"Super" Spruce Scoop

Volume 2 Edition 21

February 1, 2016

Progress Monitoring

During our feeder pattern principals' meeting on Thursday, a framework for spiraling S.E.s in from ACPs and covering the current curriculum for the six weeks was shared. Also shared were tools in support of teachers progress monitoring, along with a student tool to goal set. I hope that you will work with your teachers to determine the best way to progress monitoring so we can ensure optimal success for our scholars are they map their path toward STAAR.

Collaborative Work

Thank you to Principal Petters for allowing her CILT and administrative team to have a discussion regarding the optimal master schedule for students. She began by framing the work for the session and moved into a brief article around master schedule considerations. The remainder of the meeting consisted of feedback from the group identifying the pros and cons of various types of schedules. The more our teachers have a voice in the way our schools operate, the greater they will support implementation.
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Moseley - Really Good Instruction!

Middle School Writing Collaborative

A very sincere note of appreciation goes out to our reading Academic Facilitators. Doretha Allen and Luis Guillory have been providing professional development to our middle school writing teachers for the past month and will do so for the next month or so. I attended the training last week and was really pleased with the level of work our teachers were introduced to through the PD. Some of their work and our teachers can be seen below. Thank you Ms. Allen and Mr. Guillory!

R. C. Burleson

ISIP / Espanol - Mid-Year Progress

Our mid-year ISIP / Espanol data indicate we are making very good progress in K-2. This is due to the work our teachers are doing with our scholars. Having good fidelity and implementation of guided reading and the components of balanced literacy is paying off. Let's keep up the momentum!
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Gonzalez - Chess Champs

Congratulations to our awesome Gonzalez Chess Team! They won 1st place trophies in both the K-3 and 4th-5th grade divisions in last Saturday's Chess Tournament at Gonzalez! There was a total of 190 students participating from 20 different schools. They had 25 Gonzalez students participate and 2 former Gonzalez students participated in the 6th-12th grade division. All were impressive!

Marshall Memo - “I’m Just Not a Math Person”

In this Usable Knowledge article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Leah Shafer explores the all-too-common dynamic of a student struggling with a math problems, giving up, and saying: “I just can’t get this. I’m not a math person.” Of course the idea that there are “math people” and “not math people” is a social construct, says Shafer: “It stems from the belief that math intelligence is a fixed trait, rather than something that grows and develops with hard work and opportunities to learn.” Students who believe they are not “math people” feel outside mathematics – that math doesn’t belong to them, that it’s not useful to interpreting and navigating the world; it’s just something they have to memorize for tests.

The good news is that it’s possible to change a student’s negative attitudes toward math. Some key steps:

Shift from a fixed to a growth mindset. Students can be taught to make this shift – that through determination and hard work they can be good at math.

Create opportunities for cooperative learning. “When students learn from each other by discussing problem-solving strategies,” says Shafer, “they discover new techniques for approaching problems and new attitudes that help them persevere.”

Give students the chance to productively struggle. Rather than simple right/wrong computational problems, teachers should assign meaty problems that invite students to find their own solutions. Teachers should give students enough time to wrestle with problems and try a new approach if they reach a dead end.

Encourage participation, even if the student doesn’t have the right answer yet. “If there’s a threat of being wrong every time I raise my hand, and being wrong is a bad thing, then very quickly I decide math isn’t for me, I don’t like this, I’m not a smart person,” says Noah Heller of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Teachers need to frame wrong answers as opportunities for learning and get students sharing tentative answers without fear of failure.

Re-envision math as a language. Math students should feel they can claim ownership over the language of math in the same way that English language learners claim ownership over English. Math students need to feel they are insiders, able to construct knowledge, and can gain access to skills and tools that will be truly useful in their lives.

“Becoming a Math Person: Why Students Develop an Aversion to Mathematics – and How Teachers Can Help Change Their Minds” by Leah Shafer in Usable Knowledge, January 16, 2016, http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/01/becoming-math-person

Events for the Week

  • Monday, February 1 - K-2 Cadre at Burleson, African-American Heritage Month
  • Tuesday, February 2 - K-2 Cadre at Cuellar
  • Wednesday, February 3 - K-2 Cadre at Anderson
  • Thursday, February 4 -
  • Friday, February 5 -