Whitford's Weekly Update


Takeaways from Amy Oliver's Units of Study Training

I really enjoyed sitting in on the Units of Study training at La Grange on Monday. It gave me more insights into the writing program, but it also gave me some great insights into the practice of Writer's Workshop and what our goals should be for our students. I know sometimes we get very fixated on Data and Student Growth and how do we measure the standards. We get caught up on pacing charts and completing all the activities or suggestions in the manual. But as Amy Oliver shared what she has learned via experience as well as her extensive training by Lucy Calkins and Teachers College, we sometimes just need to remember the goal of getting kids to enjoy writing. It's about creating independence in our students. It's about meeting the needs of the students in your classroom, not what the teacher manual says you should be doing. Not everyone's classroom will look the same, as we all have different students. Make the focus be about your conferencing with students, not getting through all the things the book says can be done. And remember, the more we can connect all that we do and teach students each day, the more deeply it becomes embedded in the brain. The more connections we make to other things the deeper the learning and the more practice they get with the concept. Integrate whenever possible. The last thing that I will leave you with was her encouragement to collaborate together whenever possible. When we come together and share and we are willing to share successes and failures, we all have the opportunity to learn, improve and grow as an educator. I have also included the link to the Units of Study videos below.

Report Cards - We will have a Report Card/Grading Day on January 28th. It is a half-day. Teachers can work on grades all morning and then have the rest of the day off. We will have no staff meeting that day. Report Cards will go home on Friday, January 30th and will be printed off that morning.

Educator Effectiveness - I will be sending out Schedule requests for Announced Observations soon. A reminder that announced observations will have a pre-observation meeting and a post-observation meeting. There is a place in Teachscape for you to enter information about the lesson I will be observing and discussing at our pre-observation meeting.

Past Reminders: Do not enter more than 2 artifacts per component into Teachscape. Some artifacts will work for multiple components. Currently, if an artifact is submitted it cannot be taken out, even if you end up finding a better one. I would begin collecting artifacts to use as evidence, they can be entered into Teachscape, but do not click "Submit," instead just click on "Save and Finish Later." You can also save them as documents on your computer, that can be entered later when you are confident you want to use them as an artifact. Save these artifacts for a review of them with your principal or an Ed Effectiveness Coach. Everyone with a Teachscape account should be uploading their SLO and PPG into Teachscape. Summative year teachers need to upload their Self-Reflection as well, although I think most of you have already done this. Supporting year teachers do not need to upload their Self-Review (just SLO and PPG).

School-wide Implementation Review - Oakdale and Camp Douglas staff will come together and take the SIR assessment on February 4th at 3:15pm in the Oakdale Library. Miller Elementary will take the SIR on January 20th at 3:15pm in the Miller Library. Not everyone needs to attend this meeting, and I think I have heard from the people that needed to attend and we have enough there. There is a PowerPoint for us to watch first and then we will take the assessment. Hopefully this should only take one hour. We will report the results out at a staff meeting.

Power to the pupil | Jennifer Magiera | TEDxBurnsvilleED


Kudos to Angela Long for "literally" giving Michelle the shirt off her back on Favorite Team Day! - Michelle E

Kudos to all the staff that have been so supportive in so many ways to Vicki and her husband. Bob's news is not good, but your support has been a tremendous help to both of them and they will continue to need us as they move forward. Thank you for creating an environment where we can all be there for each other both personally and professionally. This is an amazing group of people I work with. - Tom

Kudos to the Camp Douglas and Oakdale teachers for doing so well at promoting the Million Minutes Reading Challenge. The kids are rolling right along and I am looking forward to the celebration at the end of the year. - Tom

Calendar of Events


19 NO SCHOOL - Collaboration & Prof Development Day for staff

Tom - Parent Meeting @Miller (3:45pm)

20 Miller SIR Assessment @Miller Library (3:20pm)

District Calendar Committee Meeting @DO (6pm)

21 Knights of Columbus Spelling & Math Competition @Miller (9am - 10:30am)

Camp/Oak Staff Meeting @Oakdale (3:15pm) - will go longer than 4pm

Camp/Oak PTO Meeting @Oakdale (5:30pm)

22 Tina P - Orton-Gillingham Learning Session @Miller Library (11:30am)

District Spelling Bee @THS Aud (11:45 - 2:45pm) - Tom will walk students there & back

IAC Meeting @DO (3pm)

23 Pastries w/Parents @Miller Library (7am)

Tom - Lunch w/Camp Douglas staff @Camp (11:30pm)

26 Camp/Oak IRT/BIT Meeting @Oakdale (3:15pm)

27 End of 2nd Quarter

Miller Staff Meeting @Miller Library (3:20pm)

28 NO SCHOOL - 1/2 day for Teachers (Grading)

29 Parent Meeting (ND) - Long @Miller Office (8:30am)

Tom - Lunch w/Oakdale Staff @Oakdale (11:30am)

IEP Meeting (DG) - Szeflinski @Miller Office (2pm)

30 Tom Out - Personal Day

Print Report Cards - (9am)

Miller PBIS Assembly @Miller Gym (2:30pm)

Report Cards go home


2 Groundhog Day

Miller Support Staff Meeting @Miller Office (12:45pm)

Miller PBIS Team Meeting @Miller Library (3:20pm)

3 Tom Out in AM- Admin Team Meeting @DO (9am)

Miller Building Leadership Team Meeting @Miller Office (3:20pm)

4 Camp Douglas/Oakdale SIR Assessment @Oakdale Library (3:15pm)

5 Tom Out - WSRA Convention

6 Tom Out - WSRA Convention