January 19, 2016
Greetings to the Britt Elementary School Community!
Teaching and learning are definitely my passions, and observing engaging instruction in Britt classroom is a joyful reminder of those passions. As you are aware, the Britt Administrative Team has been observing classrooms frequently for GTES. Just as grade level teachers must use the instructional calendar to pace instruction, the administrative team must pace evaluations to assure that all essential administrative tasks are completed in a timely manner to best support effective teaching and learning at Britt.
As I observe in grade level classrooms, I look for consistency of AKS and standards instruction across the grade levels. I especially look for the rigor of instructional and learning strategies. If students are expected to achieve proficient and distinguished levels on upcoming Georgia Milestones Assessments, students must be learning at more rigorous levels (increased depth of knowledge). (Students learning at higher levels are expected to explain, analyze, and make connections about content learned-especially as they solve problems.) The level of student engagement is constantly on my radar as I observe in classrooms. Student engagement, in my opinion, consists of more than all students on task and silent. I am looking at students and asking myself “Are all students thinking about the learning that is currently taking place in this room? Are all students problem solving, or merely watching others solve problems?” Although I do expect to see orderly and well managed classroom learning, I definitely do not expect to observe silent classrooms. I had much rather see students actively engaged in learning, silent or not. If that means students are collaborating, talking through a problem they are solving, or discussing in small groups, that is fine with me. I consider this the "hum of industry".
As electronic plan books are reviewed, I am excited to see that Georgia Standards have been placed in plan books to guide instructional planning. Again, let me remind you to look carefully at the verbs of the Georgia Standards to help guide learning expectations for students. My expectation for your plan book is merely that I am able to look at your plan book and find the topics to be taught for each subject and to understand the instructional strategies you will use to instruct.
When reviewing eCLASS C & I pages, my expectations remain the same. The eCLASS C & I pages should be up to date, and the eCLASS C & I pages should contain learning links or learning instruction for students. From my observations, the teachers who are most innovative in using eCLASS C&I to engage student learning use their eCLASS C&I pages as an integral part of their instruction. I hear these teachers remind their students how to access the rubrics on the eCLASS C & I pages; there are discussion questions for students to answer on the eCLASS C & I pages; and students frequently access computer programs using classroom laptops and in the computer lab from the teachers’ eCLASS C & I pages. In other words, eCLASS C & I becomes an integral part of instruction. It is how we do business. On an additional note, I must remind you that we are rich in computer programs that can transform and personalize learning for students. Not only does Britt have Moby Max, but the updated Class Works programs you have learned about during staff development personalize and challenge students to learn to levels of proficient and distinguished. And on the horizon is a program that is literally out of this world, Safari Montage. Safari Montage has the potential to take teaching and learning where no student or teacher has gone before. Shannon Davis, Kimberly Singleton, and Sara Forrester are attending training on January 19. February 3 & 10 staff developments are scheduled for you for learning Safari Montage. Make every effort to arrive on time for these important staff development sessions that you will not want to miss.
I can assure you that I have witnessed excellent teaching and learning at Britt Elementary! This week, I would like to highlight Catherine Haynes who I observed using musical instruments to teach sound. Catherine also utilized a science project rubric, which she reminded her students was also posted on her eCLASS C & I page for their reference at home. I observed Daphne Williams and Tom McNeill challenging fifth grade students to think through math problems using problems linked to math standards on the Georgia DOE web page. Marissa Yurko challenged art students to use technology to create art. Kelli Henderson engaged students in learning sound by actively engaging each student beginning with the lesson opener and continuing through the assessment of learning. It was obvious from this classroom observation that student engagement is business as usual in Ms. Henderson’s classroom. And Ms. Henderson’s electronic plan book and eCLASS C & I page reflect the level of engagement I observed. Instructional strategies were also listed briefly and clearly in Ms. Henderson’s plan book. Kelli’s eCLASS C & I page is up to date, complete with pictures of students learning in her classroom, and it contains active learning links. (Learning assignments for her students are available for her students as well on eCLASS C & I.) I was impressed when I opened the eCLASS C & I pages for each of Fran Roberts’s grade level classes, as my name popped up welcoming me personally to her eCLASS C & I pages. I am sure Fran’s students feel the learning was planned for them personally when they access learning from eCLASS C & I. These are only a few examples of the excellent work going on at Britt Elementary School. Thank you for your excellent work! The days are passing quickly for teaching the children in our care. We must not fail to make every moment count!
Let me know how I can best support your good work at Britt Elementary School as we all strive together using effective, innovative practices to transform and personalize teaching and learning.
With warmest regards,
Britt Elementary is off to a fantastic beginning in 2016!
- 1,314 food items were collected by Britt students for the Snellville Food Bank in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr! What an excellent way of giving back to the Snellville Community!
- Congratulations to Alaina Moore's class for winning the pizza party by collecting the most food items!
- Monica Mance, thank you so much for your fine work facilitating the food drive! I know you spent long days coordinating this worthwhile event, even spending long days delivering the food items! Thank you, Britt teachers for your good work making the food drive so successful!
- Join me in welcoming Britt's new employees as they begin their first full week at Britt Elementary School! Welcome Caitlin Tiencken, Yami Villanueva, Sarah McNab, and Angela Lacroix!
- As we look forward to this week's awards program, I want to thank Kimberly Singleton, Sandy Grizzard, Karen Kraus, and grade level teachers for their diligent work in preparation for this well attended event.
- Thank you to Britt PTA, the Britt Office Staff, the Britt Cafeteria Staff, and Dr. Luann Hammami for the great work making the first of two Grandparent Days another successful event for our Britt families. PTA purchased lunches for 51 grandparents on Friday.
- Great appreciation goes to Britt's wonderful teachers and instructional coaches who collaborated once again on Thursday during FIP to identify state standards for instructing students to achieve proficient and distinguished levels of learning! You are the best! We are sure to see positive results from your fine work.