The Spark..

District Professional Development Newsletter Winter 2016

Assessment Literacy and Formative Assessment Training

On Dec. 8 and 9, 2015, Dr. Tammy Heflebower and Dr. Lynne Herr from the Marzano Research Lab were here to help teachers refine proficiency scales and assessments.


Day one with Dr. Heflebower focused on making scales efficient so that you can align effective assessments to the scales. Teachers had work time to look at assessments and revise under the guidance of Dr. Heflebower.


Day two focused on using technology for assessment. Dr Herr shared many examples of technology based tools that allow for assessment. Some of the tools shared include:


  • Mentimeter
  • Kahoot
  • Wheel Decide
  • Quizziz
  • Go Soap Box
  • Zaption
  • Ed Puzzle
  • Various Google Chrome extensions and Google Drive add-ons


The DPDC will be offering two follow-up academies to Dr. Herr's piece of the training. If you attended the training, then the academies will be a great refresher and will go a little further into technology and assessment. If you weren't able to attend, then these academies will be a great introduction to using technology in assessments. Please mark your calendars and sign up for these academies:


  • March 15, 2016 - Google Drive Extensions and Add-ons
  • April 26, 2016 - Google Forms - Let Google Do the Work for You

Teaching Critical Thinking, Argumentation, and Reasoning Training

On Feb. 2, 2016, Julia Simms from the Marzano Research Lab was here to demonstrate strategies on how to teach critical thinking, argumentation, and reasoning.


Connecting to Art and Science of Teaching - Lesson Segments Assessing Content


  • Direct instruction of Content
  • Practice and Deepening Content
  • Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses (Knowledge Application) - Problem Solving Tasks



Argumentation, Reasoning, and Critical Thinking Skills help bridge the gap from practice and Deepening to Helping Students move onto Problem Solving Tasks.


Why teach these skills? Argumentation and Reasoning show up in standards over and over again. Students need these skills to meet the standards' expectations.


Argumentation has changed in the 21st Century due to online forums, social networks, and comment sections of news websites. This type of argumentation doesn't need any research to back the argumentation in order to publish their opinions. Students need to be taught the correct way to get their point across.


If you want to learn more about this topic or review the games related to teaching these skills, then check out the following books that are available in your building's professional development library and are available for check-out.


  • Teaching Argumentation - by Julia Simms and Katie Rogers
  • Teaching Reasoning - by Julia Simms, Laurel Hecker, and Ming Lee Newcomb
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Midwest Educational Technology Conference (METC)

On February 9th & 10th, the District sent several teachers to the METC conference. Two of our teachers even presented at the conference, too. Jane Dunn, 2nd grade teacher at Monroe, presented on using a GoPro camera in the classroom, and Tina Lauer, District Instructional Technologist, presented on Chrome Apps, Extensions, and Add-ons and Digital Differentiation with Google Forms.


Teachers went to sessions on STEM, Augmented Reality, Google Extensions, Cool Web Tools, Digital Storytelling, Gamifying your Classroom, Formative Assessments and Technology, Maker Spaces, Genius Hour, and more! Look for sharing in your buildings about this awesome learning soon!

Twitter Challenge a Success!

In November and December many teachers in the District participated in the 20-day Twitter Challenge! We had great sharing to the District PDC hashtag #SCSDPD. Keep on tweeting to the hashtag to share your learning and the great things going on in your classroom. If you'd like to know more about using Twitter, please sign up for the DPDC academy on April 19, 2016.
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DPDC Spring Academies

The DPDC Spring Academies are now available for registration. Please click here to view the brochure and sign up.
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DPDC members 2015-16

Ashley Panhorst - Blackhurst - chairperson

Rachel Brown - Monroe - co-chairperson

Chris Hylton - Hardin - advisor

Danielle Tormala - Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

Carla Johnson - Lewis and Clark

Jon Flaxbart - SCHS

Heather Horstmann - SCW

Tanya Sanchez - Success Campus

Karen Loftus - Jefferson

Lauren Payne - Coverdell

Rebecca Ivie - Harris

Lauren Mertz - Lincoln

Lauren Keebey - Null

Randi Riggins - Instructional Services

Cat Bramstedt - Special Services

Tina Lauer - Technology