Winfield Weekly

November 30, 2015

A little inspiration...

We are all capable of incredible things when ours hearts and minds are moving in the same direction. The abilities of our students are limitless when they put forth effort.

How are you motivating your reluctant students?

When you need a reminder of possibilities- take 5 and watch this short film.

TMB Panyee FC short film


Monday, November 30

Tuesday, December 1

Academic Behavior Workshop @ 8:00 a.m. (Media Center)- 1st and 2nd grade only

Jillian OOB @ 9:00-12:00 p.m. (Elementary Principal Meeting-Lake Street)

Wednesday, December 2

DCS Presentation @ 8:05 am (Cafeteria)

Thursday, December 3

Jlilian OOB @ 9:00-12:00 p.m. (Think Tank-CO)

Friday, December 4

Xmas Part @ 6:30 p.m. (Lori Taylor's Home)

*Upcoming Dates

December 7-11- Book Fair

December 11- Cookies With Santa @ 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

December 16- Buzz w/Susan @ 8:05 a.m.

December 17- SOTM Breakfast

December 17- Music Program

Notes and Other News...

  • STAR MOY Testing Window is December 7th-18th.
  • Items needing to be printed in color can be emailed to Anita.
  • The laminator was left on this weekend. This is a huge safety hazard. Please check to make sure that everything (including lights) are switched off when you leave the building.
  • I should have mClass schedules complete for you by the end of the week.

Teacher To-Do's

  1. Continue recording Parent Contacts on Google Form. I check these every so often!
  2. Submit your weekly newsletter via email (preferred).
  3. Learning Goals and Tracking Student Progress are embedded in your daily work. New teachers: speak with your mentors about this. We will schedule time next week to discuss this topic more.
  4. Please make sure your students are ready and packed at dismissal time. If you have the last special of the day, they should be packed before they go to their special.
  5. Begin checking to make sure your Xmas Volunteers are background checked. Jennifer has a Google Doc shared with you.

Food for thought...

Should We Teach Reading in Kindergarten?

In this Education Gadfly article, literacy guru Tim Shanahan takes on the idea that if we refrain from trying to teach reading to kindergarteners, our kids will end up being better readers, like those in Finland. This idea is from the “Whistle a happy tune” philosophy of education, says Shanahan. “It links one cultural input with one achievement output and assumes both a causal connection (not teaching reading in kindergarten will result in higher achievement) and that if this cultural input were adopted elsewhere, the same outcome would result there as well… It sure is fun to think about how easily we could remake our society.” Shanahan makes several points:

  • Finland is significantly less economically and culturally heterogeneous than the U.S.

  • The Finnish language is much easier for children to decode than English because it has a much more regular relationship between spelling and pronunciation.

  • Because Finland is small, there are few dialectical differences to complicate things.

  • Finnish children, on average, grow up in homes more likely to have intact marriages, parents with college or advanced degrees, good nutrition, exposure to vocabulary, books, and newspapers in the home, and easier access to public libraries.

  • Consequently, one-third of children enter Finland’s schools already reading. “That sure takes the pressure off those supposedly high-skilled Finnish teachers,” says Shanahan.

Considering all this, he concludes, teaching American children to read in kindergarten is “a really good idea.” While many students begin school with major deficits in vocabulary and core knowledge, Shanahan believes good curriculum and pedagogy (not present in all classrooms, he concedes) will give them a head start that lasts. Shanahan cites extensive research to refute the claim made by Nancy Carlsson-Paige that there’s no long-term benefit from early reading instruction.

“Finland’s ‘Joyful, Illiterate Kindergarteners’” by Tim Shanahan in The Education Gadfly, October 14, 2015 (Vol. 15, #40),