The learning connection
A message from Dr. Sharon Fransen, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
Whether online or on campus, our educational philosophy for every age is built on fostering curiosity, creativity, wonder, inquiry, collaboration, deep thinking, and a desire to continue learning throughout life, in and out of the classroom.
We believe education is built on relationships so we value face to face learning and knowing our students individually. In times when physical proximity is not possible, we work to provide that same connection through online platforms. Students respond best when they can see their teacher’s face and hear their voice, so we are making that happen remotely.
While we are providing authentic academic experiences centered on our curriculum, it is also important for students to know that their teachers love them. We want them to feel that compassion and care even though they are not in the same room.
Having used Cyber Days for five years now, our students, families, and faculty are already experienced in adapting their current curriculum to a fully online platform for a day or two at a time. This experience has given us a foundational understanding of how to use Schoology* to meet our academic expectations and hit the ground running with the current online learning experience. Because we know the basics, we have been able to introduce more tools quickly to create an enhanced learning experiences for our students.
We have a responsibility to help our students continue to learn during these difficult days, but we also know that school—continuing to interact with their teachers and friends—provides an important sense of normalcy and reassurance for them. Dock has always placed a high value on the community we create on both of our campuses, every day. That sense of community has never been more important than it is now.
"In times when physical proximity is not possible, we work to provide that same connection through online platforms. Students respond best when they can see their teacher’s face and hear their voice, so we are making that happen remotely."
Dr. Sharon Fransen
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
* Schoology is a learning management system that connects teachers, students, and parents to all the content and other information related to a classroom or course—assignments, videos, newsletters, lessons, discussions. It extends the face-to-face experiences of the physical classroom to the virtual world.
The Schoology platform allows us to connect with other integrated technology tools, including:
● Schoology video conferences
● Screencast-o-matic, where teachers can create videos of direct instruction
● Edpuzzle for interactive video lessons
Dock has been using Schoology since 2014.
"Dock is doing a phenomenal job with distance learning! We love that a lot of teachers built in interactive pieces to their curriculums. It keeps the kids connected to their teachers and classmates. That’s important when we’re all separated for an extended time. No emergency preparedness plan could have covered COVID-19 but Dock is certainly delivering the next best thing to in-person instruction. As always, we are thankful to God for leading our family to Dock."
That's how many parents describe Dock's transition from classroom to online learning. Read more in our online learning "report card" (below.)
Dock students continue to learn
We are grateful that faculty and staff at both Dock campuses have adjusted so quickly to the online learning environment. Here are just a few examples.
For one of her first online assignments, art teacher Mrs. Kim Bergey asked her Early Childhood students to create a "sculpture" using materials they found outside—and then submit a video using Flipgrid so that she and their classmates, could see what they had created. Here, Natalie W. (left) displays the flower sculpture she made, which prompted a video from her classroom teacher, Mrs. Rachael Grim (top) expressing her appreciation for Natalie's effort. Above: What Mikayla C. thinks about Mrs. Bergey's art class.
Class discussion moves online
Students in Mrs. Gretchen McTavish's 8th period AP English class were only halfway through Henry David Thoreau's Walden when school was closed. Here, students gather online to discuss the major themes of the book. Click on the image (left) to hear a little of the conversation!
"I am VERY grateful that Dock had the foresight to implement cyber days years ago.
Kudos to the Dock team for being proactive!"
— Dock parent
The "What is it?" Challenge
Our local Mennonite Heritage Center teamed up with Dock 6th grade students
to teach a history lesson in a fun, engaging way.
The Mennonite Heritage Center recently came alongside Mrs. Alice Wolfgang's 6th grade students with a “What is it?” Challenge, providing a page of photographs and clues from items in their collection. Students were permitted to talk to anyone in their extended families to get assistance in attempting to identify the dozen items. Students correctly identifying the most items received extra credit in the subject of their choice as well as a chocolate football, making this a fun and rewarding online learning option! Congratulations to Shelby Lapp and Matthew Mast for getting the most correct answers!
“I’m very impressed with the teachers and how much time and effort they are investing to make this happen. This is a huge transition and they seem to be handling it with ease."
— Dock parent
“The instructional videos are extremely helpful! Thanks so much to everyone for all the work you are doing! This is such a tricky time that changes by the hour. I'm so grateful for a community that jumps in and is willing to take the risk to try something new! Thank you to everyone for all your hard work and dedication to our children. With gratitude...”
— Dock parent
A time for prayer
When Grades 9-12 faculty member Mr. Kirby King's Bible class ended their time in the classroom, he was teaching about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He decided to give a daily prayer assignment based on the teaching in Matthew 6 better know as the Lord's Prayer, and this (left) was a journal entry from one of his students.
Middle School teacher Ms. Alice Wolfgang (left) welcomed her students on the first day of online learning wearing a tiara. Her students quickly jumped in and grabbed their favorite hat. It was a great way for everyone to embrace this opportunity to learn in virtual community. It was also gratifying to see her class spend time in prayer together!
Below: The Mast family plays a game that 6th grader Matthew created as part of an online learning project in his Bible class.
