Coaches' Corner

Newsletter Volume 2

This Issue:

Kagan Update From the Principal's Desk

In 2015, The Hechinger Report published a story titled, “New report reveals that teacher professional development is costly and ineffective.” This story shared data which showed only 30% of teachers improved their teaching after participating in professional development activities. This data point is probably not surprising to you, and neither is it to most administrators. The article also noted the reason most teachers do not improve their teaching is because key components are not in place after they engage in professional development.

The components which must be present are as follows:

  • Continuing support for teachers
  • Professional development relevant to content and grade level
  • Modeling of the new concept for teachers to observe in practice
  • On-going coaching

For these reasons, I am extremely excited about the implementation of Kagan into our school, and firmly believe teaching will be improved because have the key components in place. In just three days I saw a school-wide commitment to team and class building, implementation of Kagan structures, and intentional grouping of students. Although we have a long ways to go, a great start is critical to our long term efforts.

Some areas of improvement regardless of what type of structure you are trying to embed in your lessons are:

  • Think PIES first
  • Remember use some type of selector tool when calling on students to answer questions

We want our students to know that they cannot hide in any of our classes, and all should be ready to contribute at any given time. Keep up the good work and remember, “Your effort does not have to be perfect, but you do have to give a committed effort and things will get better and better.” In time, you will all be Kagan experts.

-Mr. Colvin

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Timetoast is a pretty cool for student projects, allowing them to build sleek, interactive timelines in minutes. Click here to check it out!

Purposeful Practice: Formative Assessment

"Providing students with feedback on written work can, at times, feel like a burden. Dozens (perhaps even hundreds) of papers clutter your desk, and commenting on each is nearly impossible.

Still, we know, both from our experiences and from research, that feedback is essential. John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia, believes that feedback must be timely, relevant, and action-oriented. The good news, according to Hattie, is that 'students want feedback just for them, just in time, and just helping nudge forward.' To that end, he encourages us to 'worry more about how students are receiving your feedback . . . than increasing how much you give.'"


Don't be that teacher. Know Your Students' Accommodations.

What are accommodations?

Accommodations are alterations in the way tasks are presented that allow children with learning disabilities to complete the same assignments as other students. Accommodations do not alter the content of assignments, give students an unfair advantage or in the case of assessments, change what a test measures. They do make it possible for students with LD to show what they know without being impeded by their disability.

Follow the link below for accommodation strategies.

September Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Staples

Mrs. Staples has come in and hit the ground running! She was nominated by admin for a fantastic lesson she did on transformations. She began by showing a quick video clip that introduced students to key vocab. Next, they began practice with translations. For this activity, students were assembled in the hallway in a triangle and were instructed to use floor tiles as their coordinate plane. When Ms. Staples showed an equation (ex. x-3, y+2), the triangle had to shift to show the translation. Mrs. Staples says her students were really eager to translate correctly and became more confident the more they practiced. Next, they watched a video of the Ohio State Marching Band and identified the transformations they saw. By implementing this real world example and sharing her own experiences in the Carolina Marching Band, Mrs. Staples was able to keep her students highly engaged. They also did a great job when given a formative assessment on translations which made the lesson even more rewarding! Mrs. Staples makes an excellent point when she says, "lessons can be creative and well-planned, but the kids make them successful!"