Little People, Big Dreams, Bright Futures (4-27-15)
Week-at-a-Glance (April 27-May 1)
Dr. Eineman Walk and Talk w/Jillian 9:10-10:10 am
McSchool Night 5-8 pm
School PD @ 8:05 (Exceptional Learners)
Creative Arts Fair 5-7 pm
Grade Level Mtgs @ 8:05
Monday-2nd grade Field Trip
Tuesday- Jillian Principal's Meeting (OOB 9:30-12:00)
Wednesday- Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
Friday- Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
THIS WEEK'S TEACHERS TO-DO
- Begin Unit 6 of CP 2.0. You're almost there!
- Continue mClass. Fidelity in assessment is critical to have accurate EOY results.
- Continue sending your WEEKLY Classroom Newsletters. Include me on your email if you send it electronically to your families. ALL teachers are expected to communicate to their families on a weekly basis.
- Turn off lights when not in your classroom. Even if you are going for copies, shut them off. Every little bit helps with our energy bills!
- Remember that I am here to support YOU...if you need me--please ask. Walkthroughs and observations will continue.
Notes and Other News...
If you are ill, put in for a sub ASAP. If you wait until the morning to request a sub, it is very difficult to obtain one. It is really helpful if you send me a quick email/text as well. With sick days, I am not prompted to approve the absence, so I don;t know you're gone until I get here.
DABBLING IN THE DAILY 5
Resource for Grade Level Meetings
How Teams Can Overcome Some Common Group-Process Problems
(Originally titled “Making Team Differences Work”)
“To be high functioning, teams must embrace disagreement and encourage individuals to voice their perspectives while acknowledging others’ viewpoints,” says executive coach Beth Strathman in this article in Educational Leadership. “Doing so encourages active participation, which brings forth thoughtful, relevant, and forthright contributions from group members.” Strathman identifies four common pitfalls that prevent honest, productive discussions:
• Problem #1: The group meanders and gets nowhere. Solution: Communicate the essential information up front, including:
- The reason the group has convened;
- The expected outcome of the meeting;
- The skills, knowledge, and abilities each member adds;
- The timeline for the work;
- Any standards the group must adhere to;
- The group’s role – to provide input, make a recommendation, or make a final decision.
With this kind of prologue, a group is much more likely to be focused, assign tasks, set timelines, and produce results.
• Problem #2: Things get personal. People misunderstand each other, and feelings are hurt – for example, “He’s impossible to deal with” “She doesn’t care about kids, just her ego” and “He thinks he’s so smart with his National Board certification, but he doesn’t know anything about my classroom.” Solution: Establish and enforce group norms. “Not everyone on a team or committee will want to be best friends, but personal attacks, criticisms, and judgments cannot be tolerated,” says Strathman. Ground rules govern the time, place, and manner of group members’ behavior. Some examples:
- Be on time;
- Cell phones off;
- Avoid restating what’s already been said;
- Use “Yes, but…” to build on areas of agreement;
- State disagreements by focusing on known facts, not judgments about people.
Of course ground rules are worthless unless they’re enforced. Sometimes the leader has to make a statement like, “Sam, instead of referring to the 1st-grade teachers in your building as ‘incompetent,’ let’s home in on possible issues related to the curriculum. What skills do students lack as they enter second grade?”
• Problem #3: Members have group-related conversations outside of meeting times. This can signal that some members don’t feel heard or validated during meetings and feel the need to argue their points or do their complaining off-line. “As factions coalesce, bonding over gossip or feelings of superiority, exclusion, or unfairness, teams can begin to split,” says Strathman. Solution: The leader holds group members accountable for bringing up issues at meetings and pushes back when they bring up issues off-line.
• Problem #4: Discussions are lackluster, important angles aren’t explored, some members dominate, dissent is not heard, and the group goes off on tangents. Solution: Team leaders need to dig deeper, ask for examples, flush out underlying assumptions, and give weight to dissenting viewpoints – for example, “I’m intrigued by Jennifer’s comment, which seems to run counter to the group’s general opinion. Jennifer, what assumptions are you operating under?”