Weekly Update

April 11, 2016

Mark Your Calendars

This Week...

Monday, April 11

  • NWEA Make-Ups, 5th - 6th Hour @ 300 Lab


Tuesday, April 12

  • NWEA Make-Ups, 6th Hour @ 300 Lab
  • Admin Meeting @ Ackerson, 9:00 am (Jennifer)
  • Eligibility Due
  • PTSA Meeting @ Media Center, 5:30 pm


Wednesday, April 13

  • CBD (am)?
  • 5th and 8th Grade MSTEP


Thursday, April 14

  • Faculty / Staff Meeting, 7:00 am
  • 5th and 8th Grade MSTEP


Friday, April 15

  • Spirit Day -- Wear PJs
  • 8th Grade MSTEP
  • 5th / 6th Grade NWEA Make-Ups, 4th Hour @ 300 Lab

And Next Week...

Monday, April 18

  • MSTEP (5th Grade Only)
  • 7th / 8th Grad NWEA Make-Ups, 5th - 6th Hour @ 300 Lab
  • BOE Meeting @ Ackerson, 6:00 pm (featuring CO2 Dragsters)


Tuesday, April 19

  • 5th and 8th Grade MSTEP
  • Eligibility Due


Wednesday, April 20

  • 5th and 8th Grade MSTEP


Thursday, April 21

  • 5th and 8th Grade MSTEP
  • NWEA Make-Ups, 3rd Hour @ 300 Lab


Friday, April 22

  • Math and Science Night @ Klager (Featuring CO2 Dragsters)

FROM THE OFFICE

NEW INFORMATION


I can still send one more person to this workshop, if interested. Let me know by the end of the day on Monday.

  • NWEA Michigan Leadership Summit Interested in learning how to put your assessment data into action? There's a free workshop on April 14 in Livonia. I can send two teachers--pending sub coverage and space availability--to the conference. The event will feature keynote presentations from NWEA researchers and breakout sessions from your colleagues across the state, this complimentary one-day event will help district-level leadership teams fully leverage data from Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) to inform critical decisions at every level.



OLD INFORMATION

  • Dream more, learn more, become more!
  • Critical information - phone extensions, schedules, timelines, emergency drills, etc.
  • Text alerts through Remind - text @mms5678 to the number 81010.

MUST READ: MSTEP Blended Learning Schedule

Due to new changes in the M-STEP testing process, our testing schedule for each grade creates a planning nightmare. Some classes will miss out of instruction for multiple days while other classes are still able to move forward with the content. In spending some time thinking about how to manage this, the idea of Blended Learning came to mind. In short, you would teach your lesson each hour, but the students would have a choice of which class they will attend. They will still be responsible for completing all the assigned work from their classes, but they won’t necessarily have to attend each class.


Example: A student misses my 1st hour class because of testing. Looking at the homework chart they can see what they have missed. If they feel that they can complete the work without face-to-face time in my classroom, they may opt to go to their regularly scheduled classes for the rest of the day. However, if we’re working on a challenging topic and the student is worried about being able to understand the material on their own, they will be able to come to one of the hours in the afternoon where I’ll be teaching the same lesson. This will mean that they miss another subject, but again, they will still be responsible for making up the work from the class they miss.


The plan would be for students to check in with their regularly scheduled class teacher for attendance. Then they could move to the classroom of their choice. No moving in between the hours. You would allow the first 28 students into your classroom. Any students after that would have to move on to their second choice.


6th Grade: April 26, 27, 28

Science (Kranz): 3, 4

Math (Fielder): 3, 6

S.S. (Whalen): 3, 4, 6

L.A. (Thomas): 4, 6



7th Grade: May 12, 16, 19

Science (Wolf): 4, 5

Math (Tindall): 3, 4, 5

S.S. (Thomas): 3

S.S. (Kastel): 5

L.A. (Punches): 3, 4



8th Grade: April 13, 14, 15

Science (Kranz): 5

Math (Fether): 4, 5

S.S. (Kastel): 4

L.A. (Barnard): 4

L.A. (Thomas): 5


EXPLORATORIES: Exploratory teachers, to help make this schedule work, I'm asking you to please allow one class session per week during each grade's testing window to allow for a "study hall" where students can have time to work on their blended lessons.


