Talon Talk

HMS - Where your heart, mind, and body can soar!

School Improvement Plan

This summer, an interdisciplinary team of 25 HMS teachers met to analyze data and to create the beginnings of a vision for this year's school improvement plan. The data discussions led to four major themes: the importance of relationships, student discourse, conferring, and inquiry/collaboration. Photos from HMS classrooms, articles, and future events that support this work are below. (Also, a "secret word or phrase" is hidden somewhere in this e-newsletter. Be the first person to say the "secret word or phrase" to Mr. Wegner and you will receive a prize!)

Building Relationship Bridges with Our Students

The research is clear: humans are literally "hard-wired" with the desire and need to connect. We are social beings who thrive on healthy relationships. And yet, the importance of positive relationships in our schools is often overlooked.

Despite the proven connection between positive relationships and student achievement, some discount relationship building in middle grades and high schools as a bunch of "fluff" more appropriate for the elementary school.

For middle grades kids who are trying to gain some independence and figure out which way is up, relationships with classmates and teachers are crucial to success. I offer seven relationship-based strategies that can transform your classroom into a positive learning environment.


To read the rest of the article, (secret phrase = "This is Eddie Lacy's year!") click on this link: http://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/185/The-Power-of-Positive-Relationships.aspx

A Glimpse at Building Relationships with Students at HMS...

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The Importance, Power, and Positive Impact of Purposeful Student Discourse/Student Talk



Aldous Huxley (1958) once wrote, "Language has made possible man's progress from animality to civilization" (p. 167). In doing so, he effectively summarized the importance of language in humans' lives. It is through language that we are civilized. One could argue that nothing is more important to the human species than that. But Huxley wasn't done there; he continued by explaining the value of language:


Language permits its users to pay attention to things, persons and events, even when the things and persons are absent and the events are not taking place. Language gives definition to our memories and, by translating experiences into symbols, converts the immediacy of craving or abhorrence, or hatred or love, into fixed principles of feeling and conduct. (p. 168)


Language, in other words, is how we think. It's how we process information and remember. It's our operating system. Vygotsky (1962) suggested that thinking develops into words in a number of phases, moving from imaging to inner speech to inner speaking to speech. Tracing this idea backward, speech—talk—is the representation of thinking. As such, it seems reasonable to suggest that classrooms should be filled with talk, given that we want them filled with thinking!


To read the rest of the article, click on the link here: http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108035/chapters/Why-Talk-Is-Important-in-Classrooms.aspx


Also, what type of classroom setup encourages lots of student-owned work? http://cwp-summer.wikispaces.com/file/view/Workshop_Graphic_Time_CrisBook-1.pdf/455325394/Workshop_Graphic_Time_CrisBook-1.pdf

Check out this Teaching Channel video about the power of student discourse in a science classroom.

HMS' Amazing Race around Waukesha - first planning session

Tuesday, Sep. 8th, 2:45-3:15pm

Horning Middle School (iCenter)

Mindset - Collegial Book Study

Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 2:45-3:45pm

Horning Middle School (iCenter)

Books will be ordered next week, so please let Jenny Elahi or Nancy Roncke know if you are interested in joining the book study by next Friday. Thank you!

Family Literacy Night - planning team

Thursday, Sep. 10th, 2:45-3:30pm

Horning Middle School (iCenter)

First Family Literacy Night - 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 8.