The Monday Message

Office of the Principal; Monday, November 10, 2014

Quote for the Week!

The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say,
"The children are now working as if I did not exist."
Maria Montessori

The Week Ahead

Black Week - Classes Meet 1-2-3-4-5-6 / Breast Cancer Awareness Month / National Native American Heritage Month /

Monday (10th) - World Science Day for Peace and Development, Admin Meeting (10:00am, Cafe'), Learning Walk (12:50-3:15, Classrooms) - click here for walk assignments, G20 Mtg (3:45pm, Rm. 724), Board Meeting (7pm, Irmo El)

Tuesday (11th) - Veterans Day (Pastries with Patriots), G40 StuCo Mtg (7.45am, Rm. 812), Expeditionary Learning PD w/Sarah (see schedule here) District Leadership (4:00pm; Designated Locations - Attendance Mandatory), AdvancED Self-Assessment Mtg (3:50-4:50pm, Cafe', Attendance Mandatory for everyone not assigned to leadership)

Wednesday (12th) -Career Day (AM Assembly Schedule), Magnet Monthly Meeting (1:00pm, TV Studio), Robotics Class Observation (1:00pm; DFMS)

Thursday (13th) - Crew (8:20-8:50), World Kindness Day,

Friday (14th) - World Diabetes Day

November Staff Birthdays

Jane Koon, November 3rd

Vance Lipe, November 10th

Phillip Dorley, November 12th

Cynthia O’Reilly, November 22nd

Theresa Holland, November 24th

Kim Ferguson, November 29th

Please join me in wishing these staff members a happy birthday.

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We have several shout outs this week:

1. - Mrs. Cook and Ms. Fox - This past week, Mrs. Cook, Ms. Fox, and Mrs. Moore launched the iAM Composting Project. As a result of this project, students are paying more attention to what they place in trash cans and as a result, Mr. Ranly and his team have cut back significantly on the number of trash cans being dumped and ultimately what is getting deposited in our landfills. Way to go Mrs. Cook and Ms. Fox for launching the composting project last week. Because of your efforts, our students are actively learning two of the EL Design Principles (The Natural World and Service and Compassion). Join me in giving Mrs. Cook and Ms. Fox a shout out.

2. - Mrs. Paull and Mrs. Stephenson - In the past few weeks, in an attempt to serve the academic needs of all students who scored not met on last year's PASS exam. As rosters were adjusted, it created new dynamics for their classes that required modifications and reteaching scenarios. Way to go Mrs. Paull and Mrs. Stephenson for truly having a Crew not Passengers spirit with the intervention classes. Join me in giving Mrs. Paull and Mrs. Stephenson a shout out.

3. - Mr. Ranly and the Custodial Team - Each and every day, Mr. Ranly and the custodial team perform their job functions in an exemplar manner. Regardless of the needs, Mr. Ranly and his team go out of their way to service the needs of our campus in any manner needed. As I stand out on duty each morning, parents often roll down their windows and tell me how much they appreciate how clean and presentable our campus looks. Way to go Mr. Ranly and the Custodial Team! Join me in giving Mr. Ranly and the Custodial team a huge shout out.

Please join me in giving each of these individuals a big IRMO MIDDLE shout out!

Duty Roster for the Week

Duty Roster

Monday - I Group on Duty (Thur PM)

Tuesday - R Group on Duty (Major-Murphy PM)

Wednesday - M Group on Duty (Inabinet PM)

Thursday - O Group on duty (Young PM)

Friday - R Group is on duty

Reminder - At the request of several teachers, everyone is receiving a remind message on Thursday evening of each week, calling attention to the Friday duty assignments.

Tasks to Complete This Week!

1. Teach like a champion every period, every day!

2. Attend Tuesday's District Leadership Meetings (Mandatory) and the AdvancED Standard Four Self Assessment Meeting (Cafe')

3. Attend Tuesday's PD with Sarah Boddy. See schedule here.

4. Incorporate the topics specified in the weekly calendar in your lesson plans and activities. Make sure you are making specific connections to the experiences of our students as well as cross curricular planning.

5. Everyone report to duty as scheduled. See roster here

6. Read the Monday Message in its entirety (including the articles linked and inserted). Also view the video clips, reflect, and adjust your practices where needed.

