Horrible Homework

By Nora Doyle and Olivia Miller

Image taken from: Study.com

Ugh homework!

It’s something every kid has to do if they want to succeed in school.

But why do we do it?

Most students think it’s pointless and adds to the daily stress of school. We have work in class everyday, about 6 hours a day, so why give us more at home? That’s supposed to be the space where we get to relax, eat, sleep, and do things we actually enjoy.

If you were to ask any student, they will most likely say homework hurts them more than it helps them. Maybe they are right, I mean, do we really need homework? What good does it do? Who even created the idea in the first place?

The question of who is to blame for the invention of homework is sort of a controversial question. According to ‘Market Business News’, many people argue that homework was invented by Italian educator Roberto Nevilis, in either 1095 or 1905. But, if both of these are looked into, neither are possible according to this site. This is because in the year 1095, there was no formal system of education in, and around, Europe. Even in the 1500s, education was given by private tutors.

It couldn’t have been invented in 1905 either, because 4 years before that, in 1901, the state of California passed an act to ban homework for any child studying below the 8th grade. The law was passed because during that period, homework was frowned upon by parents. They felt that homework interfered with a child’s time for house chores. Sweet times, right? Anyway, Mr. Nevilis couldn’t have been spreading the idea of homework when he couldn’t even do it himself.

So when did it truly start?

According to ‘Market Business News’, homework has historically existed in one form or another for simply just practicing at home. It could have been singing, poetry, playing an instrument, or reading the Bible. So, in a certain way, homework has always been a thing when it comes to education.

Homework is a very controversial topic when it comes to deciding whether or not it is beneficial to students. There have been many arguments and laws throughout the years surrounding homework. According to Study.com, in 1930, homework became frowned upon because it was declared as a form of child labor, which had recently become illegal.

Opinions vary among students, teachers, and parents. Coming from a non biased point of view, here are some pros and cons of homework that have been proven, or come from a variety of studies.

Pros: According to Goodschools.com, homework is beneficial to a student’s learning when it comes to developing study skills. “From time management and organisation to self-motivation and independent learning, homework teaches students a range of positive skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and working lives. Home learning motivates students to take responsibility for their workload, while also encouraging the development of positive research practices.”

Another pro to giving students homework, according to Vittana.org, is that it, “Provides an indication of academic comprehension. Assigning learning tasks at home is a useful way for teachers to identify whether students are understanding the curriculum. Teachers can analyse gaps in comprehension or information through homework, making it easier for them to tailor their approach to each student’s needs. they can recognise students who need extra support in certain learning areas, while also identifying children who may benefit from more complex learning tasks.”

Cons: According to the American Psychological Association, a Duke University social psychologist, Harris Cooper says, “Too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.” He believes in the 10 minute rule, which implies “That students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.”

So, next time you complain about doing homework, consider the good that it does, but also keep in mind that too much homework can make you burnt out, so limit yourself, but get it done!

10 tips to help with time management during online school

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Online school has forced a great change on all students and staff at Highland. This can be a challenging experience for all of us because everything is so new. So, here are 10 tips to help you manage your time and stay focused during online school. 

1. Get up and move!

Getting up and doing a quick stretch in between classes will help you decrease back pain from sitting around all day. It can also give your mind a break from classes and can also help wake you up which will help you stay focused during class! 

2. Move to different areas when working on different things

If you stay in a single area during your classes and while you do your work, you could get tired faster from staying in one spot. In order to prevent this you can have a designated area to attend class and a different one to do your work. 

3. Simply start your assignments 

One of the hardest things to do is to complete your assignments. A way to help you complete them is by telling yourself you’ll work on it for at least 5 minutes, and chances are that after you get going you’ll want to continue. In the end, you’ll either have completed it or at least gotten farther than you were before.

4. Avoid Burnout 

It’s okay to take breaks! In fact you should take them! Breaks can help you take time for yourself and help you stay balanced which avoids burnout which can affect you negatively. 

5. Plan out your days

Having a plan helps you avoid wasting time on figuring out what you should do first. It also helps you stay on track and lowers stress because you know that you’ll have time to finish the rest of your work the next day. 

6. Write down due dates 

Writing down due dates can help you have a better idea of the bigger picture which can help you create your daily plan.

7. Focus on one task 

When working on a specific task try to avoid multitasking and social media. This will help you finish faster and not get distracted as easily.

8. Split up assignments 

If you split up an assignment into chunks it can be less overwhelming and easier to finish throughout the days you have time to work on it. It can reduce stress because you aren’t taking an entire project head on. 

9. Have mini deadlines 

Having mini deadlines can help you avoid procrastination and stay on track.

10. Reflect 

Reflecting on how your week went and deciding to experiment new things can always bring good things. This is because everyone is different, so it’s best to know what makes you comfortable. 

