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Mrs. Litteken

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Remote Learning During COVID-19 Shut Down

Due to the mandated shutdown of Illinois schools, I would like to offer a few resources as ways students can stay engaged in learning during the break.  As has been stated by Mr. Root, I cannot enforce or grade any assignments given during this time.  In addition, I am aware that some of my students do not have adequate access to the internet, so requiring any work would be a direct violation of the Free and Appropriate Public Education Act.

There will be many questions and much problem solving in the following weeks by all members of the school and surrounding community.  All of our curriculum will have to be changed and modified in a variety of ways, and what I share now may become irrelevant pending future changes.

This is a unique situation for all teachers as we are faced with decisions on what to cut out of curriculum, what is the most important to leave in, and what to do about federal/state testing.  Having few answers to these questions, I want to prepare my students to be not only the best they can academically, but to also encourage them to be kind and helpful to each other and their families during this time.

In light of what I have written, I would like to share the following resources for my students and their families.  I will be checking my email periodically through the break.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at: alitteken@auburn.k12.il.us

Resource #1 - https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-prevent-loneliness-in-a-time-of-social-distancing/

  • This resource is not for academic learning, but encourages you to stay connected and not feel lonely during this social distancing period.  As we just had our mental health day, this has been weighing heavily on my mind.  This article offers several ways for you to help those that are feeling lonely, and ways for you to stay connected through this time using various apps. I would also encourage you to simply call one another and talk with each other--especially those in your family who may be engaging in a self-quarantine, or are afraid to go out because of their age or medical conditions.

Resource #2 - https://www.khanacademy.org/

  • Khan academy is an amazing resource for staying connected academically.  Auburn students frequently use this resource at school, and it provides a very wide range of topics including Science, Math, English, etc.  The science lessons for Biology and General Science are fantastic, and will help keep students' minds engaged during the break.  I would highly encourage students to use this in any capacity that they can.
  • If you are a parent and have any questions about how it works, they have a lot of information available on the website.  They are offering a free webinar for parents on Wednesday, March 16th and will have a recording if you would like to watch it at a later time.  They also offer a schedule of learning for students between the ages of 4-18:

Resource #3 - Google Classroom

  • As I will be going on Maternity Leave around the beginning of May, I have already shared all of the content we will cover for the rest of the year on Google Classroom.  Students, feel free to go through and look at all of the information I have left.  As previously stated, I am yet not sure what will have to be cut but roughly two weeks worth of information will be removed.  If you would like to not have any gaps of information from this year to the next, everything we will cover is already released for you to begin learning.  

Resource #4 - Virtual Dissections: https://www.navs.org/additional-information/bioleap-dissection-alternatives/free-online-dissection-resources/#.Xm4jaKhKiUk

  • Virtual dissections are a great way for Biology I and Biology II students to stay connected, and in light of the school closure, they may be removed (or shortened) from the curriculum to cover more content. While I suggest any of the dissections for extra learning opportunity, the ones that we will/would cover are the fetal pig for Biology I, and the Bony Fish, Clam, Crayfish, and Frog for Biology II.

Resource #5 - https://www.seterra.com/

  • Students frequently use Seterra for Geography, but it encompasses great science content.  If you simply type "science" in the search bar at the top of the page, it pulls up relevant content to what we have been covering and will cover in class.

Resource #6 - The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (Bio II only) 

  • Though I am not an English teacher, I am a huge proponent of reading.  Two weeks off of school seems like a perfect time to get some reading done! The Hot Zone is a book that we sometimes read during the Biology II curriculum depending on time allotments. That will not occur this year.  The book is a work of nonfiction concerning the Ebola outbreak in the 1990s.  Though there are not many similarities between Ebola and Coronavirus, the book follows researchers, CDC scientists, and the public during the epidemic.  It does an amazing job of describing the different levels of biocontainment at the CDC, the reason for certain procedures (like quarantine/social distancing), and how to stop the spread of disease.  To note, I do require parent permission slips to be signed for Biology II students at the beginning of the year due to the graphic descriptions of the disease and use of some inappropriate language throughout the book.  All Biology II students had their slips signed at the beginning of the year and are free to read via the following link: https://archive.org/stream/THEHOTZONE/THE_HOT_ZONE_Richard_Preston_djvu.txt

Resource #7 - The Martian by Andy Weir (Physical Science only)

  • Due to time constraints, we will not be able to finish reading The Martian.  We are two-thirds of the way finished with the novel, and I would love for my students to take this opportunity to finish.  Will the Hermes crew use the Rich Purnell maneuver to save Watney's life?  Will Mark find a way to make it the 3000 km trip to Schiaparelli in order to be picked up?  Will he have enough food to last him until they can pick him up?  Will Watney ever get to talk to anyone again since his communication systems are fried? Will NASA decide they have spent too many resources, had too many failed missions just to save one man's life?   You'll have to read it and find out for yourself!  If you do not like reading, or it isn't your strong suit, but want to know how the story ends--there are recordings of the chapters on YouTube so you can listen!

During this time, it is my sincerest hope that you stay well, your families stay well, and that we are all kind to each other.  This is a unique time in our school's history, and we are all in this together--whether we meet at the building or not. I would like leave you with this anonymous quote: "I pray that we feel when this is all over that we overreacted, because that means our efforts will have been worth it."


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