feel free to add your own topic if you don’t see one you like. I would like you to research the topic and be able to explain it to us. Think about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your topic. The list I came up with includes:

  • Flying cars
  • Hydrogen fuel cells to power cars
  • Autonomous driving cars
  • LiDAR in cars
  • Stirling Engine
  • Connected cars (networked with other cars to avoic accidents, efficient traffic)
  • Cars made of carbon fibre, plastic, composite materials for light weight
  • Customized/individualized cars with new manufacturing techniques (3D printing, etc)
  • Smart cities and smart roads

Feel free to add your own topic to the spreadsheet if you don’t like one of these. Oh, and please do your research before class instead of while class is going on.