How COVID-19 has affected students’ education

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez and Kayla Arellano

Image taken from: ps://napavalleyregister.com/opinion/article_c0d56bba-492b-5892-ac59-edf39607dec2.html

In December of 2020, a virus was discovered in Wuhan, China. The virus slowly went spreading worldwide creating a human pandemic. This virus is called the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and thousands of people have died from it. Some have recovered, but there is no cure for it yet.

To prevent the spread, there have been restrictions that caused all businesses and schools to shut down with only a few businesses open because they were deemed essential.

Now that the schools are closed, teachers are forced to be giving online classes. They are slowly opening everything back up, but still with restrictions, and it’s very difficult because school districts have to get their system approved on how they are going to manage to have all their students in school safely.

COVID-19 has affected student’s education in a couple different ways. Many schools around the U.S. have switched to full time online learning to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to social distance.

Other school’s have chosen to do part time online and part time in school.

Students K-12 are not being able to do face-to-face learning because of the restrictions. A family source informed the authors that because of this, parents are now taking their kids out of public schools to put them in private school because private schools are now open.

But not everyone can afford a private school, and are instead forced into isolation. They also can face depression and anxiety due to always being inside their house and not being able to go to school everyday.

Some students also don’t have equipment that the school provides for them like WiFi, food, and much more. A lot of families can’t afford WiFi, or an everyday meal for their kids, and a lot of students rely on the schools for that. 

Due to the pandemic, and school getting held back, student assignments are getting canceled or postponed. This is affecting students in a negative way because it’s interrupting their learning and they aren’t receiving the education they need.

Studies show that students have lost a large percentage of their learning skills, achievements in math and reading, and overall learning skills. According to brooking.edu, students are now showing low grades and are making less than 50% of educational gains, which may be putting them almost a year behind compared to when they were attending school. 

The class of 2020 graduation was also affected by COVID-19. College students have experienced teaching interruptions in the final parts of their studies. Instead of them graduating on time, they get to graduate at the beginning of a major global recession. As for high schoolers, they didn’t get the graduation they thought they would’ve had. Some schools did virtual graduation and some schools did a graduation ceremony, but having to be 6 feet apart or more without any family or friends being present. 

Many high school graduates have changed their mind about going to college and what they want to study for because of the crisis going on. Some of them are having a delay on college to start, or some of them just have decided to just work and not even go to college anymore. 

Even though all this negative stuff is happening, let’s look on the positive side!

Students are getting the chance for a new learning opportunity. Some people may find online school better for them and might just switch to online school learning from now on. People are also considering this because they find it more affordable and it’s a way to keep yourself socially distanced.

With all of this happening, this also means that there are more online resources for the students. More programs and educational resources are becoming available for students doing online classes. 

Making distance learning easier

By: Annika Getz

The transition from In-School-Learning to Distance Learning has been a tough one, for parents and students alike. I’ve found that younger students especially are having a hard time. I know this because I have two siblings, both under the age of ten, and my block has a lot of younger kids.

Many parents are struggling to make Distance Learning work, but there are several small things that you, as a parent, can do to help your younger children adjust to this new way of learning.

One way is to go back to school shopping – just as if it were a normal year

If you don’t feel comfortable going into stores, you can just shop online. Get notebooks, and pencils, and whatever else your child needs. Make sure you do this with your child, that way it’s more meaningful for them.

When you do this, you may want to get things that your child doesn’t necessarily need this year, but would normally. Like pencil cases or binders. This also just makes the year seem a bit more normal.

Another thing you can do is set up study dates for your child

If they have any friends in their class, they can either do class together, or just do the homework together (with masks on obviously, and probably outside depending on what you’re comfortable with).

This obviously might not work for all children, as some of them would get distracted, but if you think it might work for you, then I’d suggest trying it. Not only does working with people feel a bit more like a classroom, but it also makes learning more fun.

The most important thing is to just be there for your child when they need you

They may not be able to actually go to school, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a good school year.

I hope some of these tips can help your family through these uncertain times.

Image taken from: (https://www.wnep.com/article/news/local/kroger-to-give-teachers-free-school-supplies-next- week/93-9fc6f63a-6388-4b70-90aa-a26fa5afa838)

 

 

What happened to the school lunches for SPPS?

By: Elsie Olive

Most students have already noticed, but if you hadn’t already, the lunches served at St. Paul Public Schools have severely gone downhill between the 2018-2019 school year and this one.

In the years prior to the 2019-2020 school year, SPPS had provided a variety of nutritional foods. In fact, in 2013, TwinCities.com said SPPS lunches had gotten national attention for the incredible and healthy foods the schools were providing.

However if you look at the lunches served now, almost always the options are either some variant of chicken, hamburgers, gyros, or Italian dunkers, and every lunch is served with a side of fries.

