Friday Focus

December 4th, 2015

"It's the magical partnership of the person with their head in the clouds and the person with their feet on the ground that creates progress." Simon Sinek


Thanks to Anne for putting together a great winter program for chorus and 3rd/4th graders!

F.O.C.U.S Self-Assessment

Please review the questions below to determine your level of implementation of F.O.C.U.S. and let me know if there are any areas of F.O.C.U.S in which I can provide additional support (through PLC conversations, Monday Meetings, individual conferences, Institute Days, etc.).

Why has the district created an Academic Transformation Plan?

1. To increase student growth (socially, emotionally, and academically)

2. To increase the percentage of students who are on track for college and career readiness.

How are we going to achieve this? Through FOCUS!

F- Forming strong, caring relationships with and between students (I believe this is our strength as a building.)

O- Operating with high expectations and clear learning targets in place (What evidence shows that you have high expectations? Do you hold high expectations for ALL students, regardless of whether they have an IEP? Do you have clear learning targets in place? Do students know what they are and how to achieve them? How do students know whether they've achieved them?)

C- Creating engagement through meaningful experiences (What meaningful experiences have you provided your students today? This week? This month? In what ways can you increase engagement and meaningful experiences?)

U- Utilizing data strategically to INFORM INSTRUCTIONAL PLANNING (Does your use of data change how you plan? Are you using formative assessment to adjust your instruction for individual students? Remember that collecting data - qualitative, quantitative, anecdotal, perceptual, etc. - is a waste of time unless action is taken based on the data collected.)

S- Supplying timely and specific feedback to ensure each child achieves his/her personal best (Remember that feedback to students needs to be actionable. If students don't grow or change something based on your feedback, the feedback is ineffective.)

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

It is a widely held belief that if students are compliant, following directions, and completing the required activities/assignments, they are engaged. Phil Schlechty describes what engagement actually is:

  • The student sees the activity as personally meaningful.
  • The student's level of interest is sufficiently high that he/she persists in the face of difficulty.
  • The student finds the task sufficiently challenging that she believes she will accomplish something of worth by doing it.
  • The student's emphasis is on optimum performance and on 'getting it right.'

Please take just under ten minutes to watch Schlechty define engagement further in the video below. He makes a very interesting point regarding engagement at the primary level compared to that at the intermediate level.

Also, I'm pushing you all to eliminate the use of calling on one student to answer a question posed to the entire class. This is an outdated practice that reduces engagement, participation, and accountability. Simple, easy-to-use, Kagan structures can replace this practice.

Phil Schlechty on Engagement
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Kagan Structure of the Week


Teammates play a card game to respond to questions. Roles rotate with each new question.

Setup: Each team receives a set of question cards.

1. Student #1 holds question cards in a fan and says, "Pick a card, any card."

2. Student # 2 picks a card, reads the question aloud, and allows five seconds of think time.

3. Student #3 answers the question.

4. Student #4 responds to the answer:

  • For right/wrong answers, student #4 checks and then either praises or tutors.
  • For questions that have no right or wrong answer, student # 4 does not check for correctness, but praises and then paraphrases the thinking that went into the answer.
5. Students rotate roles, one person clockwise for each new round.

Modifications: Fan-N-Pick can be played in pairs. Student # 1 fans; Student #2 picks and reads; Student #1 answers; Student #2 tutors or praises; students switch roles.

From Kagan Cooperative Learning by Dr. Spencer Kagan and Miguel Kagan

Message from Vickie...

There is a folder in Mead staff share named Holiday Video 2015 with folders for every grade level. Please put pictures of your students in the designated folders. Feel free to email me pictures as well. I will work to put together a holiday video … anyone who would like to assist in collecting random photos would be appreciated beyond belief.

I would like to have the video completed no later than Monday, December 7th!

For the Holiday Card…

Every class can take a group picture in spirit wear/…red, green, holiday gear, etc.

Feel free to add some pizzazz and flair to your class photo…decorations, etc. We can do a Spirit Wear day on Thursday, December 10th. Please remind your class to wear their gear on this day.

Notes and Reminders

  • If you have any students using Lexia or any computer-based program, such as Accelerated Math 2.0, the expectation is that you are consistently (weekly) checking student reports to check progress. We will be using the first few minutes of each PLC to review the reports.
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Amazon Smile

Please link your amazon account to and indicate that you want to support Meadowview PTO (Woodridge). A percent of your purchase will go to Meadowview PTO each time your order from Amazon! It took me 30 seconds to sign up!

Coming Up...

For collaboration purposes, it's an A week.

Monday, December 7th

Monday Meeting, Certified Staff Only, 3:10pm (Our district administrators will be present to see our learning.)

Tuesday, December 8th

Building Spelling Bee, 1pm

Reg at district teaching and learning team meeting, PM

Wednesday, December 9th

Enjoy the day!

Thursday, December 10th

Spirit Wear Day!!!

Mongolian BBQ PTO Fundraiser

Friday, December 11th

Inservice 8am-3:30pm (See schedule sent by Greg.)

Staff Holiday Party, Bar Louie

Mark Your Calendar...

Monday, December 14th - Board of Education Meeting, 7:30pm, JJH

Tuesday, December 15th - Admin Meeting, Reg out in AM

Friday, December 18th - 1st/2nd Grade Holiday Field Trip (AM only)

Friday, December 18th - Sing Along, 1:30pm

Friday, December 18th - Winter Parties, 2pm (Reminder no food is to be served.)

Friday, December 18th - Winter Vacation Begins at 3:30!

*Please note that the January PTO meeting has been moved from January 14th to January 7th. Special Ed teachers are scheduled to be the teacher representatives.

Inspiring Education and Innovation

In partnership with family and community, Woodridge School District 68 provides a comprehensive educational foundation for all children in a safe, caring environment, preparing them to be productive, responsible, and successful members of society.

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