Professional Development Newsletter

#houstonfutureready

What is this newsletter about?

Each month, we will be sharing tips, strategies, information, and ideas for your classroom. If you are in need of resources, materials, etc., let one of the instructional coaches or Ms. Greiner know and we will help in any way!

Using Quizlet in the Classroom

In my classroom I really enjoy Quizlet. Quizlet is a free website where you can create/or use other lists for your students. Along with that, there are games in which students can participate and increase their knowledge of the vocabulary.


Other reasons that I like this website are:


  1. The activities. There are three different games and four different learning activities for the students. It brings out the competitive nature of the students because, on some of the games, high scores are kept. I enjoy to do a matching game and have the students try to beat me. Another favorite is Quizlet Live where the entire class can participate and work together to learn their vocabulary list.

  2. It gives the students the opportunity to test and push themselves. For example, the students have the option to take a test. They have the option to do a true/false test or they could do a multiple choice test, or they could do fill in the blank tests. They also have the option to have questions of all types. I generally will assign a task and have them start out doing multiple choice tests and activities and then work them up to the fill in the blank tests and activities.

  3. The ability to set up each class with different assignments. I am able to create a class for each of my classes and give them assignments specific to that class.

  4. Tracking progress. I am able to track the progress of my students and see how they are doing on their assignments. This option costs about $35 per year, but is a great option to have. I can see if a student has started working on an assignment, when they finished an assignment, and can even see how many times they attempted a test and their best score on that test. I can also pull up a list of words that have been missed most frequently during a specific period of time so I can focus on teaching with greater emphasis on those words.


Quizlet is a fun website that I use to add something new to the curriculum that I currently have and helps me see where I can help my students improve. If you have any questions about Quizlet and how to use it in your classroom, please let me know.


By: Matt Peterson

Upcoming Curriculum Work Days:

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January:

9th-1st and 2nd grade ELA Day 3

16th-MS Social Studies Day 3

21st-HS Science Day 3

23rd-K-12 P.E. Day 1 (Co-Op Conference Room)

29th-K-12 Fine Arts Day 1 (Co-Op Conference Room)

30th-K-12 Practical Arts Day 1 (Co-Op Conference Room)


February:

6th-K-2nd grade Science/S.S. Day 1

11th-6-12 Health Day 1
19th-K-12 Fine Arts Day 2 (Co-Op Conference Room)

20th-Practical Arts Day 2 (Co-Op Conference Room)

26th-3-5 Curriculum Day 3

27th-K-12 Counselors Day 1

Goal Setting....in January?!?

January is a time of renewed focus on achieving goals...or in many cases, called our "New Year's Resolutions." Do those words bring to mind anything for you? Many people chose resolutions, or goals, of losing weight, going to the gym, eating healthy, spending more time with family, etc. But...do those people achieve their goal? By late February/early March, the majority of people have quit trying to lose weight, quit going to the gym, quit eating foods in their diet, etc. So how can people keep the momentum in reaching their goals? How can people choose to continue working and making those choices to reach their goal when things get in the way? How can we teach students to make and choose good goals if we have trouble doing the same thing?


The following are 5 Golden Rules for setting goals and how we:

1. Set Goals that Motivate You: when you set a goal, make sure it is something important to you. This gives your goal value in your life. If you have little interest in the goal you have set, you are more than likely going to quit before success. Set goals that relate to things you prioritize in your life. In the classroom: allow students to be part of the goal-setting process. You can choose the concept/subject, but have a conversation with the student about what goals would be good to focus on and have them choose something that interests them. They will be more willing to keep at the goal if they are motivated and excited about it.

2. Set SMART Goals: we have heard about SMART goals throughout the teaching world. SMART Goals can be thought of in daily life too. Make sure your goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time bound

In the classroom: when goal-setting with students, make sure you review each part of the goal to see if the goal is a SMART Goal. Explain to students why each part is important and how their goal is set according to each aspect.

3. Set Goals in Writing: when a person writes something down, it becomes real and tangible. There is no excuse for forgetting about it because you have consciously put pen to paper. Make sure your goal statement is visible and focuses on the positive. (EXAMPLE: "I will hold on to all existing employees for the next quarter." NOT "I will reduce employee turnover." The first statement is motivating while the second statement still has a 'get-out' clause "allowing" you to succeed even if some employees leave.) In the classroom: have your students write out their goals and refer back to it often for students to remember why they are doing what they are doing (their end result).

4. Make an Action Plan: to make sure your goal is attainable, you need to create steps in order to stay on track toward your goal. Don't get so focused on the outcome and forget what is needed to be done first in order for your goal to be a success. In the classroom: create an action plan with your students when setting goals. Make sure the steps are understandable and students know what to do in order to have success.

5. Stick With It: goal setting is ongoing, not just a means to an end. Remember to review your action plan and focus on the mini successes when meeting those steps throughout the plan, but also know your steps may change as you get closer to meeting your goal. In the classroom: Make sure you and your students are focusing on the steps to get to their goals and make changes as needed. Revisiting their action plans will allow students to remind themselves why they chose their goal and help motivate them to continue working toward their goal.


Below are 2 examples to help navigate students in goal-setting conversations.


With these 5 Golden Rules, you are sure to have success in the New Year when setting your goals...or resolutions!!

Fighting the Winter Blues

We've all been there. Crazy weather changes, kids bouncing off the walls, flu season, snow days, due days, etc. Winter months bring a lot of different things into routines that are usually not there. So....as educators....what can we do when we are ready to pull our hair out or go find a place for some quiet time to be away from the madness? How can we stay positive when we've had 3 snow days in a row and are expecting kids to return to school where there is routine and expectations we are required to accomplish by the state of Missouri?

Below are some ways to help stay positive when you are blue this winter:

1. Focus on the good. If you are having trouble finding anything that made you happy at work, sit down and pinpoint 5-10 things that happened in your classroom that were GOOD. It may be academic, or it may be the one kid that usually can't sit to save his life, was able to focus and ask questions relevant to the lesson. When you get finished with your class, focus on 5-10 things GOOD about your building. When that list is finished, focus on 5-10 things about your district. With those lists in hand, put them somewhere you can see them and when you start feeling negative, reread your lists and choose to focus on the positive.

2. Find someone you trust that can be your cheerleader. This is NOT a person to go to and complain about everything going wrong. This is a person who can listen when you are frustrated and can help you see the positives happening. They can help you find the solution when you can't see it through all the negativity you have built up. They can cheer you on and get you back on track.

3. Pick and choose the news you watch or read. This doesn't mean don't watch the news at all. This is just a suggestion to choose if you need to read every educational article pushed out. Is the news you are watching always negative or is it a feed that always vents instead of inspires a forward movement? Just think about what you are focusing on.

4. Know your limits. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a break. Just like the students in your classroom, you may need a mental break to refocus. Watch a movie, take a walk, anything that can get you back to a place of happiness!

5. Don't get sucked into the negativity. We have all been around people how are cranky. Just walk away. Don't let their attitude affect yours. Stay the course.

6. SMILE!!! Smiling is infectious! Even if you don't feel like smiling, smile! Turning your frown upside-down may just be the thing you need to turn around your attitude.


These are just a few ideas to help you combat the winter blues. Stay happy and healthy this winter!

Winter Brain Break Cards

This is a resource from Second Story Window and has some great activities to help you recharge, refresh, or refocus students!

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11