7. Review in its entirety Thursday's Crew lesson to prepare.

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Attendance (Student) - Reminder

Continue to take your attendance "daily" during every class period. Any abnormalities, please notify Ms. Crumlin. If you have students who are accumulating excessive absences, please notify your administrator so we can begin to take the necessary actions. Remember, everyone is expected to record attendance every class period so we know where students are located. We don't want an issue where we can't find a student because someone didn't take attendance.

Attendance (Staff) - Update

Our staff attendance has been down for the past three weeks. This past week (November 3-7), the teacher attendance rate was 97% (10 absences) and the entire staff attendance rate was 97% (21 absences). Our goal remains 97%, so we accomplished our goal this week (Way to Go!!). Enjoy wearing your jeans this Friday! Below are the October attendance results for your review. As always, it is absolutely critical that everyone make every effort possible to be here each and every day. I will join you in those collective efforts. When you need to be out, please follow the proper protocols and prepare excellent plans for your students. Remember, if you are on duty, that needs to be communicated to your substitute as well.

Student Dress Code - Reminder

With the cooler weather, students are beginning to wear hoodies and other head gear. Let's be consistent. Headwear is not allowed in the building. Ask students nicely to remove their head wear while inside the building. When outside, they are permitted to wear head wear but be watchful. They are putting in their earbuds and listening to music outside which violates our personal electronic device policy.

Teaching and Learning - Checking for Understanding

When we check all students’ levels of understanding throughout each lesson, it sets the tone that everyone’s thinking is important and necessary, and we forward the learning and engagement of all. Some techniques are too time-consuming to use as quick pulse checks, but using these key techniques together in all lessons allows

us to track learning and adapt instruction appropriately on the spot.

In All Lessons, IMS Teachers should:

Ground the lesson in the learning target. This means they:

• Post the target in a visible, consistent location

• Discuss the target at the beginning of class with students, having students put the target into their own words, explain its meaning, and explain what meeting the target might look like

• Reference the target throughout the lesson

• Return explicitly to the target during the debrief, checking for student progress

Use Cold Call. This means they:

• Name the question before identifying students to answer it

• Call on students regardless of whether they have hands raised, using a variety of techniques such as random calls or tracking charts to ensure all students contribute, name sticks or name cards

• Scaffold the questions from simple to increasingly complex, probing for deeper explanations

• Connect thinking threads by returning to previous comments and connecting them to current ones. In this way, listening to peers is valued, and even after a student’s been called on, he or she is part of the continued conversation and class thinking

Use No Opt Out. This means they:

• Require all students to correctly answer questions posed to them

• Always follow incorrect or partial answers from students by giving the correct answer themselves, cold calling other students, taking a correct answer from students with hands raised, cold calling other students until the right answer is given, and then returning to any student who gave an incorrect or partial answer for complete and correct responses

Use No Opt Out. This means they:

• Require all students to correctly answer questions posed to them

• Always follow incorrect or partial answers from students by giving the correct answer themselves, cold calling other students, taking a correct answer from students with hands raised, cold calling other students until the right answer is given, and then returning to any student who gave an incorrect or partial answer for complete and correct responses

End with an effective debrief. This means they:

• Return explicitly to the learning targets (both academic and character/habits of work)

• Elicit student reflection towards the learning target(s), probing for students to provide evidence for their own and/or class progress

• Celebrate or have students celebrate individual, small group or whole class successes

• Identify or have students identify goals for improvement around the target(s)

Click here for specific strategies!

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ACT Aspire

As communicated earlier this week, ACT Aspire has been selected as our summative assessment for 2015. Although DRC is now in litigation with ACT over the rights to administer the SC assessment, we need to begin preparing. We will use this area in our weekly blended professional development to begin preparing our teachers and staff so in turn we can in turn begin preparing students. Here are some sample items and a video for you to review.

1. Scale Scores

2. Writing Test Items

3. English Test Items

4. Reading Test Items

5. Math Test Items

6. Science Test Items

7. Technology Enhanced Item Demos (toggle between reading and science)

8. Accessibility Features

We are scheduling a representative from ACT and the district office to come in and help with our preparations. More information to come.

The Magnet Minute & EL Corner

Crew: Here is the link to next week's Crew lesson, which will be taught by team leaders prior to Thursday morning.

