Cordata Weekly Bulletin
Good Monday morning, Cordata!
Our Firm and Kind Committee met last week for a final time. Watch for an email to come your way this week with some information about the next steps we will be taking for Tier 1 (ALL students), Tier 2 (small groups of students), and Tier 3 (individual students with high needs). There will be opportunities for some new people to step in and help make these next steps happen.
One thing we know for sure: clear expectations and interventions are essential, AND they must exist within a positive culture that supports all students in developing a sense of belonging and significance at school. High affection with high expectations!
Below, a few snapshots of learning and community from the past week:
- 2nd graders enjoy learning about chemistry from WWU professors and students
- 5th grade VIP lunch
- 5th graders help a friend put the finishing touches on his genius hour project - one of our bilingual students is teaching his peers about the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet!
- 3rd graders hone their understanding of equivalent fractions with a work place game
The week ahead - 4/29 - 5/3
The SEL Calendar, from now through the end of the year, focuses on continuing your class meetings, solving problems as they arise. Those of you using Caring School Communities as your key resource should continue to pull from the Topic Weeks to guide your SEL instruction.
Management strategy to consider: Breakfast Routines
The routines in the first 15 minutes of your day can set the stage for the rest of your day. Think about those first 15 minutes from a student's perspective. Are the routines clear? Is the tone calm and orderly? Do the students move through the routines efficiently, and in a way that prepares them for learning?
A couple of examples of smooth routines that I see:
- A very quick morning meeting before breakfast gives everyone a chance to connect and start their day calmly.
- Breakfast alongside clear academic choices (like reading, discussing a question posted on the white board, solving a math problem on a mini-whiteboard) ensure that we don't lose instructional time to a long breakfast routine, and kids transtion quickly from breakfast to academic engagement.
- Defined student jobs for distributing breakfast, or cleaning up after breakfast, help students develop a sense of belonging.
- If you know that your students have challenges at lunch time, use breakfast as a time to teach into those challenges.
There are many other routines you may have in place, but I encourage you to watch your students during breakfast with an eye for tweaks and changes that will help you use this time to set up your day! Check with colleagues and find out what is working for them as well. While we know that breakfast is a support for our students, we also need to be conscious that it is part of our instructional day. It is never too late to adjust practices, and some of you are already thinking ahead to refinements for next year!
- May 2 - Penny Davis visiting - 1:00-2:00 behavior data meeting; 3:00-4:00 Tier 3 behavior meeting
- May 2 - 1:00-2:00 1st grade team meeting for class placement; 2:00-3:00 4th grade team meeting for class placement
- May 13 - DESSA window open through end of May
- May 16 - 4:00-6:00 pm - Kindergarten Open House
- May 21 - 2:45-4:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff)
- May 23 - 1:00-2:00 SGC - K and 4th grade meet separately to look at grade level data
May 23 - 2:00-3:00 SGC - K meets with 1st grade; 4th meets with 5th grade
May 23 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 3rd grade meets to look at grade level data
- May 24 - Bike Rodeo, grades 3, 4 and 5
- May 30 - 1:00-2:00 - SGC - 1st and 2nd grade meet separately to look at grade level data
May 30 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 1st meets with 2nd grade; 3rd meets with 4th grade
- June 7 - 5th grade track meet
- June 13 - 2:00-3:00 - SGC - 2nd meets with 3rd grade; 5th meets individually to look at grade level data
- June 14 - Teacher's Theater!
- June 19 - Field Day - this is tentatively being planned with the support of Cornwall Church volunteers . . . much more info to come. If you have ideas, send them to Analisa.
- June 20 - last day of school - morning assembly followed by all-school recess and yearbook signing
- June 13 - 2:00-3:00 - 2nd meets with 3rd grade; 5th meets individually to look at grade level data
- June 20 - Last day of school, and All Staff CELEBRATION at Dan's house! (Thanks, Dan, for hosting our crew for a potluck!)
Other News and Information
- On May 30, the regional cluster of schools engaged with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) is holding its Symposium. This is an opportunity for schools to share examples of their inquiry-based work with students. I have never attended this myself, but have heard from others that it is inspiring and informative. I would like to send a team from Cordata. Interested? Let Analisa know.
- As you know, we will have some spring assessments taking place in the upcoming weeks. This includes a final implementation of the DESSA. The assessment window will open up on May 13, so we have a few weeks, but I want to let you know what to expect. For this final window, we will assess all students using the DESSA mini, as we did in the fall. This is an important part of maintaining and evaluating our additional SEL support at Cordata.
In closing . . .
Brain breaks . . .
I think it's fair to say that in the spring, when excitement and wiggles set in, a few additional brain breaks can be really helpful.
This article has some great ideas for brain breaks - or opportunities for purposeful movement that get oxygen flowing. I love this quote from the beginning of the article, describing why brain breaks are particularly important for our language learners:
"For our English learners, this cognitive exhaustion may be compounded by the fact that they are not only learning a lot of new information, but also learning that information in a new language. All students, but perhaps English learners in particular, can benefit from "brain breaks," momentary pauses in learning to get refocused, motivated, and re-engaged in instruction."
Check out the article for a list of brain break and purposeful movement activities to build into your days this spring. It's a great example of how not only content, but our practices and routines can be culturally responsive.