Folsom Weekly Update

October 31-November 8

Message from Dr. Mazzoni

Dear Folsom Staff Members,


It is that time of the school year to nominate a teacher or educational services professional who is dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference at Folsom School. The Governor’s Educator of the Year (GEOY) recognition program aims to recognize educators and encourage them to become champions for education and advocates for students and teachers.


Please take the time to recommend a colleague for the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program by clicking on the link below to fill out the nomination form. GEOY nomination forms will be accepted until November 29, 2019.


https://forms.gle/wxpjwpeKyeskaV9D9


Each teacher or education services professional shall exemplify one or more of

the qualities below:

· Serves as an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator at Folsom;

· Inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;

· Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside the classroom;

· Has the respect and admiration of students, parents, administrators and colleagues; and

· Plays an active role in the community as well as the school.

Thank you in advance for recognizing our staff by supporting this program. Go Falcons!


Parent-Teacher Conferences by the Numbers


I completed an analysis of the percentage of parents who attended parent-teacher conferences last week. We had nearly 100 percent of parents attend their child’s conferences in grades PK to 1st and approximately 90 percent in 2nd grade.

Grades 3 through 5 changed the format for parent-teacher conferences to fit this year’s student schedules of switching classes. The percentage of parents attending conferences averaged approximately 75% in the upper-elementary grades.


Lastly, 44% of middle school parents attended their conferences in the content areas. It should be noted that middle school teaches have a caseload ranging from 70 to 80 students, thus, not enough schedule times to see all the parents. Special area conferences were not added to this analysis as student to teacher ratio is approximately 400:1.

Weekly Events

November's Character Trait is.... THANKFUL!


31st

PK-4 Fall Festival parade in gym & classroom activities 2:00 pm

HWHO Room 119 3:30-4:30 pm


November 1st

Middle School Fall Festival 2:00 pm gym & outside

Lip Sync Rehearsal 3:30-5:00 pm gym

MineCraft 3:30-4:30 pm


4th

STOKES trip-6th grade students

HWHO 3:30-4:30 pm Room 119

Art Club 3:30-4:15 pm

Choir (grades 2-4) 3:30-4:30 pm

Lego Club 3:30-4:30 pm


5th

STOKES trip-6th grade students

Folsom singers 3:30-4:30 pm

HWHO 3:30-4:30 pm Room 126


6th

STOKES trip-6th grade students

HWHO 3:30 -4:30 pm Room 126

Band 3:30-4:30 pm


7th

School Closed-NJEA Teacher's Convention


8th

School Closed-NJEA Teacher's Convention

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Notes from the Office

Parents/Guardians will sign out students in the classroom following the fall festival parade and classroom party. Sign out sheets are orange and in your mailboxes.


We have updated students that ARE NOT to be photographed this school year. Please click on the link below to view those students.


No photo release

Curriculum

Teaching Students to be Better Writers!


Being able to communicate is an important skill for our students, not only in school but in their everyday lives. We encourage students to practice public speaking so they can better articulate their thoughts. Just as important is that they are able to express themselves in writing. Putting ideas and thoughts into words is challenging for many adults, as is teaching others how to. Here are some strategies that you can incorporate in your teaching to help students become more powerful writers.


· Use Mentor Texts - Mentor texts are pieces that serve as a good example of the type of writing you’re helping your students to produce. Mentor texts serve as a guide for your students as they begin to write their own pieces.


· Model and Demonstrate - Write in front of your students and think aloud as you’re doing it. You are the proficient writer in the room and you want your students to begin modeling their thinking processes after yours.


· Balance Prompt Writing and Free Choice Writing - It’s important to have students practice writing to answer a prompt as well as writing on free choice topics.


· Integrate Vocabulary - Writing is a great place to incorporate vocabulary instruction. Choose two or three words that might be useful to students for the topic they are writing about. Teach these words, give example sentences, and share sentences where students were able to work them in.


· Peer Conferencing - Many students find working with a partner to be motivating. Set a specific goal such as helping each other check for capital letters at the beginning of every sentence, rereading to make sure each sentence makes sense, or looking for words that could be traded out for something more interesting.


· Provide a Rubric- When students have criteria against which to judge their writing and other writing samples, they begin to internalize that criteria and use it when they write new pieces.

Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math


One of the biggest struggles in the classroom is deciding how to address unfinished math learning. Teachers want nothing more than to help all kids learn, however, they are often faced with students who are just not getting the content. They then work to figure out how to fill in holes and catch kids up who are demonstrating understanding two to three years below their current grade level. So the question arises, “How do we address unfinished learning in math and fill gaps in student understanding?”


One of the biggest pitfalls teachers often face is denying access to grade-level content in an effort to fill the holes. All students need to be given access to rich mathematical instruction at their grade level regardless of their missing understanding. Teachers need to take the appropriate action to address the unfinished learning that does not solely mean relying on materials and content from previous grades.


One of the recommendations found on Achieve the Core for determining how to address unfinished learning in math classes is to trace the learning progressions, diagnose where the unfinished learning is, and go back just far enough to allow students access to grade-level material. The learning progressions are an essential tool for teachers to use to know where and how to provide interventions. Strategic interventions that lead right toward the grade-level content is imperative for helping students to succeed.


Another recommendation is to focus on the major work of the grade level. The New Jersey Student Learning Standards outline the major work of each grade level. This is the content students must have a solid understanding of prior to exiting the grade level. This is important to know and understand as teachers determine what content to spend additional class time on and when to move on. For example, if a grade 3 student shows a weakness in rounding strategies and understanding fractions, focus on the fraction content first, as fractions are part of the major focus of third grade. Students will continue to work on rounding strategies in fourth and fifth grade, however, if a student does not have a solid understanding of fraction concepts in third grade, they will continue to struggle throughout fourth and fifth grade.

Teachers never have enough time to address every single gap in student understanding. It is important to know what unfinished learning to address first and how far back to go. For more recommendations and pitfalls to avoid when addressing unfinished learning see the chart below.

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Happy Birthday to you!!


October

31 Nancy Alber


November

2 Nicole Desordi

2 Anthony Parzanese Sr.

11 Patricia DiMaria

20 Tony Burton

22 Angel Sharp

24 Helen Rodenheiser