The Importance of “Circling up” - The simple task of circling up to begin Crew meetings sounds easy. Maybe it even sounds mundane to some adults and students. It is neither of these. Circling up has a long history of meaning and purpose. When the team is in a huddle, something important is being said and people are focused. The Knights of the Round Table were positioned in a circle for a reason. In the classroom, sitting in a circle is powerful when it is done well and its purpose is clearly articulated to students.

1. Bringing your Crew together in a circle:

  • Allows everyone to see everyone else and to be accountable to one another (face-to-face)
  • It creates a sense of focus on a common concern without creating a sense of “sides"
  • Helps you to facilitate a balance of voices
  • Honors students as individual contributors to the community
  • Emphasizes equality and interconnectedness
  • Proper construction increases accountability, because all body language is obvious to everyone.

Warning! Do not underestimate just how difficult it is for students to move from their desks or tables to a circle formation! Be sure to use an interactive modeling process with your students along with self and whole community assessment and monitoring of how students are doing getting to the Crew circle safely, quietly, and promptly. While in the circle, everyone should be able to see each other, and be seen by each other.

2. Chairs—to be or not to be?

This has been a popular question from teachers. It’s important to think about child development when considering whether or not to have students sit in chairs at the circle. Feasibility, of course, is also a consideration—you can’t expand your room size. However, you CAN get rid of unused furniture, boxes, or papers. Ask a Crew leader or administrator if you need help reorganizing for spacing reasons.

What are you doing to integrate our magnet theme? A stroll through the hallways indicates that teachers across campus are integrating global connections into activities, lessons, units, enrichment/homeroom activities, and team procedures and norms. As we segue into October, please remember to document any global connections you make by uploading lesson plans, activities, and evidence of student work (pictures, documents, etc.) in this Google Drive folder -Magnet Theme Sample Lessons.

High Quality Project Ideas - Teachers, Sarah Boddy will be back with us this week to help teachers progress with their required (1) high quality project this year, a component of our expeditionary learning work plan. I have spoken with many you and continue to be amazed with your creativity and connectedness to the needs of our school and community that have resulted in your authentic project designs. If you have not begun crating your project and laying the groundwork with students, I am including some prompts below to get you started.

Too often, we make learning more complicated than it has to be. Those legitimate concerns aside, the prompts below can be used to create lessons, students to create projects–or teachers to collaborate with students to create lessons–or projects. These sorts of stems can be used to create “learning blends” for students–either with them, or for them. To enhance the end product, you can easily couple these prompts with other components–technology like apps or social media channels, texts from literary classics to postmodern non-fiction, creativity, or even things that matter to the IMS community. Here are a few examples of how it might work?

Clarify racism in the United States for a middle school in India.

Design and publish a compelling eBook your friends would actually want to read using a simple smartphone or Google chrome app.

Practice coding until you can make a ball bounce.

Compare the force of a tsunami with a nuclear bomb.

Rethink the iPad for poor communities with limited WiFi access.

Change a local business owner’s mind about hiring convicted felons.

Theorize what Emily Dickinson would say about facebook.

1. Clarify…

2. Stylize…without changing…

3. Illuminate…

4. Solve….together with….

5. Rethink….by…

6. Learn to….with…

7. Repackage…for…

8. Identify what’s implied in…

9. Design a ….using…

10. Make a…with…

11. Find the best evidence that supports…

12. Find a better/smarter/faster/safer way to…

13. Simplify….for….

14. Explain how others misunderstand…

15. Narrate the sequence of…

16. Change…’s mind about…

17. Socialize your opinion on…through…and refine or clarify it based on feedback. (e.g., quora, reddit, twitter)

18. Explain the significance of….by….

19. Contextualize the history of….

20. Explore and curate the history of…

21. Document…for the purpose of…

22. Document how…was able to…

23. Digitize…so that….

24. Find another way to solve…

25. Turn the problem of…into a manageable project

26. Practice…until you can…

27. Honor the complexity of…by…

28. Debate the merit of…compared to…

29. Collaborate with…in order to…

30. Restore…

31. Identify and elegantly demonstrate the sources of…

32. Support…by…

33. Play with…using…

34. Find the patterns in…

35. Analyze…through a series of questions.

36. Identify analogous situations compared to…

37. Iterate…in light of…

38. Untangle the causes from the effects of…

39. Contrast…and…

40. See…from the perspective of…

41. Merge the thinking of…and…

42. Theorize what…would say about…

Fund for Teachers Helps Educators
A Fellow's Advice -- Applying for an FFT
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From Mr. Thur


