Millbrook Elementary Staff Notes

Week of Nov. 16-20, 2015

Thought For the Week

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. ~Brian Tracy

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Stepping Back

On Monday, we will have our SIP quarterly review. As we head into the next 6 weeks (including 2 highly anticipated holiday breaks!), it's a great time to step back from the day-to-day and take a big-picture view of our work. The SILT team will be talking about where we are, checking progress against our SIP goals and action steps, and assessing where we need to go next. They will come back to their teams to share our findings and recommendations.

Here are some reflective questions for all of us to consider as we approach this week of teaching:

*How and I purposefully and intentionally planning to meet all my students' needs?

*Am I pushing myself to really internalize and understand the Unit of Study I'm teaching in reading?

*How am ensuring that learning/thinking is visible to students via modeling and anchor charts?

*In my daily teaching, how can I make the learning outcome so clear that students can articulate what they are learning and why?

*Is my daily lesson aligned to the rigor of the standard? If students need scaffolding, how can I ensure they reach the level of rigor the standard demands?

The admin team will be doing walkthroughs over the coming weeks and will be providing email feedback individually as well as grade level trend data to teams. We'll frame this in terms of Glows, Grows, and Questions. We'll be providing feedback on classroom environment and instructional practices that are observed during these short classroom visits. Please note that walkthrough data and feedback is formative in nature; just like formative assessment for students, it allows you to monitor instructional impact and adjust quickly to enhance student learning. It also provides us data about how well we are implementing our SIP action steps and what additional PD/coaching support is needed.
Key Focus for Week of 11/16: Clarity of learning outcome & classroom organization

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This is even more profoundly true after this weekend's terrible events in Paris.

Schedule of Events

Monday, 11/16: A Day; K PLT 1:30 - 3; SIP 1st Quarter Review, 3:15-4:30 (Media Center)

Tuesday, 11/17: B Day; 4th Grade PLT 1:30 - 3:30; K Team Collaborative Planning; MEMS Spirit Night @ Sweet Tomatoes, Capital Blvd (Eat out and MEMS gets a % of the proceeds!)

Wednesday, 11/18: C Day; 2nd Grade PLT 1:30 - 3:30; 5th Grade Collaborative Planning; BT/Mentor Meeting, 3:30-4:30

Thursday, 11/19: D Day; 3rd Grade 1:30 - 3:30

Friday, 11/20: E Day; 1st Grade PLT, 1:30-3:30; 7:15-8 AM - Coffee Chat with the Principal (Media Center); MTSS Team Meeting 2:45-3:45 (PD Room)

Logistical Updates

  • Welcome New Teammate! We are excited to welcome instructional assistant Juana Leyba to the team! She will be shared between supporting the media center and helping with Spanish translation in the office. Welcome!
  • Unprotected Workdays and Leave: Please note that we have 2 "unprotected" teacher workdays coming on 11/25 and 12/21. These can be very confusing, but here is the basic explanation of how they work:
    *For teachers: If you earn MORE than 10 days of annual leave per year, you can take annual leave on those days. Check your paystub to see how many days of annual leave you accrue each month. Teachers new to NC (generally in years 1-3) earn 10 days per year, and those 10 days are automatically deducted for winter and spring break.
    *If you DON'T have extra annual leave, you can work those days (the building will be open), or you can take a personal day or non-paid leave day.
    *We have early release on 12/18. Early release days are protected for professional development. According to Board policy, you cannot extend scheduled holiday breaks by requesting additional leave. For more specifics, go to the WCPSS site here:
    *If you are unsure about a specific situation, please ask an administrator. Thanks!
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Learning Corner

This week, we're going to go deeper into the WHY, WHAT, and HOW of anchor charts. Anchor charts are artifacts of classroom learning communities. An anchor, by definition, is an object used to hold something firmly in place. Anchors are a source of stability and security. Thrown overboard, the anchor stables the boat holding it firmly in a desired location. Likewise, an anchor chart displayed in a classroom learning community anchors student thinking while offering a source of visual reference for continued support as the learner moves forward. Classrooms with rich anchor support leave little doubt about what a student is expected to learn and offer a “public trail” of thinking, a collection of learning.

Check out the link below, as well as a one-page information sheet attached to this week's notes.

This Week's Inspiration

This video will inspire you :) - What are you grateful for?
The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude