Monday Memo

Feb. 1, 2016

From the Principal.....


I hope this Monday Memo finds you all well! The past week has been full of experiences and moments that I feel compelled to share with you and reflect on. My hope is that we connect on common ground when it comes to setting priorities, dealing with challenges, and creating a positive learning and working environment. In this memo, I reflect on some of my own take-aways from the HEAT Lesson Planning Orientation, I'll summarize some of my own professional reading, and give some nuggets of information gleaned about the OKCPS Great Commitment & Strategic Plan.

February Fun

This week we celebrate Groundhog Day. If you teach the primary grades, don't miss this engaging Groundhog story. February is FULL of observances, celebrations, and more. Start planning now to celebrate the 100th Day of School, Dental Health Month, The Super Bowl (and measurement), National Inventors' Day, Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day, Digital Learning Day, and Black History Month. Visit theClassroom Planning Calendar to find resources for events and observances throughout 2016.

This Saturday is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. This little-known event is the perfect "sweet" treat to make your February fabulous. Read more about the history of the holiday here.

Black History Month
Black History Month (February) is quickly approaching. Make sure you have the materials to help you teach this important topic, from historical figures (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks) and theCivil Rights Movement of the 1960's, toslavery and the Civil War, to racism, discrimination, and the Black Lives Mattermovement in America today.

Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: slavery & the Civil War,American History, U.S. Presidents,handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, the American Revolution, and theenvironment. Enjoy!

Coding & Computer Science
Introduce your students to basic coding and computer science! Our Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Kids, Top 5 Free Coding Tools for Teens, and Hour of Code resources make a great introduction to the computer science skills all students will benefit from.

Classroom Management.....Bottom Line..

How To Speak So Students Listen

by Michael Linsin on January 23, 2016 16

It’s common for teachers to bemoan the state of listening in their classroom.

Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself.”

I say it over and over again, and they still don’t get it.”

It’s almost as if they’ve completely tuned me out.”

But rarely will they point to themselves as the reason.

Rarely will they look inward and analyze their own practice.

They assume that students either listen well or they don’t, and that they have little to do about it.

But the truth is, you have a profound effect on listening.

Consistency, temperament, likability, clarity, presentation skills, and even tidiness are all important factors.

But one of the most important factors is how you speak when giving directions. What follows are three simple changes that can make a big difference.

1. Talk less.

Most teachers talk too much. Their voice is a looping soundtrack to every day—reminding, warning, micromanaging, and guiding students through every this and that.

If you cut the amount of talking you do by a third, and focus only on what your students need to know, then what you say will have greater impact.

Your words will reach their intended destination, and your students will begin tuning you in rather than tuning you out.

2. Lower your voice.

It’s common to increase your volume to get students to listen better. But a loud voice is unpleasant and too easy to hear. It causes them to look away and busy themselves with other things.

When you lower your voice, however, and speak just loud enough for students in the back of the room to hear, they instinctively lean in. They stop moving and rustling.

They read your lips, facial expressions, and body language. By requiring a small amount of effort, your students will listen more intently.

3. Stop repeating.

When you repeat the same directions over and over, you train your students not to listen to you the first time. You encourage apathy and lighten their load of responsibility.

Saying it once creates urgency. It motivates action and causes students to stay locked in to the sound of your voice.

It also invests them in their learning. They begin to understand that education isn’t something that is done to them. Rather, it’s something they go out and get for themselves.

Stay The Course

If you’re struggling with listening, the above strategies will do wonders. At first, however, they may cause things to get worse.

Because your students have grown accustomed to you taking on the burden for their listening, they may very well ignore you.

They may become even slower to action.

This is normal. It tells you how far learned helplessness has taken root in your classroom. But once they feel the shift in responsibility from you to them, they’ll begin to change.

They’ll begin looking at you, tracking your movements, and anticipating what you want them to do next.

They’ll begin nodding their heads and eagerly completing your directions.

They’ll become empowered to do for themselves because responsibility feels good. It’s important. It fills with pride.

It makes good listeners.

How Do I Motivate My Students?

This is a question that seems to asked frequently. This Atomic Learning Training has been assigned to your cue on your AL account. After reviewing it this weekend, I think it will be helpful for most of us!

The HEAT is On......

Wow! The training on Saturday was excellent. As an exit ticket I asked each of you to send me a paragraph of your will this change your classroom from this point forward. I've really enjoyed reading your responses! One of the take-aways that hit home form me was establishing a blooms level for the week in which we would all focus our questions. This of course would require each of us to teach the Blooms taxonomy to your students (at their level) so that we all engage in propelling our own learning and level of engagement. I certainly thinks it's worth a try. So this week, lets get started.....put some action to our learning and do it.

February 1-5 Remembering/Understanding

February 8-12 Apply

February 15-19 Analyze

February 22-26 Evaluate

Feb. 29-March 4 Create

Special Education Primer Teachers Training.

This is the link to the Atomic Learning PD. It has also been assigned to your in your AL account.

OKCPS Great Commitment & Strategic Plan

This link will go directly to the link on the OKCPS website

Important Dates

  • February 2-5th Denim Week for Staff! )
  • February 4 and 5th Parent Teacher Conferences
  • February 11-12 Group and Spring Pictures
  • February 15 District PD Day -Apple PD at Arthur~ Reaching All Learners.
  • February 19 iArthur Technology Showcase
  • February 24 OCCT 5th Grade Writing Test
  • February 22-29 Common Assessments ( Atleast 1 Reading/ELA and 1 in Math)
Faculty Calendar


Valentines Day Resources and Activities

Reminder: Valentine's Day is a great day to celebrate friendship and learn more about the traditional holiday, however we are not having classroom parties.