Cannon News FLASH
Staff Information & Updates 11/10/14
From the Principal's Pen...
Please take a moment to read Dylan Wiliam's quote below about the importance of formative assessment.
The kinds of formative assessment practice that profoundly impact student achievement cannot wait until the end of a marking period, or even the end of an instructional unit. If students have left the classroom before teachers have made adjustment to their teaching on the basis of what they have learned about students’ achievement, then they are already playing catch up.
- Dylan Wiliam
A few years ago, we did a campus-wide book study on Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom by Connie Moss and Susan Brookhart. Through this book study, our campus staff was able to learn more in-depth information about the importance of communicating student learning targets before, during and after instruction and the role formative assessment plays in ensuring that students are successful in learning these targets. Some highlights from our learning included:
Formative assessment refers to the ongoing process both students and teachers engage in when they:
- Focus on learning targets
- Take stock of current student work in relation to the learning targets using formal or informal assessment processes
- Take action to move students closer to the learning targets (i.e., teachers adjust teaching methods or students adjust learning methods)
From a teacher's perspective, formative assessment can involve the following actions:
- Clearly communicating learning targets to students
- Helping students make connections between the learning targets and the work they are doing
- Getting information from students about where they are in their understanding of targets.
- Giving feedback to students or suggestions about how they might move closer to their learning targets
- Keeping records that show patterns in the kinds of feedback students need and receive
- Facilitating student self-assessment and goal-setting
- Using assessment information to fine-tune lessons in progress and plan future lessons
Teacher skills required for formative assessment include the following:
- Having a clear idea of the learning goal and ways for students to make progress on it
- Using observational skills
- Using verbal skills to give clear feedback
- Developing a repertoire of strategies for teaching the learning goal
- Building a repertoire of motivational strategies
Benefits to students can include the following:
- Increased achievement
- Increased understanding of how to learn
- Increased control over their own learning and increased motivation
As you are designing learning for your scholars, don't forget to make learning visible by posting learning targets. Remember to refer to these before, during, and after instruction to keep students focused on learning! Check out the learning target examples below from classrooms!
Also, check out this AWESOME resource for wonderful examples of a variety of formative assessment strategies you can use right away in the classroom. This resource has short videos to show you how each strategy is used in the classroom, a downloadable template for use, and suggestions for ways to vary the strategy to meet your needs!
Proud to be your principal! :)
LISA'S COACHING CORNER
This past week I had the opportunity to observe a 1st grade teacher named Ashley Read, who I had the opportunity to get to know in my Valor class this summer. I was impressed by her intentional use of vocabulary with her students. For example, “What does being present look like?” and “I will wait until everyone is present until I begin.” Obviously, she has taught her students that “present” means being attentive. What a positive, up-beat way to remind students to be on task WITHOUT saying it in a negative way! This made me start thinking, in general, how important it is that EVERY SINGLE WORD we say to ANYONE needs to be intentional, because it IMPACTS our relationship with them.
Likewise, our ACADEMIC vocabulary is even more important. There is a great resource called “lead4ward” that we will be working with in PLC's this year. You will find a comprehensive menu of all grade levels by clicking here. Note that there is an ACADEMIC VOCABULARY section for each subject listed for each grade level. This section provides a list of the academic vocabulary that is included in K-5 grade level TEKS, and which is also used in STAAR assessments. We can help support our students’ success by assuring we are using the correct academic vocabulary that our students will be held accountable for. So often, our students may fully understand the concepts they are being tested on, but academic vocabulary that they are not familiar with can get them off track!
I hope you will take the time to review the academic vocabulary for the content areas you teach in all grades, K-5. When we intentionally teach the vocabulary to our students and then hold high expectations for them to learn and utilize the correct vocabulary themselves, we are working together as a campus team to ensure success for ALL students!
LAST WEEK - A PHOTO REVIEW
Do You Hear What I Hear?
