Winfield Weekly

December 14, 2015

All we need is a little purpose and direction...

We are all capable of incredible things when we are driven.

How are you setting a purpose for students learning to read? Do they have the right motivators?

*This is an advertisement for an adult beverage- but the message is spot on!

New Bell's South Africa TV Ad -- The Reader


Monday, December 14

Tuesday, December 15

Wednesday, December 16

Buzz Training @ 8:05 am (Beth's Room)

Thursday, December 17

SOTM Breakfast @ 8:05 am (Cafeteria)

Friday, December 18

Staff Breakfast @ 8:00 am (Lounge)

*Sign-up sheet is in lounge!

*Upcoming Dates

Week of January 4- Happy New Year Lunch (provided by Jillian)

Notes and Other News...

  • STAR MOY Testing Window is December 7th-18th. Make sure your scores are registered and accurate.
  • Items needing to be printed in color can be emailed to Anita.
  • mClass Schedules arrive today!

Teacher To-Do's

  1. Submit your party schedule to the office.
  2. Continue recording Parent Contacts on Google Form. I check these every so often!
  3. Submit your weekly newsletter via email (preferred).
  4. Learning Goals and Tracking Student Progress are embedded in your daily work. New teachers: speak with your mentors about this. We will schedule time next week to discuss this topic more.
  5. Please make sure your students are ready and packed at dismissal time. If you have the last special of the day, they should be packed before they go to their special.
  6. Begin checking to make sure your Xmas Volunteers are background checked. Jennifer has a Google Doc shared with you.

Pint-Sized PD

Key Insights from Grant Wiggins

(Originally titled “Three Lessons for Teachers from Grant Wiggins”)

In this ASCD Inservice article, Understanding by Design guru Jay McTighe reflects on three central lessons from his colleague Grant Wiggins, who died unexpectedly in May:

Always keep the end in mind. Wiggins said to teachers that when they plan curriculum, assessments, and learning experiences “backwards,” their goals will be more clearly defined, their assessments more appropriate, their lessons more tightly aligned, and their teaching more purposeful. This goes well beyond coverage, says McTighe: “Rote learning of discrete facts and skills will simply not equip students to apply their learning to novel situations… The idea is to plan backwards from worthy goals – the transferable concepts, principles, processes, and questions that enable students to apply their learning in meaningful and authentic ways.” Framing Big Ideas and Essential Questions will lead students to understand the content at a deep level.

Feedback is key to successful learning and performance. Wiggins believed that grades and exhortations (“Try harder!”) aren’t very helpful. Truly effective feedback:

- Is timely;

- Describes specific strengths and weaknesses;

- Uses student-friendly language;

- Gives students opportunities for self-adjustment.

The outcome: students know exactly what’s on target and what needs to be fixed.

Wiggins also believed that teachers should constantly seek feedback on their work – from students (exit tickets and questionnaires); from colleagues (reviewing unit plans and assessments); from formative assessments (“tasting the soup” as it’s made); and by analyzing student work (like coaches viewing game films) and adjusting classroom strategies.

Remember what it’s like to be a learner. “[E]xperts frequently find it difficult to have empathy for the novice, even when they try,” said Wiggins. “That’s why teaching is hard, especially for the expert in the field who is a novice teacher. Expressed positively, we must strive unendingly to be empathetic to the learner’s conceptual struggles if we are to succeed.” Teaching isn’t telling; understandings must be constructed – earned – in the mind of the learner.

One of the most powerful ways to gain empathy for students is to shadow a class for a day and reflect on the experience. This article (summarized in Marshall Memo 557) is a classic example.

“Three Lessons for Teachers from Grant Wiggins” by Jay McTighe in ASCD Inservice, August 31, 2015,; McTighe can be reached at