The Weekly Roar

Notes from Nick Novak: Saturday March 19, 2016


...once again to Danelle Brennan for being selected as the History Day Teacher of the Year! What a well-deserved honor! our Pi Day Bake-Off winners: Ali Miller, Julia Carter, and Sarah Hensley. Thanks as well to everyone who participated by providing some yummy desserts and, of course, to the Social Committee for organizing the event. Veronica Renna and Tracey Richards for their dedication to NHS and the Induction Ceremony this week. Laura Greffen for sponsoring the Improv Team who had their final performance of the year this Friday. Good show!


Here are some helpful reminders for the upcoming week:

1) One last plug to complete the Bright Bytes survey--Brian wants to see us reach 120%! Check your email for the link.

2) Department meetings will be held on Monday afternoon. See your ITL for details about time, location, and agenda.

3) One last Lionstime before Spring Break this Wednesday. We will not have a Lionstime the week we return due to another activity being planned. Stay tuned for more details and plan accordingly.

4) Start backing up your files if you are part of the laptop replacement. Move them to GAFE or a Dropbox (if you have an account). New laptops coming in May.

5) Please be aware of the following HR deadlines:

  • 4/1: Voluntary Transfer Deadline
  • 5/1: Non-tenured Teacher Resignation Deadline
  • 7/1: Tenured Teacher Resignation Deadline

See me if you want to discuss your career plans!

Staff Birthdays

Happy Birthday to the following staff member who are celebrating this week:

3/19 Jonathan Maggart

3/22 Allyson O'Neill

3/24 Nana Awuku

The Fundamental Five: Frequent, Purposeful Talk

Fifty minutes (yet alone ninety) can be a long time for students to be able to absorb information and, more importantly, retain it. You have a better chance of students being able to remember key points of your lesson if you provide opportunities for them to engage in frequent, purposeful talk. As you plan for these opportunities, consider the following:

1) Frequency-The rule of thumb is to provide 30 seconds to 3 minutes of student discussion after every 10 to 15 minutes of teacher talk.

2) Group Size- Obviously, the minimum is two students, but the maximum should be four students. Any more than that and you risk lack of participation by one or more students or students engaging in side conversations.

3) Seed Question- One of the most important components of frequent, purposeful talk is what students will actually discuss. Preplanning questions to pose to students will help ensure that you guide them to the desired outcomes.

4) Power Zone- To maximize the effectiveness of the small group discussions, teachers must work within the power zone to keep students on task, identify possible misunderstandings, and highlight some of the insights students develop.

Frequent, Small-Group, Purposeful Talk


In partnership with families and the community, it is the mission of Howard High School to cultivate an environment of collaboration, empowerment, and engagement that exhibits world-class support for staff and inspires students to thrive in a dynamic world.