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An End of the Year Letter from Mrs. Vondra

An End of the Year Letter from Mrs. Vondra

What a year it’s been! As I was closing up my classroom for the summer at the end of last week, I started realizing just how much Corona took from us this year. We were just supposed to leave for spring break, and be back in a week. We were only supposed to be without each other for one week. That ended up being three months. I realized how I felt I didn’t have closure with all my classes, and I imagined you felt similarly with all of your classes and friends and teachers. We just never came back. Never got to laugh or learn together, never got to talk or discuss or push each other to do and be more. We just left, thinking it was temporary, and never came back.

When I realized I missed this closure, missed all those days we should have had together, I wanted the chance to say goodbye. School will start again in the fall, but you all will no longer be in Mrs. Vondra’s class, and for that I am sorry. I wanted to say I will miss you, have missed you, and wish you all the best. I am honored to have gotten the time together that we did, honored that I got the chance to know you, honored that I got to (and get to) call you my students.

This is such an incredible time to be alive. “Incredible” doesn’t have to mean “wonderful”. In fact, at it’s most true core, “incredible” means “hard to believe”. It’s hard to believe that we’re in the middle of a world pandemic. Hard to believe that we’ve been sheltering in place in our homes for three months. Hard to believe we never went back to school. I’d imagine during this time at home you’ve felt bored at times, alone at times, misunderstood at times, angry, unfulfilled, and so many more emotions. But this time, however incredible, is only temporary. When we emerge from the other side of it, I hope that you will use these experiences to your benefit. I hope you never take for granted just sitting in the presence of friends. I hope getting out of bed to go to school will seem a little less terrible, because you’ll have discovered that staying in bed by yourself all day, everyday, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I hope you get to swap quarantine stories and laugh and hug and enjoy all of the best parts of community and humanity together. We were never supposed to do this life alone. I hope you have learned that a life without purpose is only half a life. Find purpose and chase it. My point is: we can bring good out of this bad. I hope you find the good and cling tight to it. Let it change you for the better. Forever.

Speaking of change, I’m sure you’ve noticed the social unrest grabbing our nation’s attention at the moment. How I wish we could have been in class to be able to talk about this together. We talked somewhat about it when we read Dear Martin together (and how glad I am for those discussions!) but I would have loved to let you share your thoughts and feelings about what’s been going on. I told you at the very beginning of the year, the first day of class even, that you each had a story and that each of those stories were important. That remains true. What you do with that story is so important. Right now, especially for my students of color (which many of you are), the world is poised to hear your story. Let them. Speak. Tell us truths we need to hear. These stories at the forefront of our social consciousness are shaping the nation we will become. Join your story to theirs. Speak and be heard. Though our nation has such a dark past where our citizens of color are concerned, I believe this can change. My students, your inherent value is immeasurable. Never let anyone make you doubt that. So, have real conversations. Hard conversations. Vulnerable conversations. For my white students: listen. Hear. Join in the change. I know that I can never understand fully, but know that I stand fully with you. I hope you felt you each had a voice in my class. I hope you felt heard and valued. I hope you can take that voice and continue to use it. Be the good. Voice your story. Though this ended up being an incredible year, I am so thankful for the days we had together.

Have a wonderful summer. 🙂

-Mrs. Vondra

P.S. If you haven’t already, I’d love if you (virtually) signed my yearbook here: bit.ly/vondrayb. I’ll print the messages out and put them in my yearbook when they come in.

Last Week!

Last Week!

Hi y’all! I’m back for our last week together! A big thanks to Mrs. Evans, Ms. Prokof, and Coach Penix for all their help while I was out. Baby Bethany is doing well, but I miss you guys!

Most of y’all have stayed on top of your work really well, but others of y’all have got some catching up to do this last week. You need to have all of your work done by Wednesday because I have to submit grades on Thursday.

