Hill Elementary School ~ December 7, 2014

SMORE newsletter

As I previously shared, utilizing technology in new ways is one of my professional goals that I set with Kevin this year. I hope you enjoy the new format of our weekly communication. I have heard about Smore newsletters on Twitter and also at the Genesee County Principals' meetings that I attend. Mr. Shanafelt at DHS also uses this format and shared some tips with me! I found that it was really easy to use! I'd love to hear your feedback, good, bad, or indifferent!
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Hill Celebrations and Announcements

Happy Birthday to Amanda Lucas! (12/6)

A few of the GREAT things that I noticed last week...

Hill Staff & Students exceeded our goal from last year and brought in over 3800 items for Cool to Care.

Barrett Tefft & Peyton Spodney led the Cool to Care announcements last week with the guidance of Lisa DuPrey. They did an outstanding job pumping students up and were also interviewed by DTV.

Miss Richards turned in two positive office referrals this week. It was wonderful to make that positive contact with families.

While working out an incident between two kindergartners at recess, I had asked if what happened was on purpose or an accident. The student replied that it was an accident, while the other little guy had tears in his eyes. The student looked at him and said, "I forgive you, Michael." She then walked over and gave him a hug. It was one of the sweetest things I have seen. Empathy at it's finest!

We hosted movie night Friday evening to about 75 Hill students. A special thank you to Suzie, Linda, Tracy, Heather, Bailey, Leisa, Joe, and the 10 NHS volunteers that also attended. Additionally, our PTO popped our popcorn, picked up our supplies and Mr. & Mrs. Lyle supplied their time along with the very cool inflatable screen!

The week ahead...

WOW Word: Mrs. Draper's class leads the WOW word this week. Our WOW word is capacity.

CARDINAL Code: Please reteach Cardinal Code for Week 1.

Monday, 12-8-14

Progress Reports go home this week

Speech IEP's

Tuesday, 12-9-14

4:15-6:15 ELA meeting at DHS

4:15 - 5:15 DIP at Cardinal Center

Thursday, 12-11-14

7:40 Staff Meeting (Technology presentation on Aurasma - Augmented reality)

9:30 - Admin. meeting (Jen)

3& 4th Grade Program rehearsal at DHS

7:00 - 3rd & 4th Grade concert at DHS

Friday, 12-12-14

Santa's Workshop (Schedules were in mailboxes on Friday) Gym classes will be held in classrooms.

Looking ahead.....

December 16th: Child Study/MTSS

December 19th: Classroom holiday parties, 2:30 - All School Sing-A-Long, Staff Christmas party at Beef & Barley's

December 20 - January 4th: Winter Break

John Hattie: 10 myths about student achievement

John Hattie’s 15 year meta-analysis of over ¼ of a billion students worldwide has enabled him to identify what really aids student achievement. In an interview with Sarah Montague for BBC Radio 4, he dispels some popular myths about what does and doesn’t matter in your school.

Factors affecting student achievement – Hattie’s take:

1. Class Size – Reducing class size does enhance student achievement but only by a marginal amount. Our preoccupation with class size is an enigma; what’s really important is that the teacher learns to be an expert in their own class, no matter what size it is.

2. Types of Schools – Academies, grammar and state schools don’t actually differ too much inside, what’s more important is good leadership within your school; look at who has control over how teachers are chosen and how they progress after being selected.

3. Uniform – Conversations about school uniform are distracting; it doesn’t matter if uniform is compulsory or not as it makes no difference whatsoever to student achievement. Your school should decide whether you want to enforce a uniform or not but waste no further time debating it.

4. Homework –Homework has been found to have no effect on the progress of primary school children. To get it right without getting rid of it, children at primary level should be given less projects and more activities that reinforce what they learnt in the lesson that day instead. Whilst homework does make more of a difference to secondary schoolchildren, too much emphasis is placed on it; 5-10 minutes of practising what was taught that day at school has the same effect as 1-2 hours does.

5. Extra-Curricular Activities – These are powerful in terms of helping children learn. The best predictor of health, wealth and happiness in adult life is not academic achievement at school but the number of years schooled; extra-curricular activities can be a fun and inviting way to get children to enjoy school and want to spend more time there learning.

6. Home Environment – Does TV have a negative effect on a child’s progress? Not directly, suggests John. The problem with a child watching too much television is that it stops them from spending that time learning in more productive ways, such as by reading or developing their communication and relationship skills.

7. A Child’s Birthday – John has found that where a child’s birthday falls in the school year has an effect on their progress initially, as there is a big difference in the ability of a child who is 5 years 1 month and one who is 5 years 11 months. However, no difference is found after 2-3 years of schooling. What has a more dramatic effect on a child’s academic achievements, he claims, is whether a child makes a friend in their first month at school.

8. Streaming and Teacher Talk – John insists that whether your school is streamed or not, what must be recognised is that children learn better from their peers than from the teacher or a book. If a child is struggling to grasp a new concept, they are more likely to understand it if another students explains it correctly.

We teach children to be passive and listen in the classroom, whilst a great teacher does the opposite: letting their students be active both in what they know and what they don’t. Effective learning is about exploring ideas, making mistakes and adapting to them; not just sitting and listening to explanations from the teacher.

9. Testing – John has no problem with testing per se, but he does advocate that tests at the end of the year aren’t beneficial as by then both the teacher and the student have moved on from that particular topic. If tests are to be used, they should be done to practice and reinforce what has recently been taught.

10. Student Expectation – John Hattie claims that telling a child ‘do your best’ is the worst thing a teacher or parent can do. A successful teacher establishes a student’s expectations of their abilities but then dispels those expectations by telling them they can do better. What a student achieved yesterday should never be okay tomorrow.

Have a wonderful week ~ Jen