LV Impact

Lakeview Staff Newsletter - January 17

Under Construction

In our math meetings this week, we were reminded that Investigations 3 is a "Constructivist" curriculum. Units of Study is also a constructivist approach. So is Amplify Science. The work of our art, music, and PE teachers utilize constructivist approaches. Clearly, we are unabashedly constructivist in South Milwaukee. But what does that mean? And what implications does that have on student learning?

Put simply, constructivism means that human learners actively construct their own knowledge as determined by their experiences (more info). We stand on the shoulders of great theorists such as Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey, and Jerome Bruner when we choose these approaches (when it comes to math, Bruner is especially influential).

How does this play out in our school day?

In math, we let students struggle productively with partners, allow misconceptions to emerge, and we let them hear each other's strategies during Number Talks to build conceptual understanding. In Reader's & Writer's workshops, we allow students to read and set goals. We confer with them, provide feedback, and coach into book clubs. In science, we allow students to build understanding from readings, apps, and experiments. That's just a few ideas - there are more.

So what?

It takes a really effective and confident teacher to work in a constructivist classroom because the ownership is on the student for the learning. Not only do teachers need to instruct; teachers need to cultivate the environment and conditions in which students want to build knowledge and understanding. It means that we first create classroom communities that have positive working relationships. It means that we need to have high expectations for students. It means we need to be clear to students about what they are expected to learn through learning targets and learning goals. It means teachers need to know each student as an individual learner.

I wouldn't want to be in any other school than a constructivist school. It honors a student's ability to learn. It honors teacher expertise in a multi-faceted way. Lakeview is about relationships and high expectations - a perfect place for constructivism to flourish.

Kindness Week

Thank you to Sarah W, student council, Brianne, and Jaime for their leadership on the Great Kindness Challenge week. Here is a document for staff that details the events of the week. The spirit days are contained in the document, but mark your calendar for:

Mon, Jan 27 - Rockstar day

Tues, Jan 28 - Mismatched and/or crazy hair day

Wed, Jan 29 - Hat day

Thurs, Jan 30 - Sports/Team apparel day

Mon, Feb 3 - Pajama day

Mindfulness Info from Nancy

We spent most of our staff meeting on Wednesday working with Nancy Nedland on mindfulness - how it impacts our lives and our practice, but mostly how it can influence the lives of our students. Here is a link to several mindfulness scripts and youtube videos from Nancy. If you have not already built this into your day in several spots, I encourage you to do so.

Calming Spaces

Our building TSS team met on Tuesday to do some planning for the upcoming months. One of the pieces that was put on our action plan early in the year was a chance to visit classrooms to see calming spaces and cross-germinate ideas about how calming spaces are set up and used. You do not need to have a calming space if your students do not need it (perhaps you have something else that works really well). At the same time, we often underestimate how much our students do need a spot that anyone can use when needed. This is a "heads up" that at some point on 1/31, we will divide up and have a chance to visit classrooms to talk TSS, calming spaces, and how that plays out at a classroom level.

Looking ahead

Wed, Jan 22 - Ann Newman science office hours from 2:00-3:00 in Jaime's office

Thurs, Jan 23 - busy day!

• Ann Newman science office hours from 7:45-8:30 in the library

• Kindness Week kickoff assembly at 9:50 in the gym

• McTeacher night 4:30-7:00

Fri, Jan 24 - 11:45 student dismissal, Records Day afternoon for teachers

Wed, Jan 29 - Staff Meeting (math) 7:15-8:15 in the library

Wed, Jan 29 - Chris, Jaime, and Kasia to TSS event in Pewaukee

Fri, Jan 31 - PD Day - no students

Structural Items

MAP Testing - Spreadsheet - Please do any make-up testing on your own or with your team whenever possible. If there are students that are going to need significantly more time, please let me know and we will figure out a plan. I would like all testing complete by Friday, Jan 24.

Link to this week's family newsletter

Personal Day Blackouts - here is a link to blackout days for elementary personal days.