What's up with the TLC program at WSR
Leader In Me
W-SR Earth Science Showcase
The Lexus Eco-Challenge is a nationwide competition in which high school student teams attempt to have a positive impact on the ecological health of the planet by creating practical solutions to environmental issues related to land, water, air, and climate. This challenge engages students in content learning, skill building, teamwork, and project based learning, as they identify environmental issues that affect their local community.
Over the course of November and early December, W-SR earth science students have been involved with learning about carbon reduction, global warming, climate change, air quality/pollution, greenhouse gases, and other topics. In teams of five or more students, they selected an environmentally appropriate topic to research, study, and develop an action plan in order to make a meaningful impact involving their topic.
Project topics include:
The Hydro-Gen: Building a perfect carbonless community
Capturing Carbon: Inform citizens of the positive impact in capturing carbon
Team Bellus: comparing the use of carbon dioxide in beauty products made in factories and products locally and naturally made.
Driving carbon out of town? Increasing the awareness of energy efficient cars
WSRSE (Waverly Shell-Rock Solar Energy): we want to help reduce our school district’s carbon footprint through considering solar energy sources
Straight Outta da Box: we want to help people realize how much carbon they are promoting through eating heavily processed foods
“Car”bon: focused on reducing the emissions produced by human transportation
For more information regarding opportunities to engage authentic audiences and community partnerships, contact Chuck.
Accommodations in Infinite Campus
New Google Chrome Apps and Extensions
Two new apps have been proving useful for Chromebook users. The first, called Stay Focusd, controls access to websites. The student or teacher can lock the device into or out of sites or domains for a given time. The second app is Google Cast for Education. The app "casts" or displays the screen of one device to another, much like Airplay would cast to a projector. So if a teacher is displaying her device on the projector, a student could cast to the teacher to display the student's device. A teacher could also cast from a Chromebook to the PC that is projecting, allowing the teacher some greater mobility. Talk to Jeff if you would like more information.
The Evolution of Genius Hour at W-SR Middle School
"Genius Hour is learning by doing. Genius hour is learning through mistakes. Genius Hour is learning through experience." ~Teacher Quote
"I like that I can teach myself and I really like the variety." ~Student Quote
"...it's been a great productive struggle. I've seen a lot of improvement in the quality of the products as they continue to improve their skills." ~Teacher Quote
For more information about Genius Hour at W-SR Middle School, contact Chuck.
Brag Tags are a source of excitement and pride in
Miss Bies’ classroom. Much like the Disney World system of lanyards and pins, Miss Bies has created necklace lanyards of which students receive and can earn tags. This positive reward system has worked very well in her classroom. Some examples of tags are “Welcome to Third Grade, Top Notch Behavior, Positive Peer, Stellar for the Sub, Rad Readers, Math Whiz and many more.”
During morning routine on a Monday using the class motto, “Be Responsible Be Respectful, and Be Awesome,” Isabelle and Jeremiah found out they had received the “Positive Peer” tags. The previous week, peers had recognized them as being the most positive. Isabelle and Jeremiah were very excited to be able to wear their lanyards with their new tags for the day! Whenever students receive a tag, they get to remove it from the “Brag Tag” wall and wear it around the school. I asked Isabelle and Jeremy about their lanyards. Isabelle excitedly exclaimed, “This makes me feel good!” Jeremiah then stated that his new tag made him, “feel kinda proud of myself!” Miss Bies makes sure she and her students are always watching for and exhibiting positive actions in and out of the classroom.
Empowering Teachers Through Curriculum
Our teachers have been working very hard to implement a new writing curriculum into their classrooms. They have been highly impressed with the new third and fourth grade writing curriculum called Being a Writer. In this curriculum, teachers lead a modeled approach to writing that enables students to listen to and analyze quality writing while developing genuine writing voices and a love of writing. Being a Writer begins with a mentor text exhibiting one or more genre writing traits, allows for student collaboration and conversation, proceeds to quick writes, and includes individual writing time, teacher conferencing, and sharing of writing with peers. Students are involved in prewriting, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing during the course of the writing unit. As we have been in classrooms around the district, we have been so impressed with the high levels of writing.
Kindergarten Book Recommendations Using SeeSaw
Mrs. Sara Nuss’ kindergarten class was introduced to SeeSaw this month. SeeSaw is a digital portfolio for students to independently document their learning and share with the outside world. These kindergarten students are using SeeSaw to take a picture of a book and record themselves talk about why they like the book. Then during snack time the students will listen as a whole class to a book recommendation from their classmates. This has helped provide high-interest for students during Individualized Daily Reading (IDR) time. Many times Mrs. Nuss is working with small groups of students during IDR time, so keeping kindergarten highly engaged and learning independent is a win for everyone in the classroom.
Photo: Student from Mrs. Nuss’ class.
SIPPS in Elementary
SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) is a systematic decoding curriculum to help struggling readers. SIPPS is a program from the Center for Collaborative Classroom. The Center for Collaborative Classroom also has other programs used in our elementary classrooms: Making Meaning, Being a Writer, and Being a Reader. In our school district some classroom teachers, Title I Reading teachers, and special education teachers began using SIPPS last year. They have been pleased with the differences in their struggling readers, so they are continuing with this intervention. We have also started implementing SIPPS in some new classrooms at the elementary level this year.
SIPPS is powerful as an intervention because it closely supports the Being a Reader curriculum that all of our K-2 elementary teachers are using. SIPPS allows for struggling readers to get additional intensive, systematic instruction on the same concepts and in the same format as they are receiving during their differentiated core instruction. It is providing additional practice with multiple foundational skills that are at the right level for students. It helps builds students’ confidence as they begin reading more and develop
that love for reading.
Photo: From SIPPS website.
Small Group Reading
Our K-2 teachers have been working extremely hard this year on their small group reading instruction. We believe in the power of giving students differentiated instruction at their level. Along with this instruction involves creating a classroom environment where students are also able to perform independent learning tasks that also match their level. As a group a document has been shared of practices that are occurring throughout the district to support this independent work. We know that there are amazing things happening in every classroom and that we can learn from each other! The K-2 teachers are reflecting themselves and with their building teams about:
Are students given independent activities that focus on the literacy skills each student needs?
Are the activities at a student’s instructional level (not too easy or too hard)?
Will the skills be connected and reinforced in other lessons?
Do students have enough requisite knowledge and skills to complete activities individually?
Remember to thank your other teachers for the hard work, so the right work of differentiation happens in their classrooms.
High School PE Department
Interestingly, teachers found that students were reluctant to put on paper what their strengths were, and then noticed students telling each other what they saw in each other, which prompted students to take the step to write down one's strengths. The final part of the activity when students brainstormed ways to overcome obstacles instigated a great conversation helping students realize that they are not alone, and that all students have to work through many difficult barriers on a daily basis to succeed.
Teachers involved in this work include: Mr. Ruebel, Mrs. Dawson, Mr. Chaplin, Mrs. Davis, and Mr. Caldwell.
Facilitating obstacle activity with students.
Responses from students on the obstacles/hurdles/disabilities that students deal with.
Students responded with strategies for working through the more difficult things in life as a student.