RMS Curriculum Chat

Mathematics and Language Arts News

Curriculum Meetings

ALL Curriculum Meetings are on Tuesday. I will split my time between the curriculum areas. Be on the lookout for an agenda from your curriculum lead.

There are grade level meetings on Thursday.

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New Year's Resolution: FOCUS

My New Year's resolution is to FOCUS more on teaching and learning. With that in mind, let's work toward true COLLABORATIVE PLANNING and INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATION during our curriculum meetings.

Let's FOCUS on:

  • What do our students need to learn?
  • How will we teach it?
  • What do we do when they don't learn? (Why didn't they learn it? What are the roadblocks? How can I provide better feedback to support the learning?)
  • What do we do when they do learn? (What helped our students reach success? What feedback did I provide that helped my students obtain and retain the knowledge?)

Each time we meet, please be sure to bring:

  • AKS books (math) and Analyzing the Standards (language arts)
  • Curriculum Calendars
  • Lesson Resources
  • Laptop

Formative Instructional Practices: January

January 26: Module 3 -- Collecting and Documenting Evidence of Student Learning (FP1003) Please register for the module, view it, and be ready to discuss it during your curriculum planning.

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2016 Writing Summit: Save the Date!

The 2016 RMS Writing Summit will take place during the first week of February. Language Arts teachers will spend Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday planning times during that week to think about how we teach writing and to ensure we're meeting the needs of our students. We'll have guests from the Language Arts office as well as our own in-house experts lead our learning.
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Feedback, Part 2

This is my second installment of ideas and from the article, "Seven Keys to Effective Feedback." Again, the examples tend to be related to how coaches or leaders provide feedback to teachers, but I find the them to be helpful when considering how I feedback to students. How can you improve your feedback practices?

Tangible and Transparent

"Any useful feedback system involves not only a clear goal, but also tangible results related to the goal. People laugh, chuckle, or don't laugh at each joke; students are highly attentive, somewhat attentive, or inattentive to my teaching.

"Even as little children, we learn from such tangible feedback. That's how we learn to walk; to hold a spoon; and to understand that certain words magically yield food, drink, or a change of clothes from big people. The best feedback is so tangible that anyone who has a goal can learn from it.

"In sports, novice tennis players or batters often don't realize that they're taking their eyes off the ball; they often protest, in fact, when that feedback is given. (Constantly yelling "Keep your eye on the ball!" rarely works.) And we have all seen how new teachers are sometimes so busy concentrating on "teaching" that they fail to notice that few students are listening or learning."

How can we make our feedback tangible and transparent to our students?


"Even if feedback is specific and accurate in the eyes of experts or bystanders, it is not of much value if the user cannot understand it or is overwhelmed by it. Highly technical feedback will seem odd and confusing to a novice. Describing a baseball swing to a 6-year-old in terms of torque and other physics concepts will not likely yield a better hitter. Too much feedback is also counterproductive; better to help the performer concentrate on only one or two key elements of performance than to create a buzz of information coming in from all sides.

"Expert coaches uniformly avoid overloading performers with too much or too technical information. They tell the performers one important thing they noticed that, if changed, will likely yield immediate and noticeable improvement ("I was confused about who was talking in the dialogue you wrote in this paragraph"). They don't offer advice until they make sure the performer understands the importance of what they saw."

What *one important thing* can we share with students each day in order to yield immediate and noticeable improvement?

Richards Middle School

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