Paxton Faculty Newsletter
Week of January 14, 2019
It’s H.A.M.R. Time!
High Expectations + Accountability + Motivation = Results
EPIC Shout Outs! KEEP THEM COMING!!
- Thank you to all teachers that tested 100% of their students within the STAR testing window in November and December.
- Thank you to ALL faculty and staff that has helped in covering classrooms due to absences or emergencies.
- HOMECOMING: Let's make it AWESOME for our students by having a positive mindset each day.
In the Spotlight
Creativity in the Science Classroom
Paxton students never miss a learning opportunity, even on the last day before Christmas break. Mrs. Heather Stewart’s 8th grade Science students took a new perspective when they created their Christmas cookies to look like the Solar System. This project was definitely a fun AND delicious take on space..
Congratulations to Paxton students Samantha Lee and Kaylee Aplin for being recognized for their EPIC writing by the Florida State Poets Association in their 36th anthology: Cadence. Samantha, placing in their poetry contest, had her worked published in the anthology. Kaylee is recognized in the book for receiving honorable mention in the contest. Way to go, ladies!
Paxton and Walton Key clubs came together for a service project at Grace Rides’ stables. They helped with keeping the barn and facilities useful for the special needs children that ride the horses with this wonderful organization. These students understand the importance of teamwork to help others.
Creativity in the Science Classroom
Differentiated Accountability: We are proudly educating 782 future leaders.
Referrals - Total Number 142
Instructional Focus - Earning vs. Learning
Do you want your students "fixated on grades or learning? If you are focused on learning, then you can expect a natural improvement in teaching habits, more student engagement, and a noticeable increase in student success according to Hill and Hillman (p. 31). Hill and Hillman suggest that if we want to focus on learning, then we must immerse our students in the language of learning by shifting our language from points and earn to proficiency levels and demonstrate.
Reflect on your daily language. Does it center around learning or grading? Consider the language (words, phrases) you most commonly use in your classroom. What does the language you use communicate to your students? Do students hear more language about doing their work, earning grades, or learning? Are there some changes that can be made through language to shift the focus from a grade to learning? (Hill & Hillman, p. 37)
Language used in the classroom drives the classroom culture. Teacher language speaks volumes to students about what is most important. Does your language convey you place more importance on grades or learning? Language focused on learning will improve communication and conversations between you and your students as well as improve how the kids talk with one another, according to Hill & Hillman (p.38).
Learning motivates and has no end. Classic questions from students: "Are you going to grade this?"; "How much will this count?"; "How many points off is it for _____ (insert requirement)?" Students ask these questions because they are trying to determine two things: 1) "Am I going to do the assignment?" 2) "If I decide to do it, how much effort will I give?" When these questions are asked, we need to determine if the conversation is going to be about the worth of the assignment being associated with points and grades, or is it going to be about learning? A teacher focused on learning would view these questions as an opportunity to redirect student thinking and say something like this: "Everything we do is important. This assignment/assessment will help us see what you have learned so far so that we can plan next steps." Other responses might include the following: "Have you learned this standard?" or "Can you show me your learning?"
Here are a few more examples to consider:
- Trade "Points" for "Levels of Learning"
- Trade "Scores" for "Evidence"
- Trade "Zero" for "Lack of Evidence"(pp. 40-43)
The language we use in our classroom can completely change the culture. Eventually, students will no longer be asking how many points they received or what grade they earned. Rather, they will be asking if they met the learning target or if they need more practice. Discussions about homework will be replaced with conversations about practice, and students will be motivated intrinsically.
Jason Ozbolt, an educator at Lockport Township High School shared that for years his language emphasized points and completion rather than content information and student learning. Due to an observation Mr. Ozbolt made in his classroom where two students' interactions were one of collaboration and compassion and not competition made him realize that if he wanted his students to change their thinking from earning to learning that he must change his language and approach.
By Mr. Ozbolt changing his language to focus on learning, his classroom culture changed for the better. Students were talking in the language of learning. Each student wanted to know where they were in their journey and what they needed to do to improve. The conversations he had with students were of a collaborative nature: "What can I help you improve on?" and "What do you think your next steps are?" Student language changed also. Mr. Ozbolt was shocked at how quickly his underachieving students started to feel safe and motivated. After the switch, failure was not an option for students. "I can't" were not words used unless they were followed by the word "yet." Students felt supported and, in turn, their confidence was built so they would take risks. And when they failed, and they did, they were more resilient and bounced back to continue to grow and learn. Students were liberated to achieve to the best of their ability and feel supported along the way.
Mr. Ozbolt changed his classroom culture and it rekindled his passion for teaching and strengthened his rapport with students, as it centered on not only their learning but also on their development as an individual. His students were empowered to become advocates for their own learning, and in turn, his students learned to advocate for themselves and for their needs independently. Mr. Ozbolt stated emphatically that the change was difficult but was worth it and that he would never go back!
Hill, D., & Hillman, G. (n.d.). The Grade Cleanse. Lebanon, TN: Power of ICU.
- Evaluations: Please sign up for your formal evaluations in the front office. Mr. Jackson and I want to get as many done before Spring Break.
- PSAT: Secondary teachers that have 8-11th grade homerooms, come by guidance and pick up the PSAT Individual Score Reports and pass out during Homeroom on Thursday, January 17th. Please have students place these score reports in the clear pocket in their planners and stress the importance of them keeping up with the report.
- Fire Drill Feedback: Please remember that all lights must be off and doors are to be left unlocked when you exit your rooms.
- All classroom doors must be locked at all times. As part of their daily duties, Officer Davidson and Officer Shover will be checking to see if doors are locked throughout the day. If the door is not locked, they will ask for it to be locked. Thank you for your help in keeping our students safe!
- Cell Phone Usage in the Classroom: It is imperative ALL teachers adhere to the following classroom procedures regarding cell phone usage in the classroom. All cell phones are to be off and out of sight in the classroom. This includes listening to music with earphones. Classroom Disciplinary Procedures regarding cell phones: Record the infraction on the Behavior Tracking Form in the Student Planner and take the phone up. The phone should be sent to the office and parents will be contacted. It is imperative we all have the same expectations regarding cell phone usage in the classroom.
- Attendance: Attendance should be taken each day. Secondary teachers need to take attendance each period in an effort to monitor students throughout the day.
- Passes: If you give verbal permission for students to go to the bathroom before the tardy bell, please ask them to take a pass.
- Substitutes: Please use only the CURRENT and APPROVED Substitute List if you choose to obtain your own substitutes. Also, when making substitute notes, please include that students are not allowed to use cell phones. All cell phones should be OFF and Out of Sight.
- Passwords: Please do NOT give out your passwords to anyone.
- Absences: Any time you are going to be out, please contact Ms. Cain, Ms. Neale, or Mr. Jackson.
- I will be out Tuesday for a Principals' Meeting and Friday for a VIEW visit. Please email or text if you need me.
- VIEW visit on Wednesday, January 16th from 8-12
- 3-5 Awards Day: Wednesday, January 16th at 1:30 in the auditorium
- Secondary English & Math Teachers will be explaining PSAT Individual Score Reports for students in grades 8-11.
- Elementary Band Concert: Friday, January 18th (5th Period - K-2; 6th Period - 3-5) in the auditorium
- Homecoming: Week of January 22nd
- AP Student Meeting: Monday, January 28th during 4th Period (8G - 10:35-11:00; 9G-11G - 11:00-11:40);
- SIT Meeting (All): Tuesday, January 29th @ 3:00 pm in the media center
- NWFSC Senior Meeting: Friday, February 1st during 4th Period