The Challenger Elementary Dispatch

Jan. 6 - 10, 2014

Welcome Back!!

Here's to a year of strength, patience and passion!

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." -Harriet Tubman

Report cards go home

Monday, Jan. 6th, 2:30pm

13555 Chaney Thompson Road Southeast

Huntsville, AL

Please add attendance letters from Mrs. Mason to the envelopes as needed.

Collabortive Meetings

Monday, Jan. 6th, 8:30am

Deana's Room

1st grade 8:30
Kinder 11:30
2nd grade 1:00

We'll be working with the School Net Benchmark 3 standards and creating practice tests.

STAR Testing Begins

Monday, Jan. 6th, 8am

Classrooms and Computer labs

Please make sure you use the best testing practices available to you and your students - chunking, small groups, quiet,etc. Those of you with resource students,please talk with Peter and Jessica about accommodations.

Who does the "TO DO" list - you or your students?

Teachers, when looking over your lesson plans, ask, “Can this lesson be executed without kids?” I know this sounds laughable, but there are such lessons. Take, for example, the following lesson:

• Teacher plans the lesson

• Teacher dictates expectations

• Teacher lectures

• Teacher tells students what to write down

• Teacher gives kids worksheets to do at home (maybe parents do them..?)

• Teacher grades all worksheets

Compare that to:

• Teacher plans by having an end point (objective/standard) in mind and inquiring of kids for ways the end point may be reached (or at least approached)

• Teacher and kids determine expectations, rubrics which guide learning

• Kids share prior knowledge, brainstorm, research, and build shared knowledge

• Students notate pertinent info (specific for them) to drive toward end point

• Teacher allows kids the freedom with which they show evidence of their learning and takeaways

• Kids peer edit, self-assess, then teacher assesses

The first example can be done entirely in the absence of kids from start to finish; however, not a single phase of the second example can be done without kids. This is the difference between teaching and learning–and perhaps a post for another day. The point is, by delegating to the capable people around you, your to-do list is efficiently minimized. In the first example, the teacher must determine every aspect of the lesson. Subconsciously or not, this can lead to a self-imposed pressure to “stay on track”, which can minimize differentiation, at times. The teacher has to determine expectations, memorize the lecture, make sure all students write down “the right” things, run off copies of the worksheets, and robotically grade them. In the second example, the teacher is an active learner in every phase, making differentiation and best practice along the way applicable natural reactions, from planning to assessment, and every point in between. You know which kids can handle which tasks, and when delegated the right way, you’ll find many more kids can–and want to–handle much more than you may have originally thought.

Writing PD with Eleanor Brannon

Tuesday, Jan. 7th, 8am

Deana's Room

2nd grade 8-10
4th grade 10:15-12:15 ( bring or order lunch)
5th grade 12:30-2:30

CES Spelling Bee

Wednesday, Jan. 8th, 11:30am

AV Room

Spell on!! Thank you Mrs. Dixon and Mrs. Elder for your organization on this event.

Writing PD with Eleanor Brannon

Wednesday, Jan. 8th, 8am

Deana's room

1st grade 8-10
kinder 10:15-12:15 ( bring or order lunch)
3rd grade 12:30-2:30

Staff Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 8th, 2:45pm

Media Center

Bring your laptop :-)

Write to Learn/Successmaker Training with Felicia Jordan

Thursday, Jan. 9th, 8am

Belissa's Room

3rd grade 8-10
4th grade 10:15-12:15 ( bring or order a lunch)
5th grade 12:30-2:30

Awards Day!

Friday, Jan. 10th, 8:30am

AV Room

8:30 4th grade
9:00 3rd grade
9:30 5th grade

The schedule is TIGHT. Please be on time and ready to head out right after the awards.
PLEASE let parents know about the Awards event.


IT'S COMING!! Please check with students about progress on the experiments. More info to come on Weds. at the staff meeting. We will need posters to advertise the event. Please think about one created by your class.