Weekly Coaching Communication

Make it a great day -- every day!

16-24 November 2015

On the Standards Front . . .

Yesterday (12 November) at the morning meeting, Melissa Grennan presented the basic concepts and purposes for SOCIAL THINKING. (If you missed the meeting, handouts were placed in your mailbox or left on the counter in the main office. If you would like more explanation or a brief summary of the meeting, please come see me.) The scope and sequence of how social thinking is being taught from primary grades through high school is a testament to the need for it in education.

The balance between academic teaching and social thinking teaching is delicate and can easily come under scrutiny, especially at the secondary level. Some teachers are struggling with the implementation of standards-based learning, and probably questioning how they are going to fit one more thing into their class period. Others are moving forward with standards based learning, working through their frustrations, but want to implement more of their own core standards and are not ready for even the ELA/literacy standards.

However, almost all teachers are questioning how to get students to care more about the learning and putting in the effort on practice and reassessments. Others feel hindered by standards based grading because they can no longer use the zero to communicate to students and parents that the student is faltering in responsibility and or accountability, or when a student cheats.

Teaching social thinking can help build a culture of better learning and allow teachers to prepare students for what happens after high school. But how is social thinking part of Common Core? Standards based learning is our focus and how does social thinking fit into the standards? We must turn to standards outside of our content area and start using 21st Century Skills.

The Common Core is not a curriculum, and so social thinking is a great opportunity to use with 21st Century Skills. The main concepts of social thinking can be applied and help balance the instruction between academic and social thinking when used with the Common Core website for 21st Century Skills "Employability Skills". Listed below are the essential concepts and skills for "Employability Skills." If you are interested in using these in your classroom and need help incorporating social thinking with these skills, please talk to me or email me about a time to plan.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Communicate and work productively with others, incorporating different perspectives and cross cultural understanding, to increase innovation and the quality of work.

Work appropriately and productively with others

Use different perspectives to increase innovation and the quality of work

Use all the appropriate principles of communication effectively


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Adapt to various roles and responsibilities and work flexibly in climates of ambiguity and changing priorities.

Adapt to varied roles, responsibilities, and expectations

Work effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities

Demonstrate appropriate risk–taking


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Demonstrate leadership skills, integrity, ethical behavior, and social responsibility while collaborating to achieve common goals

Use interpersonal skills to influence and guide others toward a goal

Leverage the strengths of others to accomplish a common goal

Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior

Demonstrate mental, physical, and emotional preparedness to accomplish the task


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Demonstrate initiative and self–direction through high achievement and lifelong learning while exploring the ways individual talents and skills can be used for productive outcomes in personal and professional life.

Perform work without oversight

Use time efficiently to manage workload

Assess one’s own mastery of skills

Set and achieve high standards and goals

Engage in effective problem solving process


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Demonstrate productivity and accountability by meeting high expectations.

Deliver quality job performance on time

Demonstrate accountability for individual performance

Quick Clicks

Quote of the Week

This past week was not well planned. I did not schedule observations -- I was relying on drop-ins. I did not schedule conversations -- I was making time for drop-ins. With Iowa Assessments and State volleyball #SPP, I felt like most of the week had been planned for me. I worked with one teacher, modeling Write Tools; I worked with another teacher, creating student self-evaluations. What I did plan to do resulted in some good achievement and learning. But as this week comes to a close, during my process of reflection, I realize that had I planned more, I would have achieved more and brought more success to others. If I am not intentional with my planning, I will not be as successful and achieve as much as I am capable of doing.

I find that if I try to plan too far in advanced, I become overwhelmed with trying to make my plans fit the prescribed timeline, and I lack flexibility. If I plan for the week and allow for self-forgiveness if I have to skip a webinar or choose a different day for a drop-in observation to better serve a teacher, then I find I have more success. The key is to do the best with what I have.

I've written in the past about deliberate better practice (see 02-06 November Weekly Communication), but that cannot happen without the planning. Lesson planning for standards based learning must be intentional but done within the means you have available and with flexibility. Also, allow room for forgiveness as you continue to plan and practice what you plan. We expect our students to plan ahead and to use the practice to better themselves; teachers can be a great model of that learning, but it has to be done with a plan. One week at a time can lead to great achievement.

If you need help with your plan, please let me know. I would love to help with your achievement and making standards based learning successful.

Coaching Schedule -- see Google Calendar for specific "Busy" times **schedule subject to change**

Monday, 16 November -- Veteran's Day Assembly 9AM-10AM

  • IC/Principal Meeting w/ Erikka Vosmek -- Growth Mindset Planning 2:30 PM
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Tuesday, 17 November

  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Wednesday, 18 November

  • Data Team Meeting 7:30 -- All Staff (1 Hour Late Start)
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Thursday, 19 November

  • Formative Assessment Webinar 3-4PM
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Friday, 20 November

  • IC/Principal Meeting 7:30 AM -- Libolt & Popenhagen
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • IC Team Meeting 11:30 AM -- Middle School

Saturday, 21 November -- NHS Dance Marathon

Monday, 23 November

  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Tuesday, 24 November

  • IC/Principal/ Lead Meeting -- Libolt, Wooldridge and Popenhagen 9AM
  • Serve Teachers & Students
  • Classroom Observations
  • Research & Resources

Wishing you and yours a JOYFUL Thanksgiving!

Contact Information

Instructional Coach

Center Point - Urbana CSD