Keowee's Friday Flash Forward

News from Your Assistant Principal, Rhonda Grant


Earlier this week we had 100+ students participate in this month's PBIS celebration, Computer Craze. To coincide with our quarterly STEAM focus, participants explored a variety of cool engineering sites. A BIG thank you to Christie Moore and her 5th grade technology students for bookmarking these sites prior to the celebration. Students were also able to play Angry Birds which was a perfect tie-in to our school-wide investigation on catapults! Thanks to Joe Rukat at the district for overriding the restriction for this purpose. The kids LOVED it!

Wednesday we had our annual Code Red drill in conjunction with the Oconee County Sheriff's Department. Kudos to Mrs. Ahern for promptly intercepting the "intruder." He commented, "I didn't even make it 2 feet into the school." Everyone did a great job, and didn't fall for the fire alarm trick. The deputies and district personnel were VERY complimentary of the way students and staff responded. Thanks for what you do every day to keep Keowee safe.

Yesterday, Keowee raised money and awareness for Leukemia, and displayed our support for our sister school, Westminster Elementary, by having an ORANGE OUT. Thanks to everyone who participated. A BIG thank you to Keri for being our photographer. And by the way, Coach Roberson and Mrs. Lowe look good in orange! LOL

Tomorrow is our annual KES Valentine Carnival! I always look forward to the carnival. It's amazing how many people turn out to support Keowee--former students and their families stop by, and community members volunteer their time. The Keowee community loves and takes pride in their school, and they come out in force to support. Our PTO officers work tirelessly to make each year's event bigger and better than the last, and I am so grateful for their dedication. Keowee is blessed to have the support of so many. I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow evening. It's going to be a fun night!

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Questions, an integral part of teaching and learning, are not all are created equal. A question requiring students to recall simple facts and figures is quite different from one promoting deep thinking. The level of thoughtfulness and engagement of students is a direct result of the type and manner of questions they are given to answer and the processes and opportunities provided to develop their own questions to ask. For most people, constructing fact-based questions comes naturally, but mediative questions, those that elicit thoughtful responses, are not so intuitive to design, but with planning, can be incredibly powerful.

3 Characteristics of Mediative Questions

  • Invitational: presented with an approachable tone of voice and word selection that express tentativeness and an invitation to think. Example – As you reflect on your group’s progress, what next steps might you take?
  • Intentional: posed with a purpose. An example to open a responder’s thinking, might be: “What ideas are you considering for your project?” To focus the thinking, an example might be – “How might you begin?” Starting a question with the stem of “What” or “How” increases “open-ness” and the likelihood a response will be something other than a yes/no response.
  • Engage specific cognitive operations: invite different levels of cognition as a tool for planning your classroom questions to ensure that students are being challenged to think rigorously about concepts.

Engage Students in Formulating Questions
According to South Carolina’s Science & Engineering Practices (SEPs) Support Guide for indicator - S.1A.1, Ask Questions, “Teachers of all grade levels should be creating an environment that increases curiosity as well as opportunities for students to brainstorm, share and answer thoughtful questions.” Use the SEPs Checklist for S.1A.1 Ask Questions. It provides a guide for what the teacher and students should be doing in order to ask thoughtful questions. Here are some ideas to get students involved:

  • Collaborate with students in developing a list of stems incorporating the different levels of cognition to guide their questioning.
  • Post stems visibly in the classroom.
  • Create Bounce Cards for students to have in their notebooks. (Check out the S2TEM Centers SC Disciplinary Literacy Strategy Warehouse to learn more about this and other resources.)
  • Create an interactive question board. Combine it with an approach such as the “skinny” (fact-based) vs “fat” (higher-order thinking) question strategy. Have students write questions related to the unit being studied and place them on the board in the “skinny” or “fat” section. Encourage students to answer each others questions and revise “skinny” questions, making them “fat.” The teacher may add their own questions to the board and model ways to revise student created questions. Interaction with the board can be directed by the teacher or self-directed by the students.
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Core Essentials Trait for February is...

COOPERATION--working together to do more than you can do alone

What is cooperation?
~a common effort
~working together for a common benefit
~team work
~form a common association
~to be compliant

According to good cooperation requires: Compromise, Listening, Sharing, Encouraging, Taking Turns, and Doing Your Part.

Below is a list of conversation starters to begin a discussion with your students about cooperation:
~What does the word cooperate mean to you?
~How does your family cooperate?
~What is fun about working in groups?
~What can be frustrating when working in groups?
~Tell about a time you cooperated with your friends.
~What is something you have to do to cooperate at school?
~Can you think of any examples of cooperation in nature?
~Alexander Graham Bell said, "Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds." What does that mean to you?
~When is it okay to be un-cooperative?

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Word of the Week...

The WOW for February 8-12 is stingy. On Friday, we will have two students from Mrs. Irvine's 1st grade class on the news to share their original sentences using the WOW.

John Collins FCAs for February

K Capitalization: beginning of sentence, proper noun, and "I" (mechanics)

1 Colorful adjectives (Style)

2 Use apostrophes in contractions (mechanics)

3 Use apostrophes with possessives (mechanics)

4 Use commas before coordinating conjunctions (mechanics)

5 Use commas with appositives, in direct address, and with "yes" and "no" (mechanics)


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What Questions Did You Ask Today?
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Saturday, February 6 Valentine Carnival

Tuesday, February 9 Yo-Go Spirit Day

Thursday, February 18 Early Release Day

Friday, February 19 PD Day

Monday, February 22 Weather Make-up Day

Thursday, February 25 SST @ 12:00

Friday, February 26 Spring Picture Day

Friday, February 26 PBIS Celebration "Movie & Popcorn" (details TBA)