Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Good Monday morning, Cordata!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and that those of you who celebrated your mothers, or celebrated being a mom, had a wonderful (and relaxing) day!

As we look ahead to the end of the year, I want to extend a few thank-you's to people who have stepped up to help with some of our end of year celebrations. Emily is taking the lead on Teachers Theater, Randy has agreed to create our end-of-year slide show, Caroline will be working with some volunteers from Cornwall Church to plan our Field Day, and Graham and Linda will be planning the 5th grade festivities! Thank you to all of you!

Team, if you'd like to help with one or more of these special events, I'm sure that the people above would appreciate your help!

Below, a glimpse into what's happening around Cordata... Clockwise from top left

  • 4th graders sharing their research into the way our federal government functions
  • Staff feeling loved and appreciated! :-)
  • Movement with the maze (give it a try this spring! It can be available for whole classes!)
  • 4th grade authors trying new strategies for character development
  • . . . and sometimes, learning can be really exhausting! Time for a nap in kindergarten!

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The week ahead - 5/13 - 5/17

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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: use strategies to engage all students during a whole-group mini-lesson

Imagine a mini-lesson. The teacher asks a question, and a handful of hands go up. One student is called on and provides a thoughtful answer to the teacher's questions.

What is happening in the minds of all of the other students in the room? Are they engaged? Or have their minds wandered off to something else?

Think strategically about how to engage everyone in the thinking. A few ideas…

  • pre-teach the skills for meaningful turn and talks, then use them frequently. After a turn and talk, rather than calling on volunteers to share out, you share one or two things that you heard pairs discussing. This keeps the pace moving quickly, and avoids the one-student-sharing-and-engaged problem.
  • Invite students to repeat important vocabulary or phrases aloud chorally. "Say that with me..."
  • When you are referring to an anchor chart, or previous work that is posted in the room, rather than pointing across the room, move it near so that you can physically touch the important reference point. Have students point to the relevant part, or say a phrase from the chart chorally, to direct everyone's attention there.
  • Use TPR (Total Physical Response) to help reinforce vocabulary. All kids make the motion to solidify the mearning of the word.
  • Use whiteboards, or clipboards, to give everyone a chance to jot a thought, or practice a skill, rather than only the student who comes up to the board.
  • Ask students to visualize, whisper an answer or idea, write a number/letter/word with their finger on the carpet or in the air.

What other strategies do you use to ensure that all kids are engaging in thinking about your learning target during whole group instruction?

Upcoming Dates

  • 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 28-30 - Cindy Corzine supporting PA assessments in primary
  • 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
  • May 30 - Teachers Theater stories due to Emily!!
  • 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 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

  • The DESSA assessment window opens today and will remain open through 5/27. This spring, all general ed teachers should complete the DESSA mini on all students, as this provides our post-assessment data. No one is required to do the DESSA full, but you may do so if you feel it would be helpful for next year's teacher. See Carissa's email for more details.

  • At tonight's PTA meeting, we will be discussing several important things: the proposed attendance area boundary changes, and the future of Cordata's PTA. Our current PTA board members have been unable to identify new officers for next year's PTA and are exploring other ways to engage parents in support of Cordata with the help of the Foundation and other community partners. This is not unique to Cordata, other PTA's are exploring similar possibilities, so we are learning from one another. Please consider joining us - the PTA has worked very hard this year and appreciates your partnership and support!

  • The Kindergarten Open House is taking place this Thursday from 4:00-6:00 pm. This is a great opportunity for children and families to begin to get to know their new school home, and for our K teachers and team to begin to get to know our newest learners. If you're available to support the K team during this time, please let them know! We are looking for a few people to provide tours, etc.

In closing . . .

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In closing today, just one snapshot. A sideways snapshot of one slide in a presentation by Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. I'm sure you can see why it caught my attention, as we come to the final weeks of a year of inquiring into inquiry. I especially love that last bullet point, and its connection to a Growth Mindset. In this way, inquiry really can be a great equalizer, and provide our students with experiences that will capture their curiosity, ignite their drive to learn, and develop their skills as independent learners!