We’re going to have a Zoom meeting on Tuesday at 2:30 pm to check in with one another so I can answer any questions you have, etc. If you need me in the meantime feel free to reach out through email or Remind!

5th & 6th 6-Weeks Announcements

5th & 6th 6-Weeks Announcements

Hi y’all!

Before we get into the details of the upcoming weeks, in case you didn’t hear, I just wanted you to know that my sweet daughter, Bethany Kay, was born this past Friday, 4/3. She’s pretty perfect, and we’re already obsessed with her. 💕

Now on to explain how the next several weeks will work since I’ll be on maternity leave. In a normal world (one where we were still attending the brick and mortar of AHHS) a sub would have just come in and taught lessons I left behind. Obviously, our world is anything but normal right now. So, let’s take this one detail at a time.

5th 6-Weeks

We were in the middle of the 5th 6-weeks, reading The House on Mango Street, when we went on Spring Break. Then, because of Covid-19, we had an extended 2-week break. When that happened, I made a post where I explained that you could be working on anything that you were missing and email me the completed work and I’d replace the grades (many of you have been doing this and I’ve let you know how it affected your grade as you did). I also said any of the additional assignments I ended up assigning when we didn’t know if/when we’d be going back to school would be extra credit if completed. Those assignments are now in the gradebook. I’ve attached PDF gradesheets by student ID numbers below so you can see what your grade is looking like.

In case you didn’t see the announcement from the District a few days ago, you should know that they’ve declared that all classes across the board will be on a Pass/Fail basis. This means you will not get a numeric grade average for the 5th (or 6th) 6-weeks. You will simply either pass or fail. If you pass, you get credit; if you fail, you don’t. That also means that this semester will not count towards your overall GPA. In this crazy situation, we are simply concerned with making sure you get credit for your classes.

All of that is to say: if you are failing this course on those spreadsheets above, that means you will recieve a “Fail” for the 5th 6-weeks unless you get me work. (If you’re not failing, you’re done for this 6-weeks. Passing with a 71% is the same as passing with a 99%. Passing is passing.) As always, if you’re failing, the quickest way to get your grade up is to turn in missing assignments. The district is mandating that all teachers accept late work through 4/10. However, since I have been incommunicado this week due to Bethany being born, I will accept late work through 4/12 to give you a little extra time to get work in. Email me any electronic copies of work, pictures of handwritten work, notifications if you made up NRI, whatever you need to do to communicate your make up work to me by 4/12.

Lastly, with the start of this week, the district is making everyone deliver lessons through a program called Edgenuity (I’m sure you’ve been told this through your other classes) so we won’t have time to officially finish The House on Mango Street, which I hate… If you’d like to finish the book on your own, just to know how it ends, here is a PDF copy of the book. We left off on page 61:

6th 6-Weeks

The 6th 6-weeks technically started on Monday, but since I couldn’t get on until now update y’all on what was going on, there was no mandated assignment this week—either on this website or Edgenuity. For us, the 6-weeks will start this upcoming week. Starting this next week, our class will be moved in its entirety to Edgenuity. Please know this is not my decision in the least. This is coming straight down from the district. I had a whole cool Independent Reading Unit planned, but we have to do Edgenuity instead.

Like I said earlier, in a normal world, I’d have a sub right now as I’m on maternity leave. But, we can’t call in a sub for Edgenuity and Distance Learning because they wouldn’t have access to the program or you guys. That said, some other AHHS teachers are stepping in to help y’all out while I’m on leave:

Coach Penix

Coach Penix is going to be the one in charge of grading your Edgenuity lessons and assignments. If you have any questions regarding your grades for the 6th 6-weeks, email her at Julianne.Penix@fwisd.org.

Ms. Prokof

FIRST PERIOD, Ms. Prokof is who you are going to go to if you have questions over Edgenuity or the assignments. Ms. Prokof also teaches English I and would be happy to help you. Period one, in Google Classroom, join her class with the code: 6s4lxjl. She’ll then have Zoom meetings and resources available to help you. Her email, if you need it, is Michelle.Prokof@fwisd.org.

