Mr. R.J. Tagorda
“To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love, For it is in giving that we receive. . .”
~ from The Prayer of Saint Francis
Meet "Mr. T"
Hello, y'all! My name is Ramon “RJ” Tagorda, and I am a teacher and the Tech Director at Holy Cross Catholic School. In addition to teaching Technology to various grades, I will also teach a 7th/8th Grade Language Arts, 8th Religion, and a Seminar Course, designed to prepare our 8th graders to be successful in their last year at Holy Cross, in high school, and beyond. I am currently in my eighth year at Holy Cross, and I feel blessed to be a part of such a holy, engaging, active, and friendly community!
I received my undergraduate degree at Tulane University in Latin and Ancient Greek, followed by my Masters of Arts in Teaching through the PACE Program at the University of Portland. In 2020, I received my Administrator's Licensure, also through UP! I consider myself now a full-fledged "Portland Pilot." Meanwhile, I grew up in New Orleans and have been involved in teaching/coaching/mentoring students in Catholic schools for 10+ years. I may be far from home, but I love the Portland area and the beautiful, "weird" culture of the City of Roses (especially the delicious food!).
My classroom--or more accurately, "our classroom" since it belongs to both myself and my students--is both challenging and engaging, built upon a positive learning environment created by the teacher, the students, and the school community as a whole. In our classroom, the students come first, and all I ask is that they come into class with a positive attitude and an open mind prepared to learn.
I am looking forward to another blessing-filled year at Holy Cross Catholic School. My door will always be open, so please feel free to stop by and say, “Hi”!
Contact Mr. T
I will respond to your e-mail within 24 hours. If I do not do so, please feel free to send me a follow-up e-mail, making sure that I received the previous one.
"Love bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things."
-1 Corinthians 13:7
- In our classroom before the start of class, I invite my students to silently pray a meditative prayer. I encourage all of my students to pray daily, and I certainly encourage you to do the same. I am a big fan of Fr. Mike Schmitz and his Catholic ideology and highly recommend his Podcast: Fr. Mike Schmitz Podcast
- Additionally, I normally listen to the "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday Podcast," produced by LifeTeen.com. It's a short podcast that reflects on the Gospel reading for the week. This podcast is suitable for both young teens and adults. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday Podcast
- Middle School Schedule: Click Here!
- I Need Help! Form: Click Here!
- Google Apps Tutorials: Click Here!
How will it work?
I will “push” out lessons to your children via Google Classroom every evening at 8:00 pm for the next day. For example, Tuesday, September 15th's lesson will be available Monday, September 14th at 8:00 pm. Assignments will be organized by weeks on Google Classroom. Each assignment/activity will be numbered and titled making them easy to find.
Every Sunday, I will email parents and students the plan for the upcoming week. This email will include the links and times to Zoom calls (though they will generally stay the same) and any changes to this week's schedule. Please keep this email/lesson plan as it has important links that are needed for that week’s lessons.
Throughout the week, students will demonstrate their understanding of the content in a variety of ways. In a typical week, students will have both live (synchronous) and independent (asynchronous) lessons Monday through Thursdays. During live lessons, students meet via Zoom as a whole group or in small groups, depending on the lesson. On days when we have asynchronous lessons (called “Applied Learning”), students will be given a specific task to complete that helps them apply their understanding of the content in an authentic manner. On Thursdays, live class times are expanded to allow for more in depth group and individual projects, primary source analysis, and additional support to students who request it. Click HERE! to see the Middle School Schedule that will be used during distance learning. If any changes are made to the schedule, parents and students will be informed in the weekly email.
In addition to regular live lessons, students will have the opportunity to receive additional support during regular office hours throughout the week. The links and times will be sent out in the weekly email. If your son or daughter needs help, he or she may email me or complete the following Google Form to request support.
For security purposes, I am not providing the links to Google Classroom here. I have emailed parents the link to their child's Google Classroom. If you need me to send the link again, please let me know! Students have already been invited to their Google Classroom, the invitation can be found in their Holy Cross Gmail or by going to classroom.google.com and accepting the invitations to my classes from there.
