Monday Memo


From the Principal.......

Greetings from Atlanta....where we are attending the 71st Annual ASCD conference.

I will say ahead of time, this Monday Memo is a little long and detailed, but well worth your time and effort in reading it. Please encourage your team and discuss the contents and what it might mean for you.

This conference has always been inspiring yet exhausting at the same time. The most meaningful part to me is meeting, networking, and learning from other educators just like you and me. Most sessions are presented by current educators who are doing the same work that we doing! Working in high-poverty schools, with low resources, doing the what others say can't be done. The stories and experiences are incredible. Hearing how teachers solve problems that each of us face. It's amazing to be among thousands of educators who have things to learn from each other. Another benefit to this conference is that it's almost always in March/April...which means it's a great time for me as instructional leader to reflect on the success and challenges of this school year, and begin to formulate a revision or expansion of our school wide goals and direction. Thus, the reason I enjoy having teacher-leaders here for the experience and to be a voice of what works and what doesn't in our school. It's always exciting to see them in the exhibit hall and asking..."Mrs. Schroeder, can we get this? Can we have money for that?" It's a lot like taking your children to the mall!! While we are hear (as with every PD trip), I try to find a few fun activities to do together to just foster the relationships and enjoy the time as colleagues. Simply said, It's about relationships. I've learned a lot from Miss. Meece, Mrs. Blakley and Mrs. Price this weekend. I leave here with a feeling that our goal was accomplished that we will bring back great things to share with you all.

The remainder of this Monday Memo, focuses on two instructional focus points and reflective comments from the ASCD Conference. The two instructional focus points are Balanced Literacy with Guided Reading, and Daily 5. As we progress into the next school year, you will begin hearing about the new curriculum direction that OKCPS is moving to for Literacy. While the adoption has not yet been announced, there is a clear and compelling theme of moving away from basal reading series to a balanced literacy approach using small-group , guided reading both authentic and explicit instruction. If this is not familiar to you, I am providing some basic information below. I highly encourage each teacher to spend some time researching and learning about this approach. Your own learning and research will greatly benefit your learning curve when we begin to have literacy coaches working with us next year.

We will have a minimum of 2 days a week that instructional coach will work with our staff . This was already planned from the district, however your response to our survey indicated more than 80% of you want PD in Reading and Math. Research tells us that the most effective form of professional development is direct, job-embedded coaching and mentoring. We are fortunate to have this option available to us.

ASCD Conference Reflections.

By Nycole Blakley

I enjoyed my first and last sessions the most. My last session was a blast: Engaging Kids Isn't All Fun and Games-Or Is It? I learned the importance of making sure our students move from Pre-K through 12th grade and how easily you can incorporate it while you are teaching. It can be done quickly and easily and keep them on task. I think we as teachers forget that active engagement is the root of brain growth and we tend to keep our students quiet and working far too long. I cannot wait to share a few of the tricks I have learned.

By Carrie Price

I really enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues. I gained valuable insights from all my sessions. Infusing rigor into my interactive journals, gathering community partners, creating equity for all learners,("Everyone having a shoe is equality, everyone having a shoe that fits is equity." Alan Blankstein), getting a fresh start on PLCs, and a super cool class on art & engineering were just small part of my wonderful conference!

By Elizabeth Meece

My meaningful moment at ASCD was when I was able to learn how to take my PLC to the next level. I feel that my team does a great job on the collaboration element but needed more of the student accountability. I was able to take away new nuggets of information on how to do that.

The Components of Balanced Literacy
Leveled Bookroom: A Powerful Whole-School Resource

What is Guided Reading?

Guided reading is 'small-group reading instruction designed to provide differentiated teaching that supports students in developing reading proficiency'. The small group model allows children to be taught in a way that is intended to be more focused on their specific needs, accelerating their progress.

Guided Reading in the Primary Classroom The steps of a guided reading lesson, and how they encourage fluent, skilled readers

By Mary Kreul

If you work with kindergarten, first grade, or second grade children, you may be familiar with or just discovering "guided reading" as a strategy to help your students become good readers. Guided reading is one component of a four-block reading program, developed by Pat Cunningham and Dottie Hall, which consists of self-selected reading, shared reading, writing, and working with words.

Guided reading is one component of the shared reading block during which the teacher provides support for small, flexible groups of beginning readers. The teacher helps students learn to use reading strategies, such as context clues, letter and sound knowledge, and syntax or word structure, as they read a text or book that is unfamiliar to them. The goal of guided reading is for students to use these strategies independently on their way to becoming fluent, skilled readers.

The steps of a guided reading lesson will vary according to the needs of the students in the flexible group. As teachers become more comfortable planning and leading guided reading lessons, they will also become more skilled in structuring the lesson to best meet those students' needs.

Flexible groupings are based on student abilities and needs. There are various ways to determine a child's ability level, such as running records, print tests, and teacher observations. Since students progress at different levels, the teacher will need to have a plan for ongoing observation and assessment to track student growth, select appropriate texts, and to regroup students as their needs change. Again, teacher observations and running records can provide valuable information.

Sources for Further Information on Guided Reading

Flexible Grouping in Reading by Michael Opitz. Scholastic Professional Books, 1998.

Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Heinemann Publishers, 1996.

What is Daily Five?

The Daily 5™ is more than a management system or a curriculum framework – it is a structure that will help students develop the daily habits of reading, writing and working with peers that will lead to a lifetime of independent literacy.

The Daily 5is a framework for structuring literacy time so students develop lifelong habits of reading, writing, and working independently.

The second edition was released in spring 2014.

How does it work?

Students select from five authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring. These choices include

  • Read to Self,
  • Work on Writing,
  • Read to Someone,
  • Listen to Reading, and
  • Word Work.

Teachers tell us their Daily 5 classrooms produce productive, highly engaged students who are developing a true love of literacy.

The benefits of The Daily 5 for teachers and schools include the following:

  • students develop independence, stamina, and accountability;
  • less time consumed by classroom management leaves more for instruction;
  • the framework adapts flawlessly to district-adopted curriculums and state mandates;
  • improves schoolwide literacy achievement; and
  • behaviors of independence transfer to other content areas.

April Birthday's

Melissa Smith 4/3

Elizabeth Meece 4/3

Maria Urena 4/17

Laura Barrial Perea 4/28

Upcoming Dates

  • April 5 PLC's & Faculty Meeting (All Staff first 30 minutes. Test Administration Training last 30 minutes 3-6th , ELL, & Special Education)
  • April 6th 3rd Quarter Awards Assembly
  • April 11-April 21 OCCT Testing
  • April 18th Field Trip Submission Deadline April 18th (Details to announced)
  • April 18th Sonic Card Fundraiser Kick-off April 18th (Details to announced)