We'll need flexibility from everyone on assignments during the testing windows. Students can take as much time as needed during the day. Those kiddos who use the extra time will either need to be exempt from assignments or given extra time to complete.


Thanks to everyone for trying something new. This model takes advantage of our technology and promotes progress through the curriculum. Questions? We can talk more at the 4/14 faculty / staff meeting.

Making Good Use of the Final Minutes of a Class

In this Chronicle of Higher Education article, James Lang (Assumption College) says he’s observed two things in college classrooms over the years: students starting to pack up their things in the last five minutes (intensely annoying to instructors), and instructors hurriedly covering a few more things. “[M]ost faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit,” says Lang, “or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as possible about forthcoming deadlines, next week’s exam, or tomorrow’s homework… We’re still trying to teach while students’ minds – and sometimes their bodies – are headed out the door.” Lang suggests using a mixture of these closing techniques over time:


The minute paper – The teacher wraps up the formal class a few minutes early and asks students to respond in writing to two questions:

- What was the most important thing you learned today?

- What question still remains in your mind?


The first question gets students thinking about the whole class, making a judgment about something important to them, and articulating it in their own words. The second question asks them to consider what they haven’t understood. “Most of us are infected by what learning theorists call ‘illusions of fluency,’” says Lang, “which means that we believe we have obtained mastery of something when we have not.” To answer the second question, students must dig for any confusion or weakness that remains in their own comprehension of the day’s material. Collecting students’ responses (on paper or in electronic messages) gives instructors valuable information on how well the class went and, if things were unclear for a majority of students, a starting point for the next class. Even if the answers aren’t collected, Lang believes that students benefit from retrieving information about the class from memory and clarifying points of confusion and uncertainty.


Closing connections – The instructor finishes class five minutes early and tells students they can leave as soon as they have identified five ways the day’s material appears in contexts outside the classroom – current events, personal experiences, popular songs, debates in the school or college, and so forth. “You’ll be amazed at how quickly they can come up with examples,” says Lang. These might be handed in, jotted on the board, or posted on the course website.


The metacognitive five – “We have evidence that students engage in poor study strategies,” says Lang. “Likewise, research shows that most people are plagued by illusions of fluency. The solution on both fronts is better metacognition – that is, a clearer understanding of our own learning.” Once a semester, Lang has his students jot down how they studied for a test they’ve just taken. He follows up by comparing test results with study methods: invariably, effective approaches (like self-testing and flashcards) correlate with higher scores, while less-effective methods (like reviewing notes and re-reading material) correlate with lower scores. “Imagine what a difference we could make,” says Lang, “if we all took five minutes – even just a few times during the semester – to offer students the opportunity to reflect on their learning habits.”


Closing the loop – If the class began with questions, put them back up on the screen at the end and have students use what they just learned to answer them. If the class began with a question about students’ prior knowledge on the topic, end by asking students to explain how the class confirmed, enhanced, or contradicted what they knew before.

“We have such a limited amount of time with students,” Lang concludes, “– sometimes just a few hours a week for 12 or 15 weeks. Within that narrow window, five minutes well-spent at the end of class can make a difference.”


“Small Changes in Teaching the Last 5 Minutes of Class” by James Lang in The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2016 (Vol. LXII, #29, p. A36-37), http://bit.ly/1qoNCLt; Lang’s book on this subject is Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2016); Lang can be reached at lang@assumption.edu.

WISD Book Fair

On April 16, Washtenaw ISD will be hosting a book fair at the Ann Arbor Barnes and Noble store at 3235 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor between 11am and 4pm.


In addition to many activities planned for children and families, any purchases made that day using the bookfair ID number will generate donations to purchase new books for young children attending programs in Flint including Head Start, Early Head Start and Early On. As the event is also part of the Barnes and Noble teacher appreciation week, educators with school ID will also be eligible to receive an additional discount on their purchases.

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Manchester Middle School

District Vision:

Educational Excellence in a Caring Community


District Purpose:

Manchester students are provided the stepping stones for success.


District Mission:

Manchester Community Schools, in partnership with parents and community, use best practices to develop the skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity in all students to ensure they are future ready.


School Mission:

To provide a secure, challenging learning environment which will empower all students to achieve their greatest potential. The MMS team joins the parents and community to assist students in developing skills necessary to become successful, responsible, contributing citizens.