Friday Focus

A Week of Awesomeness at EHS

Introduction

Welcome to another week's worth of teaching and learning at EHS! Can it really almost be the week before Finals? I hope you've all had a great week, and your students are working diligently on preparing for the two weeks ahead of them. As always, we appreciate your hard work, and I look forward to continuing to see the wonderful things you're doing in your classrooms. Again, please don't be shy to invite me in to your rooms, it's my favorite thing to do during the day! I hope you enjoy reading about what your colleagues have been up to this week.

Students As Learners

Mrs. Klein

This week, Cathie did an excellent personal finance lesson in her Career and Life Planning class. The class had recently been learning what a monthly budget looks like, how to plan for a family budget, and what bills need to be paid. When I walked into Cathie's class, she was giving the students various scenarios - mom has this occupation, dad has this occupation, there are X amount of children, here is what their interests are, here is the type of house they live in, what kind of cars they drive, etc. The students had to analyze the situation, and create a budget for the family that she described. It was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about real world finances, and what budgets should look like. Well done, Cathie!
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Mrs. Brown

Along the same lines, in Mrs. Brown's personal finance class, students were exploring the U.S. Department of Labor's website where they could explore occupational outlooks. The website lists every job imaginable, and students were able to do some exploring and analyzing of different occupations. They were able to see how quickly the jobs were growing, the median salary of the occupations, and other relevant statistics. Being able to see these numbers, students could more effectively plan out what their own personal finances have the potential of looking like, if they stick with their goals and obtain their desired occupation. You could tell the students were loving it - they were clicking like crazy looking at all the different jobs they could! This was an excellent lesson that incorporated global awareness and real life application.
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Mrs. Daigh

I did a quick walkthrough in Bonnie's class this week, and the kids were eating up a Kahoot lesson that Bonnie prepared! It was the day before a test, and Bonnie was providing multiple ways for students to review. It was a great way to get all of her students engaged in a test review. She set the time for 120 seconds, so they had plenty of time to work out the math problem at hand. There was a fun air of competition, and at the same time, students were excited for a test review. So fun!
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Mr. Pickett

Mr. Pickett had a fun lab for his physics students earlier this week. When I walked in, there were several airplanes suspended from the ceiling, flying in circles. I asked the group closest to me what their goals for the lab were. They said that they measured the radius of the circle, among other things, and that they were working to figure the centrifugal force. There were several higher order thinking skills at play here, and it was all in a hands on lab that students were excited about. Great work, Joe!
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Staff As Learners

Mrs. Klein

Cathie makes the newsletter twice this week! In addition to her great personal finance lesson mentioned earlier, her students have also started working on their final projects. Their final project is all about them and how they see their futures turning out. They are to define "success," describe themselves from a professional standpoint, what career choice they will make, how they will get to that career (college, training, etc), and incorporate personal finance into their project as well. The part where Cathie becomes the learner as well, is that she is allowing her students to choose from eight different digital options to make their presentations, some of which have been presented during Tech Tuesdays. Her students have the choice to choose between:


1. Adobe Slate

2. Infographics (via canva.com)

3. Pinterest

4. PowToon

5. Weebly

6. Voice Thread

7. Animoto

8. Google Slides


What a neat way to allow for student choice! I'm very excited to see how these projects turn out - stay tuned!

Instructional Strategy of the Week

Mrs. Lancaster

It's almost impossible for me to walk into Kim's classroom and see kids not having fun. On Thursday, I walked in to see students playing "minute to win it" type of games. Kim gave them instructions in all Spanish, and representatives from two teams worked to complete the challenges in a minute. It was also a competition to see who could complete the challenge better. This in itself is an authentic way to practice listening skills. Students were laughing and having a great time, and most impressively, they understood the instructions of each game as they were described in Spanish. Here's the amazing part (can you believe I haven't gotten to the amazing part yet?), these games were serving as a writing prompt for later in the class. What a fun way to get students out of their chairs, having a great time, and then focus them back to write about what they had just witnessed. This was a fantastic way to practice the verb tense they are learning in class, and it gives meaning to what the students are writing. The can remember something fun or funny that happened earlier in the class, and they enjoy writing about it more than something that is less relevant, or not quite as "real."


Great lesson, Kim!

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Articles Worth Reading

Project Based Learning

Below is an article that describes how to incorporate rigor into project based learning (PBL). If you're interested in incorporating more PBL into your classroom, this article can serve as a good guide to some concepts that need to be thought through on the part of the teacher before embarking into a project. I hope you enjoy!

Videos Worth Watching

Words of Wisdom from Rocky Balboa

Ok, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a big fan of the Rocky movies. Does that make me un-American? Maybe. I have respect for the movies and what they are, but it's just not my type of movie. I digress. I came across this clip of some words of wisdom from the one and only Rocky. Someone can enlighten me later on which Rocky movie this is from, but with the end of the semester coming up, it can be nice to have a little pep talk from one of the greatest boxers in Hollywood history. In this clip, Rocky talks about how hard life can hit you, and the importance of being able to take those hits, and move forward anyway. Sometimes, the same can be true for teaching. It can be really, really tough. We can start to lose sight sometimes of the rationale behind what we do day in and day out. Especially at the end of the first semester. When he says, "That's how winning is done!" I would replace that with, "That's how students succeed." Teaching is sometimes about learning from mistakes, but moving forward. Students reap the benefits of risks that you take as an educator as you continue to move forward. Continuing to improve yourself, no matter how hard it is sometimes, comes with a great payoff - your students' learning. Disclaimer: At the end of the clip, Rocky talks about pointing fingers and blaming others - I definitely don't think anyone is pointing fingers and blaming other people around here - it was just part of the clip that I couldn't edit out. :) However, it can still be a nice reminder for life in general that I know was good for me to hear.
Motion Typography: Rocky Balboa Inspirational Speech

Final Thoughts

We are in the home stretch before finals week! Thank you for all of your hard work in getting our students prepared for their finals, and also for next semester. I've truly enjoyed the teaching and learning that I've been witnessing. Have a fantastic weekend!


-Megan