Friday Focus

January 10th, 2014

"One word can change your life!" Jon Gordon

(You'll learn more about this at our upcoming Monday Meeting)


As I walked through classrooms this week reconnecting with students, I saw all of you implementing Significant 72 activities. Thank you! Meaningful connections with students (and colleagues) make a difference!

Thank you to our after-school club facilitators! You are providing our students with some great learning opportunities. You are appreciated! Also, thanks to all classroom teachers who assisted students in getting to the correct club! Great work!

Congratulations to Janet and Donna taking on their new roles. I'm proud to work with such dedicated professionals. And thank you to all who have supported them during this transition. As you know, it takes a village!

Thank you to Michele, Lisa, Barb, Megan, and Melissa for facilitating the Paws Laws stations!

Thank you to the first and second grade teachers for your active participation at this week's PTO meeting.

Our students and families are amazing! They raised close to $400 for the Red Cross. Thank you to the student council and faculty sponsors for making this happen!

A High Level Classroom Checklist

In a recent Marshall Memo, the 12 touchstones of good teaching were reviewed. This is a great reminder as we head into the second semester. Take a moment to reflect on your strengths and areas of opportunity in regards to these best practices. Is there one area in which you can focus to become an even stronger classroom teacher? If you had to rank order this list from your strongest to weakest attribute, what would it look like? (As you read through the list, notice how F.O.C.U.S is interwoven throughout the touchstones.)

In this ASCD/McREL book, Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Ross Hubbell suggest that teachers and school leaders use the following list to make sure the right things are happening in classrooms every day:

- Create an oasis of safety and respect in the classroom.

- Use standards to guide every learning opportunity.

- Make performance expectations clear.

- Have students set personal learning objectives.

- Engage students’ interest.

- Interact meaningfully with every student.

- Make the most of every minute.

- Use feedback to encourage effort.

- Coach students to mastery.

- Help students develop deep knowledge.

- Help students apply their learning.

- Measure understanding against high expectations.

The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day by Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Ross Hubbell (ASCD and McREL, 2013)

Click here to answer some reflective questions regarding the 12 touchstones.

Growth Mindset and the Common Core Math Standards

As we've discussed growth mindset this year, I thought you might be interested in the following article, entitled, Growth Mindset and the Common Core. And below, Carol Dweck explains the importance of having a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck: Mindset interview


We'll be making the switch to our new web platform, Edline, at the start of the seond semester. If you'd like to learn more about Edline, please let Tarah Tesmer know and she'll be happy to accomodate you during paid after-school training sessions (January 13th, 16th, or 17th), during collaboration time, or any other time that is conveninet for you. Please contact Tarah for assistance.

Notes and Reminders

  • As requested by Lisa Perkins, PTO President, the stories for Child's Play are due to her by Tuesday, January 14th. Please, please, please submit so that there are many stories from which to choose! Fifth-grade teachers - your Twelve Days of Christmas poems would be perfect for this. Please place poems or stories in The PTO drawer in the office.
  • Please continue to submit your weekly lesson plans, enter daily collaboration minutes, and consistently communicate with parents and provide me with copies of any regular communication that goes home.
  • On your students' birthday, feel free to send them to my office to receive a birthday book!
  • Please make sure when looking at the Master Calendar, you are looking at the most updated version (12-10-13). If you need another copy, please let me know and I would be happy to forward it to you.
  • Our next classroom party, facilitated by room parents, will be in celebration of the 100th day of school and will be on Friday, February 14th from 2:00 PM -2:45 PM. It will not be a Valentines Day party and will involve a math theme. Feel free to celebrate Valentines Day as you typically would. Some of you allow students to exchange valentines, while others do not. I am leaving this to your discretion.
  • Please continue to inundate students with positive reinforcement. Focus on their strengths and their weaknesses will disappear.

IXL - Math Practice

The district has purchased IXL licenses for 2nd-6th grade. More information will follow, but in the meantime, check out the IXL site here.

Myths and Realities

In an effort to promote some critical thinking and reflection, each week I am going to post one myth and one reality from Myths and Realities: Best Practices for English Language Learners by Katherine Davies Samway and Denise McKeon. Some may be obvious while others will surprise you. As teachers of English language learners, we must continually do our best to meet their unique needs.

Second Language Acquisition Myth:

"Students from Asian countries are better English language learners and more academically successful than students from Spanish-speaking backgrounds."


"Students from all language and cultural backgrounds are equally capable of learning English as a second language; academic success cannot be attributed to language or cultural background, but rather to a variety of social, emotional, intellectual, and academic factors." Page 35

Bucket Fillers

Here are this week's colleague to colleague bucket fillers...

  • Janet - Your room looks amazing. You are such a dedicated and caring teacher.
  • Cindy - Thank you for supporting our substitutes so efficiently while we are at IEP meetings.
  • Debbie and Linzey - Thank for the incredible job you did with the snow removal and building upkeep during the extreme cold.
  • TAs - Thank you for your work with some of our neediest students. You are SO appreciated! - Reg
  • Vicki - Thank you for sharing your great team-building activity. They loved trying it! Go Marshmallows and Spaghetti! - Soukup and Yeagle
  • Michele, Megan, Barb, Reg, Lisa, and Melissa - Amazing job with Paws Laws Blitz. You ladies rock!
  • Janet - Wow! What a smooth transition your kids have made. I see lots of smiling faces.
  • Anna - Your facilitation of IEP meetings is much appreciated! This makes a huge difference to me and the team!!! - Reg
  • Debbie and Linzey - Thank you so much for your help with all the snow removal and work around the clock to keep the building up and running throughout the past week.
  • Thanks to all of you who implemented some form of bucket filling or student-to-student recognition in your classrooms. Cheryl, thank you for communicating this with your parents. - Reg
  • Erin - You always have a positive attitude and are willing to do and try anything that will help your students.
  • Rebekah - Thanks for putting together such a nice slideshow for the holiday assembly. We loved it!
  • Doug - I love that you always make me laugh. You bring many happy smiles to our staff!

Coming Up...

Monday, January 13th - Monday Meeting (all staff)

Monday, January 13th - Board of Ed Meeting

Tuesday, January 14th - Geography Bee 12:50-1:50 PM

Tuesday, January 14th - Market Day 5:00 PM

Thursday, January 16th - Music Assembly 1:15 PM

Thursday, January 16th - 3rd & 4th Gr. Music Program (Jefferson Jr. High) 6:30 PM

Friday, January 17th - Reg out in AM for training

Happy Birthday!

Happy upcoming Birthday to Sue O. on January 11th!

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