Excellence Without Boundaries
December 7, 2015 3rd Six Weeks, Week 5
BY MAY 2016, AT LEAST 80% OF ALL STAAR EXAMS TAKEN BY ARMS STUDENTS WILL MEET THE PHASE II PASSING STANDARD.
We are entering the final stretch this last week of instruction! Instructional time is key, as is, encouraging each student and praising their efforts to be successful. Our students work diligently every day, day in day out, and they have grown academically and socially. Take a moment to reflect on their growth and your own. Keep this at the forefront as you continue to teach and they continue to learn this last week. Make the most of every moment of ever day. If we collectively send this message to the students and they will rise to this expectation.
We are focused and diligent this week and we also want to take time to appreciate where we are. We are very close to the end of the first semester, stepping into ACP's. On Friday, we will have a Ranger Dome Pep Rally to encourage and communicate to our students that they are ready and we are proud of them!! We will send them off uplifted and excited for the opportunity to show what they know next Monday.
I want to thank each of you for coming to ARMS everyday and being a force in the lives of our 1,240 students. I am very proud of the work we do for our students and supporting a positive trajectory for each of them. Thank you again for your commitment and passion!
Spotlight: Coach Garcia & Mr. Stephens
Thank you Ms. Reddy for the Spotlight contribution:
These 2 staff members have demonstrated teamwork.
Both Coach Garcia and Mr. Stephens and all of the coaching staff put in so many extra hours after school to ensure the students have a positive experience. The 3 of us worked well with communication and support throughout the soccer season.
Thank you both for going above and beyond!
Spotlight: 7th Grade Science Team
Thank you Ms. Hawkins for the Spotlight contribution:
I would like to spotlight the 7th grade Science Team. They have worked diligently to improve the engagement piece of their lessons. Their students will be doing an Amazing Race ACP review. I am so proud of their hard work and dedication to improving instruction.
Spotlight on Ms. Craig & Ms. Macon
Thank you Ms. Barksdale for the Spotlight Contribution:
Team & Grit:
Ms. Craig always has innovative, creative, and compelling ideas for the team. She is full of energy and works hard for her students in her classroom and on her step team, setting the example for them by never giving up, even when things get tough. She is a solid contributor to the sixth grade team and is always supportive and encouraging in both tangible and intangible ways – pep talks, quick one-on-ones with students, candy…you name it, and she’s got you!
Growth & Grit:
Ms. Macon has seen incredible growth in her students already this year, because she has worked hard so hard herself to become a better teacher! She works tirelessly to complete even the most challenging of tasks and is guaranteed to do what she says she will, no matter the frustrations it may cause. Ms. Macon is always willing to acknowledge her own areas for improvement and is solutions-oriented in identifying them. She has stepped up to provide support outside the classroom to students in DI, too!
Spotlight on Ms. Thomas
Thank you Ms. Gill for your Spotlight contribution.
Ms. Thomas from the cafeteria! She and the ladies in the cafeteria always do a phenomenal job to begin with, but during our lunch Ms. Thomas came down to the 6th grade hallway and gave the 6A teachers some delicious strawberry drinks. It was such a sweet and kind gesture and the perfect pick-me up to make it the rest of the day. She demonstrated team so well and we are so appreciative!!
Reminder: ACP Pep Rally - FRIDAY
We want to make this as exciting as ever to get our students pumped and energized about their academic performance.
Who: Students that have been showing and demonstrating the student core beliefs and have been respectful, responsible, and ready to learn.
When: Friday Dec. 11th during 6th period for 6th grade, 7th period for 7th grade, and 8th period for 8th grade.
Where: The Ranger Dome (So I made that up to go with the hype of the event, :-), aka ARMS gym)
Dance Battle: Teachers vs. Students "Hit the Quan"
Per Ms. Taylor:
We want this to be a celebration!! If you have students that have demonstrated that they will not be able to manage their behavior in this setting please make arrangements with your POD leaders to have the students not attend the pep rally. I do not anticipate many students in this category, but I do want everyone to take a moment to consider this and communicate this to your POD leader by Tuesday.
