Team Thomson News & Notes
April 17, 2017
Important Information for You!
Staff Meeting Follow-up
As you continue to work through what a lesson plan may look like for you within the requirements spelled out in Mr. Brown's memo from early March, please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way. As I stated, I'd be happy to look over anyone's plans or come to a PLC if there are any further questions. Remember, the purpose of well thought out lesson plans is to ensure that standards are taught, learning targets are well thought through with success criteria determined, that procedures are planned out, and materials ready, in addition to planning for connected learning over time.
I want to take a moment to thank you for the thoughtful parent-teacher conferences that took place last week. While I know that many of you were having difficult conversations with parents, due to the relationships you built all year by having honest on-going communication with them, parents were not leaving upset. I was impressed with the number of parents that came due to your requests and those that chose to attend a 'drop-in' conference.
Planning for Differentiated Instruction
In a staff newsletter prior to spring break, I spoke about planning for differentiating instructional planning. Specifically, looking at the elements of instruction which included content and process. This week I want to focus on how to differentiate instructional planning via product and learning environment. Product: Wormeli (2006) cautions us to ensure learning targets are substantive and that we avoid "fluff" assignments. The learning target is the gauge we use to evaluate whether products actually help students accomplish and demonstrate the intended learning. Strategies to help differentiate instruction through product include:
-Keep all assignments substantive and related to the learning target.
-Use the learning target to evaluate whether the (differentiated) products actually all help students accomplish and demonstrate the intended learning.
-Use criterion-referenced evaluation for final products (i.e.; rubrics).
(The section above directly relates to the 5D+ Rubric: Purpose, Curriculum & Pedagogy, Assessment)
Learning Environment: Ames and Archer (1988) indicate that to create a strong classroom learning environment one must focus on helping all students access the importance of a learning target(s). Offering students choices in assignments fosters self-regulation and allows students to feel in charge of their own learning (ownership of learning). However, you must take great care to make sure the choices are in line with the learning target. This will help students feel empowerment as learners. Strategies to keep in mind for differentiating through the learning environment include:
-Offer choices in content, tools, and level of challenge (consistent with the learning target).
-Offer choices of rewards and other affirmations.
-Offer choices of work environment (consistent with the learning target).
-Attribute success to effort, and the reason for effort to learning something new.
(The section above directly relates to the 5D+ Rubric: Purpose, Student Engagement, Curriculum & Pedagogy, Assessment, and Classroom Environment & Culture)
The next few weeks are very busy. Please make sure that you have your calendars marked with all the appropriate upcoming dates. In regards to two special events this week, 'Pie in the Face' Day and Farm Day. Staff may wear jeans and their Thomson 'Staff' t-shirts Thursday. We will hold the 'Pie in the Face' assembly at 2:30 p.m. in the gym. If you have any students who have not yet placed stickers, please do so Monday so we can figure out which staff members will be the 'lucky' ones. Also, for Farm Day Friday, staff may wear appropriate 'farm' gear.
STAR Progress Monitoring/Chromebook Cart
With any luck we will receive our Chromebook cart this week. As we have discussed, it is very important that we get the students as much experience with these as possible. I will be working with Megan on creating a schedule for STAR Progress Monitoring. Additionally, each classroom teacher will be able to select an additional time to take their classroom to the library for more practice on the Chromebooks. As we know which programs are preloaded, I will let you know. I have spoken with Wendy as well about switching over to the Chromebooks for technology instruction once the cart arrives. Please stay tuned.
Quotes Worth Reading
"A person who has never made a mistake have never tried anything new."
Mindset questions: What did he mean? What can you learn/take away from this?
"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you."
Mindset questions: What implications does this have for your students? What about the implications for you as a person and educator?
Celebrations & Announcements
Important Upcoming Dates:
- Week of April 16th-PLC Week
- Monday, April 17th-Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 p.m. H.S. AMR
- Tuesday, April 18th-GSRP Students Visit; District SIP Meeting, 4:15-5:15 p.m.; ELA Meeting-CANCELED
- Wednesday, April 19th-Child Study Day (please send any student's name you wish to bring to Child Study to Maida and I); Tornado Drill; Social Studies Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
- Thursday, April 20th-STAR Progress Monitoring(?); Staff Breakfast; 'Pie in the Face' Day, Assemby 2:30 p.m.; Volunteer Dinner.
- Friday, April 21st-Leadership Team Meeting, 7:15 a.m.; FARM DAY
- Week of April 24th-KINDERGARTEN ROUND-UP
- Monday, April 24th-PTO Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, April 26th-Secretaries Day; Staff Meeting,7:35 a.m. (Agenda: Behavior Data; End of Year); Science Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.