William Adams Middle School

September 6, 2015

Faculty Meeting on Wednesday

We will have a faculty meeting this Wednesday, Sept. 9th. after school. Please plan to attend.

Let's Grow Some Dendrites!

Many of you have had an administrator pop into your room on occasion, and we are very excited about the good things we are seeing. We will continue to do this all year as we work together everyday to provide our students with the best possible education that we can. We are looking for specific things that we call individually a "Must Do."

• Three-Part Objective (TPO) for every lesson
• Small group instruction.
• Cooperative learning activities (Face partners, shoulder partners, Stand Up-Hand Up-Pair
Up, etc.)
• Implementation of High Yield strategies (watch for more on these in your mailbox)

Keep in mind the various learning styles and incorporate activities to address these so that we can maximize the learning of all students.

The Teacher's Desk

Suggestions for instructional strategies will appear here each week. It is possible that you already implement many of these strategies. If not, you are encouraged to do so. You may find them particularly helpful in those afternoon classes where students can't seem to focus on the lesson and are distracted to the point of misbehavior. Give them a try!


Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”

We know that as teachers, we ask a ton of questions, but have we stopped to consider how many of them may be at the very lowest level of Bloom's Taxonomy? How many are simply recall of facts? Now there is nothing wrong, per se, with asking recall questions to ease into the lesson and to make the students feel more comfortable with the content, but as the lesson progresses, so should the complexity of the questions.

Additionally, when asking questions, how often do we ask the entire class and then allow students to blurt out an answer? Or how often do we call on only students who raise their hand to answer?

Why not try something like the following:

Say to the students, "I'm going to ask you a question but I don't want any one to answer aloud. I am going to give you some time to think first." Then ask the question, wait at least 5 seconds and then call on a student to answer. This does not let any student off the hook. Everyone will know that they need to pay attention because they may be called upon to answer.

Practice randomization when you call on students. You can use popsicle sticks with student names on them, index cards with student names, or a randomizer app on your smart phone.

Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors?

"Frequently, the question is asked, "Why should I have to teach kids to be good? They already know what they are supposed to do. Why can I not just expect good behavior?" In the infamous words of a TV personality, "How is that working out for you?"

In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student's educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm." (pbis.org/school)

Thank you for approaching student discipline from a proactive perspective. We, your administrative team, appreciate your efforts to redirect students in ways that will hopefully prevent their choices from resulting in any type of discipline referral.

We are off to a FANTASTIC start!

Last week some of you may have had a classroom visit by Dr. Grace Everett, our superintendent, or by Velma SolizGarcia, our assistant superintendent. They reported that they were very pleased with what they saw happening in the classrooms.

I wanted to be sure to share their sentiments with you. I know that Ms. Cavazos, Mrs. Ramirez, and I are also pleased with what we have been seeing. We will continue to be in and out of classrooms almost every day; it is a pleasure to see such good teaching happening.
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Meet the teachers was a huge success! Thank you for being here and greeting your students' parents. I know they appreciate the opportunity to meet you.

Required Trainings

Please be sure to go online to complete the food allergy training (http://allergyready.com/). Remember that you will have to register in order to take the quiz and print your certificate. Deadline for the food allergy training is September 30th.
The other training is Recognition of Maltreatment of Children and Child Abuse Reporting Training (http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Training/Reporting/default.asp) OR the longer 2 hour training for credit hours at www.D2L.org/TXEd. Deadline for this training is December 31st.

We Want YOU!

We are looking for anyone who may be interested in sponsoring Yearbook and Destination Imagination (DI). There is a stipend for both. If interested, please see Dr. Holmgreen.
Student Centered Classroom

Check out this article from Edutopia about student centered classrooms.

Yote Cash

Please take a moment each class period to reward those students who are doing well, who exhibit good manners and behavior, etc., by giving them Yote Cash. We want to encourage them to keep making those good choices.

Thanks for all you do!