2nd Grade scholars are learning all about sound! They started their learning in inquiry-based stations exploring sound with a variety of instruments, such as drums, boomwackers, xylophones, tuning forks, rulers and rubber bands. They learned all about pitch and how sound moves in vibrations that you can feel and see. They concluded their study of sound energy last week by engineering string, percussion or wind musical instruments that would produce both a high pitch and a low pitch. Their engineering designs will be on display @ STEM Night this week! Great work 2nd grade!
Pumpkin Pushing & Inclined Planes
Kindergarten scholars recently completed a one day engineering challenge called "Pumpkin Push". The scholars explored how to use incline planes to make pumpkins roll farther than just by pushing them. They did a great job working in teams to build their ramps, measuring with yarn and index cards, and recording how far their pumpkins rolled. They had a ton of fun with this challenge! Be sure to watch THIS VIDEO of Kindergarten scholars in action testing their designs with cookie sheets, blocks & more!
RoboSTEM Team Competes - 1st Scimmage of the Season!
Cannon's robotics team, RoboSTEM, got a taste of what to expect in this year's annual First Lego League (FLL) competition over the weekend! The robot team participated in a scrimmage in Dallas on Saturday and showcased their robot missions in 3 separate matches. The team improved steadily with each match and left the scrimmage feeling successful! Having the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a scrimmage, prior to the actual competition, was an awesome experience for the team and they left with a clear vision of the areas they will need to focus their time and energy on, in order to be prepared for the upcoming FLL competition. HUGE thanks to Trisha Goins for accompanying the team to the scrimmage this weekend!
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Pumpkin Pushing & Inclined Planes
RoboSTEM Team Competes - 1st Scimmage of the Season!
Dates to Remember
11/10 Fire Drill -9:00 am
11/10-11/14 Book Fair
11/10 STEM Leadership meeting 3:00-3:45
11/11 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30
11/12 PLC Week B - Kinder 2:00-3:30
11/13 PLC Week B - 2nd grade 2:00-3:30
11/13 Family STEM Night 6:00-7:00
11/17 Brazosport ISD tours Cannon's STEM program
11/17 Severe Weather Drill 1:30 p.m.
11/17 CEC 3:15-4:00 - Library
11/18 Technology Department hosts tour @ Cannon 9:00
11/18 Picture Retakes
11/18 PLC Week A- 5th grade 2:00-3:30
11/19 Anit-Bullying Program w/ Keith Davis NFL Kinder-5 9:30-10:10 a.m.
11/19 PLC Week A - 3rd grade 2:00-3:30
11/19 Mandy Jackson's Baby Shower! 3:15 library
11/20 PLC Week A - 4th grade 2:00-3:30
11/21 Kinder Field Trip to Legoland 10:30-2:30
11/24-11/28 Thanksgiving Break
12/1 STEM Leadership 3:00
12/2 Denton ISD tours Cannon's STEM program
12/2 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30
12/3 PLC Week B - Kinder 2:00-3:30
12/4 PLC Week B - 2nd grade 2:00-3:30
12/4 Grapevine Parade of Lights 6:30 pm
12/8-12/10 PTA's Santa Shop (Previews 12/4-12/5)
12/8 U.CAN 3:00
12/9 PLC Week A-5th grade 2:00-3:30
12/10 PLC Week A - 3rd grade 2:00-3:30
12/11 PLC Week A - 4th grade 2:00-3:30
12/12 GMS Holiday program @ Cannon 9:30-10:15
12/15 Staff Holiday Party 3:00 - library
12/16 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30
12/17 PLC Week B - Kinder 2:00-3:30
12/18 PLC Week B - 2nd grade 2:00-3:30
12/18 Choir Holiday Concert - 5:30-7:00
12/19 - Early Dismissal 11:45
12/22 - 1/04 Holiday Break!
REMINDERS & UPDATES
- NEW STAFF MEMBER JOINS CANNON! Did you see a new face on our Kindergarten team last Friday? We are pleased to welcome Marla Valle to Cannon, as our new Kindergarten Dual Language Instructional Assistant! At a recent school board meeting, this position was approved by the board, due to the fact that we have exceeded the state's student/teacher ratio in our Spanish Dual Language Kindergarten class. Marla is a wonderful fit for this position, as she has worked for the last several years as a Spanish preschool teacher in a total immersion Spanish program for English-speaking students. In addition to being a new GCISD employee, she is also a GCISD parent. Her children are enrolled at Bransford Elementary. Be sure to introduce yourself to Marla and help her feel welcome!
