Collaboration Corner

Encouraging growth through reflective practices (Jan '16)

NWFANY Resolutions

"Next year, I'm going to teach this totally different."

"There's always next year!"

"I am definitely not going to do THAT next year!"

We make these comments about our classroom all the time, don't we? And we don't mean the calendar year...we mean the school year...and that's a long time from now!

Why not try something different this January? It's never too late to change something that's not working. You don't have to wait until you're more organized, or have a different group of kids, or have more time. You can modify your procedures, expectations, and teaching strategies any time they aren't effective...any time of the year!

Maybe it's changing where homework is turned in so the flow of students is better. Maybe it's changing some teaching materials that you know are weak. Maybe it's changing the way you structure your time or prioritize your tasks.

Whatever it might be, try this: the "Not Waiting For a New Year" resolution. What do you want to change NOW in your teaching practice? What thing is so important that you can't afford to write off this year's kids and wait for a fresh start in August? What's really pressing to you?

Make that your NWFANY resolution...and have a great 2016!

Helping Students Make New Year's Resolutions

Just like the adults around them, our students may be looking at the new year as an opportunity for renewal, a time to assess their life and consider how they might want to improve it.

And we can help them. This week, since the topic of new year’s resolutions is likely to come up anyway, why not make a lesson out of it? Here’s a step-by-step plan you can use to help your students make the kinds of resolutions that could have a significant impact on their quality of life.

Click link above to continue reading!

Coaching Cycle #3

The third coaching cycle of the year is scheduled to begin on January 4 (WRE) and January 11 (MME) and last until mid-February. If there is an area of student learning that you would like to collaborate on during this time frame, please let me know!

Alternatively, if there is something your entire grade level would like to work on/have more knowledge about/collaborate on/acquire different resources for, etc. please let me know as well!

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Instructional Tip

A common theme heard throughout all of the 3rd-5th grade data meetings in December was the need to teach our students reading stamina on longer passages of text, and for good reason: text expectations are increasing! Here are a few ideas to get started in building up that stamina!

1. Observe your students naturally reading; how long are they engaged?

2. Start small; teach them how to do it correctly for short amounts of time, and build up from there. 'Feeling it correctly' is important.

3. Know how long it should take your students to read a passage. One study showed that, on average, a fourth grader in the spring should take about 14 minutes to read a 2,000 word passage.

4. Inspire a growth mindset in your students. Have them set a goal, and show them how to get there!

5. Don't increase the length and difficulty at once.

Need good resources? Try the articles in student magazines, like Highlights. ReadWorks has also released longer reading passages with similar questions to Acuity!

Tech Tip

20 ways to ditch those worksheets!

by Matt Miller

In the first few years of my teaching career, I relied on worksheets a lot. In fact, when I switched professions to become a teacher, creating my own worksheets kind of excited me.

After those first few years and lots of lessons with worksheets, workbooks and end-of-chapter questions, I came to a scary realization.

The students in my high school Spanish classes couldn’t speak Spanish.

Plus, they were so bored with my lessons that I wasn’t making any sort of connection with them. Nor was my content.

Something had to change.

I realized that I had to break myself of my worksheet addiction. When done poorly, worksheets are drill-and-kill tools of boredom, frustration and shallow learning.

We can do better, and sometimes, doing better doesn’t take much extra effort — if any at all.

If you want to break the habit, assign fewer worksheets and engage students like never before, check out these ideas to ditch those worksheets...

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Where's the Coach?

January 4 - 8 (AM): WRE

January 8 (PM) - January 15 (AM): MME

January 15 (PM) - January 21: WRE

January 22 - January 28: MME

Need the Coach?

...simply shoot me an email or grab me in the hallway! :-) There is not an official "coaching calendar" to request a session. Just let me know a few good days and times, and I'll get something scheduled!

Also, if your grade-level team would ever like to meet with me during a technology or grade-level IIB time, let me know as well!

If you need resources or support for your EDG goals, please let me know!

Contact Me

Feel free to call or email anytime, even if I'm not in the building! :-)

ext. 1731 (MME)

ext. 1525 (WRE)