Mrs. Evans

THIRD and FIFTH PERIODS, Mrs. Evans is who you are going to go to if you have questions over Edgenuity or the assignments. Mrs. Evans also teaches English I and II and would be happy to help you. Periods three and five, in Google Classroom, join her class with the code: hcnw3we. She’ll then have Zoom meetings and resources available to help you. Her email, if you need it, is Paula.Evans@fwisd.org.

Weekly Assignments on Edgenuity

Instructions for Logging on to Edgenuity:

  1.  Go to the FWISD home page.
  2. In the pull down menu in the top right corner go to “Students” and click there.
  3. In the student section, find the icon that says “My FWISD Class Link Portal” and click on it.
  4. That will take you to the app page. Find the icon for “Edgenuity” and click.  All of the classes you are enrolled in will be there. Just pick one and get started!

Starting this next week with Unit 2 (we don’t have to worry about Unit 1), you’ll complete your weekly assignments and Coach Penix will grade them. Communicate with Ms. Prokof (first period) and Mrs. Evans (third and fifth periods) if you need help with anything. Every week new assignments will be posted for you in Edgenuity. Good luck! Don’t be afraid to ask for help just because it’s not me. We’re all here for you!

Work for 3/30-4/3

Work for 3/30-4/3

Hi everyone! This week’s assignment is to plan and write an essay. I’m trying a new tech tool that *should* allow our normal essay warm up packet to be editable on computers. You’ll work through all of the steps just like we would in class. You’ll notice this version doesn’t have my normal “hints” on it. Feel free to use past essays to help remember what parts go where.

Here is the essay: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dtu3fwUrkDN3CAGtpMwZjBZy9P6F32_e/view?usp=sharing

When you open it, DOWNLOAD it or open with DOCHUB or open with LUMIN. Do NOT open with GoogleDocs. It won’t work. You can then click in all of the places you would normally write and type your planning and essay.

When you are finished, you may either copy the link and email it to me (if you saved it in your GoogleDrive) or email me the PDF file (if you’d saved it on your computer.

If you’d rather print the paper, hand write on it, and then email a picture or scan of your work, you’re welcome to do that too. Whatever is easiest for you.

As always, feel free to contact me if you need anything.

Work for 3/23-27

Work for 3/23-27

Hi, y’all! Bored at home yet? FWISD is instructing us to give y’all an hour’s worth of work per week to help keep your minds sharp. Please know: students cannot be penalized in any way for failure to complete, or completing incorrectly, any assignments assigned during this extended break. The purpose of these assignments is to keep you (somewhat) in the swing of things school-wise so that when we go back your brains haven’t turned to mush (unlimited hours of Netflix and Tik Tok will do that, ya know? 😉). So, without further ado, here are the assignments for this week (they’re in your annotation packet and connected with The House on Mango Street unit we left off on before Spring Break). You can do them all at the same time or spread them out. Whichever you prefer.

Assignment 1:

In your annotation packet, on page 3, you’ll find an article entitled “Malala Yousafzai: A Normal Yet Powerful Girl”. Read the article and answer the following multiple choice questions:

https://forms.gle/Nwj5DtAHptkLDC7b6

Assignment 2:

In your annotation packet, on page 5, you’ll find an article entitled “Healing Brick City: A Newark Doctor Returns Home”. Read the article and answer the following multiple choice questions:

https://forms.gle/trgnP9VFDujyuivm9


Remember, if you need help with anything, the quickest way is to message me through the Remind app. You are also welcome to email me.

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update

Hi guys!

I just wanted to touch base since things are changing so often. As you know, we’re off school at least through 3/27. I wanted to communicate several things to you in the meantime. I know this message is long, but stick with it (you’re stuck at home anyways, right?).

