The Roundup

A gathering space for educators

November 2019

In the Instructional Services Department at Van Buren Intermediate School District, supporting teachers and administrators with instruction is the heart of our work. It is our hope that this monthly newsletter will help capture upcoming events and important information to support your work in your districts, schools, and classrooms.

Browse our upcoming Professional Learning Opportunities below!

(Updated Frequently)

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

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Are you trying to teach a K-22 system in a K-12 model?

For those districts who are part of MTSS Cohort A, you are likely implementing your intervention time for your essential standards. It can be hard to shape our behavior to maintain focus on our essentials when we have been programmed over time to try to cover everything.

Robert Marzano was quoted as saying that in order to get through ALL of the Common Core State Standards, we would have to move from a K-12 system to a K-22 system. So, how can we ensure high levels of learning for all students? The answer is simple: We need to teach less with more quality. This can be difficult, even if we've created our essential standards.

In order to combat the 'noise' we have in our heads: "I need to get to the end of this chapter by Tuesday", "My students all must do unit 5 before Christimas break or we will be behind", "I must make sure my students perform well on the upcoming NWEA (MStep, SAT, etc.) assessment", we must find a way to bring the essentials into focus.

So why not put these essential standards right on a clipboard that is easy to see and serves as a reminder? This clipboard can have my students listed on it as well to track their progress towards these essentials. Then, as time feels crunched and the noise in our heads begin to get louder with distractions, the clipboard can be our anchor to come back to what's essential and let the rest go.

Any Questions?

Director of Instructional Services

Cheryl-Marie A. Manson -

Educational Consultant- MTSS

Jennifer Bloomfield -


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Essential Practices in Early Literacy: #8 Abundant Reading

Across the county, state, and even the country, educators have highlighted the critical importance of classroom libraries. The Literacy Essentials break down what we should see in our classroom libraries such as organizing by genre, high interest/high quality text, culturally relevant text, and comfortable places to read.

With the abundance that is being created- the wide range of texts, print, audio, and sheer number of books being added to your classroom library- you may be asking, how can I keep this organized? The Nerdy Book Club blog post takes a slightly different view on how we can keep kids at the heart of our classrooms.

Daily 5

You may be feeling like it's not working. You may be feeling like it's not what you envisioned. You may be feeling like, what can I possibly do next? Keep in mind we are all on the "Learning Line" and are all in different places. We can always continue to refine our craft. Check out the last page on the First Days Document (see below) so that you can reflect, slow down, and determine what to work on next.
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PD Opportunity

Conferring Notebook In this webinar you can see live coaching on how to use the Conferring Notebook (previously CC Pensieve) by the creators.

When: Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 7 pm

Where: Virtual

Sign Up Here

VBISD Literacy Coach/Consultants

Geanice Miller - 269-271-9813

Melissa Wierenga - 269-599-7259


Essential Practices in Early Mathematics: Prekindergarten to Grade Three

Link to EM Essentials

The MAISA General Education Leadership Network Early Mathematics Task Force hopes that you engage with the practices, both individually and with others, not as a list of things to do immediately but rather as a set of practices to guide professional interactions and learning over time as we work together to enhance the capacities of our systems to support equitable and just learning outcomes for each of our children.

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LGBTQ students are 61% more likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation.

Start or join a support group. Students in schools with support groups are TWO TIMES more likely to say they have teachers at school who make supportive remarks about lesbian and gay people. Being part of an LGBTQ support group provides students with a sense of community and helps them grow emotionally.

Fore more information, please visit these online options: OutFrontKalamazoo; GLESEN or contact the Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

Cultural Understanding Committee member - Theresa Ouzts -


Calm Corners

Are you looking for a way to help support students with self-regulation?
Consider adding a calm corner to your classroom for all students to have access to. Adding a calm corner to your classroom will help teach students to regulate by increasing their self-awareness and encouraging the use of coping skills in a proactive manner. A calm corner also helps to create a space where it’s ok to identify and talk about feelings, or to use appropriate strategies to help get back in the game. It also helps to create space for adults as teachers to model appropriate use of such tools.

When creating a calm corner in your classroom consider the following:

  • Location: What is a good location that is semi private and easy to get to? Will that give enough space to have a chair and possibly a small table along with the tools I choose

  • Tools: What different types of tools should I add to my calm corner? Consider adding visuals with different breathing exercises such as square breathing or calming techniques such as muscle squeezes. Think about different tools to include such as koosh balls, glitter jars, feathers, kinetic sand, putty, etc. Consider gathering input from students about different tools they may find beneficial.

  • Routine: What do I want the student to do upon entering the calm space? Will there be a time limit attached to each use? What visual reminders should I post to remind them of the routine? Will it be limited to one student at a time?

  • Teaching of calm corner: Determine how you will introduce the calm corner and teach the use of it. Allow time for modeling and student practice. Introduce the calm corner as a tool to be used versus punishment for misbehavior.

Calm corners have many additional names such as chill zones, peace corners, etc. Feel free to

personalize yours to best fit your classroom.

Want to know more? Check out these resources:

Behavior and Trauma Coordinator

Heidi Hall -