With respect to accommodations, if there are IEP testing accommodations for a particular student that the student is consistently choosing not to use, please let that student’s casemanager know. We are required to provide their accommodations, and in most to all cases, you can ensure they are being provided (e.g. specific seating arrangements, completed study guides, etc.) However, there may be a few, select instances where a student consistently chooses not to take or use an afforded accommodation that you continue to provide them (e.g. oral administration). Moreover, if your data suggests that they may not require an accommodation to be successful in your classroom, informing their casemanager will allow them to address this with you (schedule a meeting, speak to parent, offer suggestions, etc.). Of course, in the meantime, until there is a documented change, please continue to provide all required accommodations and keep the casemanager informed.

Upcoming IEP meetings

Please continue to review your calendar for scheduled IEP meetings. If you happen to have a conflict with meetings, and you know you will be unable to attend, please continue to inform Mrs. McNeil as soon as you know. This will allow her enough time to find an appropriate replacement. We appreciate you being an integral part of the team, and value your feedback and participation.

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From Mrs. Young

In case you didn't know, you now have unlimited storage!!!!

All Google Apps for Education users now have free, unlimited storage for any file type in Drive. No more worrying about hitting your quota or deleting files to free up space. Free archiving with Google Vault will come later this year.

Creating rubrics or checklists in ALL in Learning is extremely easy to do and can provide valuable information for your data teams. Please let me know if you need assistance with this.

Be sure to visit the IMS Technology folder periodically that was shared with you. This will periodically be updated with information and resources, including how to save videos from YouTube to Google Drive so you may share those with your students.

Thank you for continuing to invite me into your classroom. Thank you to Ms. Inabinet for allowing me to work with your students last week.

App/Website Spotlight: Geddit


This is a great student response system for gaining valuable information about student understanding. Geddit, which is both a Chrome app and a web based platform, is a robust way to gauge understanding straight from the students themselves. Students select their range of understanding on a scale from 1 to 5 giving teachers a quick idea of who has understood the information and whether or not it might be time to move to the next idea. Since students give feedback about their understanding in private, and in real time, teachers can identify needs as they occur.

With Geddit, Chromebook classrooms can now effectively:

  • Ask quiz questions to compare evidence of understanding with student self assessments.
  • Gain real time information to allow teachers to quickly differentiate or match a strong student with a struggling peer.
  • Message students through the app with links to further content or help – after reviewing student responses and data .
  • Track everything over time to help teachers visualize student progress in the learning process.
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Closing Thoughts

This week's Friday Forecast contains a calendar to guide our week ahead, PD links, and events on the horizon. As I reflected on last week and look forward to the week ahead, I found myself wondering why so many of our students perfom well for some teachers and not for others. As I began to engage in some readings and ask some of our underperforming learners, I was amazed at how simple the answer was. It all boils down to relationships. It has been said that “rules without relationship equals rebellion.” When you have a caring relationship with a student, they will often go the extra mile. They don’t go the extra mile because they understand the long-term benefits. They go the extra mile for the teacher that they love and that loves them (despite their middle school moments). There are Ten Nonverbal Questions I believe students intuitively ask their teachers:

  1. Do you care about me?
  2. What do you really know about me?
  3. What do you know about where I’m from?
  4. Do you know what is important to me?
  5. Do you know what I deal with on a day-to-day basis?
  6. Do you know my learning style and include specific examples and connections that I can relate to during class?
  7. What do you like and appreciate about me?
  8. Who do you think I am?
  9. What do you think I will become?
  10. Do you want to be here teaching me?

How you answer these questions by the way you interact with your students makes all the difference in the world in terms increasing student achievement, especially for marginalized and disenfranchised learners.

Don't let our setback cause you to sitback. We are now into the second nine weeks. Each one, teach one, so we can all reach one. We Are Crew, Not Passengers; Together We are Smarter!

Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Principal

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2007 White Teachers/ Diverse Classrooms Preview of DVD
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