East Edition

February 8, 2016

Gratitudes, Congratulations and Celebrations

Best Wishes to Erika Miller in her recovery from shoulder surgery last week. She is doing well and hopes to be back at school sometime later in the week

Happy Birthday to those with February birthdays: Vicki Rheaume, Angela Glispy. Let me know if there are other staff members that have a February birthday that we can recognize. These are the only two I know about.

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos and all their fans, Superbowl 50 Champions!

"Right is Right" - Setting High Academic Expectations

An excerpt from Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov.

Right is Right is about the difference between partially right and all-the-way right-- between pretty good and 100 percent. The job of the teacher is to set a high standard for correctness: 100 percent. The likelihood is strong that students will stop striving when they hear the word right (or yes) , so there is real risk to naming as right that which is not truly or completely right. When you sign off and tell a student he/she is right, she must not be betrayed into thinking she can do something that she cannot.

Many teachers respond to almost-correct answers their students give by rounding up. That is they'll affirm the students answer and repeat it, adding some detail of their own to make it fully correct even though the student didn't provide and may not recognize the differentiating factor.

When students are almost correct, it's important to tell students that they're almost there, that you like what they've done so far, that they're closing in on the right answer, that they've done some good work or made a great start. You can repeat a student's answer back to him so he can listen for what's missing and further correct.

Here are some strategies for helping students understand "Right is Right".

1. Hold out for all the way - Great teachers praise students for their efforts, but never confuse effort with mastery. A right answer includes the negative sign if a negative sign is warranted. There is no such thing as, "Right! Except you need a negative sign." When you ask a student for the definition of a noun and you get "a person, place or thing", don't do a disservice of overlooking the fact that the answer is incomplete: "a noun is a person, place, thing or idea". Simple, positive language to express your appreciation for what a student has done and your expectations that he or she will now march the last few yards is often the best way to address such a situation and retain positive tone in your classroom. ("I like what you've done." "We're almost there. Can you find the last piece?" "I like most of that . . ")

2. Answer the question - Students learn quickly in school that when you don't know the right answer to a question, you can usually get by if you just answer a different one. For example: When a teacher asks a student to describe a concept? "When we refer to the area of a figure what are we talking about? Who can tell me what area is?" A student replies with a formula to solve for the concept ("Length times width"). In the thick of the action its easy to miss that this is the right answer but to the wrong question.

3. Right answer, Wrong Time - Students sometimes want to show you how smart they are by getting ahead of your questions, but its risky to accept answers out of sequence. For example: When you are teaching students the series of steps needed to solve a problem and a student you call on to provide step 3 gives the whole answer . . . . you have a problem. Accepting her answer before you've shown all the steps required, deprives the rest of the students of a full understanding of the process. It's tempting to think that its a good thing that the class is moving ahead quickly, but is not. It's one student.

4. Use technical vocabulary - Good teachers get students to develop effective right answers using terms they are already comfortable with: "Volume is the amount of space something takes up." Great teachers get them to use precise technical vocabulary: "Volume is the cubic units of space an object occupies." This response expands student vocabularies and builds comfort with the terms students will need to explain concepts and answer future questions.

Co-Planning This Friday (Feb 12) - Reading

Building & District Collab Times for February 2016

Feb 12 - Building Collab in 4th Grade Room with Laptops for co-planning; Sped Teacher, Lit Coor and principal will be at district collab for specific topics that cross over between Sped & literacy Coordinators

Feb 19 - Building Collab in 4th Grade Room with Laptops for co-planning; PE, Music & Counselor with district teams if available

Feb 26 - District Collab for all grade level teams and departments to continue facilitated Scope & Sequence or formative assessment work

Upcoming Tech Camps for Teachers - February

  1. Creation App Challenge - Thursday, Feb 18th @ CMS 4:00 pm
  2. Assessment, Feedback and Reflection Challenge - Tuesday, March 22nd @ CMS 4:00 pm

RSVP at the link below. 30 minute of extra plan time will be given for each session you attend.


Preventing Challenging Behavior - Planned Ignoring

This excerpt comes from Time to Teach: Encouragement, Empowerment and Excellence in Every Child by Rick Dahlgren & Judy Hyatt

Planned ignoring means that the student's behaviors are intentionally not noticed. In other words, skilled teachers sometimes deliberately overlook attention-seeking behaviors. This decision is not arrived at lightly, however. First, teachers mentally ask themselves these Classroom integrity questions: "Am I able to teach? Are the other students able to learn? Is the student in question able to learn?".

A teacher who can answer yes to all three questions should always keep teaching. For example, a teacher "does not hear" pencil tapping or singing as long as she is sure that teaching and learning can occur. She knows that if the student's intent is to drain her teaching or provoke a confrontation, she will be walking into a trap by responding to this attention-seeking behavior. The teacher who reacts has unwittingly accepts the hook, line and sinker. The flight is no on, and more problems, not fewer, will ensue. Wise teachers don't take the bait when they don't have to.

Obviously, some instances cannot be ignored. Planned ignoring is appropriate only for minor incidents. If a student is in danger of hurting himself, ignoring ceases. The important thing is that teacher energy and effort should be saved for those incidents that deleteriously effect learning in the classroom. Sad to say, violent and disruptive students can provide unlimited opportunities to do battle. A judicious teacher makes sure to be the one who chooses that battle.


  • Turn in/share your lesson plans for this week for reading, writing and math.
  • Post exemplary work on grade level bulletin boards in front hallway near the office.
  • Come ready for Building Collab time on Friday - Laptops will be provided again.

This Week's Events & Happenings (Feb 8 - 12)

Monday - Feb 8

  • Zack Allen visits building for walk throughs and/or eval processes - 1:00 pm
  • Social Committee Meeting in Art room 3:40 pm
  • DPPEC Meeting at Admin 4:00 pm

Tuesday - Feb 9

  • CST Meeting - 2:30 pm
  • IEP Meetings - 3:30 pm
  • Curriculum Regulation Committee - 4:00 pm
  • East PAC Meeting - 5:20 pm

Wednesday - Feb 10

  • Principal - Counselor collab - 7:15 am
  • District Admin Meeting - 8:30 am
  • Gifted Ed PAC Meeting @ admin - 6:00 pm

Thursday - Feb 11

Art E Day

  • District PARCC Training @ admin building - 1:00 pm (Test Administrators & School Assessment Coordinators )
  • Building PARCC Meeting - Library - 3:40 pm (3rd, 4th, 5th teachers, sped teacher, library tech & secretary)

Friday - Feb 12

Art E Day

  • CoPlanning - Reading
  • Building Collab in Room 11 - 2:10 - 3:40 pm
  • Sped & Lit Coor collab meeting at admin building - 2:30 pm

What's Happening Next Week? (Feb 15 - 20)

  • No School/No Work - Mon, Sept 15
  • Probationary Eval Conferences
  • DAC Meeting (district parent accountability meeting) - Tues, Sept 16
  • Benefit Committee Meeting - Wed, Sept 17
  • Budget Stakeholders Meeting - Wed, Sept 17
  • SUMMIT Math Learning Walks - Thurs, Sept 18
  • No School for Students/Workday for Teachers - Fri, Sept 19

What's Happening Next Month in March?

  • The Last After-School Digi Dog Tech Camp
  • The Last Offering for Teacher and Parent Tech Camps
  • PARCC Testing in ELA & Math
  • Social Event for all Staff & Families
  • Classified Appreciation Days

Check out this video that was created by 4th & 5th graders of a California Elementary School. They created a visual representation of one of their favorite, inspirational songs.

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