- FAMILY STEM NIGHT DETAILS - We will host our first family STEM night of the year on Thursday! As a reminder, each classroom/grade level is expected to have an interactive engineering experience prepared for families to participate in. In addition, please have other engineering/STEM-related projects/products on display for parents to see. Also, please remember that the gym will be the Cardboard Creations Museum for the evening. Please remind all scholars with cardboard projects that they should visit the gym and take their projects home at the end of the evening. All projects that are left over will be recycled. Also, please encourage families to visit the Engineering Lab to see a demonstration from the RoboSTEM team. Finally, remind all parents to visit the Book Fair in the library to do some early holiday shopping! A reminder flyer will be going home with all scholars in Monday folders. Please plan to wear this year's staff shirts with jeans on Thursday!
- HOLIDAY FLOAT CONSTRUCTION - Cannon's Dad's Club and PTA need help constructing this year's holiday float! Please help promote this effort by including this link for the Cannon Dad's Club Facebook in your parent communications. As an incentive for parents to come and help out with this year's float-building efforts, Cannon students of any family that comes to help build will be allowed to ride on the float during the Grapevine Parade of Lights on December 4th! Our Cannon dad's and PTA volunteers have been working so hard this year to support our scholars and school, but as with many efforts, there are less than 20% of the people doing more than 80% of the work, so they need our help to encourage other parents to get involved! Thanks!
- TEACHER REIMBURSEMENT - Did you know that our PTA will reimburse teachers for up to $75 for any items they have purchased for their classrooms? All you need to do is attach your receipts to the PTA Reimbursement form that was sent out by email last week from Judy Reta and place it in the PTA mailbox. What a deal!!
- PARENT CLIMATE SURVEY ENDS THIS FRIDAY- Parents of all GCISD Pre-K - 12th grade students received an email link on 10/31, inviting them to participate in the 2014 Parent Climate Survey. The survey asks parents to provide input on academic preparation, school operations, safety, and school staff & administration at their child's school. The district and campuses will use this data to identify strengths & weaknesses and make decisions for continuous improvement. Please help promote this survey opportunity to parents through your classroom communications. The survey will close at 11:59 pm on November 16th. Parents can access the link to the survey in English or Spanish here. Click here to read a letter from Dr. Ryan about this survey.
BRIGHT BYTES SURVEY REQUIREMENTS
GCISD is collecting data again this year via the Bright Bytes survey. It will be administered in October and May. This data is used to explore the integration of technology in the classroom and to look at professional learning needs.
This survey can be taken on an iPad, laptop, desktop, smart phone, or anything with an internet connection.
ALL teachers and administrators on campus are required to take the survey. It takes 10-15 minutes. This is the link to use: http://www.BByt.es/7M9WT
Scholars in grades 3-12 will need to take the survey. It should approximately 12 minutes for students in grades 3-5. This is the link they'll use: http://www.BByt.es/7M9WL
We would love as much feedback from parents as possible. Please share the links below via weekly email blasts, your websites, your Facebook pages. The parent survey links in English are unique to our campus:
English survey: http://www.BByt.es/7M9WP
The survey will be open from October 27 through November 14. This information will also be shared via email to all staff. Thanks for your help with this!
TO DO LIST
- Do attendance online between 9:45- 10:15 each day.
- Communicate Family STEM Night in all of your parent communications!
- Attend STEM Leadership on Monday @ 3:00
- Check out the Formative Assessment & Academic Vocabulary resources provided above!
- Communicate with parents about the Parent Climate Survey!
- Include Cannon Dad's Club FB link in your parent communications.
- Showcase STEM learning with PRIDE on Thursday night!
- Complete the Bright Bytes Survey for all staff. Grades 3-5 scholars must complete survey. Share survey information with parents.
- Tweet & blog about all of the great things you are doing in your classroom/grade!