Friday Focus

November 8, 2013

"He who does the most talking does the most learning."


Please join me in welcoming Kelly Myers. Kelly will be working with us each morning (from 8:00-11:15) as an inclusion teaching assistant. Kelly has worked as a special education teacher in the past and most recently, she worked as a substitute teacher in D68. Kelly also attended Meadowview as a student. Welcome, Kelly!

Please also welcome Chris Parratore as our interim Speech and Language Pathologist. Chris is retired from D68 and has many years experience as an SLP. Welcome, Chris!



The fifth grade teachers received the following email from a substitute teacher! Way to go teachers and students!

I realize there are a few minutes left to the day, but want to dash this off to you all. I have not subbed in every class (yet!) in the district, but your students today were BY FAR the best behaved, most engaged students I have experienced! WAY TO GO TEACHERS AND STUDENTS!

Remember - engagement in the learning process decreases behavior issues!


Thank you to Erin and Vicki for organizing Red Ribbon Week! We collected $260 to donate to St. Judes! Kudos! Also, Dress for Success was a big hit! Check out the pics below...


Congratulations to Anne Roth for finishing the New York City Marathon. Way to go, Anne!

Parent Teacher Conferences

As you know, Parent/Teacher conferences will be held on Monday, November 25th and Tuesday, November 26th. Here's some great information to help you prepare...

Text Complexity and Close Reading

Please see the following link from Fisher and Frey regarding text complexity and close readings:

Although we have spent the majority of our PD time focusing on math, it is imperative that we continue to work on the English Language Arts Common Core instructional shifts. Thank you for continuing to implement close readings. There is not one correct way to teach close readings. Stephanie Delgrosso has worked with a couple of our teams in implementing close readings, and I will continue to send you lesson exemplars and examples.

Putting the "S" in F.O.C.U.S

Purpose of Feedback

"The main purpose of feedback is to reduce discrepancies between current understandings and performance and a goal. Effective feedback must answer major questions asked by teachers and/or by students:

  1. Where am I going? What are the goals?
  2. How am I going? What progress is being made toward the goal?
  3. Where to next? What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?

-Hattie &Timperly, "The Power of Feedback," Review of Educational Research (2007), p.87

Characteristics of Effective Feedback by Nicole Vagle

  • It describes learning; it doesn't quantify or evaluate it.
  • It describes strengths in terms of the learning criteria.
  • It provides next steps for specific action.
  • It is focused and manageable.
  • It is timely (provided within 48 hours or useless to the learner!)

Several Barriers to Effective Feedback by Nicole Vagle

  1. Vague, general comments
  2. Relying on students to figure out what went wrong when they lack information or any understanding
  3. Too much feedback - this prevents students from knowing where to begin (so they don't)
  4. Inviting versus requiring action on feedback. As a result, students don't act on feedback, or teachers expect students to apply it the next time around, which they don't.
  5. Covering it all! Instead of prioritizing comments, teachers offer surface feedback on everything. Perferably, teachers provide descriptive feedback on work with the expectation that students act on it.
  6. Feedback that does not align to the learning goals or criteria. An example is giving students feedback on spelling when the learning target is author's purpose and supporting details.

Check out this video from TCH. It highlights feedback in a music classroom. On a side note, notice the evidence of student thinking throughout the room:

Principal Feedback

Providing specific and timely feedback can be challenging. While completing walk throughs, my inclination is to say, "Great job! Nice work!" However, I know that vague, general comments won't necessarily support your professional growth and development. Thank you for your patience as I work to produce effective feedback for you. So...what am I looking for during my walk throughs? From where do I draw my feedback? I'm looking for implementation of F.O.C.U.S within the nine Instructional Dimensions from the Thoughtful Classsroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework. Take a look: Please know I don't expect to see it all during a five to ten minute walk through. :)

ESL and Classroom Teachers Team Up to Teach Common Core

This article from Education Week may be of interest to you. It emphasizes the critical role ESL teachers play in not only teaching students, but in supporting the staff as they transition ESL students to the Common Core.

Seven Keys

The staff members that attended the Seven Keys training a few weeks ago met to evaluate Meadowview's implementation of the Seven Keys. We've refined our school wide behavior matrix and process. Additional information with specific outcomes will be forthcoming.

Notes and Reminders

  • Please continue to work on your GCN tutorials.
  • Written parent communciation should be on-going and consistent. What is your method for formally communicating with parents? Newsletters? Blogs? Conistent written communciation to parents should not end in the primary grades. Please make sure you are consistently communicating with parents and please forward that communication to me. Thank you to those who do so on a consistent basis. Here is an example of Rebekah's parent communication
  • Please continue to take notes during collaboration and post on PD 360.
  • On your assigned door duty day, please ensure that you arrive on time and stay for the duration of the required duty. Encourage walkers to exit the school grounds expeditiously. Additionally, if you have a substitute teacher on your assigned door duty day, please leave a note for your substitute indicating the location of the assignment. Thank you for your support!
  • Thank you to our amazing recess staff for your day-in/day-out work to ensure the safety and engagement of our students during daily P.E. Please complete the Survey Monkey survey if you have yet to do so.

Coming Up...

Monday, November 11th - No School Veterans Day

Tuesday, November 12th - Butter Braid Order Forms are Due

Tuesday, November 12th - District Admin Meeting (Reg out in morning)

Tuesday, November 12th - Parent/Teacher Planning Meeting

Wednesday, November 13th - Grades Due!

Wednesday, November 13th - Data Review Meetings

Thursday, November 14th - Second Grade Math Meeting (AM)

Thursday, November 14th - First Grade Math Meeting (PM)

Thursday, November 14th - Data Review Meetings

Thursday, November 14th - PTO Meeting (fourth grade teachers in attendance)

Friday, November 15th - Gifted Education Seminar (select staff)

Friday, November 15th - Report cards go home!

Friday, November 15th - ROE Principal Mentoring Meeting - Reg out in morning

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday next week to Stacy (November 14th) and Maggie (November 16th)!

Happy Belated Birthday to Becky Meier (November 6th)!

Big image