Google Classroom will be the Learning Management System (LMS) that your child will use for Distance Learning. All information will be included on this platform, including assignments, Zoom links, and grades. Throughout the year, we will be using other platforms such as Google Apps for Education (Docs, Slides, Sites, Sheets, etc.), IXL, NewsELA, etc. All links and resources needed for these platforms will be included as materials in Google Classroom.
Unfamiliar with Google Apps? Click HERE to access tutorial videos and helpful instructions on how to maneuver the Google Apps that we will be using this year.
Unfamiliar with Google Classroom? Click HERE This 6 minute tutorial video will address the following questions/topics:
- How to get to Google Classroom (0:13)
- How to view your work (0:26)
- How to see your grade (0:40)
- How to see what assignments have been assigned/graded/are missing (0:45)
- How to access the "To-Do" list (1:15)
- What to find under "Classwork" (1:57)
- What the icons mean (2:20)
- How to turn in assignments (3:15)
- Attaching a file (3:50)
- Rubric explanation (5:02)
- Growth Mindset: The belief that basic abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication
- In our classroom, I encourage all of us (teacher and student) to foster a growth mindset. We embrace the ideas of "struggling" and "tackling challenges" because one grows through overcoming obstacles in life. Hopefully, we all recognize our particular areas of strength, or growth, and work hard to develop our abilities, regardless of where we began in life.
- I also encourage parents/guardians to foster a growth mindset within their child(ren) at home. There are many articles on the web about incorporating a growth mindset in one's life. Here's a start for parents/guardians who want to introduce growth mindset in their household: What Every (Great) Parent Should Know About the Mindset of Success
Growth Mindset Links
7th Grade Language Arts
Current Unit: Making Inferences
- Wondering what to read???: 7th Grade Recommended Book List
8th Grade Religion
Current Unit: Easter...Christ is Risen!
8th Grade Presents: Stations of the Cross
8th Grade Language Arts
Current Unit: To Kill a Mockingbird
8th Grade Seminar
- Pacific University: Time Management Sheet
- San Diego University: SMART Goals Template
- CollegeBoard: Tips for Writing an Effective Application Essay
- "5 Powerful Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important"
I recommend students from grades 3-8 to practice their typing as often as possible. Here are some resources to help you can use to practice:
Coding is a useful skill for 21st century learners, and it's quite enjoyable as well! In grades 1-5, we will learn "coding-like activities." In grades 6-8, we will apply what we learned to create actual coding language (emphasis on HTML and Java). Here are some websites to practice:
Code.org (for all grades)
Scratch Coding (for all grades, requires an account)
Khan Academy Coding (for advanced coders, Grades 6-8)
If you like to listen to instrumental music while working, check out some of the links below:
The websites below are used in our classroom. They are approved to be both educational and fun!
ALL Grades General Websites
- Ask a Tech Teacher Links--A website complete with links created by a tech teacher with multiple years of experience. Highly Recommended!
- ChessKid--A very informative website that teaches kids how to play chess and how to improve their chess playing abilities. The website also allows students from around the nation to play games against one another.
- DOGO News--Current Events for students of grade levels 4+
- Khan Academy--Popular website with educational videos that cover a variety of subjects
- ABCya--A website full of both educational games and games just for fun
- Digital Passport--A website that helps us become responsible digital citizens
- Starfall--Reading and Math programs for early elementary (requires a membership for full access to all programs)
- TeachYourMonsterToRead--Interactive reading website (requires login & password)
- Tween Tribune--What's going on in the world today? (*disclaimer: some news stories may be better suited for older middle school students*)
- Nitro Type--Test your typing Skills against other students
- Typing Test--How fast can you type? (Also contains typing lessons)
- Common Sense Media--An excellent website for parents and students. It contains various resources for staying safe using any form of media. This is the website we currently use for our Digital Citizenship curriculum.
- Connect Safely Guides--Parent guides to various technologies, technology terms, and social media
- NetSmartz--A great website with lots of tips/advice on how to stay safe when using technology
In an effort to try something new, I've created an Instagram to document what goes on in our classroom...I am hoping this doesn't fail miserably. I'll post important notes from time to time and pictures of all the learning that occurs in our classroom. Click here for a link to our Instagram page.