Highcroft Herald

January 18, 2016

Quote of the Week

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Key 6: Social Skills

Kagan and Kagan tell us that when cooperative learning teams fail it is likely due to the teams' unwillingness to work together or their inability to work together. The problems arise out of teams' lack of will to work together or their lack of skill to work together.

When teams lack a desire to work together it is usually overcome by teambuilding. What classbuilding does for the culture and community of your entire classroom, teambuilding does for the individual teams within the class community. Teambuilding is an investment of time, occurring twice a week over content that is fun, nonacademic and easy for all to access, to strengthen the enthusiasm, trust, and mutual support amongst the team members, and as teams change, to establish such bonds.

Some teams struggle even with their strong commitment to assist one another. They lack the skills to work together. They may struggle with one person being overly involved while another group struggles with figuring out how to ensure all members actively participate. There are countless social skills that are required for successful teamwork, and as issues arise we identify skills on which our students would benefit from direct instruction. A great deal of the cooperative learning structures support the development of a wide range of social skills, from teaching students to praise one another to teaching them to encourage contributions from a teammate. I have attached a picture below sharing examples of structures that support various social skills; however, it is not easy to view, so I will email a scan on Tuesday. As always, feel free to come and borrow my Kagan book.

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Coaches' Corner

By Gretchen Morrison

Let’s revisit the topic of formative assessments – an area we may feel comfortable with, but Rick Stiggins (Assessment FOR Learning guru) would like to clear up a few things. I recently read an article titled, Understanding Formative Assessment, which allowed Dr. Stiggins to clear up common misunderstandings by educators when implementing formative assessment. The main idea he wants us all to understand is that, “Good formative assessment keeps students believing that success is within reach if they keep trying.” This statement speaks to student engagement and mindset; however, it places that responsibility on us – those who design and implement formative assessments in our classrooms.

What does it mean to have students engaged in the process of formative assessment? Dr. Stiggins sites Royce Sadler, a researcher from Australia, who says that formative assessment is used most effectively when:

  • Students understand the achievement targets
  • Students understand where their current achievement is in relation to the targets
  • Students understand how to close the gap between the two

While students are at the center of this process, it is up to us to design our formative assessments and implement them way which allows students to use this information to advance their learning (in addition to providing us with necessary information to guide our instructional decisions). So, what does this look like in a classroom?

Dr. Stiggins provides an example of a teacher who gave her class an assignment to write a paper. However, before ever beginning the assignment, she showed the class an example of an outstanding paper. The students read it and came up with a list of attributes that made it outstanding in their opinion. Next, she provided students with a paper of poor quality (that she fabricated for this purpose) and had students generate a list of attributes that made this paper ineffective. The class discussed what the differences were between the two products, which resulted in a long list of differences. This list was used to choose the most essential difference, and in groups, students worked on defining those key differences. The teacher lead the class in creating student versions of rating scales by naming the attributes of what the assignment would look like at various levels, essentially guiding the students to create student-friendly learning targets. Due to students having a depth of understanding about the targets, and the steps to achieving at high levels, they focused on the attributes of good work before they even began writing their papers. Thus, students were empowered to succeed!

How do we engage our students in the formative assessment process? Do our students understand their achievement targets, where they are in the process of achieving those targets, and the steps to close the gap between the two? This is good work to consider individually and in your CLT and MSPLC teams. As always, please let me know if I can help you in this area of instruction.

Tech Tip

Thank You….Technology

by Danielle Stilts

James, may I have some thank you note writing music, please?

Thank you….Google, for inventing “see revision history.” Now when a student throws his/her hands in the air and frantically exclaims that the entire body of work has disappeared, we can make it magically reappear to get the student back to work.

If work has gone missing in Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets, you can retrieve it safely! You may very well have already discovered this little trick. If you haven’t, these quick instructions below can really be a lifesaver.

  1. File

  2. See revision history

  3. On the right side, the dates of all versions and changes will appear.

  4. Select the version you prefer. You can click on each option until the version you would like appears, or you may know by the time and date.

  5. Select “restore this revision”

You can also access revision history by using Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G. If there is ever anything I can help you troubleshoot, please let me know!


Monday, January 18

  • NO SCHOOL - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 19

  • Climate Committee Meeting - CRA - 7:45 am - 8:45 am
  • McPherson Out of the Building - 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • PSO Meeting - TOL - 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Wednesday, January 20

  • Intervention Team Meeting - CRA - 8:00 am - 8:45 am
  • McPherson Out of the Building - Principals' Meeting - All Day
  • Schoo - Gloria Krakauskas - All Day
  • Oleshchuk - Julianne Bischof - All Day

Thursday, January 21

  • Choir Rehearsal - Music Room - 8:00 am - 8:45 am

  • Crisis Team Meeting - CRB - 8:00 am - 8:45 am

  • 5th Grade visit Central Middle - 9:15 am - 10:30 am

  • 4th Grade Math Data Wall - 9:25 am - 10:20 am

  • 3rd Grade Math Data Wall - 10:20 am - 11:15 am

  • KDG Math Focus Student - K? - 1:55 pm - 2:50 pm

  • PAMEE Meeting - ISC - 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Friday, January 22

  • Highcroft 38th Birthday - MPR - 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Lucas Out of the Building - Assistant Principals' Meeting - AM
  • Multiple IEPs - PM
  • Morrison - No Sub - PM
  • SSD Collaborative Sub - Meghan Tumbrink - PM
  • Trokey - Jessica Precise - All Day

Upcoming Dates

Character Assembly - Ownership - January 27th - 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

STEM Night - January 28th - 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

CPR Certification - February 8th - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm