Monday Message


There's been a lot of talk lately about new things happening in our building. Some of these things we've already done, some we've been talking about for a little while and are on the horizon, and some are just being introduced. Folks might say that the end of the school year is a crazy time to talk about trying new things, that everyone is tired, the kids are checked out, and we should simply be working to "keep the lid on things" until June 22nd.

I don't share that opinion.

I think this time of year is the perfect opportunity to try out that thing you've been talking about doing all year, and I'm excited that so many of you are embracing this idea. As another way to encourage inspiration, I've provided a "sketchnote" below created by Sylvia Duckworth, a French teacher from Toronto, that was posted to Twitter this weekend. How many of the things can you check off? Are there any on the list that you're interested in trying? I'm very excited for our May 27th conference day for this very reason. It's a great opportunity to look to the future, challenge ourselves, and ask what we can do to turn on its head the notion that the end of the year is for movies and test prep.

If it's good for kids, I will always say yes to trying something new. It's the only real way to know if that something will work. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes. If you're wondering how it will turn out, a sure way to never find out is by not trying. ;)

Have a great week!

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Calendar (AKA Where Will Tim Be This Week?)

Monday, May 16th:

  • HSA Meeting, 6:30 PM, Library

Tuesday, May 17th

  • Girls Go STEM Event @ SUNY Adirondack all day (20 7th and 8th graders to attend)

Wednesday, May 18th:

  • Joint MS/HS ITL Meeting, 3:00 PM, HS Library

Thursday, May 19th:

  • 7th Grade Awards Meeting, Period 2

Upcoming Dates:

5/24 - 5th Grade Parent Night (6th grade teachers do not need to attend)

5/26 - 5th Grade Field Day (Rain Date - June 6th)

Do you like TED Talks?

If you like TED Talks, here is a website that helps you create a lesson around a TED Talk. Could be something fun to try out this month. That's right - something new in May!! It just might be one of the best things you can do in this squirrelly time of year.

The Wisdom of Rick Wormeli

I was included in an email conversation between a teacher and a parent last week, and one of the topics that the parent brought up was some confusion over the idea of test re-takes and re-dos. In a typical back-and-forth, this parent didn't understand how the system of re-takes would hold kids "accountable." I knew I had to jump in because I am so proud of the way that this building is embracing this approach to learning. Of course there was no way I could say things better than the Rick Wormeli, so I sent the paragraph below, taken from this larger article that appeared in Educational Leadership Magazine in November of 2011. It stands out to me as one of the MOST important arguments for the implementation of SBG. Check it out:

"The teacher who claims to be preparing students for the working world by disallowing all redos forgets that adult professionals actually flourish through redos, retakes, and do-overs. Surgeons practice on cadavers before doing surgeries on live patients. Architects redesign building plans until they meet all the specifications listed. Pilots rehearse landings and take-offs hundreds of times in simulators and in solo flights before flying with real passengers. Lawyers practice debate and analysis of arguments before litigating real cases. Teachers become much more competent and effective by teaching the same content multiple times, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work each time. LSAT. MCAT. Praxis. SAT. Bar exam. CPA exam. Driver’s licensure. Pilot’s licensure. Auto mechanic certification exam. Every one of these assessments reflects the adult-level, working-world responsibilities our students will one day face. Many of them are high stakes: People’s lives depend on these tests’ validity as accurate measures of individual competence. All of them can be redone over and over for full credit. Lawyers who finally pass the bar exam on their second or third attempt are not limited to practicing law only on Tuesdays or only under the watchful eye of a seasoned partner for the duration of their careers. If an assessment of competence is valid, achieving its passing scores grants the assessed individual full rights and privileges thereof."

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