First: Remind/Communication

I just wanted you to know that I’m going to be communicating mostly through Remind. If you are not signed up to recieve text messages, you can do so by texting the number 81010 with the message “@svondra1” for period 1, “@svondra3” for period 3, or “@svondra5” for period 5.

I have turned on the ability for you to message me back on Remind if you need anything. I also have access to my email if you prefer to contact me that way, but will probably only be checking that about once a day. If you need a quicker answer, feel free to contact me through Remind.

Second: Grades

I was finally able to log in to Focus, so I was able to put in your grades and download gradesheets. Everything is in except for the Membean grades because that has to be logged in using our FWISD Google account, which we still do not have access to. Since y’all still don’t have access to Focus, I’ve uploaded PDFs of each classes’ grades. I’ve taken off your names, so look for your ID number like you do on the gradesheets in class. This will at least let you know your average, what you’re missing, etc. If you are missing anything, and would like to make the assignments up while you are at home, you are welcome to do so and email me the work as you finish it. You can find hardcopies of handouts from class on the Documents page of this website. You can work on them electronically if you don’t have a printer. Or, if you have the hardcopy from class in your backpack, you can take a picture of the completed work and email it to me (please make sure the picture is clear and readable). I left the NRI assignments that were supposed to be for this week and next week up since I had already scheduled them (in case we get access to the Google accounts sometime soon). These are not mandatory, but if you would like to complete them, I will be glad to give you extra credit for them. The same goes for your Membean for this week and next week: not mandatory, but extra credit opportunities.

Third: Schedule on Return

Assuming we do go back on 3/30, we’re going to be changing around the schedule. Originally, we were supposed to finish The House on Mango Street this week and next week and then do our Membean, NRI, and Independent Reading tests at the end of next week. However, with these two weeks being lost, we’re going to change some things up. If we return on 3/30, we will spend the next two weeks (weeks of 3/30-4/3 and 4/6-9) finishing The House On Mango Street. We will not have Membean, No Red Ink, or Independent Reading tests this 6-weeks. Please note that this means that your grade for the 5th 6-weeks (assuming they keep the 6-weeks the same and don’t change it; if they do change it, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it) will be made up entirely of daily grades. So make sure you’ve got everything turned in.

With the start of the 6th 6-weeks on 4/14 (again, assuming we’re back and assuming they don’t change the 6-weeks structures), you will be starting a new unit where you’ll read your Independent Reading Book in class. It must be a fiction book (no non-fiction or poetry books this time) and must be at least 250 pages. You are welcome to check one out from my library in class, bring one from home, have an electronic one on your phone/laptop, etc. Since we’re not going to have an Independent Reading Book Survey this (5th) 6-weeks anymore, you’re welcome to save the book you were going to read this 6-weeks for next (if you’ve already read most of it though, you’re going to want to pick a new one). You must have this book picked and ready to go by 4/14.

Fourth: STAAR Testing

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Governor Abbot has waived the STAAR Test for this year due to us missing so much school because of the Coronavirus. Here is all we know as of right now: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article241199061.html. At least amidst all the other crazy in the world right now, we don’t have to worry about the STAAR test. So, if/when we return to school, we’ll be able to have class like we always do and won’t have to try and cram for STAAR.

Fifth: Bored? Try Reading.

This announcement is not directly tied to our class, but is rather just a helpful tip from your friendly English teacher. If in the midst of your Coronavirus quarantine you get bored with Tik Tok, Netflix, and X Box (seems impossible, I know), try reading a book. If you don’t have a lot of books at home, check out this cool app called Libby: https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby/. Libby lets you check out ebooks and audiobooks from local libraries (for free, of course). If you download the app, you can check out ebooks from the Fort Worth Public Library. (If you don’t have a library card, it can link you directly to the Fort Worth Public Library’s online application for one. It’s a pretty simple process and lets you access hundreds of books on your phone.

