First Week

Reflections and Updates: The first change to this page is that I put my Welcome Letter before my Ice Breaker, because it seems more logical that way, and it is the order in which my students will encounter them.
Based on feedback, I made two slight alterations to the content of these items.
I added an introduction of myself in the opening lines of the email to students. I had originally just signed the email, but after review, realize that if I were to teach this course outside of my home school, students would not know who I am!
I made some slight changes to my discussion prompt. I now ask students sign their post with the name they like to go by (Example: Samantha vs Sam), their grade and their school district. When taught in one school district, as opposed to open to many, I would take out the school district piece. Asking students what name they wish to go by can help establish rapport early on. If my legal name is Christopher, but I go by Topher, any correspondence addressed to Chris might upset me as a learner. When instructors and fellow students know early on how a student likes to be referred to, it can help the student feel connected.
As we learned in this course, setting the stage for an effective class often happens at the very beginning of the course. The 70/30 rule applies very specifically to the opening activities for students. Getting off the ground on the right foot will help me build healthy and effective online classrooms.

Introductory email

Welcome to Historical Fiction, a new online learning opportunity created to help you further develop your research skills as well as explore history through literature. My name is Shannon Mersand, and I will be guiding you on this fantastic voyage! I am a certified School Media Specialist and a certified English Teacher for grades 7-12 in New York State. I want to thank you for taking advantage of this exciting opportunity, and let you know that I am very much looking forward to learning with you! This course will be challenging but practical. The expected time commitment is equivalent to a full class period each day plus any additional time needed for homework completion. Therefore, you should anticipate dedicating at least an hour and a half to this class each and every day. As with anything, what you get out of this experience depends on what you put into it.

With that said, I hope this course will also be fun. It will be a learning experience for me as well as for you. This course will guide you in developing the skills needed to find information, manage information overload, apply information to a task, and make sense of it all. This course will give you relevant research practice for your high school classes and beyond. The skills you learn here will be the foundation needed for research in your education, career, and personal life, and I hope you will have some fun as well!

Below are the instructions to setup your account with Schoology to log in to the course. Once you have logged in, please read through all of the documents in the Welcome and Course Documents folder and complete all activities. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! 

Just one last thing, make sure you are using your email address, as that is the one I will use to communicate with you. You should be checking your Yorktown email address regularly throughout this course.

Ms. Mersand

Logging In

Go to

Click on Sign Up

Click on Student

Enter the Access Code
The Access Code for Historical Fiction is [Insert Access Code Here] (I suggest you copy and paste this)

Please fill in all pertinent information. Please be sure to use your Full Name, and  use your school email address when you sign up!

You will then be logged in to Schoology, feel free to explore!


If you could live during any place and time period of your choosing, when would it be and why? How would you fit in to this time period? What changes might you have to make to your current life to be successful? What kinds of hobbies and interests might you have to give up? Please return to this forum and respond to at least 2 of your peers. You are not expected to respond to everyone (nor should you), just those that interest you. Please sign your post with your name (what you like to go by), your grade, and your school district.

My response

If I could live during any time period in any place, I would choose the Colonial period in the United States. Although I’ve always dreamed of living in a castle, the reality is, they were cold, damp and drafty, and just unpleasant! I love the idea of growing my own food and providing for myself and my family naturally. I love the hard work and satisfaction that comes from planting, caring for and harvesting my own vegetables. I would love the ability to stay home to care for my children, and raise them alongside their cousins; to have my family close by on the same farm would be amazing. I also think the clothes from that time period were really amazing! Obviously there are many other things I would have to adjust, such as my constant connection to other people (farms were often miles apart, and you couldn’t get there by car; The telephone was not even a blip on the radar!), but I think the thing I would miss the most would be reading into the late night hours. For one thing, there weren’t as many novels to choose from, additionally I would go through candles like nobody’s business! There are many modern conveniences I would miss, but I would gladly make the trade off for the possibility to raise my family to be close to one another and eat the food they helped to grow.

Ms. Mersand, School Media Specialist, Yorktown CSD