Reminder: Materials for ACP Testing Meeting
Reminder: Winter Theme or "Over the top" Festive Sweater Day
Wear your sweaters on Tuesday, December 8th. Who will have the most festive sweater?
You can go the low key route or the over the top gaudy sweater!! Whichever you choose.
Reminder: Magnet Boot Camp Saturday
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
We appreciate you in advance for your consideration and the students will so appreciate your help.
Update December ARMS Calendar
What is the Marshall Memo?
In the spirit of our second "G" GROWTH, every week I will share 1 or 2 of the article summaries with ARMS staff. In hopes of sparking interest, sharing another perspective, or strategies as we all collectively work to improve teaching and learning @ ARMS. Take what works for you, leave what doesn't.
Classroom Practices That Boost – and Dampen – Student Agency
In this paper from Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative, Ronald Ferguson, Sarah Phillips, Jacob Rowley, and Jocelyn Friedlander report on their study of the ways in which grade 6-9 teachers in 490 schools influenced their students’ non-cognitive skills. The central variable that Ferguson and his colleagues measured was students’ agency. This, they write, “is the capacity and propensity to take purposeful initiative – the opposite of helplessness. Young people with high levels of agency do not respond passively to their circumstances; they tend to seek meaning and act with purpose to achieve the conditions they desire in their own and others’ lives. The development of agency may be as important an outcome of schooling as the skills we measure with standardized testing.”
The researchers used data from Tripod surveys of students’ perceptions of their teachers [see Marshall Memo 461] to examine how Ferguson’s “Seven C” components of instruction (caring, conferring, captivating, clarifying, consolidating, challenging, and managing the classroom) influenced agency, which manifested itself in the following ways:
- Punctuality – The student tries hard to arrive to class on time.
- Good conduct – The student is cooperative, respectful, and on task.
- Effort – The student pushes him- or herself to do the best quality work.
- Help-seeking – The student is not shy about asking for help when needed.
- Conscientiousness – The student is developing a commitment to produce quality work.
- Happiness – The student regards the classroom as a happy place to be.
- Anger – The student experiences this in class, which may boost or dampen agency.
- Mastery orientation – The student is committed to mastering lessons in the class.
- Sense of efficacy – The student believes he or she can be successful in the class.
- Satisfaction – The student is satisfied with what he or she has achieved in the class
- Growth mindset – The student is learning to believe that he or she can get smarter.
- Future orientation – The student is becoming more focused on future aspirations (e.g., college).
The researchers also identified a number of disengagement behaviors – the opposite of agency: faking effort, generally not trying, giving up if the work is too hard, and avoiding help.
What did the data reveal? Ferguson and his colleagues found that some teaching behaviors were agency boosters and others were agency dampers, indicating the delicate balance teachers must maintain between what they ask of students (academic and behavioral press) and what they give students (social and academic support). The details:
• Agency boosters – Requiring rigor came through strongly in the study – asking students to think more rigorously by striving to understand concepts, not simply memorize facts, or to explain their reasoning. This boosts mastery orientation, increases effort, growth mindset, conscientiousness, and future aspirations – but sometimes diminishes students’ happiness in class, feelings of efficacy, and satisfaction with what they’ve achieved. “These slightly dampened emotions in the short term,” say the researchers, “seem small prices to pay for the motivational, mindset, and behavioral payoffs we predict to result from requiring rigorous thinking. Combinations of teaching practices – for example, appropriately differentiated assignments, lucid explanations of new material, and curricular supports to accompany demands for rigor – seem quite relevant in this context.”
• Agency dampers – Caring may sometimes entail coddling: “in an effort to be emotionally supportive,” say the authors, “some teachers may be especially accommodating and this may depress student conduct as well as academic persistence.” Conferring can sometimes lack a clear purpose, which can undermine student effort and reduce time on task. Clearing up confusion can occur too automatically, with teachers doing the work for students and denying them the incentive and opportunity to diagnose and correct their own misunderstandings, which diminishes effort and conscientiousness.
