The Monday Message

Office of the Principal; Monday, November 17, 2014

The Buzz Report (from the Media Tech Classes)

The Buzz Report OCT 2014

Quote for the Week!

“Encourage teachers to feel empathy rather than pity; kids will appreciate your ability to know what it’s like to be in their shoes.” ~ Eric Jensen

The Week Ahead

Gold Week - Classes Meet 6-2-3-4-5-1 / Breast Cancer Awareness Month / National Native American Heritage Month / American Education Week

Monday (17th) - International Student Day, Admin Mtg (10am, Cafe')

Tuesday (18th) - Grounds Maintenance (park vehicles away from curb), G40 Mtg (7:45am, Rm. 812), Team Mtgs, Dept. Meetings (3:45pm), SIC/PTSO (5:30pm, FCR), Clock Auction (6:00pm, CATS)

Wednesday (19th) -International Men's Day, CDW/Discovery Media Day/Training, Education Support Professionals Day, Principal's Mtg (1:00pm, CATS),

Thursday (20th) -Crew (8:20-8:50), World Philosophy Day, D5 Magnet Recruitment Fair (6pm, CRMS), Orchestra Evening Concert (7pm, IHS Auditorium)

Friday (21st) -World Hello Day, Orchestra Assembly (AM Assembly Schedule),

November Staff Birthdays

Jane Koon, November 3rd

Vance Lipe, November 10th

Phillip Dorley, November 12th

Cynthia O’Reilly, November 22nd

Theresa Holland, November 24th

Kim Ferguson, November 29th

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

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We have several shout outs this week:

1. - Mrs. Alicia Gordon - This past week, when returning inside from duty, I approached Mrs. Gordon's class engaging in the Handshake Q&A protocol. All of her students were standing in a line, approaching her one by one receiving a greeting by Mrs. Gordon along with a question. If they answered the question, they were allowed entrance into the classroom. If they missed the question, they returned to the back of the line and tried again. What a wonderful way to use an admit strategy to assess prior knowledge and build relationships at the same time. Way to go Mrs. Gordon. Because of your efforts, our students are actively learning one of the EL Design Principles (Success and Failure). Join me in giving Mrs. Gordon a shout out.

2. - Ms. Debbie Cullinan - I mentioned to Ms. Cullinan my desire to recognize the staff for the report card ratings and do something special for everyone. She immediately sprang into action and created the small tokens and the Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider Bar. I am truly amazed at what she can do and the great lengths goes to in order to recognize the excellent work being done at our school and a focus on keeping our morale high. Way to go Ms. Cullinan! Join me in giving Ms. Cullinan a shout out.

3. - UN@IMS - Each and every day, teachers from UN@IMS (Cook, Leeper, Ware, Hilton, and Manning) are going beyond honoring our teacher behavior commitments and working assertively to make sure not only are our students behaving during lunch transitions but also when they get to their lunch tables. This week, a staff member recently commented how well the students from Team UN@IMS behave while in the cafeteria. Way to go Team UN@IMS! Join me in giving Team UN@IMS a huge shout out.

Please join me in giving each of these individuals a big IRMO MIDDLE shout out!

Duty Roster for the Week

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group on Duty (Hutto PM)

Tuesday - R Group on Duty (Jackson/Major-Murphy PM)

Wednesday - M Group on Duty (Inabinet PM)

Thursday - O Group on duty (All Admin PM)

Friday - M Group is on duty

Reminder - At the request of several teachers, everyone is receiving a remind message on Thursday evening of each week, calling attention to the Friday duty assignments.

Tasks to Complete This Week!

1. Teach like a champion every period, every day!

2. Attend Tuesday's Team (during planning periods) & Department Mtgs (afterschool).

3. Complete the Crew staff survey

4. Incorporate the topics specified in the weekly calendar in your lesson plans and activities. Make sure you are making specific connections to the experiences of our students as well as cross curricular planning.

5. Everyone report to duty as scheduled. See roster here

6. Read the Monday Message in its entirety (including the articles linked and inserted). Also view the video clips, reflect, and adjust your practices where needed.

7. Review in its entirety Thursday's Crew lesson to prepare.

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Attendance (Student) - Reminder

Continue to take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Ms. Crumlin. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. Remember, everyone is expected to record attendance every class period so we know where students are located. We don't want an issue where we can't find a student because someone didn't take attendance.

Attendance (Staff) - Update

Our staff attendance has been up and down for the past three weeks. This past week (November 10-14), the teacher attendance rate was down to 90% (31 absences) and the entire staff attendance rate was down to 94% (44 absences). Our goal remains 97%, so we feel short on meeting our goal this week. No jeans this Friday! As always, it is absolutely critical that everyone make every effort possible to be here each and every day. I will join you in those collective efforts. When you need to be out, please follow the proper protocols and prepare excellent plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute as well.

Student Dress Code - Reminder

With the colder weather, students are beginning to wear hoodies and other head gear. Let's be consistent. Headwear is not allowed in the building. Ask students nicely to remove their head wear while inside the building. When outside, they are permitted to wear head wear but be watchful. They are putting in their earbuds and listening to music outside which violates our personal electronic device policy.

