RMS Curriculum Chat

Mathematics and Language Arts News

October 12-16, 2015

Upcoming Events:

District Assessments: Wednesday, 10/14 and Thursday, 10/15

Iowa Assessments (8th grade only): October 19-October 23

Curriculum Meetings

This week's curriculum meetings are taking place on Monday, 10/12 as vertical teams. While additional meetings are not required this week, your curriculum leads may still choose to meet. Look for communication from them.

Depth of Knowledge

Thanks to our fabulous curriculum leaders for feeding our knowledge this week! We appreciate your leading our learning on a dreary Monday morning.

Be sure to thank Mr. McCain for your DOK wheel!!

And, as you work with classroom assessments and common assessments, remember to start small! Build from level 1 questions to level 4 questions. Model for your students how you think through the question and how you tackle the answer choices. As with everything, we have to build from known to new. We will continue these discussions all year long, so never fear -- we will all be experts soon enough!

~Curriculum Updates~

Language Arts

Food for Thought: Writing with ELLs (but really, good practice for ALL)

In her Education Week article, Mary Ann Zehr reflects on what she has learned since she left a career in education journalism four years ago and began teaching writing in ESL classes in the Washington, D.C. public schools. She attributes the successes she and her colleagues have had with their students to these insights:

• English learners need models of writing and instruction in specific genres. “When I give a substantial writing assignment, I provide models,” says Zehr – for example, a personal narrative, an argumentative essay, a research paper. She believes this is more effective with ELLs than a process approach.

• Students benefit from meeting authors. Zehr has taken advantage of a local program that buys books and brings in authors to interact with students – six visited her class last year.

• ELLs need to talk first and write later. When she began teaching, Zehr asked students to plunge right into composing, but learned that it’s more effective to get them talking about a topic first – especially with argumentative essays. “After debate,” she says, “it’s not hard for them to identify arguments to support a claim or counterarguments that they must address in writing.”

• Teens’ writing is more interesting and developed when they have something to say. Zehr mandates some topics to provide substance and structure and then gives students choices.

• It’s helpful to have an authentic audience. Writing for the school newspaper has been motivational for Zehr’s students, as well as writing letters to real authors.

• It also helps for teens to develop a literary self-concept. “If adolescents don’t see themselves as writers, they groan when I announce a writing assignment, and some do not finish it,” says Zehr. Identity formation plays a major part in teens’ interest in school work, and progress in writing is challenging when students haven’t figured out who they are.

“Can a Former Journalist Teach English-Language Learners to Write?” by Mary Ann Zehr in Education Week, September 23, 2015 (Vol. 35, #5, p. 19, 21), www.edweek.org


STEM Opportunity for Girls Only!

Georgia Gwinnett College STEM Super Saturdays

Georgia Gwinnett College is hosting a STEM event for middle school and high school girls on Saturday November 7, 2015. Registration is $20 and includes lunch and snacks, guest speakers, and all supplies. The girl-friendly lessons are focused on mobile applications, new devices (tablets), creativity (animations), and relationship building (group collaboration).

What: STEM Super Saturdays

When: Saturday November 7, 2015

Where: Held at Georgia Gwinnett College, 1000 University Center Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Register here https://ggcs3.wordpress.com/f15-register/

GTES Standards Professional Development

Interested in improving your practice? Want to move from Good to Great?

SD - GTES – Instructional Strategies Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: November 18, 2015 - December 2, 2015 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14785 Section# 20929

Where: ISC – Meadowcreek/Brookwood

Register by 11/09/15

SD - GTES – Differentiated Instruction Standard 2015-2016 (Online, Self-Paced)

When: All Year, Until you complete. Course # 14985

Where: Online, Self-Paced

Registration open all year

SD - GTES - Academically Challenging Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Face to Face)

When: October 20, 2015 - November 2, 2015 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., Course# 14786 Section# 21861

Where: ISC - Berkmar/Parkview

Register by 10/14/15

SD - GTES - Academically Challenging Environment Standard 2015-2016 (Online, Self-Paced)

When: All Year, Until you complete. Course # 15250

Where: Online, Self-Paced

Registration open all year

Georgia Milestones Information

Achievement Indicators

The Georgia Milestones Achievement Level Descriptors provide clear targets of the knowledge and skills required of student performance of the standards expected at each grade level for each of the four core content areas for grades 3-8 and all EOC courses. The standards are clustered and achievement levels are identified for a learner demonstrating mastery at each of the four performance levels: beginning, developing, proficient, and distinguished learner.

Students demonstrating mastery of knowledge and skills as each performance level should also be demonstrating proficiency on each of the previous levels of performance as well. This tool defines the expected level of rigor for instruction, learning and assessment of the AKS and will be instrumental in planning for instruction.

We will discuss the achievement indicators in the coming weeks. Please preview them here:


Richards Middle School

As partners, we the students, staff, parents, and community of Richards Middle School commit to provide a welcoming and superior learning environment that empowers and inspires all students to develop their potential for excellence in academics and success in life.