Staff Memo

Jan. 24, 2015

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Falling in Love with Close Reading

We've not done much work with close reading yet. This is something we do need to explore further. Luckily, I was one of the lucky five elementary principals to have her name drawn out of a hat. On Feb. 4, I'll be attend Christopher Lehman and Kate Roberts' conference to learn more. Stay tuned.
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Progress Monitoring and Students of Concern

What exactly is progress monitoring? An article in Educational Leadership defines it this way: Student progress monitoring is a practice that helps teachers use student performance data to continually evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and make more informed instructional decisions.

This means you assess your student's current performance level based on skills s/he needs to learn that year. Next you predict what kind of progress the child will need to make in order to reach that year end goal.

Breakdown the learning into bite-sized pieces thinking about what the child will need first in order to move to the next bite-sized piece. You then measure the child's growth regularly -- meaning weekly or every two weeks using brief, formative assessments. These assessments might be something your Collab Team creates. It might be a running record including a comprehension check. It might be a checklist or set of math problems. The possibilities are endless.

You might grade it as simply as 2, 1, 0. Got it, sort of got it, still needs lots of help. How can your teaching decisions move that child from 0 to 2? Reflect upon other students who already 'got it.' What did you do to help them get there? What do you need to do for this struggling student?

Each time you progress monitor, you compare the student's growth against the level of progress the child needs to make to reach year end goals. Children who need to make more than a year's growth must be monitored frequently and carefully.

When we meet to discuss Students of Concern, we are looking for this kind of data to tell us what kind of additional support the student (or you) need.

It might look like this: You have a student who right now is at a level J. She started at H. You determined she needed to grow six levels this year. Looking at your reading level chart, you see she has to grow four levels in four months--one level per month.

It's your day for collab and you know you are responsible to bring data to show progress or lack there of. You did an informal running record last week showing your student read a level J book with 93% accuracy and good fluency. Self-corrections were 1:3. The collab team briefly talks about the student. Can you nudge her forward and begin to move her into level K text? The team asks how the student talked about the text. You tell them the child could answer literal questions but struggled with beyond the text questions. The team affirms your thinking. Dig deeper into beyond the text questions by modeling that kind of thinking. Maybe ask for a Stakeholders' or Share the Load meeting. Be ready to come back and share another running record and comprehension check in two weeks. At any level, the child will need to be able to talk beyond the text. You know this is an area that must be addressed before the child can go on.

The cycle continues until the child is on target to meet the end of the year goal. Progress monitoring is good teaching and best practice to ensure student growth.

As we begin to do effective progress monitoring, we're going to have to figure out the best way to share data and still have plenty of time to collaborate. Let's put our heads together on this one. It's going to take all of our brain power.

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Kindness Quotes

“The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”
Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

Upcoming PD Revisions/Reminders

  • Friday, Jan. 30 PD - The High Ability Classroom - CANCELLED
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Looking Ahead

Monday, Jan. 26 Day 4

  • Pledge/MOS - Turner
  • Collab Team 4

Tuesday, Jan. 27 Day 1

  • 8:20 Safety Committee - PD room
  • 3:10 Collab Team HA

Wednesday, Jan. 28 Day 2

  • 8:00-3:00 Diversity Mtg at HSJH - Jami, Suley, and Lisa gone
  • Collab Team K

Thursday, Jan. 29 Day 3

  • Group/Candid photos
  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 10:00 Stakeholder - Jason
  • 10:20 Stakeholder - Logan
  • 3:10 Collab Team 1

Friday, Jan. 30 Day 4

  • Favorite Football Shirt Day to Celebrate the Super Bowl
  • 9:30-11:30 Preparing for the Next Generation Assessments - Lisa gone to CIESC workshop
  • 3:10 Collab Team 2

Monday, Feb. 2 Day 1

  • Pledge/MOS - Sewell
  • 3:10 Collab Team 3

Tuesday, Feb. 3 Day 2

  • 10-1 Elementary Principals' Meeting at Admin
  • 3:10 Collab Team 4
  • 7:00 PTO Open Forum

Wednesday, Feb. 4 Day 3

  • Close Reading with Chris Lehman and Katie Roberts workshop - Lisa gone
  • 3:10 Collab Team K

Thursday, Feb. 5 Day 4

  • 8:00 Office Meeting
  • 3:10 Collab Team 1

Friday, Feb. 6 - No Specials

  • 7:30 Diversity 21
  • 12:01 School dismissed
  • 1:00-4:00 Half-day PD