Middle School Update

May 6, 2016

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I want you to know how much I appreciate all of you. Whenever we ask students and parents what makes Dalat such a great place, the answer "teachers" is one of the most popular. Thanks for all of the awesome and mundane things you do every day to make an impact for the kingdom of God. You will find a special "thank you" treat in your box in the main office.

  • Dave, thanks for weaving eternal truths into everyday conversations.
  • Jesi, thanks for having special "girl time" with your students.
  • Michele, thanks for your free-flowing hugs and encouragement.
  • Bethany, thanks for your strong work ethic and high expectations.
  • Mark, thanks for anticipating needs and filling them.
  • Tom, thanks for your consistency.
  • Chris, thanks for being efficient and effective.
  • Deana, thanks for modeling stewardship.
  • Chuck, thanks for teaching 5th grade health! (No one else wants the job.)
  • Lisa, thanks for showing a lifestyle of fitness.
  • Chance, thanks for always trying to do things better.
  • Dustin, thanks for seeing the potential in each one.
  • Valeri, thanks for being a peacemaker.
  • Laura, thanks for being willing to try anything at least once.
  • Andy, thanks for serving wholeheartedly with a smile.
  • Sharon, thanks for giving second chances.
  • Craig, thanks for showing us how to enjoy life.
  • Susana, thanks for getting to know kids as individuals.
  • Emy, thanks for seeing the best in everyone.
  • Pam, thanks for taking on new challenges with grace.
  • Jonathan, thanks for being willing to share a unique perspective.
  • Jon R., thanks for taking the time to play with kids.
  • Patricia, Robin, Garth, Larry, and Bob, thanks for speaking into the lives of our kids every day, even though your responsibilities lie outside of middle school.
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Important Dates

May 9: SCIPS visit (5th grade only)

May 10: Combined Staff

May 16: No School (Dalat Holiday)

May 18: Last day of regular X blocks

May 19: MS Concert @ Penang PAC (5:00 5/6; 7:00 7/8)

May 24: Senior “Chapel” during X block

May 25: MS Drama, X block, Chapel

May 26: Yearbook Signing, X Block, Gym

May 26: 1st set of comments due, 8 AM

May 27: Senior Chapel

May 27: 2nd set of comments due, 8 AM

May 29: Baccalaureate, 10:00, Paradise Hotel

May 30-2: 12:30 dismissal for all students; final exams for 8th graders, schedule

May 30: 3rd set of comments due, 8 AM

May 31: 5/6 BOB

May 31: 4th set of comments due, 8 AM

June 1: 5th Set of comments due, 8 AM

June 1: Sr. Parent Tea, 7 PM

June 2: Last Day of School

June 2: 5 PM Grades verified

June 3: Teacher Work Day

June 3: 7 PM Commencement

June 6: Teacher Work Day

June 6: Staff Farewell Dinner, evening

June 7: Last Staff Work Day; MS Staff Luncheon

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What do I do if it doesn’t work? Part II

Last week I discussed one of the factors that can make active learning frustrating for both students and teachers: using active learning as a summative assessment tool. I’ve heard stories of students being assigned to do a graded assignment together in pairs or groups, in the name of active learning, and it often ends up with one student doing everyone’s work for them. As I expressed last week, active learning is designed for formative assessment, and it doesn’t work well otherwise. Here are some tips to help keep active learning from going wrong.

1. If there is a problem to solve or fact to recall, ask students to work on their own before working with a partner. I like to have students write the answer down because it gives them something concrete to bring to the discussion. After both partners have written down the answer(s), they can then compare what they have on paper and talk about why they came up with this answer.

2. Keep the problem/questions brief. It’s ok to give students a few homework questions to use as practice, but keep it to a few, and make it clear that they’re not graded but are just for practice.

3. Monitor the class closely to assess who needs extra help. When I give an active learning task, it’s easy for me to want to take those minutes getting ready for the next section coming (which is ok!) BUT it’s also important to walk around to get a sense of how well the students are grasping the concepts. Active learning helps to provide that immediate feedback of student learning that should guide how your proceed.

4. Processing the lesson. One of the best ways to use active learning is to give time for students to process what they’ve learned. Obviously, the subject matter you’re teaching makes a difference as to the kinds of questions you’ll ask. Here are a few ideas:

· What’s hard to understand about what we just learned?

· What are the 2-3 things that stood out to you as most important? Why?

· What’s an example you remember from what we discussed?

· Explain to your partner the steps of how to solve the problem.

· What did you like the most about….?

· How are these two things similar and different?

Susan Allen

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