Every year, two days are set aside at the high school for what has been coined online learning days. This year, the two days landed on Thursday and Friday of last week. The purpose of these online learning days is two-fold. First, they provide teachers two full inservice days for professional development but, maybe more importantly, they provide the students an opportunity to take ownership of their own learning.  “These days help us learn on our own instead of being taught,” said DCHS sophomore Bo McGregor. “I know that once I enter college my learning will be my responsibility. It is nice to start learning how to do that now.”

During the two online learning days, Bo still had his biology, social studies, Spanish, and art classes; the only difference was he stayed home from school and was required to complete the class assignments independent of his teachers.  For instance, in Biology, his teacher Mrs. Tiffany Haley, crafted an assignment that required her students to visit a tidal zone, an estuary, or a woodland as a means to introduce them to an upcoming unit on ecosystems.

“I went to the Rehoboth Bay wetlands,” said Bo. “I learned so much more by going there than by reading a textbook in the classroom. In the assignment I studied energy flow, succession, biogeochemical cycles, and community interactions, but by doing it this way, by actually visiting a tidal zone, I got a much better understanding. One of the things I learned is how having bulkheads can affect wetlands; how they can stop erosion–a good thing–but how they can also change the environment around them–a bad thing.”

Bo’s fellow classmate, Trey Henry, chose to visit a pond in Georgetown. “By actually going and seeing first hand what we’re going to study really helped me understand how all the parts of an ecosystem work together,” said Trey. “I even caught a large mouth bass while I was there. Its presence illustrated community predation found in an ecosystem; of how bass survive by eating smaller fish.”

For DCHS freshman Taylor Dukes, the online learning days provided her a unique opportunity to dig deep and acquaint herself with important rulers of Rome.

“In my World History class, I had to research ten Roman emperors and provide at least two facts on how they impacted the Jews and the Christians of the time,” said Taylor. “Through my research I learned that Constantine was the first to promote religious tolerance.”

Taylor agreed with Bo that the two days were full of learning.

“I spent 10 hours doing the research and putting together my presentation,” said Taylor. “I definitely learned more in those two days than I had expected. I really enjoyed getting out of the classroom and learning in a new way.”

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(Above) While studying a pond’s ecosystem, DCHS sophomore Trey Henry snags a large mouth bass. (Below) DCHS online learning days enable students to take ownership of their learning by going beyond the traditional classroom setting. As a result of this year’s online learning days, DCHS sophomore Bo McGregor and freshman Taylor Dukes created comprehensive presentations on ecosystems along the Rehoboth Bay and Roman rulers respectively.