So, what changed in the few months between these two school years?

Unfortunately, there is hardly any information that explains exactly what happened, but, by checking some of the links on the SPPS lunch menus page, there is one that takes us to Nutrislice.com. Here, at spps.nutrislice.com, it gives us a message which suggests that SPPS no longer uses Nutrislice as a means of supplying their lunches. The newest and working links on the SPPS page take us to SchoolCafé.com, where you can view current school lunch menus.

It could be that this is the only reason school lunches have decreased in value this much, but it is hard to believe that such a small change could completely offset the school’s menu. It is likely that there were some staff changes in the Nutritional Services and Wellness department of SPPS.

At this point, there isn’t much other information available, and the lack of information provided on the SPPS website about it’s staff members or exactly what changed between this school year and the last one doesn’t help with that.

However, it probably has much more to do with the relaxing of regulations for school-provided meals by the Trump Administration according to BusinessInsider.com. This particular article also mentions that the billions of dollars cut from the education budget has deeply affected the ability for schools to provide enough nutritional food for all of their students.

The PLP course

By: Vivian S

Schoology screenshot

If you are anything like me, when you returned to Schoology for Quarter 4, you received a big unexplained surprise. All of a sudden there was a new course labeled “PLP” in my listing.

I was sent into a spiral of panic, wondering what new class had been thrust upon me, and it took a few weeks for me to read through all the schoology updates and find out what it is. So, if you were confused like me, hopefully this will help.

PLP is an extra course – not required. It was created to help students plan for their futures. There are assignments to help one consider possible careers, necessary education, and internships. 

The course may be extra, but that does not mean it doesn’t offer credit. If you complete the course, having all assignments finished and turned in, and all quizzes passed, you can apply for a Career Seminar elective credit. Your work would be looked over by Mr. McCann, who would decide whether or not to give you the credit.

Completing the PLP course opens up internship opportunities for when you reach 11th or 12th grade. 

To find out exactly what this course is, I decided to go try out one of the assignments.

The first assignment is a self-exploration one, which isn’t really an exploration of your self but rather your career opportunities. This is, and drumroll please, a career survey! To start this assignment, you take a career survey, and the rest of the assignment is reflecting on the results you receive. 

I was actually a bit surprised by the results I received, as most of them were jobs I’d never really thought about going into (and some I’d never even heard of). So, if you want to check out some different job opportunities that you might have never thought of, then this assignment is for you.

And if you are just here to figure out if this is something for you to do for the credit, this assignment did only take me a bit less than an hour, so it’s pretty doable. 

It does appear you need to do the assignments in order though. The Career Research Assignment requires information you get from the Self-Exploration assignment, so I’d advise you do them in order.

Remember to focus on your actual classes first though! Then you can do this for an extra credit!

Online school

Recently, it was announced that Minnesota schools will be finishing out the 2019-2020 school year online. This means we will all be checking Schoology until June 9, doing various assignments, discussions, and tests for every class. Here are a couple of positive and negative things about the distance learning program.

One of the main benefits of doing online school is having flexibility for whatever tasks, and things that need to be done, while in quarantine. Instead of having one class after another in a timely manner at the school building, during online learning you can decide to eat lunch or walk your dog in between classes because it isn’t as structured as normal school.

Along with that, school most likely does not take you seven hours per day, as it normally would. Hopefully, this leaves everyone with more free time to go outside, relax for a little bit, or get other things done.

In addition to those benefits, another positive thing is that you do not have to do classes in the order of what your normal school day was like at school. This means you can choose to start with an easier class to just warm up your brain, or get harder assignments done earlier so that you can take on small, maybe even fun, assignments at the end.

But when there are positives, there are usually also negatives.

One of these cons is that it is harder to stay motivated and on task. Unlike at school, there are many more distractions and challenges you may face at home including: pets, electronics, and even the nice weather outside. This means that there is more responsibility on you to check Schoology often and to make sure work gets done and turned in on time.

Another negative effect of online school is that the internet and technology is the foundation of distance learning. The program is heavily reliant on the internet and using devices, such as your school iPad, to be checking and sending in responses and assignments daily.

Not only that, but when school is done online, you don’t have friends sitting next to you as they normally would in some classes, maybe making it lonelier, and even harder for some people.

Seniors missing graduation

Since the start of COVID-19 seniors have been a bit on the depressive side. Many seniors, including my own brother, have been in a panic when it comes to long distance graduation. My parents and my brother have been on the spectrum of trying to get prepared for the day of his virtual graduation.

When it comes to it, most of the seniors I know are really hurt right now. They’re upset that they are not able to have the graduation that they have been longing for their whole lives; the day where they are finally free from the whips of high school and are on to their new lives going on to be adults.

