Sipley School Weekly Howl

Week of September Monday, September 14

The Power of Curiosity

A recent study found what we would expect, "When a person was curious to find out an answer to a trivia question (used in the study), he or she performed better at remembering that information." The researcher shared that curiosity puts the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information."

Alfie Kohn says, "Every time we ask students, 'What was the name of the town in which the characters in the story lived?' we leave less time for questions like 'Why do you think the characters never left home?'"

So, as you plan lessons, think about converting a learning target into an essential question or imbedding quality questions into your plans or your teacher manual that peak the curiosity levels of our learners.

Educational Leadership, September 2015, pg. 8-9

Participating in the Professional Community

Participating in the professional community is within domain 4 and is one of our 6 anchor components that we will be evaluated on.

Danielson states that "schools are, first of all, environments to promote the learning of students. But in promoting students learning, teachers must work with their colleagues to share strategies, plan joint efforts, and plan for the success of individual students."

There are four elements of this component.

  1. Relationships with colleagues - Relationships that encourage sharing, planning, and working together.
  2. Involvement in a culture of professional inquiry - Contributing to and participating in a learning community.
  3. Service to school - Efforts that go beyond the classroom duties by contributing to school initiatives and projects.
  4. Participation in school and district projects - Contributing to and supporting larger school and district projects designed to improve the professional community.

The proficient and excellent categories show the level of involvement of teachers as high within those four elements. Teachers "actively participate in professional learning" and "take initiative in assuming leadership among faculty."

In the weeks ahead we will begin midday collaboration and PLC meetings. Our PLC meetings will be focused on areas selected by grade level teams. In my opinion, the success of this time will be judged based on the work done during those meetings. They have to be meetings that we thirst for and want to attend because the time in those meetings are focused on growth of students and ourselves. These meetings can't be dependent on a facilitator, but one where everyone is actively involved. Everyone has to contribute in each professional meeting.

Monday Meeting

We will have a Monday meeting for certified staff. At this meeting we will have a couple of staff members share their story, followed by some information related to DESSA, and then some work in the area of 3d: Using Assessment in Instruction.


We will finalize DEB groupings on Monday. Our DEB block will focus on one of two domains (during the length of the launch unit):

Reading Information: Key Ideas and Details - Grades 1*,2*, and 4*

Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details - Grades 3*, 5*, and 6*

*Grades 1 and 2 will focus on foundational skills, with the exception of those students who have mastered foundational skills, in which case the focus will be on the domain listed above. We may give consideration to other students who have not mastered foundational skills in other grades, during DEB.

If you look at the "Instructional Planning - Class Report" you can find examples of these specific domains, such as Reading Information: Key Ideas and Details.

Examples are:

Literature - Key Ideas and Details - Use details from a story, drama, or poem to determine its theme

Information - Key Ideas and Details - Identify and explain the main idea of an informational text and explain how key details supports it

The idea with DEB, is that it is focused and we are providing students with another opportunity to build mastery of the type of reading they worked on during the last unit of tier I instruction. For example, grade 6 will focus on Fiction during the 2nd Schoolwide unit, followed up by using DEB to solidify or extend understanding during the 3rd DEB unit, following Unit 2 of Schoowide. During that 3rd DEB unit, 6th grade will focus on Literature: Craft and Structure. The goal is to pair a Schoolwide unit with a matching domain during the following DEB unit. I hope that makes sense and if not, we can talk at our Data Review. I find this to be very beneficial to learners!

As a result, the whole school will focus on support and enrichment of tier I in this manner. Tier III supports, such as F&P use may come in during content blocks, but will be based on the individual needs of students.


Staff, I have self evaluation meetings that begin next week. Please complete the form found in Talent Ed by the date of our meeting. These meetings are part of the evaluation process and only yourself and I will be involved in these meetings. If you have any questions, please ask.

A Glance at the Week Ahead

Monday - Data Review - See your calendar for grade level times

Monday - Certified Staff Monday Meeting

Monday - 5th Grade Parent Meeting at Sipley - 6:30

Tuesday - Admin Meeting

Tuesday - K-2 EL Achieve Meeting - ELL/Bilingual - If you are unsure of whether you are attending or not, please ask

Wednesday - K and 1 Schoolwide Training

Wednesday - STP Meeting at 6:45 in the LRC

Thursday - 2 and 3 Schoolwide Training

Thursday - I will be out of the building for a portion of the afternoon to focus on a portion of my own evaluation

Friday - 4, 5, and 6 Schoolwide Training

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