NWE Game Plan!

News You Can Use!

Friday, February 19, 2016 [Volume 1, Issue 11]

*We are diving back into the focus of Academic Language this week! Check your email!

*Please read over our Read Across America school plan! Check your email!

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Upcoming Events! Please mark your calendar & also check the school-wide online calendar frequently:


26 - Northwoods Spelling Bee @ 1:00 in MPB
29 - Mar. 4 - Read Across America Activities

News from your Literacy Coach

Academic Language and Vocabulary!

Mini-Lessons and explicit instruction of these terms are needed in all grades! Immersing students in the formal language should be a part of our daily instruction, orally and in written format. Creating anchor charts as part of a print rich classroom has so many benefits for our students!
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Fun & Engaging!

March Madness anyone? Not only would this be a fun and engaging activity for your students and you, but there will be tons of student buy in and input. Which in return will lead to multiple teachable moments in our reading instruction!
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Independent Reading!

How do you and your students organize their independent book boxes or bags? Do you do it for them? Is there student choices? Do you have a schedule or procedure in place. Have a mini-lesson about this with your students and create a visual for students to refer back to.
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News from your Digital Learning and Teaching Facilitator

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4 C's in Education and How They Apply to Technology at NWES

We are the school of technology. This is something that does not have to change, even with all the other schools adding on new technology to their repetoire. But we have to make sure our Teachers and Students are using the 4C's of education to the 100th degree to make this a reality. Today's students are moving beyond the basics and embracing the 4 C's - super skills for the 21st Century and our teachers must do the same thing. Our students should be using technology to communicate, collaborate, create and solve problems using critical thinking skills.

What are the 4 C's?

Communication - Sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions.

Collaboration - Working together to reach a goal - putting talent, expertise, and smarts to work.

Critical Thinking - Looking at problems in a new way, linking learning across subjects and disciplines.

Creativity - Trying new approches to get things done equals innovation and invention.

In September, 28 of Northwoods Elementary teachers and administrators took the BrightBytes survey, along with our 3rd through 5th grade students. One of the areas that the survey looked at was the use of the 4 C's in relation to technology. This is very important information - especially for the school of technology.

Areas that we should pat ourselves on the back are:

  • 41% of our teachers ask students to use an online space for documents. It should be noted that I expect this to go up significantly with the results of the next survey. We have implemented the use of OneDrive and the rate of students using this for online storage is growing!
  • 83% of our teachers have students use the computer on a daily basis, although 13% of our teachers say their students only get on the computer once a week. An astonishing 4% of our teachers say their students only get on the computer once a month! Here at Northwoods, the goal for our students is to be using the 1 to 1 computer devices for critical thinking, creating things, collaborating with others and communicating with others on a daily basis!

Some of the areas, that I saw we needed improvement on were:

  • 52% of our teachers never ask our students to write online. We have many tools available to our students like Office 365 and Discovery Education Writing Prompt Builder that could be utilized to increase your student writing online.
  • Only 27% of our teachers ask their students to collaborate with each other online. With the introduction of Office 365, students have the ability to collaborate and create together in programs like OneNote, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word...all online!!!
  • 86% of our teachers never ask their students to get feedback from someone other than themselves. Again with Office 365, it is simple for students to work together and receive peer feedback!

Here is a link to the Teacher Results pertaining to what 28 of our teachers and administrators answered about the 4 C's here at NWES. This document includes our percentages and feedback as to why each of these were important. I hope you take the time to look at the questions, and see where you as an educator can improve. We rated a proficient which is smack dab in the middle or average. Here at NWES, we need to strive to be advanced or even better exemplary!

As educators, we are determined to help all students reach their full potential. This is no small challenge, and it is our responsibility to prepare our young people for the unique demands of a 21st century world. If we don't do it...who will?

News from your Instructional Coach

Start Coaching Through Concept-based Units and Projects

I had typed my message that I was going to put in this section of this article last week. Then I read the Instructional Friday Focus. Susanne Long said it so much more precisely than I did that I just had to borrow hers. Here is her article from the IFF. It matched what I wanted to say perfectly. The videos that follow show the kids in action!

Start Coaching Through Concept-based Units and Projects!

Concept-based units are units where students investigate the relationship among concepts in

order to understand larger generalizations and principles that transfer to new situations.

Learning starts with a question like, "What is the relationship between freedom and equality?"

Students read texts, watch videos, conduct experiments, etc. in order to develop theories and

defend them with evidence.

Project-based learning encourages kids to "gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended

period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or

challenge" and transfer conceptual understandings to novel situations.

Both approaches are student centered and emphasize the need for students to construct their

own knowledge with the support of their peers and the teacher. Both approaches lend

themselves to iteration. Both approaches allow for personalization. Choice and independent

thought are central components. Both approaches cast the teacher as the coach, whose job is to

support kids through a process of thinking!

Excerpt-Stern, Julie Harris. "Stop Teaching, Start Coaching." Education to Save the World. N.p., 02 Feb. 2016. Web. 07 Feb. 2016.

Copied from the Instructional Friday Focus 2/12/16


The PBLs you will see below are from Kindergarten and first grade classes. These are videos that show that even the youngest of our young learners are able to present. In the first video take notice of the one little guy who is not yet a proficient reader, but he presents with a buddy who helps him through the presentation. Enjoy!
Katherine Smith School Kindergarten Project Presentation
Elementary Projects from Worms to Wall Street
Brazil Project: Beginning the Journey

News from your EC Program Coach

Least Restrictive Environment

Students with special needs have access to a variety of service models. Students can be provided services in the regular setting (inclusion or minimal pull out), resource setting (40-79% of the school day), or separate (80% or more of the school day). In EC terms, these models are what we consider when we look at the least restrictive environment (or LRE) for a student.

According to NC 1500-2.21, LRE "means that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities shall be educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature of the disability is such that education in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily". There is a strong push, especially here in Onslow County, that students with special needs be in a regular classroom as much as possible in order to have the opportunity to be with their non-disabled peers during grade level instruction.

The amount of service time for EC students should be determined by their unique needs and IEP, not for the convenience of general ed teachers or administrators, the disability or program label (area of eligibility), or the allocation of funds. A student who is identified with a serious emotional disability or moderate intellectual deficit should not receive an automatic "life sentence" in the special education classroom because of their disability. All students with special needs should begin with the least amount of service time needed and then gradually increased if skills do not improve, but only after extensive interventions have been put in place. However, this does not mean that students with low cognitive abilities, because their academic skills are not on grade level, should receive all of their instruction in the EC classroom. All EC students have the right to participate in the general education setting with their non-disabled peers, as much as possible.

Special Education - LRE

Truth and Laughs for the week!