Literacy Newsletter

Fran Misener * Instructional Coach * Radnor High School

Welcome, 2016!

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January

This month brings us a new year, and with the new year typically comes resolutions. But, I am steering away from resolutions this year only because my chocolate-loving self normally fails at the unrealistic demands I conjure up.

I do plan on setting a few professional goals though. And I plan on listing them here for you all to see. Accountability. A blessing and a curse. But, if I get these thoughts down on paper and the World Wide Web, they may just stick. My goals are to:

1. Read something educational at least once a week, be it a journal article, blog post, or book chapter. I am starting with The Graph Choice Chart, an article pertinent to the PLCs in which I participate. Thanks Sue, for sharing!
2. Get into more classrooms to help more teachers and students.The next "article" has information on how I can help you and your students! Read on!
3. Begin to research and plan out my administration degree. I contacted a couple of schools before the holiday break. Now, to follow up!

So, there. I typed them. They are on the Internet and are forever immortal. Now, to stick to them. What are your resolutions? Goals? Comment at the end of this newsletter to share!

Mid-Year Evaluation

Mid-year evaluations for those on the Action Research track are due on January 15. It is as simple as adding a narrative in the Mid-Year Progress section of the Differentiated Observation form. Be sure to touch specifically on your THREE component focuses.

And, begin to think about your final progress and as you will be evaluated on the whole Danielson Rubric (the four-page, very descriptive rubric), not just the component focuses you chose. Take a look, as I also included what will be entered by APRIL 10! Let me know if you have any questions.
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Coaching Menu of Instructional Possibilities

How Can I Help You?

In the following months, I am going to introduce parts of a “Coaching Menu” on how I can help you. Coaching is a process of professional development that supports growth. The following provides ideas for collaboration. If any resonate with you, contact me.

MORE ON METACOGNITION

You know who is really good at metacognition? This guy right here >. Rodin's THE THINKER! This guy is eternally contemplating something. Well, I learned about Metacognition in GRADUATE SCHOOL. Seriously?! I felt so slighted! Basically, "metacognition" is knowing what YOU know. It is a fancy word for "reflection" and is so fancy that no matter where I type the word, spell check always picks it up as an error! Seriously?!

So, why is "metacognition" important for our students? Think about how many of them will go onto higher education. How many that will not have the familiar structure of a high school class, but now a lecture surrounded with not 20, but with hundreds of students. How much "strategy" instruction will they receive? Most likely, not much. And how much content? I am not sure I can come up with an adequate adjective to describe how much our students will be responsible to learn!

That is why it is imperative for students reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses in a certain content and even how they learn best. NOW. Because there will be a time when they will be solely responsible for their own learning. Do they like to annotate their readings using color? Would they rather turn the title into a question to set a purpose for their reading or brainstorm what they know about a topic before delving into a text? And what about the the Pythagorean Theorem do they not understand fully? These are just some examples of what students could identify in order to be independent learners - or metacognition.

Read the article below to find out more about metacognition. Let me know if you have any questions!

Midterm Madness

While some students may view approaching the half-way point of the school year a good thing, others may be filled with trepidation. In high school, midyear means one thing: MIDTERMS. As we know, cramming is not the most effective way to retain information. We can encourage our students to:


  • Reread notes multiple times a week, to include old quizzes and exams.
  • Recommend they compose a study group. An efficient way to prepare for exams is to discuss in groups. Taking advantage of the perspectives and strengths of others will heighten learning.
  • Help them to make connections between topics learned and:
  • Themselves: how can they relate their experiences to what they are learning?
  • The world: how does what they are learning relate to the world? To include music, movies, news, etc.
  • Another book: how does what they are learning relate to another book or article?
  • Propose they check out online resources such as:

*Study Island— for practice in Algebra, Biology, and Language Arts. *Students do need specific login information. Contact me if you need assistance.

*Khan Academy – for videos of short, clear lessons on a vast range of topics.

*Quizlet – to create virtual flash cards on relevant information.

*Brainpop – for movies, quizzes, activities pages, and more!


Approaching the midyear mark and midterms does not have to cause anxiety or apprehension. Like Alexander Graham Bell says, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

About Me

Hi! I am your Instructional Coach, focusing in the Humanities. As an Instructional Coach, I wear many hats. I can gather resources, visit classrooms, conduct book study groups, co-plan or demonstrate lessons, co-teach, assist with technology and the list goes on. If you need something that was not covered above, are still confused as to what I do, or want to borrow a hat, please contact me. I am looking forward to a great year!