The Roundup

A gathering space for educators

January 2019

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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.

January is a month where we have the opportunity to recenter and refocus ourselves for a new year. In this same month, we have the opportunity to honor and reflect on one of the greatest civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. It was Dr. King who taught our nation to believe in all people, regardless of the color of their skin. Public education is rooted in this belief and has broadened this to promise access to quality education for all students, independent of socioeconomic status, trauma, disabilities, race, ethnicity, or religion. In order to support teachers and administrators in this work, our instructional services department is striving to improve it’s offerings and consultation and coaching services. Our recentering and refocusing for this year will be around this important endeavor.

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MTSS Connections

For Cohort A, “Day 3” MTSS leadership teams will learn how simple it can be to create assessments using their current resources and assessments. It is imperative that we find natural places for this work to fit in. The easier it is to do the work, the more likely it is to be implemented!

The Day 3 professional learning also includes a stronger focus on behavior. There are two types of misbehaviors that students can exhibit and it is important to know the difference! These are ACADEMIC misbehaviors as well as SOCIAL misbehaviors.

What is the difference??

Academic Misbehaviors:

  • Not paying attention

  • Not completing assignments

  • Missing class

  • Poor study habits

  • Poor attendance

Social Misbehaviors:

  • Acting out

  • Using inappropriate language

  • Engaging in physical confrontations.

For those students who are exhibiting ACADEMIC misbehaviors, educators might consider the following:

Time Management Teach students time management including: planning, allocating time for tasks, setting goals, monitoring, organizing, scheduling and prioritizing.

Organization Students are more successful when their desks, paper assignments, and binders are carefully organized.

Note Taking Students are more successful when they understand HOW to take notes, both in terms of determining what to note and how to structure notes.

Goal Setting Students are more successful when they can set long-term goals and understand how to set short-term goals that will lead to achieving long term goals.

Self-Motivation Students are more successful when they are consistently and highly engaged--that is, when they are intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation does not come from grades, but rather form the pleasure of working on a task or the sense of satisfaction in completing it.

Simplifying Response to Intervention: The Four Guiding Principles (Mattos, Buffum, Weber) 2012

MTSS Facilitator for VBISD

Cheryl-Marie A. Manson - 269-330-2668


Celebrating Diversity

Celebrating diversity is a focus and core belief of educators and the best way to make our students feel celebrated is through access to books.

Essential Instructional Practice #8 highlights our work as we move into 2019. As we explore and understand more about model classroom libraries we want to ensure our text selections are "windows and mirrors" and represent not only the students in our classrooms, but also students across the world. Research states that when we give this type of access in our classrooms it is a significantly positive predictor of grade comprehension scores (Hoffman, et. al, 2004). Learn more about the research and practice in this video.

The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature just released their Best Books of 2018 list! This website can give you more ideas on how to expand your libraries and ensure that students have access to books that continues to deepen their engagement with culturally rich text.

Here is another great list of 50 Multicultural books all children should read!

Redwood Elementary Celebrations

At Redwood Elementary in Hartford, ESL teacher Stephanie Hallgren ensures that students see themselves in text. A group of students were given free books after taking the WIDA.

Photo 1: Students at Redwood Elementary proudly display their books!

Photo 2: This student is enjoying her book in a cozy reading corner.

Thank you to Literacy Coach, Susan McLemore for sharing these photos with us!

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These resources will support your work in the following Essential Instructional Practices:

  • Essential #1: Deliberate, research-informed efforts to foster literacy motivation and engagement within and across lessons.

  • Essential #8: Abundant reading material and reading opportunities in the classroom.

Literacy Learning Opportunities

Responsive Teaching Institute

The 2018-19 institute focuses in on applying culturally relevant pedagogy across content areas. Participants will also examine how the integration of content areas can further engage students in the learning.
When: January 17, March 14, and May 2

Where: Eastern Michigan University

Cost: $35 for out of Washtenaw County

Registration Link

West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium

The Reading Now Network is proud to welcome Donalyn Miller and Colby Sharp for our Third Annual Reading Now Network Symposium. We will spend the day exploring ways to foster literacy motivation and engagement in classrooms, schools and communities.

When: March 5, 2019

Where: Western Michigan University

Cost: $75 --Breakfast, lunch, SCECHs and the book Game Changer is included in the registration fee. See below for more details.

Registration Link

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VBISD's Early Literacy Coach/Consultants

Geanice Miller - 269-271-9813

Melissa Wierenga - 269-599-7259


GELN's Pre-K to 3rd grade "Math Essentials" (currently in draft)

The Early Math Task Force (EMTF) has been hard at work since the Fall of 2016 preparing for the release of an evidence-based mathematics instructional practice document. The intent of the document is not to define "when" or "what" content should be taught, but which instructional strategies yield greater student achievement in mathematical reasoning and understanding.

The document will serve as a tool for building shared understanding and expertise among Michigan's mathematics consultants, PK-3 teachers, and to support the work of coaches and administrators.

