At the POINT of the Instruction

Jeana Black, Assistant Principal

Week of October 10, 2016

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. - Helen Keller

Academic Vocabulary - at the Heart of Making Growth

"One of the key indicators of students' success in school, on standardized tests, and indeed, in life, is their vocabulary. The reason for this is simply that the knowledge anyone has about a topic is based on the vocabulary of that information (Marzano & Pickering, 2005)." Reading in the content areas requires a student's ability to understand specialized terms and concepts. Students must have the academic background knowledge to understand these terms they will/do encounter in school. The more students understand, the easier it will be for them to understand material the read or hear about.

What is academic vocabulary? It is set of terms critical to understanding the concepts of the content taught in schools. In identifying academic vocabulary, remember that not all terms are equal:

some terms are critically important

some terms are useful but not critical

some terms are interesting but not useful

NWEA provides lists of academic vocabulary that will help with your instruction in the classroom especially RIT band instruction in math or ELA. When children better gain an understanding of these terms, they better understand the concepts thereby making growth.

For MAP Vocabulary Resources: (MAP Vocabulary by RIT) (Quizlet by RIT by subject) (MAP vocabulary items on TpT)

Please remember for all content area vocabulary instruction to use Marzano's 6-step process. Below is a short video explaining that for review. There are more resources in our Instructional Handbook on this. You may have to override YouTube to view. :)

Tier Two Vocabulary Instruction

John Collins Spotlight

Many of you have talked about how those 2-3 little movements that Henry did with your kids when he visited (capital letter, comma, period) are making a difference in their writing - your classrooms look crazy during writing with arms going different directions but students are writing! I just wanted to give you information about another John Collins' method of incorporating movements for math vocabulary. The more math vocabulary students have in their head, the more meaningful connections they will be able to make in the lesson and the more clearly they will be able to explain their thinking. These explanations will lead to a deeper understanding of concepts. The video below shows a brief explanation of Math in Motion from the creator, Bill Atwood.
Math Words in Motion INTRO

For more information on Bill Atwood's Math in Motion:

If you are interested in the school purchasing the DVD of the Math in Motion words and movements, please let me know.

Writing in Math

I thought it was important to add to the discussion of academic vocabulary and Math in Motion what Marilyn Burns, the guru of writing in math class, suggested as strategies for incorporating writing in math to make it successful for all students many years ago. Think about these as you progress further with your John Collins' math journals:

  1. Ask students to include details and to explain their thinking as thoroughly as possible. Encourage them to use words, numbers, and, if they like, pictures to provide as much information as possible.
  2. Have students discuss their ideas before writing. Most students find talking easier than writing, and opportunities to talk about their thinking can help students formulate ideas that they will then try to explain in writing. Class discussions are useful, but having students talk in small groups enables more students to express their ideas. After a discussion, remind students that they can write about any idea they heard, as long as it makes sense to them and they can explain it.
  3. Post useful mathematics vocabulary. Maintain a class chart showing pertinent mathematics vocabulary that comes up in class discussions. Before students begin work on an assignment, ask if there are other terms they might use that they'd like to see on the chart. Keep this list posted and add to it during the year. • Write a prompt on the board to get students started on a writing assignment. Sometimes a general prompt is appropriate: I think that the answer is ____________. I think that because ____________. Sometimes you'll want to use a prompt that relates more specifically to the assignment. For example, after asking 3rd graders how many chopsticks are needed for the 28 people in the room, I wrote on the board: We need ____ chopsticks. I figured it out by ____________.
  4. Give individual assistance as needed. No matter how thoroughly you prepare students for a writing assignment, some will need additional assistance to get started. Talk with these students first to ascertain that they understand the assignment. Then encourage them to verbalize their thinking by asking them such questions as, “What do you think? What's one idea that you have? What do you remember about what others said?” After students offer an idea, ask them to repeat it aloud. Then suggest that they repeat it silently to themselves. Finally, tell them to write those exact words on their paper. This process often helps jumpstart students' writing.

Candid Camera . . . Mrs. Gasque

Here is the math journal lesson with Marcie when Henry visited and raved about what she is doing with our first graders.

October FCAs

Kindergarten: (Mechanics) Use correct spacing of words

First Grade: (Organization) Wrap around sentences from one line to another as needed

Second Grade: (Mechanics) Capitalize geographical names: includes street names, cities, and states

Third Grade: (Content) Use evidence from the text to support your writing

Fourth Grade: (Content) Cite evidence that you have used from the text to provide support in your writing

Fifth Grade: (Mechanics) Capitalize names of organizations

Additional Resources for Argument/Opinion Writing from JC (generating FCAs and incorporating vocabulary):



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10/11/16: Domino's Spirit Night

10/13/16: Picture Day

10/14/16: Literacy Day - refer to schedule for day's events

10/15/16: 5K/One Mile Pumpkin Prance (sign up on G:drive to volunteer)

10/17/16: End of Q1

10/19/16: Grades Verified

10/24/16: Report Cards Issued

10/24/16: GT Testing begins)

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  • I am still collecting Spelling Inventories from grades 1-5 :)
  • I am still collecting F&P class sheets from grades 1-4
  • Grades 1 & 2 will turn in RR notebooks 10/28/16
  • GT testing will be 10/24 - 10/28 for Grade 2 (all make-ups will be 11/9 - 11/11)
  • GT testing will be 10/25 - 10/27 for Grades 3-5 (all make-ups will be 11/9 - 11/11)
  • You will be receiving a CANVAS email enrolling you in a Destination PD course for MAP training. This is a free, self-paced professional development session. More information to follow. For now, accept the CANVAS course (even if you don't plan on using it now - it will show up on your dashboard)
  • A test taking strategy that children learn early is to go back and look into the text for the answer; therefore, children are allowed to use the book while taking an AR test. This is and has always been an instructional decision for Northside. If you have questions or concerns, please share them.
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You may have to override the YouTube video in order to view.

Teachers and Superheroes: Q&A

Thanks for being SUPER HEROES everyday for our students! Enjoy your weekend, Jeana