The Weekly Roar

Notes from Nick Novak: Friday September 25, 2015


To Debbie Bates who wins the "Fighting through the Pain" award. She came to work last Friday knowing that something was probably wrong with her foot and when she finally went to the doctor, she discovered it was broken. Hobbling around Howard never hurt so bad. If Lisa Veslany's scooter goes missing, we know where to find it!

To Matt Hanson, Rachel Held, Jeff Hensley, and Sarah Hensley for a great art opening in the Mane Space this past Monday. If you haven't checked it out already, be sure to go see the summer projects from the advanced photo and art students.

To everyone involved in our incredible Homecoming week (with the parade and club fair this afternoon and the dance still to come tomorrow night). Let's start with our fantastic SGA sponsors Jen Ford and John Webster. Great coordination of student leaders to promote the spirit week outfits and all the great events too. Many thanks as well to our class sponsors for their hard work in helping students prepare for hallway decorating and the parade--Anne Handy, Sharon Sowada, Masami Stratton, Patty May, Mia Ayres, and Kyle Evans. And if you want kudos for being the freshmen class sponsor (and the joy of working with some outstanding kids for four years), see Lynnette Moore!!!


Here are some helpful reminders for the upcoming week:

1) Marking Period 1 interims will go out on October 7th, which means that you need to know how to post your grades in Canvas/Synergy. As Lynnette will be sharing via email, training sessions will take place every period on Monday and Tuesday next week in student services. All teachers MUST attend at least one session. If you have any questions, please see Ms. Moore.

2) Have you completed all of your required Safe Schools online training modules? September 30th is the deadline. Get it done so you can avoid a visit from the Safe Schools goons.

3) The sharing session for Fed Ex Day indicates lunch/sharing. Just to clarify--this is a BYOL(unch) option. You can eat while you hear about your colleagues' collaboration or you can wait and go out after the session ends. The choice is yours!

4) You will be receiving your annual Gallup Q12 survey link next week. Please be sure to take a few minutes to complete the survey. Full participation allows us to get a true picture of both our strengths and areas for improvement as a school. Although we have a school improvement goal to increase our grand mean by two-tenths, I'm not hung up on the numbers. It's more important for me and the administrative team to see the specific things we can improve on as a school and take steps to ensure that Howard is an engaging workplace for staff and an engaging learning environment for students.

Staff Birthdays

Happy Birthday to the following staff members celebrating this week:

9/26 Debbie Bates

Instructional Tidbit

Top Ten Group Work Strategies

Lesson activities could require individual work, a whole class task, or any number of possibilities in between. How well you engage students in learning could be determined by the grouping strategy/strategies you use. Check out these top ten group work strategies and read the whole article here.

1) Think-Pair-Share and Think-Pair-Square

2) Jigsaw Method

3) Debating

4) Project-Based Learning

5) Group Presentations

6) Devise the Display

7) Gallery Critique

8) Socratic Talk

9) Talking Triads

10) Mastery Modeling

Have you tried all ten techniques? You probably have a few go-to favorite strategies, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Mix it up and remember that, regardless of which group work strategy you implement, these "rules" will help your activity be successful:

– Have clearly defined tasks, with sharp timings and with the appropriate tools organized
– Have clearly defined group roles
– Have clear ground rules for talk, listening and fair allocation of workload etc.
– Target your support and interventions throughout the task, but make them interdependent of one another, not dependent upon you
– Always be prepared to curtail group work if students don’t follow your high expectations.

Some "Important Professional Development" on Danielson Component 2D: Managing Student Behavior

50s Teaching Education Film on Classroom Discipline
The last of our four day weeks starts on Monday. Okay, technically it's a five-day week since we work on October 2nd, but there aren't any students, so you know what I mean. I hope you are ready for FedEx Day!


In partnership with families and the community, it is the mission of Howard High School to cultivate an environment of collaboration, empowerment, and engagement that exhibits world-class support for staff and inspires students to thrive in a dynamic world.