Keowee's Friday Flash Forward
News from Your Assistant Principal, Rhonda Grant
This week marked the end of our fall MAP journey with kindergarteners and first graders testing in math and make-ups being completed. I enjoyed my observations this week in 4K and kindergarten with Katie, Karen, and Tonda. I learned about graphing, ordinal numbers, counting, and problem solving. If you're ever having a bad day, spend a few minutes with these little learners--I guarantee you'll leave smiling! And if you're lucky like me, you might even get to join them in a little "Whip It Nae Nae!"
It's All ABout Asking the Right Questions...
From the beginning of our lives, we are always questioning something. They start as simple things at first as we explore our new, vast world and the complexity grows as we mature. One of the most amazing faculties afforded to us as humans is the ability to think. The problem for teachers is how to get our students to utilize this amazing skill to the best of their abilities. We all know that students who are constantly involved in the learning process will thrive and grow the most academically.
Questions are being asked all day and every day in schools around the world. But, what kinds of questions? Do they always work? Do we get the answer we were looking for? Are our students engaged in the learning process? Do we use questioning enough? Think about your classroom. If you just completed a project in class with your students, do you ask, “What did you think about the project?”. You will most likely hear lots of “I liked it.” and “It was OK.” and responses like that. These are short answers that make students feel like they are appeasing you—these quick responses have little to no thought involved in them.
The same thing will happen with friends, family and basically any other situation you are in. Sometimes we hear people talking about “digging deeper” to find out more information about something. What does “digging deeper” really mean? It means, asking the right question. When trying to elicit a response from anyone, we need to use the proper start to every question. Simply asking “How was your trip?” will never work. The answer could just be “Good.”. Not exactly what you were looking for if you plan to take a similar trip to the same location. You need to get more information. The question starter “How was….?” is insufficient in promoting conversation. Promoting conversation is the key to making the mind think. Simply asking, “How would you summarize your trip to…?” would work better. This person would then describe and explain the major parts of the trip and you can guide the conversation in the direction of your curiosity.
How does this relate to the classroom? In the classroom this means that the student has to think about prior learning and come up with an organized response to the question. Higher-level thinking questions do just that. They do not allow for one-word or short answers. The student must become engaged in a conversation. This may mean that they are interpreting data, defending an opinion, coming up with a solution to an issue or any other variety of responses that cause students speak their thoughts aloud.
Now, how is this done? Higher-level thinking questions have beginnings that are well defined. They automatically cause individuals to “ponder” (did you notice the use of a recent Keowee Word of the Day here?). Many times they will relate to opinions that individuals may have formed so that they want to express themselves. Here are some examples of question starters: “How can you explain why…?”, “How would you compare…?”, “In your own words, what is…?”, “How could you simplify…?”, “What is the significance of…?” Right away you can see how the gears start working and the process of being involved begins. Students begin to think! When you get immersed in it, you can have the students use the “starters” to come up with their own questions regarding a topic. Again, making them a part of the experience keeps that involvement at a high level.
We have all heard of the value of good questions during our teaching career. Dr. Spencer Kagan has developed sets of these “question starters” along with entire books devoted to specific topic areas. This way of thinking and teaching stresses the development of thinking skills along with higher-level thinking, such as creative and critical thinking. By utilizing this type of questioning in your daily lessons, you can help your students become more intellectual, creative and involved than they ever have been. Dr. Kagan has devoted his life to Cooperative Learning in the classroom and has a wealth of resources available. Check out Kagan online or search for Kagan on Amazon and see what the buzz is all about. I could say, “What are you waiting for?”, but I can make you really consider it by asking, “What differences might you see in your students if you apply this type of questioning strategy?” Good Luck!
October Core Essentials
INDIVIDUALITY--Discovering who you are meant to be so you can make a difference.
While showing our similarities as well our differences, we establish our uniqueness. As educators, we must introduce and recognize each student for their differences and contributions. We must instill pride and nurture each child so they can appreciate themselves and others. Letting each student know that they are an integral part of a whole class and that cooperation from each child in representing the entire class is important. We must express to students how variety is an enhancement to the class and learning process. The student must know his/her contributions to the class, the school, and the community are well appreciated.
WOW! Word of the Week
John Collins FCAs for October
K Using word wall words (style)
1 Wrap-around sentence (organization)
2 Action verbs & colorful adjectives (style)
3 Beginning sentence variety with limit of pronoun and articles as first word (style)
4 Precise words and sensory details (style)
5 Sentence variety (style)
FRIDAY AT THE MOVIES...
Today, October 2, is World Smile Day! Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963. That image went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet. As the years passed Harvey became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol, and how its original meaning and intent had become lost. Out of that concern came his idea for World Smile Day. He thought that everyone, should devote one day each year to smiles and kind acts throughout the world. The smiley face knows no politics, no geography and no religion. Harvey’s idea was that for at least one day each year, neither should we. He declared that the first Friday in October each year would henceforth be World Smile Day. So today's video is about smiling and all its benefits. Enjoy and remember to make someone smile today!
October 2-8 Keowee Book Fair
October 5 PTO Family Learning Night
October 6 Yo-Go Spirit Night @ Seneca location
October 8 SST @ 12:00
October 13 Chick-fil-A Spirit Night
October 15 Earthquake Drill
October 16 Fall Picture Day
October 19 Teacher Inservice Day
October 21 End of 1st 9 Weeks
October 22 SST @ 12:00
October 26 Teacher Inservice Day
October 27-30 Red Ribbon Week (days TBA soon!)
October 29 SST @ 12:00
October 29 Report Cards Go Home
October 29 Ginger Hopkins, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction, visits KES
October 30 Career Day
October 30 PBIS Creepy Cupcakes Celebration (times TBA)