Putting those FACS skills to good use
Dock 7th grader TJ Seiders put to good use the sewing skills he learned in Mrs. Claire Wanamaker's Family and Consumer Sciences class by sewing masks to be donated to the hospital where his mom works. TJ, your project embodies the essential qualities of a Dock education—learning, faith, and service. Thanks for setting a great example for all of us!
Modeling sinusoidal equations and other Math Madness
Meanwhile, at the EC-Grade 8 Campus, math teacher Mrs. Claire Wanamaker helped her Middle School students cope with the absence of March Madness by creating a Sweet 16 bracket with famous mathematicians (below). Students solved math problems to see who would come out on top. Brilliant!
“Thanks so much for the open and consistent communication from the school and teachers. It helps me feel connected to the school community at a time when we're supposed to be "distancing" ourselves from others physically. It wasn't without challenges, but this week went very smoothly as we sought to establish new norms and routines while balancing work-from-home office schedules. Thanks again for all that the school administration and teachers are doing. Keep up the good work!”
A time to celebrate reading!
Even our youngest Dock students are embracing online learning together! Mrs. Rachel Grimm encourages her 5-year-old pre-K students as they use an app called Epic!, a digital library that provides online access to more than 35,000 of the best kids' books. Parents can choose to read aloud to their children, or have Epic! read each page. Since libraries are closed, Epic! gives families access to new reading material while they're home. It even tracks books read and pages turned. Keep up the good work, readers!
Top left: Mrs. Grim congratulates her young readers for passing an Epic! milestone in their reading.
Left: Mrs. Grim encourages her students to read by reading them a book about the planet Pluto.
If you think students are missing out on Phys Ed because of the quarantine—think again!
EC-Grade 8 Phys Ed teacher Mrs. Cheryl Ryder gave students choices of activities they could engage in. "I am so excited to see the students getting outside with their families, exploring parks, creeks and the woods, taking walks, playing basketball and soccer, using dad’s hay wagon as a jungle gym, riding bikes, planning out their garden, setting up outside obstacle/training courses and even collecting sap and boiling it," she said.
We miss you!
At the start of week 7 of online learning, faculty from both campuses collaborated to create videos to let students know how much they were missed. Special thanks to our EC-Grade 8 Librarian, Mrs. Missy Camilleri, for putting these two videos together!
Every day at 9:30 I am teaching math via Schoology conferencing. It took a LOT of work to get up and running, but today I had 17 out of 19 kids on! Super proud of these kids and parents, and thankful to be part of this amazing family. #dockstrong
— Mrs. Amy Rodriguez
“As I speak with parents of children from other schools, either at work or otherwise, I have come to realize how far ahead of most schools Dock is in the area of online schooling. Having had this set-up for years to do Cyber Days instead of taking snow days has really paid off. Just one more example of how Dock excels. Thank you!”
“Everyone is working hard for the best in this tough situation. The feeling of community and encouragement is so important at a time like this and we have always appreciated that from Dock. Hopefully we can continue to learn while not feeling the stress to perform but to achieve our best during these circumstances.”
“We are so happy with how well our kids have been able to navigate through her school work independently this week, even our 4th grader. This is a testament to all the hard work teachers and administration did all year long in training the kids in how to use these cool learning and technology platforms! You have all done a great job all year and even more so this week. Thank you! We appreciate your efforts.”
Physics class is IN!
Mrs. Jane Mast became a Screencast-o-matic pro in order to teach principles of rotation and rotational motion to her Physics students. Talk about a virtual classroom!
Click on "Clip 1" (top) to watch a video of the class.
"I wanted to say thank you to you and all the teachers for being so flexible and prepared during this event. I as well as many others were, and still are, feeling uncertain and nervous about this global crisis, but the school community has been a solid foundation of learning and support that I am utterly grateful for. I can tell that there has been a great deal of effort put into this online learning from teachers, classmates and faculty and it is very empowering. Thank you Mr. Wiens for your guidance, positive energy, and flowing confidence towards all of us as a family and community, we all appreciate it! I hope you have a great evening, and a delightful fourth quarter."
Email from a 10th grade student
A smorgasbord of learning for Kindergarteners
Students in Mrs. Sandra Curry's Kindergarten class have been having a blast learning at home!
Emma shows off some of her artwork!
Mia practices her snap words.
Brooke practicing her writing. Love that smile!
Brooke is learning how to tie her shoes—and recording it in a book at the same time. We hear that her parents were very happy she was assigned this activity!
Ari found a few items around the house that have short vowel sounds.
Lucy shares her "How to" book on swimming.
Nolan takes a break for some "recess."
Mrs Bev Guengerich and her grandsons work on writing and math.
Selah celebrating the first day of spring!
Thank you so much for the Epic account. My daughter is so excited that she has her own account. We are very grateful for all you re doing!”
Mrs. Curry....thank you so much for all the hard work you've been putting into keeping our Kindergarten class going! My son was ecstatic to do his lessons with me yesterday and truly enjoyed the work!
Thank you for all the hard work of putting together online lessons and compiling so many great resources for the kids.
My daughter had fun making her “how to catch a leprechaun” book.
My daughter asked to pray for you last night. She REALLY misses you and is afraid she is not going to see you again. Thank you for all the resources and information you sent. My daughter seems excited to work on it. I hope you are doing well! I know this must create a lot of different emotions for you.
Your students love you!