Wrap up:

Thanks for sticking through all of these announcements. Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do for you in this strange and uncertain time. If you talk to someone who has me for English and they haven’t gotten this message, will you please pass it along to them for me? Thanks, y’all. Stay safe and healthy. I’ll post more info as necessary.

Parent Check In 2/19

Parent Check In 2/19

Today we are going to check in with your goals and update your parent/guardian as to how things are going.
Like we talked about a the first 6-weeks, you have to intentionally choose the person you want to become. The second six-weeks is officially over and now we need to revisit how your goals are going.

STEP 1:

Log in to your email. (You can get to your student email here if you don’t have a personal one: my.fwisd.org. Log in like you do on the computer, click on Office 365 and then click on Outlook.) Also through the my.fwisd page you can log in to Focus and see what your final grade was for the first six-weeks.

STEP 2:

Create a new message to send . In the “To” line, type your parent’s email address. In the “CC” line, type my email address (Sarah.Vondra@fwisd.org). This copies me in on the email so that I can see that you sent it and I can give you a grade for sending it (YES, it’s a grade).

STEP 3:

The subject line of the email should say “English Check In”.

STEP 4:

Copy and paste the following message into the body of the email, then change/complete the sentences and blanks (__) so that it makes sense for you. (Remember if you double-click the blanks and then type it deletes the blank and leaves only your words.

Copy and paste:


Hi ____________,
I just wanted to update you on how things were going for me. Last 6-weeks I got a _____% in Mrs. Vondra’s Pre-AP English I class. This is mainly because ____________________. Moving forward, I plan to do _________________ differently because I expect more from myself. Like I’ve said before I want to be the type of person who ________________, so moving forward I’m going to focus on ____________________.
My goal for English class was ___________________. So far it’s going _______________. I plan on continuing to _______________ (OR I plan on starting to ____________________). This six-weeks I really want to ________________ and I’m going to accomplish that by ___________________.
Recently I’ve been learning about ___________________. I want to learn more about/I’m still kind of confused by/This made me think of ______________________.
I’m doing good/not good on my commitment to ______________________. Moving forward I plan on _______________________.
I’m going to be following up with you about every three weeks to update you on how my goals and plans are working out. Thanks for taking the time to partner with me.

Sincerely,

________________

P.S. This email is my first 100% of the fifth six-weeks


STEP 5: When you are finished filling out the email message, it’s addressed to your parent, and I’m in the CC line, press SEND. You’re done!

Parent Check In–1/29

Parent Check In–1/29

STEP 1: Log in to your email. Also through the my.fwisd.org page you can log in to Focus and see what your grade is right now.


STEP 2: Create a new message to send. In the “To” line, type your parent’s email address. In the “CC” line, type my email address (Sarah.Vondra@fwisd.org). This copies me in on the email so that I can see that you sent it and I can give you a grade for sending it (YES, it’s a grade).


STEP 3: The subject line of the email should sayy “English Check In”.


STEP 4: Copy and paste the following message into the body of the email, then change/complete the sentences and blanks (__) so that it makes sense for you.

Copy and paste:


Hi ___________________,

I just wanted to update you on how things were going for me. Right now I have a ____% in Mrs. Vondra’s Pre-AP English I class. This is mainly because ____________. I know I have two and a half weeks left in the 6-weeks. Over these weeks I’m planning on _____________. Like I’ve said before I want to be the type of person who _______________, so moving forward I’m going to focus on _____________.

I have weekly homework in Mrs. Vondra’s class (Membean and No Red Ink). It has been going ___________________ because _____________. I’m also reading a book outside of class. The book I picked to read is called _____________________ and I’m ____% finished with it. I know that I have to have it completely read by February 14th.

I’m going to be following up with you in about two and a half weeks to update you on how this 6-weeks finished out. Thanks for taking the time to partner with me.

Sincerely,

____________________


STEP 5: When you are finished filling out the email message, it’s addressed to your parent, and I’m in the CC line, press SEND. You’re done!