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June 2020 KTS E-Newsletter
Directors Note

We thank our entire community for coming together in this unprecedented time. Together, we have ensured that every student has the necessary technology to keep on learning. Together, we solidified schedules and customized virtual learning for our students. Together, we filled our buckets full of positive words and actions. Life hasn't been easy, but through collaboration and grit, our entire community has been able to continue learning and growing.
Rhona Schwartz, Director,
High School Program

Nicole Abera, PhD,  
Director, Lower and Middle
School Programs
Executive Director Note
Who would have imagined this school year would require a transition to a whole new way of learning? Times of crisis require strong leadership, and I want to thank Rhona and Nicole for going above and beyond for our students. With their phenomenal leadership, we transitioned quickly to a virtual school, always focusing on the needs of the students while at the same time supporting staff with new technologies. Their unwavering commitment and dedication has helped our entire community adapt and thrive. Thank you also to our school community whose faith in our ability to support our students no matter what the situation is appreciated.

Dr. Patricia Ritter
Executive Director, The Treatment and Learning Centers
Lower and Middle School Update

Early Childhood
Our early childhood students have really been enjoying their virtual drama class! Ms. Tai has been working with them to show creativity in drawing while listening to stories. One of the parents wrote "Thanks for all your work in producing great class material for the kids. Everyone at KTS has done such an amazing job in making the remote educational experience as effective as possible."

Lower School
We have been working hard at keeping as much of our normal
schedule as possible! The 2nd-3rd grade class has really enjoyed fun time with peers using flipgrid videos over the past week. Check out the picture of Joshua above, where he made a fantastic and fun video!

Middle School
In Middle School ELA, Mr Vadney has been using a helpful virtual tool with students called Ed Puzzle. This is a website that allows the creator to embed questions in YouTube video content, so that students can keep the view engaged while responding to questions. It also reports the accuracy of the students' responses to the teacher so he or she can determine whether students are learning the content. Think of it as this experience: You're watching a video and up pops a question, you answer it, then move on in the video. Students enjoyed this experience!
High School Virtual Class Updates

Anatomy and Physiology
When we transitioned to virtual schooling, I wanted to ensure that my Anatomy and Physiology students would be able to experience labs in some capacity; therefore, to further enhance the material learned in our Zoom lessons, we are using the Visible Body website. This online resource provides teaching opportunities using visual and interactive tools, and independent practice using 3D technology. Even though hands-on learning is invaluable and irreplaceable, these virtual labs allow students to better visualize the material taught from the comfort and safety of their homes.  

One of the activities we have done in two English classes is having the students create their own comments or dialogue for different characters by looking at pictures of scenes from the story and then speaking to each other as if they were in the situation. We need more practice, but with cueing they are getting the idea.

Geography students are working on "travel guides" for where to go and what to explore in Australia, ranging from what cities and landmarks to visit, to finding pictures and special facts on their favorite animals, foods and unusual plants or adventures. 

All internship students completed a mock interview over Zoom, which may be the new wave of how interviews are conducted. In fact, since then, we've had a couple of students interview over Zoom for Project Search. For the mock interviews, all of the students showed up just ahead of their interview time and did a great job figuring out eye contact over Zoom and how to display enthusiasm when not in the same room with someone! They conducted themselves with maturity and confidence!

We've been acting out conflict scenarios that may arise between roommates. The students have really gotten into their roles and I've even seen a couple of parents peek in - making sure everything is ok - ha! These role plays have led to some really good discussion and self-awareness about the type of roommate each student thinks he or she would be.

The Physics classes completed a lab experiment on the Refraction of White Light to Produce a Color Spectrum. The teacher mailed each student a separate kit that included a crystal, a card used to direct a beam of white light from a flashlight, and the Laboratory write up, or procedure. Each separate class was able to work as a unit to achieve individual results which reinforced everything that they had learned in class, from lecture and the use of videos. The classes really did an excellent job!

From an OT
I have been doing virtual escape rooms with some of my students that have sequencing goals. They have really liked the escape from Hogwarts and the Avengers themed escape rooms. It gets them to solve puzzles and requires them to work on a lot of executive functioning skills in a really fun way! It's a great break for them from classwork, it gets them thinking, solving and sequencing, as well as working as a team! I have really enjoyed watching them work together to solve the puzzles and problem solve together!  

From a Reading Teacher
One group of students is reading the adapted classic version of Around the World in Eighty Days. All students responsibly brought their books home on the last day of school prior to our school shutdown, so we could continue reading and focusing on decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. The students' first assignment was a set of questions to review chapters one - eight. A student took this assignment one step further. After answering questions about the characters, various locations along the route, and the plot, this student spent time perusing YouTube videos until he found a perfect video to parallel this version of the novel (no easy feat!). He shared this link with me. Using a cropped version of "The Hole Story," to include only the chapters we had read, I created an EdPuzzle activity that was a much more interesting follow-up activity. All students completed this review activity with a high degree of accuracy.

Physical Education
Connect Four Fitness has been my favorite activity so far with my PE classes! I split the class into two teams and the students take turns picking where they want to 'drop' their color like in connect four. Wherever the student decides to drop their color, their team has to complete the fitness exercise. For example, if I'm on the red team and pick 5 jumping jacks, everyone on the red team has to complete 5 jumping jacks. This was an interesting twist because students were not only trying to connect four with their colors but they made sure to choose exercises they wanted to do. It was fun to watch all of their different strategies!  
Virtual Admissions

KTS Admissions has been very busy! With the shift to everything virtual, we have adapted our admissions process to meet the needs of the community. Since April, we have held several successful virtual Zoom open houses and tours for prospective families (see the picture below, a slide from our Zoom open house)! We have also conducted several virtual students visits for admissions where potential students met individually with a teacher and eventually joined a virtual classroom. KTS is still accepting applications and admissions is not slowing down, no matter what! Come take a look.
TLC and KTS Virtual Story Time

TLC and KTS are here to support you and your family. In this unprecedented time, TLC and KTS staff thought it would be fun and comforting to read our favorite stories to you. Of course each staff member will add their own flair and personality. Check out the different stories here. The page on the website will be taken down at the end of the school year.

It is a major part of our academic programs, encompassing our family of services including Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Testing and Tutoring. The Katherine Thomas School, and TLC’s other departments want to support students during distance learning. We are participating in story time to support student learning in this time of COVID. As educators, our goal is always to teach and help our students via various methods to optimize learning. We appreciate the many publishers who have allowed educators to use their books for this purpose during this pandemic. Videos will be taken down at the end of the school year. Enjoy!
Have a fun and safe summer!
The Katherine Thomas School |301.738.9691 | Email KTS |
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