Hinton TLC Newsletter
Looking back at November
Unpacking the ELA Core!
Now that the #1 thing on our list is accomplished, we can move on to these Next Steps as follows:
2. Align the Standards K-12 and do a gap analysis to be sure no standards are being missed
3. Create Pacing guides from the Curriculum Maps you have already created to determine when you teach the essential standards
4. Create or refine units of study to be sure the essential standards are being targeted
5. Create/ use formative and summative assessments to gather learning data
6. Use this data to make decisions about kids and intervene/extend when necessary
Starting as soon as next year, the Iowa Department of Education will be mixing up their site visits and doing something called Differentiated Accountability. This new format will require districts to provide data on "Healthy Indicators" of their school systems. Right now the two healthy indicators being looked at are 1. Universal Instruction (Iowa Core) and 2. Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making. Our "Next Steps" with the Iowa Core match up with the healthy indicators being looked at by the state. Doing this work now will help us be ready for Differentiated Accountability.
PLCs- it's all Connected!
PLCs provide an important framework for doing this work with the Iowa Core.
Fully functioning PLCs in schools are centered around the following 4 Critical Questions:
- What is it we expect our students to learn? (Iowa Core Essential Standards)
- How will we know when they have learned it? (Assessment data)
- How will we respond when some students do not learn? (Intervention)
- How will we respond when some students already know it? (Extension)
The idea behind PLCs is that you will work in your grade level/content area teams to create assessments and make collaborative decisions using data (one of the Healthy Indicators from Differentiated Accountability). Using this format will help us pool our resources to tackle the job of teaching a robust Core to all students. Working together helps us work smarter, not harder!
Now that we have done a PLC book study, we will understand the background behind PLCs and can begin to implement them in a more focused and meaningful way.
News from the PBIS/MTSS Coaches
News from the Technology Coach
A new educational game system has made its way to Hinton, Osmo. Osmo is now available to Pre School - 6th grade classrooms. Osmo has two pieces of hardware for the iPad and each type of learning game has either some included tiles (for Numbers & Words), shapes for Tangram, and the Newton and Masterpiece apps use paper and pencil/marker. This is a fun new iPad technology that uses a gaming concept for students to interact with technology to learn and review math, words using pictures, Tangram (shape manipulatives), a STEM app called Newton, and an artistic app for drawing, called Masterpiece. Osmo is designed for Pre K - 6th graders and includes several activities and lesson plans to take advantage of it how to use it in the classroom.
Recently, I demonstrated Osmo with Jodi Cook’s kindergarten class and Linda Ward’s 1st grade class. Each group of students were very engaged; we were able to have students ‘play’ with four of the five apps: Numbers, Words, Tangram, and Newton. The kids were pretty excited about what each app can do and how they were using an iPad to have fun learning.
We were able to purchase some Osmo sets using elementary reading funds. Two sets are available for PreS-3 use: one Genius Kit, one Starter Kit; one Genius Kit is available for 4-6 use (see Chad to demo and checkout for 4-6 grades). The Genius Kit includes everything for the five different games, the Starter Kit includes items for four of the five app games (excludes Numbers). Kathy Rhodes currently has the two kits in her office and are available for elementary building checkout, you may contact her. Keep in mind, you must have an iPad with its cover/case removed and the apps installed - all are free. If you would like to schedule an individual demonstration with or without your students I would be happy to show you. I am scheduled to demonstrate the Osmo game system on the Tuesday morning meeting in the elementary building, December 1st for all Pre School - 6th grade teachers.
News from the AIW Coaches
Last month, Katherine and Sarah attended the AIW Institute's training in Nevada, Iowa.This training focused on grading instruction and bundling. Bundling is looking individually at the task, instruction, and student work and then giving all three one complete grade. This is the future for AIW at Hinton. This year, we will focus on tasks and instruction. Next year, we plan to move towards the bundling method. We are very excited about the AIW changes that are going to happen!
News from the Mentoring Team
The second-year mentors and mentees met for their second training session of the year on November 12th in LeMars. The day was filled with great activities, but one I enjoy the most is the Ethics session. Here, the instructor, Marlin Jeffers, takes us through several real-life cases that have occurred around the state in the last few years. Each case involves a teacher who has made an incredibly bad choice either in school, or out of school in their personal life, which has jeopardized their teaching contract. It's always good to learn from other's mistakes, but some of these cases are unbelievable. Our young teachers really learn a lot about what to do, and especially, what not to do. This is very valuable information for all of us.--
This month first-year mentees are working on Standard 3 of the Iowa Teaching Standards which deals with planning and preparing for instruction. As part of the process, mentees have to pick an area they feel they need to work on, observe another teacher and then create an action plan of how they will try to improve that area of their own teaching. One thing that was shared with mentors and mentees in the first session is the graph of all the phases a first year teacher goes through throughout the year. Even though it is intended for first year teachers, I believe it applies to all teachers on some level. It's a good reminder that this time of year we can all feel burnt out and frustrated, but better hopefully we will feel rejuvenated after the Holidays.