Adventure Specialists' Advice

May 12, 2017


I read an article this week about how to cultivate delight in schools. If you want to read the complete article, please do. Some of the suggestions in this article struck me as out of place, because the author was writing from a secular viewpoint but use a lot of words we associate with faith: missional, purpose, sacred. However, I think that the message is true and one that we need to be reminded of.

I think that we all feel overwhelmed during this time of the year (and many other times, to be honest), and it's hard to take the time to find delight around us. One of the things I've found to take delight in this week is the 5th grade students coming to interview me for their writing assignment. This is a fun change of pace from most of what I do, and the kids take it so seriously! I want to be intentional next week about taking delight in the Fine Arts Festival instead of just trying to keep everyone under control. Another thing I think we all dread is comments - both the writers and the readers! However, it is also encouraging to read about how much the kids have grown and to observe how deeply you know your students.

Enjoy your long weekend, enjoy the Fine Arts Festival, and hang in there.

Important Dates

  • May 12-20 - Fine Arts Festival
  • May 15 - Fine Arts Set-Up Day (no school)
  • May 17 - SCIPS transition day, 12-3 (5th and 6th grade teachers)
  • May 17 - Last day of MS X Blocks
  • May 18 - MS Fine Arts Concert 5th/6th at 5:00; 7th/8th at 7:00
  • May 19: MS Activity: Talent Show and Sparks of Passion
    • Fine Arts Jazz Concert (MS and HS Jazz, 5:00; HS Concert band and choir 7:00)
  • May 23 - Senior Assembly, X Block time
  • May 24 - MS Drama, X Block time
  • May 25 - Yearbook Assembly, X Block time
    • First Set of Comments Due, 8 AM
  • May 26 - Senior Chapel (11:30)
    • 2nd set of comments due, 8 AM
    • MS Shirt Signing (2:30)
    • Sports Awards (7:00, those involved with varsity sports)
  • May 28 - Baccalaureate
  • May 29-June 1: Half-Days, 8th-12 Final Exams (schedule to come)
  • May 29 - 3rd Set of Comments Due, 8 AM
  • May 30 - Battle of the Books (5th/6th)
    • 4th Set of Comments Due, 8 AM
  • May 31 - 5th Set of Comments Due, 8 AM
    • Senior Tea, 7 PM (optional; all staff bring a dessert to share)

Assessing Assessment

If there is a week to think about assessments, it’s this week with its plethora of standardized tests! The MAP, SAT, and AP season is upon us, and students are taking tests reflecting years of accumulated knowledge and skills. How do we know we are preparing them well for these tests?

The last few weeks I’ve been talking about four key questions for guiding the learning process. Last week I discussed the importance of clear learning targets. This week I’m moving on to the next important question: How will I know my students are actually learning? Though student learning is what we’re here to promote, somehow it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the activities of the day rather than having a clear sense of each student’s learning process.

It’s not hard to think or act upon this question; the trick is making a habit of it and being intentional to continue to grow and develop. Below are three questions I’d challenge you to ask yourself/act upon each day of the coming school week.

1. How do I know if my students were able to meet my daily objective for today? This seems obvious, but sometimes it’s difficult to know if students have mastered the objective for the day. What are ways we can build in this kind of regular feedback into each class?

2. What are the kinds of assessment methods I use to measure if my students have mastered the day’s objective? There are four main ways to assess: selected response (multiple choice, etc.), written response, performance assessment, and personal communication. Depending on the learning targets, different types of assessment will be more appropriate than others. However, it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of always using the same types of method(s) every time. It’s good to mix this up!

3. How do I know if my students are meeting the unit objectives? What are the assessment tools I’ll be using to measure this? Asking the same questions as above on a unit level is also such a powerful way to help improve student learning.

Susan Allen

HS Teacher, Instructional Coach

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