Not only are the seniors upset, but so are their parents and siblings. As a sibling, I’ve always awaited the time where I got to record my older sibling walk across the stage in their cap and gown. But since COVID-19, I am not able to have that experience. It’s also upsetting to my parents because they’ve longed for the day they were able to send my brother off to prom, and to see him walk across that stage.

Not only are seniors upset about graduation, but they were also upset that they weren’t able to have their prom. I’ve spoken to a couple of the 2020 graduates themselves and asked for their input on the matter.

Willie Wright Class of 2020 graduate 

I first had a conversation with none other than the man himself, (my brother) Willie Wright, a graduating senior at Como Park Senior High. Willie is a 2020 graduate with a football scholarship to Minnesota State University.  He said, “It’s so crazy because every other class year such as 2001-2019 got to walk across the stage, and I’m not able to. Those are the most memorable moments in our life. Even prom, and I wasn’t able to have that, hopefully this will all be over soon.”

Chaniyah Fenner Class of 2020 Graduate 

I then had the opportunity to speak with Chaniyah Fenner, a senior also at Como Park Senior High. She said that, “I am upset about the virtual graduation. I don’t like it at all, I understand that there’s a virus going on and everything, but they already took away our prom and senior night, and now they’re taking away our graduation. It’s just messed up.” 

William Albert Class of 2020 Graduate 

I then reached out and spoke to William Albert, who attends Gordon Park High School. He said, “I hate the thought of not being able to walk across the stage, but knowing there’s a strong system of people behind me who are willing to bend for my education, it drives me to do better and prosper moving forward.”

With all of this going on, at least the seniors have something good to look forward to. They get a graduation speaker, who is none other than the man himself, Barack Obama (which is something really amazing).

But I just hope that all the seniors aren’t too upset about this, and I hope they still have a great graduation at home.

Teenagers and sleep

It is common knowledge that sleep is important. A good-night’s rest can enable the body to repair and be ready for a new day. Sleep can even prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration. 

Sleep is especially important for teenagers. Sleep helps fuel the brain and body. Teens need more sleep because their minds and bodies are growing quickly. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, teenagers need about 9 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep.

However, teenagers do not get even close to enough sleep. 

One reason is a shift in sleep schedule. After puberty, there is a biological shift in a teen’s internal clock of about 2 hours. For example, a teenager that used to fall asleep at 9:00pm will now not be able to fall asleep until 11:00pm. It also means waking up 2 hours later in the morning. Another reason is early high school start times. Some schools start as early as 7:00am, meaning some teens need to get up as early as 5:00am to get ready for school. Another reason is other social and school obligations. Teens have homework, sports, after-school activities, and socializing through social media often lead to late bedtimes.

As a result, most teens are sleep deprived. 

A lack of sleep can affect mood, behavior, cognitive ability, academic performance, and for those that rive, drowsy driving. Sleep deprivation will influence teens to be moody, irritable, and cranky. It also increases the likelihood of them engaging in high-risk behaviors (like drinking, smoking, driving fast, etc.). Inadequate sleep will also result in problems with attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and creativity. A lack of sleep can also result in poor grades. When driving, a lack of sleep increases the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. 

Well, how can teens get more sleep without sacrificing anything?

One way teens can get more sleep is by maintaining a sleep schedule. Choosing a bedtime and a time to wake up can help teens get enough sleep. Maintaining a sleep schedule also applies to weekends. Oversleeping on weekends can make going back to school on Monday incredibly difficult. Early afternoon naps are another way to get more sleep. Even 15-20 minutes of sleep after school can make an incredible difference. And as hard as it is, turning off screens before going to bed can make falling asleep easier as well. 

Importance of the school counselors

I’m sure everyone has seen the counselor’s officer banner hanging in the hallway on the first floor. But why is it important to provide counselors at school? What are the benefits? Here are several reasons to consider when wondering about the importance of school counselors. 

Academic success. Counselors can help students who may be struggling with certain classes or have lower grades. They can provide advice or even connect you to teachers to help solve problems that are the most challenging. Not only that, but if you want to switch out of a class and change your schedule, the counselors are able to figure it out with you. Over time, they want to make sure you are earning credits towards graduation and building your high school transcript and GPA. 

Well being of the students. Although counselors are provided to help with academics and choosing a career path, they also are present for personal issues that may be interfering with school. If this is ever the case, you can schedule a one-on-one conference with your counselor to help get guidance or advice on something that may be occurring outside of school. They also provide an individual focus to students who may be struggling from mental health or are just overwhelmed and stressed about something at school or home. 

Future success. Lastly, counselors work with students to help determine what the future might look like. Especially for upperclassmen, they can help with scheduling, transcripts, and college applications. Most importantly, they want to make sure that all students are ready for the college and/or career path ahead of them.  

In the end, counselors do many important things for the school and the students in it. They provide a support system for students who may be struggling and offer solutions to help them.