Sipley School Weekly Howl

Week of Monday, December 8, 2014

Participating in the process of creating a vision of the outrageously, highly engaged classroom is a great goal. Ask yourself, "How can I make this lesson outrageously entertaining, engaging, and powerful so that my students will never forget it and will be desperate to come back for more."

Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate

Own Your Instruction

As educators of D68, we are asked to do what it takes to ensure all students make individual student growth and make progress toward college and career readiness. This requires us to approach teaching in a thoughtful manner. A one size fits all approach to teaching subject mater will not work. Planning then is key to determining what the essential skills students need for the grade and beyond are. After determining the essential skills necessary for growth, teachers should build in a plan to allocate time for instruction to occur that promotes growth and provides extra time (buffer time) to those students who will need more time mastering those essential skills - tier II. Please do not wait for curriculum committees to tell you what those essential skills are or for a textbook to be handed to you to guide you. I have so much trust in our teachers to do this important work and I know that if we take our time during mid-day collaboration and co-planning time to thoughtfully co-plan, that we can do tremendous work.

Old Standards v. New Standards

As we plan lessons, we shift from the level of tasks that we taught for years to tasks that require students to examine deeper aspects of text. The link below offers greater insights into the comparison. An example: Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel is a text that was read at grade three in years past. Students might have retold the main events and identified the characters and setting. Today, the story is to be read at grades kindergarten and first grade as a read aloud and students are asked to engage in discussion where they compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of Frog and Toad.

Read more about the comparisons that are related to elementary grades.

Behavioral Support from the Office of the Principal

We had the very best start to our school year and then we had a two week bump where our students were struggling. Competitive behaviors like being first in line, or answering more questions in class, or helping the teacher more emerged where physicality became the first response when students were upset. We addressed that behavior via a school meeting, followed with a consistent response and parent notification, which eliminated the large issue. Our school has settled back to the calm and enjoyable feeling that we had when we began our school year. I am so thankful for that. The feeling in our school is very enjoyable right now. I hope this continues.

Though we eliminated the Office Discipline Referral, we haven't eliminate students coming to the office, which is what we talked about, but some are not clear on. Students may always come to the office when you feel the need arises.

What we have now is teachers contacting me or coming to the office with a student to explain matters. This approach is far better as we gain clarity of the problem, which helps students learn from their choices. Remember, any staff member may bring a student to the office for behavioral support, at any time.

Action Items

  • Sign up for WE14 sessions
  • Tenured staff, provide me with an update on your goals (By January 31)
  • Non-tenured staff, schedule your second observation with me if you haven't yet done so
  • DEB is cancelled the week of January 12 for ACCESS testing. Miguel will need to assess students during portions of the week. The District has cancelled DEB during this time.

A Glance at the Week Ahead

Monday - I am attending an annual Administrator Academy as part of my licensure. I will be out of the building all day.

Monday - 5th Grade PLC - 2:05 - 2:55.

Tuesday - I am attending an administrator meeting in the morning. I will be out of the building.

Wednesday - 6th Grade PLC - 8:25 - 9:15

Wednesday - 1st Grade PLC - 9:20 - 10:10

Wednesday - Kindergarten PLC - 10:10 - 11:00

Wednesday - 3rd Grade PLC - 1:15 - 2:05

Wednesday - 4th Grade PLC - 2:05 - 2:55

Thursday - 2nd Grade PLC - 12:50 - 1:15

Thursday - Sipley Spelling Bee - 1:15 - 2:45

Thursday - Staff Holiday Party - I will likely not be able to attend, but wish everyone a joyful time.

Thursday - District Calendar Committee Meeting - 3:45 - 5:00

Thursday - STP Family Movie Night at JJHS- 6:30 - 8:30

Friday - We Engage14

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