Staff Memo

Sept. 14, 2013

Connection to the Common Core - More on Close Reading

While reading through some educational literature, I stumbled upon an interesting way of thinking about close reading. The Common Core emphasizes close reading frequently throughout the standards. As I began to dig into the CCSS, I kept wondering how I could understand close reading in a way that I could explain to teachers or even my children.


We love tasty, spicy, interesting food at our house. I like to peruse cookbooks, magazines, and websites looking for something that we might like to try. We call the nights I cook something new "new recipe nights," and everyone weighs in to help determine if this new recipe should be included in the family cookbook.


The first time I read through a recipe, I look at ingredients. Do I have most of the spices and specialty items the recipe calls for? Do I know where to purchase them if I don't? I skim the instructions to see if they seem manageable and not too complex for week night cooking.


If the criteria of ingredients I have or know where to buy, as well as manageable instructions is met, I go back and read the recipe again. I read it more closely. I take a bit longer to read through it. Does the combination of ingredients look interesting? Have we tried something like this before? How many does the recipe serve? How long does it take to make? This second read is what helps me determine whether I'm going to add the ingredients to the grocery list and the meal to this week's menus.


I read the recipe again and sort (classify) each ingredient. Do I have it? Do I need to put it on the grocery list. This is my third read. Fourth read comes some days later when It is time to actually prepare the food. Once again I quickly read through the ingredients and instructions so I have the "big idea" of what I am about to make. I get out chopping boards, knives, pans, and measuring equipment. I am about to begin.

Then close reading takes over again as I move between ingredients and instructions, taking great care to follow them closely this first time I make this new dish. It is slow going this first time. Thinking is at the application, analyzing, and evaluating levels.

Soon the family will spoon up the new concoction and take first bites. If it's a hit, we happily designate this a new family recipe. If not, we'll chalk it up to trying something new and think about what I could do to improve it should we want to give it one more chance.


Close reading is about digging into what the text says. It is taking a deeper look and really trying to get at what the author is trying to say.


What examples could you use to help your students understand close reading? What might an anchor chart look like? Share you thoughts and ideas and I will include them in next week's Staff Memo.


For more on Close Reading, click on the title below to read the transcript or listen to the podcast.

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Lunch reminder

We continue to run the same lunch schedule we ran last year. Our students are expected to stay in the cafe for 15-20 minutes before being excused to go outside. It would be wonderful if you could review this info with your class as several sneakers are escaping to the playground before their grade level has been excused.


Video Announcements

Please take a few minutes to show our new live announcements to your students every Monday beginning Sept. 16. Kristin H., Melissa, and I did a trial run and think we might be ready to give this a whirl. The announcements will be brief. Our goal is to reinforce growth mindset, highlight weekly events, and use video technology to touch base with our students.


Kristin H will send you a video link. You can use your computer and projector or iPad and Apple TV to show these announcements. You are welcome to choose the time of day on Monday.


Also, if you have something worth sharing (a mindset story, example, etc.), please email Melissa and she will add it to our agenda.


Thanks for tending to this.

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Teaching Restroom Procedures

As we continue to teach our students how to use the restroom independently, it will be important to revisit appropriate use of the restrooms. In the restrooms near the cafe and second grade hallway, special attention needs to be given in these areas:


  • Boys restroom. It seems the boys are flushing the urinals repeatedly, causing wet (and potentially) slippery floors. Teach the "one flush" rule. It's a life lesson, boys.
  • Girls and boys restroom. Foot prints on the toilet seats can only be kids standing on toilets. Here is where the two rules of "Be kind. Be Safe." can be reinforced. Standing on toilet seats is neither.
  • Faucets. Kids seem to be spinning faucets rather than turning them on and off. Please review proper procedures with your students.


The issue of appropriate restroom use and safety would easily lend itself to opportunities for real writing. Feel free to have your students create posters articulating appropriate bathroom use and safety. Incorporate the school rules into the posters. Reinforce doing the right thing.

Myth Busters - Dusting

Thanks to Rick, here is the answer on dusting from Janet Leamor:


The “short” answer is that all classroom ledges, and other surfaces (teacher & student desks, bookcases, cabinets, phones, computers, etc.) are to be dusted on a weekly basis. High dusting is done once a month. Rick can let the staff know what night of the week that the regular dusting is scheduled. However, for the past several years, we have instructed all custodians when dusting, they are NOT to touch, move or dust any personal items. The custodians have also been instructed not to move any paperwork around on any desks to dust. So they will dust the surfaces that they can get to without moving papers or personal items. By knowing what night the dusting occurs, this will allow staff to clear their papers or personal items off of any large surface area they need dusted.


As always, if a teacher feels their classroom is not being cleaned satisfactorily, they should contact Rick for follow-up.


School Safety Update

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Buzzer

Yes, indeed. The new buzzer for the door opening into the hallway arrived on Friday afternoon. Sondra and Mary will soon be buzzing people out of the office and into the hallway. Stay tuned for future updates as it won't be long until the door from the vestibule to the office will be locked and you'll need a key to get into the office.


Social Contracts

Thanks to many of you that turned in Social Contracts/Behavior Expectations to me either via email, photo, or my mailbox.



If you haven't done so yet, please have this info to me by Wednesday. Melissa and I use your Social Contracts when talking with students who need behavior support.

Thanks.

A final thought. . .

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Looking Ahead

Monday, Sept. 16 Day 2

  • Pledge - Cook
  • NWEA testing for grades 3-4
  • 8:00 RtI Committee meeting - PD room
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab - Team 3 - PD room
  • 4:00 Notice & Note Signposts with Katherine - PD room


Tuesday, Sept. 17 Day 3

  • NWEA testing
  • 8:00 NWEA meeting K-2 with Melissa - computer lab
  • 1:00-3:00 Elementary Principals' Meeting at CRE
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab –Team 4 – PD room
  • 4:30-6:30 Math Workshop with Ryan Flessner at Butler


Wednesday, Sept. 18 Day 4

  • NWEA testing
  • Learning Clubs begin
  • 8:00 Safety Committee meeting - PD room
  • 10:30-12:30 Spec Ed. Compliance training at CRE
  • 1:00-3:00 HSE Diversity mtg - FJH LGI
  • 1:35 Fire/Storm Drills
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab – Team K – PD room


Thursday, Sept. 19 Day 1

  • NWEA testing
  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab – Team 1 - PD room


Friday, Sept. 20 Day 2

  • $1 Hat Day
  • NWEA testing
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab – Team 2 - PD room
  • 5:30-7:30 PTO Grillin' and Chillin'


Monday, Sept. 23 Day 3

  • Pledge - Young
  • NWEA testing
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab - Team 3 - PD room


Tuesday, Sept. 24 Day 4

  • NWEA testing
  • 3:10-4:00 Team Collab –Team 4– PD room


Wednesday, Sept. 25 Day 1

  • NWEA testing
  • 3:10-4:00 Data Collab – Team K – PD room


Thursday, Sept. 26 Day 2

  • NWEA testing
  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 3:10-4:00 Data Collab – Team 1 - PD room


Friday, Sept. 27 Day 3

  • Trustworthiness Day - "Be a TRUE BLUE friend"
  • NWEA testing
  • 3:10-4:00 Data Collab – Team 2 - PD room