Teaching and Learning - Bell-to-Bell Teaching

How do highly effective teachers manage to keep students busy from bell to bell? They plan their lessons so that there's no wasted time. They plan activities that are engaging and as brief as possible (knowing that it is difficult to hold middle school student's attention longer than their age in minutes x 2. Highly effective teachers also plan activities for early finishers and remediation activities for students that may be struggling. Here are five ways to teach from bell-to-bell:

1. Overplan. In other words, plan enough activities (meaningful ones, not time fillers) so that you will have more than you can teach in one lesson. Do this for every lesson you plan.

2. Start teaching and engaging students the moment they enter your class. Keep teaching and engaging them until they leave. Students should never have idle time or use valuable debriefing (closure) time at the end of a lesson lining up at the door.

3. Plan for short, interesting activities. If you have to give an assignment, such as a writing assignment, that may take more than five minutes or ten minutes for the students to complete, break that assignment into parts and guide them through each part. At the very least, give them stretch breaks during the assignment. Remember, though, that short quick activities hold students interest better than those that are drawn out over longer periods of time.

4. When you give an assignment to students, have a plan for early finishers. Also, always be prepares to provide remediation for any student who might struggle with the activity.

5. Be prepared. Having your lesson well thought out and your materials organized and ready to go will allow you to move quickly and effectively from one activity to the next without any lost instructional time.

Make sure you debrief the lesson throughly so students can connect the dots.

Remember, in all lessons, IMS Teachers should:

Ground the lesson in the learning target. This means they:

• Post the target in a visible, consistent location

• Discuss the target at the beginning of class with students, having students put the target into their own words, explain its meaning, and explain what meeting the target might look like

• Reference the target throughout the lesson

• Return explicitly to the target during the debrief, checking for student progress

Use Cold Call. This means they:

• Name the question before identifying students to answer it

• Call on students regardless of whether they have hands raised, using a variety of techniques such as random calls or tracking charts to ensure all students contribute, name sticks or name cards

• Scaffold the questions from simple to increasingly complex, probing for deeper explanations

• Connect thinking threads by returning to previous comments and connecting them to current ones. In this way, listening to peers is valued, and even after a student’s been called on, he or she is part of the continued conversation and class thinking

Use No Opt Out. This means they:

• Require all students to correctly answer questions posed to them

• Always follow incorrect or partial answers from students by giving the correct answer themselves, cold calling other students, taking a correct answer from students with hands raised, cold calling other students until the right answer is given, and then returning to any student who gave an incorrect or partial answer for complete and correct responses

Use No Opt Out. This means they:

• Require all students to correctly answer questions posed to them

• Always follow incorrect or partial answers from students by giving the correct answer themselves, cold calling other students, taking a correct answer from students with hands raised, cold calling other students until the right answer is given, and then returning to any student who gave an incorrect or partial answer for complete and correct responses

End with an effective debrief. This means they:

• Return explicitly to the learning targets (both academic and character/habits of work)

• Elicit student reflection towards the learning target(s), probing for students to provide evidence for their own and/or class progress

• Celebrate or have students celebrate individual, small group or whole class successes

• Identify or have students identify goals for improvement around the target(s)

Click here for specific strategies!

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The Magnet Minute & EL Corner

Crew: The Crew lesson is being modified based on student feedback. We will send it out Monday. Also, it will be taught by team leaders prior to Thursday morning.

What are you doing to integrate our magnet theme? A stroll through the hallways indicates that teachers across campus are integrating global connections into activities, lessons, units, enrichment/homeroom activities, and team procedures and norms. As we segue into October, please remember to document any global connections you make by uploading lesson plans, activities, and evidence of student work (pictures, documents, etc.) in this Google Drive folder -Magnet Theme Sample Lessons.

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From Mr. Thur

Oral Administration

I hope you are finding that the oral administration procedures are going well. Hopefully the procedures are now streamlined for you to follow. Just a reminder that for students who require oral administration, please continue to share the tests in google drive and place on the calendar at least 48 hours in advance. I will continue to do my best to deliver the iPads to you the day before the test (if unable, you will receive the early morning the day of the tests, loaded and ready to go). Please continue to consult with me and let me know if you have any continued concerns, require support (technical, procedural, etc.), questions, etc. thank you!

Behavioral checklists

Please continue to complete the behavioral checklists of students who require them. This provides the casemanager valuable feedback about the progress of that students' social, academic, and behavioral goals. This also provides real-time information for casemanagers to be able to communicate to parents. Please let casemanagers know if you have any questions.

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From Mrs. Young

Tuesday's Technology Enrichment Lesson

Please review Tuesday's Enrichment Lesson. There is a survey for students that I will send outTuesday prior to homeroom.

Procedure for Unblocking Websites

The Technology Help Desk will no longer accept requests for unblocking websites and you will be directed to follow the Procedures for unblocking websites. With this new process, there are several steps beyond the school level that we cannot necessarily control in terms of how quickly things get done. Therefore, please review lesson plans that use internet sites several days ahead of time to ensure access. (Remember, sites blocked for teachers differ from sites that are blocked for students.)

