Elective classes during continuous learning

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Focusing in on her music, sophomore Dhriti Sriram works in her new online learning enviornment.

Many NHS students as well as parents were recently concerned over how elective classes as well as other academic classes would function with the new set up for continuous learning. A large amount wondered whether or not the many hands-on electives offered at the high school would have any reasonable way to transition to online.
Some parents took to superintendent Dr. Deborah Hamm’s live Facebook sessions to voice their concern. Ultimately, it seems that the choice for how these elective classes will function has been left for the teacher to decide. Although not ideal, students such as freshman Eris Rindt voice that these last few weeks of having their elective classes online rather than in person has been alright.
“P.E. didn’t really change much grading wise but work wise it’s pretty easy to get up and moving,” Rindt said. “Mr. [Tony] Hein gives us a lot of sites and ideas to get people up and moving.”
Rindt is just one of many that was in the midst of completing her required one and a half credits of P.E. when forced to transition to online. She was also involved in other elective courses such as Culinary Essentials. Rindt has kept organized with her work load by checking Canvas daily and has enjoyed her online elective classes thus far. She does, however, wish that her Culinary Essentials class would be sent optional recipes to try on their own at home, that way she would still be able to cook.
“I was super excited to start learning how to make different foods,” Rindt said. “Culinary is a great class and I miss learning how to cook\; I feel like my culinary class was kind of robbed from me since online school is just studying slides and answering different questions.”
Senior Drake Hamm’s electives were mainly based in the Ag shop. Hamm explains that although his teacher has set up times for him to continue working on his tractors in the Ag shop he has been able to use some of his old tractors and trucks at home for his assignments so far. He just snaps a photo of his progress every week and texts the picture to his teacher who grades off of the pictures he sent.
“I like the assignments so far because they are pretty easy and don’t take much time for me to do, so I can go and work during the day,” Hamm said. “I would like more of the future assignments to be multiple choice.”
One of junior Acacia Penner’s electives is Painting and Drawing II. She explains that personally the online elective classes have not been going that smoothly due to lack of resources that were available to her while in school. Penner and her classmates are given assignments every two weeks. Penner said that her art teacher Eden Quispe knows that things are difficult for everyone right now and therefore their assignments reflect that as what Quispe would call art therapy. Along with their biweekly assignments, they have also had informative video calls with other artists such as Kansas book illustrator Brad Sneed.
“We get assignments every two weeks and they’re all about just expressing our current emotions,” Penner said.”I don’t care for the art therapy because I would rather just work on my own paintings and drawings that I enjoy doing like realism work instead of handing in art that I don’t enjoy making.”
Sophomore Dhriti Sriram’s electives are both music courses, both band and orchestra. For band, Sriram said that they have two assignments every week, one being a short research assignment about either composers or performers accompanied by a couple of questions and the other assignment being a Flipgrid video of playing at least 16 bars of the assigned song. For orchestra, they have a playing assignment on the website SmartMusic, as well as the occasional video to watch or an excerpt to listen to and reflect about.
“I like the [band] assignments because they aren’t very long and I still can get better as a player because he gives feedback on our videos,” Sriram said. “I like the SmartMusic assignments because the website provides you with a backing track and metronome so it’s easier to learn the music and it’s like I’m playing in class.”
Although Sriram would much rather be in class playing her music with her classmates she feels that overall the new online format of playing music has worked well. Alongside their weekly assignments her band teacher, Greg Bergman posts additional websites and apps that they can use to help them practice or that have free music. SmartMusic also has additional resources.
“I felt that the transition was pretty smooth for me, although I would much rather be in class because I miss playing with everyone,” Sriram said.

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