The EMTF membership has included: MASA, MDE, MAC, MACUL, MEMSPA, MAISA MLT, MSU, MSCN, MI AMT, U of M, ECAN, and MCTM. (sorry for all the acronyms!)

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The group is currently gathering external feedback and working through a structured review process in order to appropriately incorporate any final changes.

Keep an eye out this Spring for another update! Hopefully we'll be sending out a final version of the document :-)

Curriculum Coordinator

Ben Tomlinson - 269-330-1347


NGSx Training (Last Call)

Please share this with any teachers K-12 that teach science at some point in their day. This is an essential activity for teachers to understand the depth in which the NGSS has impacted teaching and learning in Michigan!

Monday, Jan 28, 2019

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019

Monday, Feb 11, 2019

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019

Please reach out if you have any questions...

Curriculum Coordinator

Ben Tomlinson - 269-330-1347


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Tool for Formative Assessments and Behavior Monitoring

ClassDojo is a tool that allows you to track student behaviors, achievements, etc. The user interface is quick to set up and implement, making it one of the more popular apps used in classrooms. Oh, and its FREE!

There are other tools that ClassDojo has layered on to their platform, like: family messaging, photo sharing, and other communication enhancements. However, we know that the use of Formative Assessment is one of the leading factors in improving student success rates.

For full details on the tool, visit...

Be Mindful:

Although ClassDojo can be set up and "live" in about the same time it takes to make a cup of coffee... That doesn't mean that it should be :-) Like everything we do, it takes time to think through the implications this might have in your classroom. Ask around to see how other teachers have used ClassDojo to serve their needs. You can always reach out to someone with an instructional background to support your thinking.

Here is an example of someone who did some thinking around ClassDojo.
Jennifer Gonzalez, author of The Cult of Pedagogy, has created the "Teacher's Guide to Tech". The resource is, as she claims, "A user-friendly Encyclopedia of Technology". There is a companion course that was designed to support teachers in their journey, called JumpStart. There is a cost associated with both the tool and also the course. Cost details can be found at the bottom of the website.

Curriculum Coordinator

Ben Tomlinson - 269-330-1347

Social Studies

PD Opportunities

Echoes & Reflections Holocaust Curriculum for Social Studies Teachers

Echoes & Reflections is dedicated to reshaping the way that teachers and students understand, process, and navigate the world through the events of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is more than a historical event; it’s part of the larger human story. Educating students about its significance is a great responsibility. We partner with educators to help them introduce students to the complex themes of the Holocaust and to understand its lasting effect on the world.

When: March 11, 2019

Where: Kalamazoo

Cost: FREE

More details can be found on this Flyer.

Registration Link

Social Studies Standards

As we patiently await the results from the Social Studies Taskforce, there are always things we can focus on to improve our instruction in Social Studies. Below is a link to the "College, Career, anc Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards" as well as an excerpt from the Introduction.
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Welcome back from break!

As students and staff return from a long and well-deserved Christmas break, schools will want to get everyone back into a consistent routine and set of expectations. There is no better time to revisit your schoolwide positive behavior expectations and lesson plans. Pull those lesson plans out and into the hands of instructors. Revert back to your teaching schedule or choose from the following ideas to get students and staff back to basics on behavior:

1) Use 5-7 minutes of circle or calendar time to review behavior expectations in your classroom.

2) Remind cafeteria staff to reinforce and remind students of cafeteria behaviors as students move through lunch lines.

3) Prompt teachers to step out into hallways, greet students and acknowledge them for demonstrating positive hallway expectations.

4) Use related arts teachers, instructional aides or behavior support specialists to pull tier 2 and tier 3 students and reteach common area lesson plans the first few weeks back from break.

5) Review one lesson plan each day during homeroom or flex periods.

6) Remind students and staff of common area expectations during morning announcements or by email to student accounts.

Whatever way you choose to revisit school-wide positive behavior expectations, remember pre-teaching and pre-correcting are successful interventions for students across multiple tiers. If we don't explicitly teach behavior expectations we cannot expect compliance.

Welcome back!

Tier 3 Behavior Resource

Looking for a way to systematically address the most difficult and challenging behaviors of our students? Searching for practical and proven strategies to get kids back on track and ready to learn? Check out The Behavior Code (and Behavior Code Companion) by Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport, MD.

Upcoming Trainings: Behavior

Initial CPI Training

Wednesday, Jan. 16th, 8:30am to Thursday, Jan. 17th, 3:30pm

490 South Paw Paw Street

Lawrence, MI

Click here for more information and/or to register for this event.

CPI Re-Certification

Friday, Jan. 25th, 8:30am-3:30pm

490 South Paw Paw Street

Lawrence, MI

Click here for more information and/or to register for this event.

FBA/PBSP: Making the Forms Work for You!

Wednesday, Feb. 27th, 8:15am-3:15pm

490 South Paw Paw Street

Lawrence, MI

Click here for more information and/or to register for this event.