Joseph Rogers Primary School

March 23, 2015

Rigor and Writing

“We never believed it was acceptable for Tennessee to be ranked in the bottom five to 10 states in the country in education. And we don’t believe today that we should be below the national average. But what we have seen is that change is possible. Our students can grow. It’s happening in Tennessee, and it can happen all across our nation.”

--Governor Bill Haslam, November 9, 2013

Governor Haslam is right. It is NOT acceptable for our students to be below the national average. Over the past few years there has been a shift in thinking and instruction, and with lots of hard work and Tennessee has seen academic growth with our students.

Remember when Common Core Standards came to Tennessee. We started learning about the standards and we said this will never work...and it did. When we began math tasks we said this is too hard...but it wasn't. When we began common assessments we complained that our kids could not do it...were we ever surprised. Now that we are tackling the writing look at how far your students have come. Teaching is difficult and change is necessary to excel our students.

I was in the leadership meeting a couple of weeks ago and research was shared with us about teachers who had the most successful students with writing (according to the TCAP writing assessment) and what resources they used to plan writing instruction.

The most successful writing teachers said the following

  • 84% frequently or very frequently used teacher created assessments
  • 79% frequently or very frequently used material other teachers at school created (planned collaboratively)
  • 57% frequently or very frequently used the practice tasks from

They were also asked how often certain activities occur in their classroom.

  • 89% frequently or very frequently provide direct instruction in writing techniques
  • 88% frequently or very frequently have students write in response to text
  • 80% frequently or very frequently have students plan or draft a piece of writing
  • 80% frequently or very frequently provide individual feedback to students on writing

Think about how you are teaching writing to your students and the best practices listed above. It is our job to lay the foundation for writing for our students. I hope you are listening to the research and are providing your students with best practices in writing.

As of right now k-2 students will not be assessed on TNReady (TCAP), but we need to prepare our students what they will see on this assessment in third grade. On TNReady, we know that Language standards WILL BE ASSESSED AUTHENTICALLY through actual student writing or exercises that reflect real-world activities (i.e. editing a paper)

This is why it is important to teach these skills, not in isolation, but integrated so our students are able to apply what they are learning.

Education is changing every single day. My hope is that you are changing with it.

Welcome spring and a opportunity for new beginnings,


Calendar of Events

fun times at JRP

March 24-March 31 - Book Fair

March 24 - field day/safety day committee 3:15 library

March 25 - faculty meeting

March 26 - Fight Like Mack t-shirt day; Ms. Risner's class will Skype with Mack and his family at St. Judes

Family Game Night 5:00-6:30 - be here by 4:30 to assist in setting up

March 27 - spring pictures

April 1 - AR celebration; scheduling committee

April 2 - board meeting at Volunteer High School

April 9 - Parent Teacher Conferences 3:15-6:15

April 10 - cap and gown pictures (prek and 2nd)

April 15 - faculty meeting

May 1 - 2nd grade parent involvement

May 4 - 2nd grade field trip

May 14 - Kinder to Bright's Zoo; PreK Briarwood Safari

May 15 - safety day/career day

May 18 - PreK graduation

May 19 - field day

May 21 - End of Year programs

*some dates are tentative and subject to change


If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Teaching today's students is a difficult, but extremely rewarding profession. I hope you are seeing the rewards that come with your chosen career.