Please notice that the first step involves you completing the following form. Requests must be made through this form: IMS Website Request for Access Form


Wordle will not work on the Chromebooks but here's a site that lists 10 other options.

Visit Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools and the District's Technology Toolbox. These sites has a wealth of resources to meet your 1:1 classroom needs.

Be sure to visit the IMS Technology folder periodically that was shared. with you. This will constantly be updated with information and resources.

Still passing out worksheets? I would love to help you transition to a paperless environment. Book Me!

Closing Thoughts

This week's Friday Forecast contains a calendar to guide our week ahead, PD links, and events on the horizon. As I reflected on last week and look forward to the week ahead, I found thinking a lot about the achievement gap at IMS (which I will report next week). I suppose that's happening because of a recent meeting reviewing our performance from last year and seeing the glaring gap (not only at IMS but in all magnet schools across the district). I found myself wondering who why so many students underperform at IMS. Last week, I shared with everyone some specific questions that students ask themselves before they begin to trust teachers. As I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I ran across an article from the Huffington Post "Twelve Tips All Educators Should Know About Educating All Students." In the article, they state that in order to achieve success in the classroom with students (in particular marginalized and disenfranchised learners), teachers must understand the population that he/she teaches, as well as consistently analyze if his/her teaching practices are effective. If you do not understand the population of students you teach and connect with them on a respectful level, your success in the classroom will be greatly minimized.

With all the recent debates on ways to reach marginalized and disenfranchised learners, here is a list of twelve tips all educators should know.

Check Stereotypes

Check any stereotypes you might have at the door. Limiting views can result in limiting expectations of all students. Limiting expectations can result in limited performance. If you believe in the stereotype of the loud mouth Latina, or the bad boy thug, you're doomed. Do not make false assumptions about your student population, especially if they are contrived from negative stereotypes. If you view the urban school environments as a "mad" house then guess how you directly or indirectly view your students?

Connect with Parents

Establish a positive connection with parents from the first day of class. A phone call to report good news is as equally vital to the success of your student as informing parents when children are struggling.

Cultural Images

Due to the overexposure to white identities in media, all students need to see images of themselves where they are not portrayed as inferior or subordinate to a dominant culture. Hang positive images in your classroom that reinforce the beauty of all cultures. No images that consists solely of music and sports icons. Explore images from the Harlem Renaissance, or photos of great leaders from diverse backgrounds. If you have students from a variety of backgrounds in your class, select images that speak to each student.


Learn the name of each student. When you've memorized the name of each student, you are saying to your student, "I am interested in who you are."


Negative putdowns create uncooperative shutdowns. Be a motivator. Tell all students what they can do, not merely what they can't do. Work on areas of improvement without using antagonistic language. Offer sincere praise and positive faith. Having students state positive affirmations as a class creates a team-winning mentality and establishes community. Expressing positive faith in all students can make them improve in leaps and bounds academically.


Show your enthusiasm towards the content you teach. The love for your area of expertise should transmit to each and very student. National education surveys conducted with students prove that enthusiastic teachers have far greater success in the classroom. Could you fathom listening to one that does not particularly show interest in what they teach? A bore!

After School Programs

Expose students to your knowledge of after school programs that might be offered in our district. Research suggests students involved in extracurricular activities are less prone to fall prey to mischievous activity.

Value of Education and Real Life

Express the value of education. Explain the varying levels of educational possibilities one can attain. Do not assume your students know how many high school credits they need to graduate. Do not assume your students knows what a bachelors, masters or doctorate program consists of. Sharing your personal journey with all students (with an emphasis on marginalized and disenfranchised children) helps them to see you as a human, and not just some robot with formatted lesson plans. Share how education connects to real life. Be bold; invite students to discover the works of those great thinkers in your academic area.


It's important for students to know that after any challenges or misunderstanding, you do not harbor any animosity or use grades as a weapon to "get even." Remember you are in the process of educating children, not mini adults.

Model Appropriate Behavior and Dress for Success

You are a role model first and foremost. Show through your actions what's considered appropriate conduct. Dress for success each day you enter the classroom. Would you trust one to educate you with inappropriate or unprofessional attire? Students also need to see how they will one day be required to dress as professional adults. Perhaps incorporate required professional dress criteria as a component of a class assignment or presentation to reinforce this societal expectation.


Students need viable options other than suspension. Suspended students most likely engage in watching television or playing video games while home on suspension. Most students view suspension as a way to take a break from school. Neither contribute to the academic growth of any child.

Classroom Format

If your students can't sit still for long periods of time or listen to lecture format, allow students to get up and stretch in between instruction, or rely on small group instruction. Also, remember, every student does not learn instruction in the same manner, you must vary instructional methods.

Don't let our setback cause you to sitback. We are moving rapidly close to our Thanksgiving break. Each one, teach one, so we can all reach one. We Are Crew, Not Passengers; Together We are Smarter!

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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Classroom Management | Week 1, Day 3
Teach Like A Champion: Cold Call Technique
Precise Praise
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