Del Norte School News

December 2012

Celebrating Successes by Liz Calleja, Data Coach at SR/MK/MT

There has been much success in the Smith River, Margaret Keating, and Mountain Data Teams. Vertical teams present their own unique challenges and rewards. Kindergarten and 1st grade have elected to work together to form a data team. To start the year K/1 had the largest variety of baseline assessments to work from out of the K-8 groups. We were amazed to analyze not just the deficits within the assessments, but a major deficit of assessment was also found. There was no reading comprehension assessment in the K/1 DPA. This team decided that because learning to read is one of the main charges of K-2 we needed to craft a new assessment. We unpacked alike K and 1st reading comprehension standards. From this we created a Common Formative Assessment (CFA) on Key Details of reading comprehension for stories. We were blown away when the results came back and we had the majority of students Far Below Basic (FBB)!!! In the five weeks that we spent on the first cycle of this goal we improved the proficiency from an average of FBB in 1st grade to an average of proficient. Kindergarten went from FBB to Basic on this first grade standard! From doing the pre-assessment it shed some light on our instructional work. All the teachers on the team in October agreed - kids understand character! They know Spiderman and Princesses. We were shocked to see that most our students scored FBB on character. The academic vocabulary tripped them up! Our instructional strategies changed knowing this information. During Step 6 (Monitor and Evaluate), in November, we created another CFA based on informational text key details. We had to really go deep when unpacking standards the standards again, to clearly define the two types of reading students need to recognize text structure of, fiction and nonfiction. This is implicit not explicit in the standards.

Another great success is shown with the flexibility of the teachers to get a CFA that fits the learning need. The 4/5/6 team was working on itembank to adjust the CFA. The goal is based on identifying structural patterns found in text. The first CFA we created assessed the multiple types of text structures. Upon evaluation we decided to narrow the focus to just compare/contrast. This is more specific and attainable. Itembank, however, didn't have enough options to create an appropriate assessment on that one piece of the standard. (The answer to every related question was compare/contrast!) We ended up deciding to use a Study Island test and a teacher on the team put it in illuminate Education so we could easily access reports. This creative collaboration among our teachers is what will facilitate the best student learning.

Lastly, I would like to point out the importance of analyzing the performance bands on Illuminate Education. One team was struggling to create an instructional plan for the FBB group. When we looked closely, the range within this group was too broad. There were kids ranging from 0-59% all lumped into the FBB group. We have decided to adjust the performance bands; 90-100% Advanced, 70-89% Proficient, 60-69% Basic, 40-59% Below Basic, 0-39% Far Below Basic. This will allow for a more accurate instructional plan based on student performance bands.

Enjoy the small successes!

Is your new year’s resolution to improve your technology skills?

Do you want to become a more connected educator? Why not participate in an online workshop or class? by Rae Fearing

The best teachers are always learning. With today’s technologies you can tailor your professional development to meet your needs, with online classes and workshops focus on the topics YOU want to learn.

As we teach in this digital age it is important to be digital learners ourselves. By using the tools our students will need for college and career teachers can become more comfortable integrating technology into the classroom. We all have access to some technology. Smartboards, computers, iPads, Twitter, and Google Apps are some of the technologies we can use to effectively improve student learning. They key is discovering how to maximize the potential of these resources. Online professional learning allows you to explore your areas of interest and increase your technology skills.

Bring new energy to your teaching and improve your tech skills with these online offerings:

Google Apps

Littelton Public Schools: Teacher and Student Collaboration with Google Apps
In this webinar team members from the Littleton Public Schools in Colorado will talk about how Google Apps for Education has improved the way that faculty and students work in the district. Google Apps for Education is free web-based email, calendar & documents that allow for collaborative working anytime, anywhere. Googler Becky Evans will explain the Google Apps suite and why over 16 million students and teachers have chosen to Go Google at their schools.

Dan Maas Ed.D., Chief Information Officer, Littleton Public Schools
Katie Christie, 5th grade teacher, Runyon Elementary School (Littleton Public Schools)

When? December 13, 10:00 a.m. (session will be archived and available for later viewing if you register)

Click here to learn more or register for this FREE class

Google Docs and Drive for Educator

This course will help educators learn Google's web based software, Google Docs and Drive, as a technical and educational solution to empower themselves and students to develop authentic, relevant, and digital learning. The course is constructed of 19 lessons in a scaffold of Connection, Calibrating, and Creating with media rich content, tutorials, and examples of Google Docs and Drive in education.

Rich Kiker, Google Certified Trainer and eLearning Architect

When? Online and self - paced, attend when it is convenient for you

Click here to learn more and register for this FREE class

Twitter for Educators

Take part in what many educators consider the best, free professional development available. This online, self-paced workshop will lead you through how to use Twitter as and educator, set up your account and take part in the growing online conversation among educators. You can connect directly to other educators in the classroom as well as leaders in education today.

Rae Fearing, Educational Technology Coordinator

When? Online and self paced, attend when it is convenient for you

Click here to register for the workshop

Motivating Minds to Mastery

This collection focuses on cultivating learning by equipping any teacher to use digital media microprojects to develop students who are passionate and self-directed in their own learning. Students should be intrinsically motivated to learn. Self-directed, fervent learning will span a broader scope, and encompass ‘deeper dives’ into content.

Presenters: Mark Hammons, Jim Sill, Jon Corippo, Nicole Dalesio, Ken Shelton, Mike Lawrence, Otto Benavides

When? Online and self paced, attend when it is convenient for you. (Requires access to iTunes)

Click here to learn more and subscribe to the class in iTunes University