Monday Memo

10/13/2015

Important Dates

  • Wednesday (10/14): PSAT Administration
  • Wednesday (10/14): Student Voting for Teacher of the Month - during lunches in cafe
  • Monday (10/19): Faculty Meeting - after school


Also, check out the athletics calendar for a list of events & activities for this week.

Teaching & Learning

  • The October faculty meeting will be next Monday after school. See you there!
  • FYI: The return of the 14-15 Milestones scores should be around middle to late October. We will share with all of you once we have access.
  • The weights of the CCRPI components have been revised to incentivize and reward student growth and progress towards student proficiency (and readiness for college and careers) based on the state’s higher expectations associated with the Georgia Milestones Assessment System. Click on the the links below to access a summary of the rest of the changes made to CCRPI for 2016.

Recognition

  • We will accept October Teacher of the Month nominations from both teachers and students this week. Teachers will receive an e-mail with nomination information; students will nominate during their lunch Wednesday.

Tech Tip

Google Classroom has a free app for both the Android & iOS in the App Store. The app allows students to view the class stream and submit their work. In the app, students can access the stream even when offline. The Google Classroom app also allows students to take pictures of their work through the app and submit the images as an assignment.


The Google Classroom app allows sharing from other apps, including Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets. Work completed through these different apps can be submitted to Google Classroom from the other app. This allows students to utilize a variety of apps to express their ideas.


Log on to the following web link for more information about the Google Classroom app.

https://support.google.com/edu/classroom/answer/6118412?hl=en


Join us October 15 or 16 for our Lunch & Learn session where we will discuss Google Classroom in more detail!

Something to Think About

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Their Students

This article was originally Posted by Rebecca Alber on the Edutopia blog.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/five-powerful-questions-teachers-ask-students-rebecca-alber


My first year teaching a literacy coach came to observe my classroom. After the students left, she commented on how I asked the whole class a question, would wait just a few seconds, and then answer it myself. "It's cute," she added. Um, I don't think she thought it was so cute. I think she was treading lightly on the ever-so shaky ego of a brand-new teacher while still giving me some very necessary feedback.


So that day, I learned about wait/think time. And also, over the years, I learned to ask better and better questions.


Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions, and not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own.


Keeping It Simple


I also learned over the years that asking straightforward, simply-worded questions can be just as effective as those intricate ones. With that in mind, if you are a new teacher or perhaps not so new but know that question-asking is an area where you'd like to grow, start tomorrow with these five:


#1. What do you think?

This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction

where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.


#2. Why do you think that?

After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.


#3. How do you know this?

When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.


#4. Can you tell me more?

This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.


#5. What questions do you still have?

This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.


In addition to routinely and relentlessly asking your students questions, be sure to provide time for them to think. What's best here, three seconds, five, or seven? Depending on their age, the depth of the material, and their comfort level, this think time will vary. Just push yourself to stay silent and wait for those hands to go up.

Also be sure to vary your tone so it genuinely sounds like a question and not a statement. When we say something in a declarative way, it is often with one tone and flat sounding. On the other hand, there is a lilt in our voice when we are inquiring and questioning.


To help student feel more comfortable and confident with answering questions and asking ones of their own, you can use this scaffold: Ask a question, pause, and then invite students to "turn and talk" with a neighbor first before sharing out with the whole group. This allows all to have their voices heard and also gives them a chance to practice their responses before sharing in front of the whole class.


How do you ask questions in your classroom? What works well with your students? Please share with us in the comment section below.