The Comstock Chronicle
Together is better, so let's stay connected!
Next Week at JKC
Monday, February 8
- Book Fair opens
Tuesday, February 9
- 6:30- 7:30 pm- PTA Bedtime stories event- Please have at least one team member in attendance for this event.
Wednesday, February 10
- 7:00- 12:00- Pam out for Principal Meeting
- NO STAFF MEETING
Thursday, February 11
- Fifth Grade Reading simulation test
Friday, February 12
- 7:15- ITL Meeting
- Class Meetings
- Jump Rope for heart in the cafeteria ALL DAY. All grade levels will eat in classrooms. PLEASE BEGIN NOTIFYING PARENTS OF THIS ASAP****** Brad sent out the schedule this morning, make sure to check it for your specials time.
- 1:45- 2:45- Valentine's Day Parties- Teams, your room moms will begin arriving early (Between 1:00 and 1:15) for party set up. Brainstorm with teammates to discuss activities students can do while set-up is taking place.
Save the Date!
2/13- Choir to perform at Assisted Living Center
2/15- Staff PD Day
2/16- Staff Meeting- This is a TUESDAY! Classroom teachers and SpEd to attend.
2/18- Name and Need (cancelled)
2/19- Name and Need (K, 1, 2)
2/17- 2/19- Pam out for training
2/23- CIT Meeting #3
2/24- No staff Meeting
2/25- Second grade choir performance- 6:45
2/29- ITL Meeting 3:20
3/2- Staff meeting
3/4- Vocal Trash assembly- sponsored by our PTA
3/7- 3/11- Spring Break
3/16- Staff meeting
3/17- First grade choir program
3/22- 5:30 PTA board meeting; 6:45- "Chopped" PTA program- 1 rep. per team to attend
3/23- Staff meeting
3/29- 4th grade writing STAAR and 5th grade math STAAR
3/30- 5th grade reading STAAR
3/30- No staff meeting
A Day in the Life of a Third Grader at JKC- Sarah Reyna (Kindergarten Teacher)
When the day arrived for me to shadow a third grader, and essentially become one, the anticipation was truly thrilling. I packed my backpack in the morning eagerly. My mind was busy thinking about whether or not I should wear tennis shoes (I might go to P.E., right?), wondering if I would be allowed to use a pen, and feeling my stomach growl thinking about if and when snacks could be eaten. That thrill stayed with me the entire day. As I walked in the shoes of a student, I found that the expectations for me were clear: work hard, collaborate, think deeper, and enjoy your learning. Knowing that this reflection could sound like an opportunity to “toot” my school’s “horn,” allow me to clear that up: This is an honest reflection from a clear mind. I would go to third grade at Comstock Elementary any day, every day, and with gladness. The expectations mentioned above emerged as themes throughout the day, and should be taken into account for all teachers hoping to maximize student learning and engagement.
1. Work Hard: From the moment I entered the classroom to the time I left, it was clear that I would work hard. Before experiencing third grade, I worried that I would be asked to sit and absorb vast amounts of information. Falling asleep was a legitimate fear. These fears were immediately put to rest. The teachers, my teachers for the day, posed fascinating questions and gave me time—real time!—to think about my conclusions! During Math, Ms. Sentell posted the fraction “5/8” on the board. She then said, “Who can decompose this fraction into unit fractions and represent it in a number sentence?” This immediately sent my brain reeling as I tried to recall what a unit fraction was... After ample think time and discussion, she asked “Who can think of a story problem that would represent this number sentence?” Phew! Another brain-reeling moment for me! Once again, we were given time to think through our answer and a student told an impressive story problem. All day long I was presented with something to grapple with, and then given time and space to do it. There was clarity the entire day on what I was supposed to be doing, and that it would be hard, but good. This “work hard” theme translated from every mini-lesson into problem solving, math stations, independent reading time, and independent writing time. It was far from a “sit and get” kind of day.
2. Collaborate: I have heard tell, and remember some days in my own schooling, of middle grade students working alone all day, quietly and independently. This was so far from true in my experience. Starting in Math, I worked through a fraction problem with my math partners. We came up with and recorded a plan for solving the problem, worked through that plan, and wrote an explanation for our solution. After looking at and talking through my partners’ explanation, I realized that mine was far too dry and empty. I had to revise it. At first, I thought I just had a very special group of partners to collaborate with me in this way. The groups behind and around me, however, appeared equally engaged. I could hear them discussing and debating their plan and reminding one another to “get to work guys.” During Reading, Ms. Denver asked us to read an article about solar cookers in Africa, and to think through our answers to the questions at the end. Collaboration was optional on this piece, but most of us chose to collaborate. What was most encouraging and eye-opening for me was the patience that the students had with one another. They did not rush each other towards an answer. When needed, they coached each other gently towards an answer by providing text evidence and sharing their thinking. We were honestly collaborating! Again, I thought it might have just been my group, but when I looked around the room this was happening almost everywhere! It was clear that this kind of relationship has been modeled for them, practiced, encouraged, and expected.
3. Think Deeper: Considering the time spent working hard and collaborating, it is not surprising that the theme of “think deeper” emerged for me. Throughout the day, my mind would hope to slip into a casual answer, surface level thought, or a “that’s good enough” mentality. My partners and teachers would not allow this to be! In a Reading mini-lesson, Ms. Denver posted a non-fiction text title “Making Honey” and three possible answer choices for the best summary. We never read the article! We had to think through which one was likely the best summary based on the title and the fact that it was a non-fiction article. At first, I just glanced over the choices and thought “Hm, not sure without the article…” Then Ms. Denver pulled us in to look more closely at each choice and analyze the options. Going choice by choice, I thought more about those summaries than I ever could have imagined and by the end my brain was buzzing with that good feeling of accomplishment. This even occurred in Art during our Specials time! I was led to think about the purpose of contrasting colors, how important it was to look closely as an artist and evaluate my own work, and about how the skills learned in Art benefit us our entire lives.
4. Enjoy your Learning: Hard work, collaboration, and deep thought do not always conjure up feelings of joy or fun. In this case, however, enjoyment pervaded the entire day. I was smiling, my partners were smiling, and a sense of satisfaction was clear. This is due largely in part to the assignments and lessons provided. None of the tasks given us were boring or dry. They were interesting and relatable tasks, involving pizza, candy bars, the Solar System, honey bees, and people who are special to us. At the end of the day, we sat in Ms. Sentell’s room quietly and calmly on the floor in a cluster. She asked us, “Who has something to share?” The students then talked about what they did this weekend, important events coming up, and encouraging things they saw from others that day. A sense of a community surged through this group and was very evident. This class loves and supports each other as friends and learners. Without this piece I am certain the class might have worked hard and thought deeply, but the enjoyment would be gone entirely. As it was, I left feeling like I had accomplished great things that day with warmth and gladness.
I am forever grateful for this experience. It is my hope that I challenge my students to work as hard, think as deeply, collaborate as successfully, and enjoy their learning as much as I did. The feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that accompanies this type of day is one I hope all teachers will give students. Careful planning, quality questioning, and trust in students to work things out independently and with each other will be required. It is very worth it.