Collaboration Corner

Encouraging growth through reflective practices (Dec. '15)

A Christmas Poem for Teachers

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the school

The children were crazy, I was losing my cool!

Their papers aren't finished, they don't want to work

But when I try to make them, I feel like a jerk!

I'm tired, I'm cranky, these kids have it coming

But I stop and think, 'What a Scrooge I'm becoming!'

So I tune out their chatter and I try to enjoy

The last days before Christmas with each girl and boy

They are so excited, and buzz with holiday cheer

And then homemade presents begin to appear

Be-glittered and fashioned with craft sticks and glue

And of course there's a "Best Teacher" mug...or two

The last day, they come as candy-crazed creatures

But then it's TWO WEEKS of break...


-Amy Oelschlager

Enjoy all of the holiday craziness...and your well-deserved break!

Professional Development Opportunities

Co-Teaching Workshop

Tuesday, December 8

Dayton Elementary Media Center

4:15 - 5:15

Do you use a co-teaching model at your school? Come and learn about the basic principles of co-teaching, the different models of co-teaching, and how this approach to instruction can enhance student learning.

Facilitated by Kelly Berger & Brandy Cain, resource room teachers at Dayton, and Rebecca Kaverman, instructional coach at Dayton

Co-teaching is “an educational approach in which two teachers work in a co-active and coordinated fashion to jointly teach academically and behaviorally heterogeneous groups of students in an integrated setting” . This is usually done with a general education and special education teacher.

Instructional Tip

I have my benchmark what?

TRC, BOY/MOY/EOY, Acuity, Amplify Atlas, F&P, running records....the acronyms and assessment titles are a mouthful in and of themselves! But as we finish our first semester with second rounds of Acuity and TRC testing, let's go beyond the fancy titles and look at the true purpose of these assessments and what we can do with them.

Test data lets us know how students are progressing toward learning content and skills from the standards. While not perfect assessments, the intent of these formative assessments is to feed forward in the instruction and create learning activities that individual students need. Yes, this may mean whole-group instruction, but it often means small-group or individual instruction. When we use formative assessments carefully, we can discover whether students have mastered grade-level skills or need more remediation.

When looking at student data, here are a couple of ideas to consider:

*Seek consistency: focus on what you can control; actively look for repetition in

student data

*Reconsider: review your priorities; give the complex problems a try

*Move step-by-step: select a few issues to tackle; focus on change in student

learning; build on their strengths

*Keep an open mind: consider different angles when looking at the data; bring your

perspective to the mix, as well as others; carefully review the results

Truly, assessment can be a powerful force for knowing our students and creating a classroom that can meet their needs.

Tech Tip

Bloomz Parent Communication App

Bloomz is an easy, free tool that centralizes all of the communication and coordination tasks that teachers have to do. Accessible on your desktop, phone, or tablet, Bloomz is your "command central" for all parent messages, classroom updates, calendars, volunteer requests, conference scheduling, and more. Here are four ways you can use it:

*post quick updates and photos (in a closed and secure Facebook group-like environment)

*calendar and announcements: pin important messages to the top of your feed

and provide one or more calendars for your parents to quickly access (think:

field trip reminders!)

*direct messages and alerts: send instant messages to one or more parents

*sign-ups: sign-ups for things like conferences, classroom volunteers, parties, and

chaperones are housed right on your classroom site, and parents can easily

accept, decline, or reschedule. It also generates reminders to parents of their

scheduled commitments.

If you have parents who do not sign up, they can still receive communications via the main email list. And if they don't have a smartphone, they can still get Bloomz on their computers. Not sure if you want to use it for sure? You can play around with the Demo Class feature.

Download the app for free on iTunes and Google Play. You can sign up for an account through the app or at the website.

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Holiday Helpers

Where's the Coach?

November 30 - December 4: MME

December 5 - 11: WRE

December 12-17: MME

December 18: WRE

Need the Coach?

...simply shoot me an email or grab me in the hallway! :-) There is not an official "coaching calendar" to request a session. Just let me know a few good days and times, and I'll get something scheduled!

Also, if your grade-level team would ever like to meet with me during a technology or grade-level IIB time, let me know as well!

In the next issue, I will have more information on coaching cycle #3 for those interested!

Contact Me

Feel free to call or email anytime, even if I'm not in the building! :-)

ext. 1731 (MME)

ext. 1525 (WRE)