Spaulding Staff Bulletin

September 18, 2015

Summer Reading Book Groups

For the first two weeks of the school year, students from all over the building left their advisories for a band or two to meet with friends, strangers, and a faculty leader to discuss a summer read. Books ranged from dystopian fiction to young adult literature to memoir, mystery, non-fiction, and thrillers. Students and staff have shared their thoughts about the experience, and for the most part, feedback was very positive.

Students reported enjoying the chance to talk about a book instead of doing a less-personal written assignment. Staff enjoyed the chance to connect with students they might not otherwise meet. In some groups the books were very well received; in other cases, students were lukewarm. In one group, students asked to read the next book in the series the following summer. In another, students didn’t want to wait until next summer to have another book group.

We know there’s a lot we can do to tighten up the process. We need to track the students and their book choices more carefully for starters. We can do a better job of communicating the book choices to students. We can make sure there is a greater range of accessible/appealing titles for our struggling readers. What we gained from this experiment outweighs those fixable details, though. Students were able to view staff from all departments as part of our greater community of readers; they were able to connect with adults and peers in a less formal setting; more students participated in summer reading than ever!

We will send out a short survey soon in case people want to share their ideas about how to improve the program for next year. We hope to see even more people join us next year, either by taking on a book group or joining someone else’s. Thank you, everyone, for your support in making this happen. Although this is assessed in English class, it has been an exciting joint effort from so many.

-Sue Brennan

Leadership Team Meeting

Highlights (please see full notes for more detail):

Feedback on September 4th In-Service - Generally positive with some questions about what strategies teachers can use. The CMI team will be continuing the training sessions and helping to develop strategies. More information will be coming.

Proficiency Based Learning & Grading - IC is still challenging, but teachers are figuring it out, for the most part. With our first progress reports rolling out, there may be a lot of questions from parents, especially since there appears to be a wide range of expectations and grading practices at the moment. Parent communication and education is critical and administration will work on getting that information out, as well as to teachers as resources if questions arise. As a faculty, we will also need to continue our discussions and figure out what we can come to consensus on for common expectations / practices.

Nuts & Bolts - September 23, 2015 will be an assembly day schedule (reminder - 3B classes will not meet). Joseph Wooten, from the Steve Miller Band, will deliver a message about kindness. This will be a kick-off to raise money to provide blankets for the homeless in our Barre Community.

Questioning for Learning

The September, 2015 edition of Educational Leadership is titled Questioning for Learning. There are a number of really great articles within the magazine, which I have outlined below. Please let me know if there are any articles you would be interested in reading, and I will pass the materials along.

How to Make Your Questions Essential

Essential questions has become a byword in education. Try these seven ways to turn your first-draft questions into better ones.

Who's Asking?

Why we must help students grow increasingly resourceful at figuring things out.

What Children Learn from Questioning

Some say we should let kids answer their own questions. Yet students' intellectual growth thrives on thoughtful answers.

Let's Switch Questioning Around

How to help kids think about the books they read.

Making the Most of Multiple Choice

Well-written multiple-choice questions can be powerful formative assessments for learning.

Designing Great Hinge Questions

Inserted in the middle of the lesson, the hinge question helps a teacher decide whether to move forward or back.

A New Rhythm for Responding

Instituting a pause for think time holds students responsible for actively listening and responding to their peers.

Can We Talk?

Adults are kids' best information sources when they converse naturally with them.

Predicting Student Misconceptions in Science

Tools to help you tease out students' misunderstanding and lead them to deeper learning.

Five Strategies for Questioning with Intention

The art of designing and posing questions for each learning goal.

Making Questions Flow

A technique for getting students to open floodgates of their imaginations.

Spaulding High School

Fridays have unofficially become "Tide Pride" days, where many students and staff where school affiliated attire. Additionally, I'm happy to hear the Coffee House has returned on Friday mornings in the cafeteria. If you get a chance, please take a few moments out of your busy morning to stop by.