Curriculum Matters!

...but not nearly as much as good teaching!

-September of 2019-

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Celebrating the ARTS: Art Class at Van Duyn Elementary & South Vermillion Middle School


Collecting and preserving the artwork children bring home from school can be a pretty big task! This SV mom has incorporated her child's artwork into her office decor! Her appreciation for the art curriculum in our schools was spotted on facebook this month! And we love it!

Celebrating the Arts: Family & Consumer Arts Class at SVMS


How sweet is it when our students WANT to try new things at home that they have learned in school!? The value of the Family & Consumer Science (FACS) class at SVMS cannot be measured....unlike the ingredients in Trevor's batch of cookies! We are so glad to see this real-life application of learning! Thanks for sharing these pictures!

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Expeditionary Learning (EL) Education: Our New K-8 Reading Curriculum


Teachers are finding a groove amidst the growing pains with the new reading curriculum. New classroom routines, new teaching procedures, and new learning experiences for students have created a balancing act of discomfort and collegiality among our teachers. Some teachers have found it helpful to connect with educators outside of South Vermillion who are seeing success in student achievement as a result of the EL Education reading curriculum. Others are enjoying the opportunity to network with other grade level teachers within our corporation. We afforded our K-2 teachers a small segment of time to network during our September PD held at SVMS. Feedback from this has shown our K-2 teachers appreciated this time to share their progress and concerns. Time is being planned for teachers in grades 3-5 and middle school ELA to have a similar opportunity for grade level planning.

One key to the success of this first year with EL Education will be understanding the importance of backward design planning which simply means beginning with the end in mind. By looking ahead at the desired results of a given lesson, unit, or module (step 1), teachers can more easily define the acceptable evidence that demonstrates student learning, also known as the assessments and performance tasks (step 2). Finally, teachers can plan learning experiences and instruction once the results and performance paths have been identified (step 3).

Another key to the success of this new reading curriculum is school-to-home communication. With any new classroom procedures, keeping parents informed of the what and why will be key to student success. Parents are already recognizing differences in student homework procedures, the kinds and frequency of learning tasks being graded, and a change in the general discussion with their children of what reading lessons are like this year. By keeping the parents of our students up-to-date on what their children are learning at school, we can position ourselves in the most impactful ways to support parents in school involvement.

At the request of principals, grade level documents are being created that showcase what types of performance tasks and assessments are being used in each lesson, unit, and module of the reading curriculum. This will allow for increased communication among schools, provide teachers opportunities to share their ideas and resources, and promote clarity in evaluating student progress in meeting grade level reading standards.

The 3 Stages of Backward Design

from the Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework

September's Mentor Program Meeting


Our Mentor Program continues to meet the needs of our teachers who are new to the profession and new to South Vermillion. Our program coordinator Cheryl Crockett is hosting the September meeting in Mrs. Payton's room at Ernie Pyle. This month's discussion topics will include celebrating successes since the August meeting, understanding the teacher evaluation competencies, and scaffolding lessons to increase student engagement. The needs of new teachers are unique, and our mentor program provides a personalized setting for building scaffolds of support that seek to draw and keep good teachers in our corporation.

Fall Testing is Complete: NWEA's MAP Growth Tests in Reading and Math


Students in grades K-10+ have completed the fall assessments of NWEA's MAP Growth in Reading and Math. Teachers will share reports with parents in the coming weeks and use the data to set goals for projected growth this school year. The MAP Growth Tests are administered again in the winter and spring. See the MAP Growth Guide for Parents below for more information on what families can learn from these formative assessments.

Digital Citizenship Week


Students tackled the big questions during Digital Citizenship Week! Topics from internet safety, media balance, and media literacy gave students the opportunity to demonstrate their good citizenship in the digi-sphere. This is a critical component in the development of 21st century learners! We are confident that our South Vermillion students are getting valuable exposure to what it takes to be a good citizen while online. At SVMS, students (pictured below) spent time studying HTML and learning the proper ways to give credit in website design using Wikimedia Commons to search images.

At South Vermillion, is our mission to provide academic and social experiences that nurture the potential of all students to be productive, creative, and moral citizens.
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