"Learn Like a Champion" December 7-18, 2020

LCAP 3 - Social Emotional Support - School Culture and Connection with Community

Student Council Members share ways to relax, and do something fun outside of school work.

LCAP 5 - High Quality Staff - Online Learning

A Few Reminders and Tips for Learning

Teachers have a lot on their minds and it is difficult to see success right now with virtual learning during COVID lockdown. We are all dealing with the pandemic in different ways. I have had two family members with COVID so far, and an elderly farmer my brother works with has it now. He is having a hard time with existing health issues. Amidst all these things happening in your lives, you have the students and learning happening.

For this bulletin I just want to revisit a few things that might be helpful. Most of you are doing an incredible job with instruction and learning strategies via Zoom and programs. I am amazed often when I visit a classroom because of the creative and dynamic things going on.

A lot of the challenge in online learning, just as in physical classroom learning, is based on the culture and climate of the 'classroom' you have created. This is most effective in virtual classrooms where the teacher has established clear expectations, the rigor is high, and the instruction is explicit and highly effective.

With positive culture and Growth Mindset, remember what education researcher Carol Dweck has said, "You don't 'give' kids a growth mindset. We have to create the culture and put it into practice in order to support Growth Mindset." It isn't about praising effort even if a kid can't do it. It is about helping the student recognize what they can do to get better and learn at the next level. All kids can do that. They must have support in putting that into practice.

A lot of what determines learning outcomes is clarity. We talked a lot in the past year about clarity, and it is even more important with virtual learning. There are ways to maximize student learning online. A teacher expert in Texas blogged that there has to be more focus on learning targets and instruction.

As teachers plan for instruction, they must unpack their math standards and determine what are the most important learning targets that students need to learn (essential standards). Teachers need to plan lessons that are precise, focused, and succinct. One individual lesson might need to be chunked into multiple days in order to provide students with sufficient processing and internalization time. The teacher reminded us that "Less is more."

In order to make mathematics meaningful to students, teachers need to make mathematics visible to students and make connections (real life examples).

This is a big one: Time is limited and should not be focused on students obtaining the correct answer. Teacher time needs to be focused on figuring out the level of students' understanding. In other words, we need to take time for critical thinking and problem solving not just computation. What are students thinking? Can they apply a strategy to other situations and subjects? Can they explain their thinking verbally and in writing? That is what is important and exemplifies genuine long-term understanding.

There has to be a lot of interaction, discussion, and thinking going on with the students and the teacher. Virtually, this is challenging but very important. For example, Nancy Frey recommends that students participate in discussion every 10 minutes in some way. This is where we have to get creative. Remember the Waterfall Chat strategy? You discuss, ask a question, think, and on the teacher's signal (like "waterfall") all the students have a short controlled window to put their idea or answer into the Chat on Zoom. The teacher can use that as feedback for the discussion with the class.

Recently I saw a fantastic lesson in Mrs. Amador's 3rd grade class. She didn't leave it at students knowing how to get the right answer multiplying numbers. There was discussion about how the array strategy could be used in multiple ways. The students came up with the ideas. She asked a question to the class whether a combination of numbers would result in the same answer. She provided think time, and on signal students put their answers into the chat. There were no and yes answers. Then the critical thinking and discussion began.

Initial instruction is extremely important. That is the Tier 1 instruction or 'prevention.' If the initial instruction is well planned, kids believe they can do it or at least try their best to grow (Growth Mindset), excellent teacher instruction, clear learning target, and kids know exactly what they are to be able to do (clarity, success criteria), then more students will learn successfully the first time during Tier 1.

Let's leave it at this: John Hattie (2012) wrote, "I have almost reached the point at which I lose interest in discussion about teaching not because it is not important, but because it often prevents important discussions about learning." This is where the PLCs are so vital to student success.

LCAP GOAL 2 Proficiency for ALL - Virtual Science Trip to the Elkhorn Slough

Mrs. Shin's 5th Graders Became Scientists Online - Explored Habitats

The scientists at Elkhorn Slough are fantastic. Save the Whales Organization gave Mrs. Shin a tip on this opportunity for a virtual trip. The program was very scientific and led the students through the scientific method beginning with questions or a hypothesis all the way through experimentation and all the fun that goes along with it. Students took notes and thought critically. Thank you Mrs. Shin for all the things you do to take the kids places even from their own homes!
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Important Events This Week:

December 7 -

December 8 - Staff Virtual Meeting & Strings Virtual Program @ 6:30 pm

December 9 -

December 10-

December 11 -


December 14 -

December 15 - Staff Virtual Meeting @ 3:25pm

December 16 -

December 17 -

December 18 - Curriculum DLT 8:30 - 12pm

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Frank Ledesma Elementary School

973 Vista De Soledad

Soledad, Ca. 93960

(831) 678-6320

(831) 678-8029 Fax


Richard Radtke