• Future-orientation boosters – Caring and captivating are the teaching components most closely associated with college aspirations, the researchers found.
• Achievement boosters – Challenge and classroom management are the components correlated with students doing well on standardized tests, as the Measures of Effective Teaching study found.
“The point is not that there is a trade-off between annual learning gains and higher aspirations,” say Ferguson and colleagues. “Instead, the point is that the most important agency boosters for each are different. A balanced approach to instructional improvement will prioritize care and captivate to bolster aspirations, and challenge and classroom management to strengthen the skills that standardized tests measure. Certainly, without the skills that tests measure, college aspirations might be futile. But in turn, without college aspirations, the payoffs to those skills may be limited.”
Here is their distillation of ten classroom practices that develop agency:
- Care – Be attentive and sensitive, but avoid codding students in ways that hold them to lower standards of effort and performance.
- Confer – Encourage and respect students’ perspectives and honor student voice, but do so while remaining focused on instructional goals – and don’t waste class time with idle chatter.
- Captivate – Make lessons stimulating and relevant while knowing that some students may hide their interest.
- Clarify with lucid explanations – Strive to develop clearer explanations, including how the skills and knowledge you teach are useful in the exercise of effective agency in real life – especially for the material students find most difficult.
- Clarify by clearing up confusion – Take regular steps to detect and respond to confusion in class, but do so in ways that share responsibility with students.
- Clarify with instructive feedback – Give instructive feedback in ways that provide scaffolding for students to solve their own problems.
- Consolidate – Regularly summarize lessons to help consolidate learning.
- Challenge by requiring rigor – Press students to think deeply instead of superficially about what they are learning. Anticipate some resistance from students who might prefer a less-stressful approach – but be tenacious.
- Challenge by requiring persistence – Consistently require students to keep trying and searching for ways to succeed even when work is difficult.
- Classroom management – Achieve respectful, orderly, and on-task student behavior by using clarity, captivation, and challenge instead of coercion.
“The Influence of Teaching: Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency – A Study of 16,000 Sixth Through Ninth-Grade Classrooms” by Ronald Ferguson with Sarah Phillips, Jacob Rowley, and Jocelyn Friedlander, a paper from The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, Oct. 2015, http://www.agi.harvard.edu/publications.php
WEEKLY EVENTS (12/7 - 12/11)
Elective Teacher Meeting - Tuesday, December 7th, Library, 7:40 AM
Festive Sweater Day - Tuesday, December 8th
Staff Meeting - 4:30 PM, Tuesday, December 8th in Library
ARMS Band Winter Concert, Thursday, December 10th @ 6pm, ARMS Auditorium
Ignite Academy - Fall Semester Reflection - 4:30 PM, in Library
Trailblazer Meeting, 9:40 AM, Friday, December 11th
ARMS Winter Dance - Friday, December 11th @ 6pm
Saturday School- December 12th / Science & ELAR, 9AM - 12PM
Magnet Boot Camp- Saturday, December 12th, 11AM - 12PM
On the Horizon....
ARMS Staff Winter Celebration- Tuesday, December 15th
Student $1 Jean Day - Friday, December 18th
3rd Six Weeks Ends - Friday, December 18th
Winter Vacation - December 21st - January 1st
Rangers Represent @ the 8th Grade HS Fair
The Most Important Work of our Time! Always remember YOUR IMPACT!
Ann Richards Middle School
At Ann Richards MS, our vision is to be a flagship middle school at the hub of the community, nurturing diverse leaders, and empowering intelligent trailblazers.
Reminders: ARMS Culture Expectations
- All staff and teachers are at morning arrival positions promptly at 8:10 AM.
- Students pick up breakfast and remain in first period. Be mindful that students are not wandering around campus.
- Your presence every day is important. Take care of yourselves and schedule any appointments accordingly.
- Hall way transitions - OWN your ZONE. Be present and active while monitoring and supporting our students movement to class on time.
- ALL students exit the building at the end of the day. Students enter at 4:20 by the patio or sundial for athletics or after school clubs. Students re-enter at 4:10 for phones and ear buds.