The DCMS Bat Signal: 12/10/18

Super me, super you, everyday heroes make dreams come true.

Good Morning Team DCMS Superheroes!

We are at the 10-day countdown! Please be conscious that the kids will get more and more revved up, and while we want to have fun, we must be vigilant in providing structure and supervision. After all, they are still 10 - 13 year-olds! Even though they show us moments of maturity and well-thought-out decision-making, you can't bank on consistency just yet.

With that said, students should remain in the classroom for the duration of a class. Limit trips to the bathrooms and lockers to emergencies. You will know by the look on a child's face and recent past history if a trip is emergent or not. Use your best-informed judgment in these matters knowing that sometimes even good kiddos make bad choices from time to time. As the adults in charge here, limit the opportunities for students to do so.

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Our Superhero Journey 18 - 19

For the purposes of our theme for this school year, we have defined a superhero as someone who manifests a super-ability or superpower and generally acts heroically-is brave and self-sacrificing...a regular person "with superhuman powers"... a person who serves others.

I have seen examples time after time of you all demonstrating superhero powers such as

  • super caring
  • super stamina
  • super creative
  • super efficient
  • super persistent
  • super self-sacrificing

Thank you all for being the teachers who care harder than the rest, who won't give up, and who consistently seek to be a better version of yourselves each day. You don't have to be the strongest or the fastest to succeed here. You just have to be you. I see the work you are putting in. I see the challenge that collaboration and the improvement cycle can bring. YOU are rising to the occasion. Our team is a self-sacrificing bunch who is learning that we are better when using our collective thought. A rising tide raises all ships! We are becoming the best DCMS yet.

Upcoming Events

  • School Board Mtg - Monday, 12/10, @ 6:30 PM at South Elementary cafe
  • MS Band Concert - Tuesday, 12/11, @ 7 PM in the gym
  • Benefits Mtg - Wednesday, 12/12, @ 4 PM in the Bat Cave (Dr. Shafer, Mr. Johnson, & Mrs. Smith presenting)
  • 8th Grade Choir @ DHS - Thursday, 12/13, @ 7 PM at DHS
  • Semester Celebrations (Individual by Grade Level) - Thursday, 12/20 PM
  • NO Students - Friday, 12/21; Grades are due @ 3 PM - sharp.
  • Breakfast Pitch-In - Friday, 12/21, @ 8:15 AM in the Bat Cave
  • Cookie Exchange - Friday, 12/21, @ 11 AM in the admin conference room
  • First Day Back - Monday, 1/7 - Regular Schedule
  • DCMS PTO Mtg - Monday, 1/14, @ 3:30 PM in the admin conference room
  • School Board Mtg - Monday, 1/14, @ 6:30 PM @ South Elementary cafe
  • MLK Day - Monday, 1/21- No School
  • Counselor Appreciation Week - 2/4 - 2/8
  • A Cup Above Catering - Friday, 2/8, from 9 AM - 10:30 AM; you may preorder!
  • President's Day - Monday, 2/18, SCHOOL IS IN SESSION

Upcoming Meetings

  • PLC - Wednesday, 12/5, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • Faculty Mtg - Tuesday, 12/11, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM for Suicide Prevention Training 2
  • PLC - Wednesday, 12/12, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • Holiday PLC Celebration - Wednesday, 12/19, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • Faculty Mtg - Tuesday, 1/8, in The Bat Cave @ 7:25 AM
  • PLC - Wednesday, 1/9, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • Department Head Meeting with Marsha - Tuesday, 1/15, @ 3:30 PM
  • PLC - Wednesday, 1/16, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • Department Mtgs - Tuesday, 1/22, @ 7:25 AM; locations TBD by DH's
  • PLC - Wednesday, 1/23 in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM
  • PLC - Wednesday, 1/30, in The Bat Cave @7:25 AM

Lesson Planning for Champions:The Art of the Anticipatory Set

Adapted from

What is an anticipatory set and why does it matter?

John Hattie in his book Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning says "the mind develops in response to challenge or disequilibrium", so your hook can and should provide cognitive conflict. He adds, "that the mind grows as we learn to become conscious of, and so take control of its own processes."

The anticipatory set refers to an activity to focus the attention of the class to get ready for the lesson that will follow. It is also known as the hook, lead, or set induction. At the beginning of a unit or lesson, it’s important to have students complete a short activity to pique their interest and build prior knowledge.

To make your anticipatory set have the desired impact, it needs to:

  • Be related to the topic, theme, or lesson of the day.
  • It can build off of a previous lesson, skill, or strategy if it’s related or connected to the current lesson.
  • The message, question, or strategy needs to reveal itself or reappear again in the lesson. That way students make the connection, almost like a light bulb going on.
  • It should help the student get ready for the upcoming lesson by leading directly into the lesson.
  • For our sports fans, think of it like a PRE-game show before the big game.


  • KEEP IT VISUAL: Use something that students can visualize that gets them interested in the topic such as a short video, a photograph, or just having them close their eyes and visualize what something looks like. One of my favorite activities is taking students outside to lie down on the grass, look up at the sky, and sketch what they see as a way to introduce a unit about clouds or weather.

  • KEEP IT FACTUAL: Write 3-8 statements or questions on the whiteboard for students to predict the answers (T/F) at the beginning of a unit. Another option is to have one question or statement each day like a “Question of the Day” method. To save paper, have students write them in their notebooks each day and then answer them. These questions or statements should be connected to the essential questions or standards so then it serves as an informal assessment too.


  • KEEP IT MYSTERIOUS: Everyone loves a good mystery, and this method is sure to surprise. Place an artifact, photograph, vocabulary word, riddle, or other item related to the lesson in a box or large envelope. Introduce the mystery box at the beginning of class. Give the students a few hints or clues about what it is being very careful not to give away too much information. You want to give them just enough information to make them curious. After the lesson is complete, come back together as a class to figure out and reveal the mystery item.

There are several ways to reveal the mystery item at the end of the lesson:

  • hold a whole group discussion or vote on it
  • review the clues or hints given at the beginning of class before making their predictions
  • create a concept map on the board to review and relate to that day’s lesson
  • have students write down their prediction of what it could be and why in their notebooks. Then share them.
  • play the game “10 Questions” (like 20 questions) where students ask questions to help them figure it out. However, you decide to solve the mystery this technique is guaranteed to keep it fun!

  • KEEP IT SENSORY: Using the five senses is a unique strategy that students will love. With a little bit of planning, this is sure to captivate students’ interests. The key here is to think outside the box to figure out what you can use as a sensory stimulus that is related to the lesson at hand. Think about unique smells, tastes, textures, sights, or sounds, which are linked to this lesson. For example, for a unit about dolphins have students listen to the unique sounds of dolphins communicating with each other or of ocean water crashing against the shore. For my lesson on daily life in ancient Greece, I brought in cucumber slices, figs, and pita bread with olive oil for the students to taste. (Remember to get parent permission and check for allergies before having tasting parties.)


  • KEEP IT REAL: Present a real problem in the world, your community, or school. Ask students to brainstorm how to solve the problem. This method must cross over to connect with the lesson at hand. To kick off our ecosystems unit, for example, I showed the students real facts about how many pounds of paper our school uses on average every year and how many milk cartons students throw away at lunch every year. I told them how this was a huge problem and had them brainstorm in their notebooks how we can help save the earth. As we learned more and more about protecting our environment, we came back to these stats and added to their brainstorming list. At the end of the unit, we discussed one service project we could put into place in our school to cut down on waste. Students were motivated as they researched solutions, and came up with a plan of action to present to our school’s administrators.

Having an anticipatory set has the bonus of making students wonder what you will do next. Students will love that whatever weird thing you do at the start of class ends up meaning something later on in the lesson. Research has shown that using an anticipatory set helps students learn better and retain the information.

Get your checklist here. Stash it where you can see it when lesson planning. Click here

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  • Shorts, Longs, & Coaching Observations – Expect that we will be visiting frequently and maybe even multiple times in a week.

  • Attendance Must Be Taken EACH Period – Attendance must be taken each period. This is not optional and cannot continue to be forgotten. At this point, this is considered a minimum performance expectation.

  • Cell Phone Violations Procedures are found here at the following link. Please familiarize yourself with the process.
  • Friday School / Detention Supervisor Sign-Up – Please sign up to supervise a Friday School or Detention for the good of the school culture using the links below. Detentions will now be on Thursday AM and Thursday PM.

Detention -

Friday School -

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December Fun is Here!

All activities are meant to be fun and not to offend anyone. No one has to participate, but it is more fun if you do. :)

  • Christmas/Holiday Spirit Week – (for staff and students) Within reason, hats and other Christmas/holiday spirit wear are acceptable this week only providing the items are not a distraction to the learning environment. Should any item prevent teaching or learning, you have the right to confiscate the items. Please turn in any confiscated items to the office with a student name attached.

· Monday, 12/17 – “No Sweat Day” – Wear your favorite sweats!

· Tuesday, 12/118 – “Red and Green Day” – Wear your favorite red and green outfit.

· Wednesday, 12/19 – “Christmas/Holiday Hat Day” – Wear your Santa hats, elf hats, etc.

· Thursday, 12/20 – “Santa Day” – Wear your Santa gear to feel festive; beards, hats, etc.

· Friday, 12/21 - “Ugly Sweater Day” – Does this need an explanation?

  • Cookie Exchange – Friday, 12/21 @ 11 AM in the administrative conference room.
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About Us: Mission & Collective Commitments

We are a collaborative group of educators committed to ensuring high student achievement.

We commit to…

  1. Focusing on student proficiency of Indiana College & Career Readiness standards, not just coverage of material.
  2. Working collaboratively to benefit all students with a focus on results.
  3. Join forces to learn by doing on a daily basis.
  4. Using frequent common assessments that inform and drive our instruction.
  5. Providing intervention and enrichment based upon the formative data.
  6. Furthering a culture that uses value-added language, encourages one another, and celebrates successes.