Weekly Notes

March 9-13, 2015

Focus of the Week: Honesty

Monday 3/9:

Watch DOGS Basketball slips due

School-wide DEAR right after announcements!

Tornado Drill @ 3PM

Reading Month Activity: Bring in your favorite book day!


Tuesday 3/10:

DesOrmeau, Anthony, Frisk, Compton, Maurus- Parent Meeting @ 9:25

Staff Meeting @ 4-6PM

JCC Meeting @ 6-8PM

Reading Month Activity: Turn off the TV Tuesday!


Wednesday 3/11:

Maurus @ Admin Meeting AM

Reading Month Activity: Spirit Wednesday- Read my shirt (students and staff wear shirts with writing)


Thursday 3/12:

Donuts with Dad @ 8AM

Maurus @ District Title I Planning Meeting @ 9-12PM

PBIS District Meeting @ 2PM

Reading Month Activity: Pirate crafts- please decorate your classroom door!


Friday 3/13:

Author Visit

K-2: 1:30-2:15

3-5: 2:15-3:00

Kindergarten Registration/Information @ 9-4PM

Reading Month Activity: Author Visit- Welcome, Marquin Parks!


Upcoming Dates:

3/13: Author Visit

3/19: Books for Bingo @ 6PM

3/20: Spirit Day!

Week of 3/23- Battle of the Cans (Information Below)

3/24: Dr. Pam 4-5:30PM

3/25: Maurus @ admin meeting all day- Muse acting principal

3/27: Watch DOGS Basketball Game @ THS @ 6PM

3/30: Fire Drill @ lunch (we must do this per the Department of Homeland Security- more information to follow soon)

3/31: Maurus @ RESA all day- Shufeldt acting principal

4/3-4/10: Spring Break!

PLC Word of the Week: Essential Learning

The critical skills, knowledge, and dispositions each student must acquire as a result of course, grade level, and unit of instruction. Essential learning may also be referred to as essential outcomes or power standards.

How We Learn

10% of what we READ

20% of what we HEAR

30% of what we SEE

50% of what we SEE and HEAR

70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS

80% of what is EXPERIENCED PERSONALLY

95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE

-William Glasser, developer of the Choice Theory

Battle of the Cans

Travis Wesenberg, former Jefferson student, is pursuing his Eagle Scout badge. As part of his requirements, he needs to do a community service project. He is coordinating a canned food drive with all elementary schools the week of March 23rd.

Sentence Fluency

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MStep Testing Update

Special Education and General Education teachers will be testing simultaneously on the MStep testing days. Therefore, please make sure to have your plans include your students who receive special education services remaining in the classroom. The specific schedule will be released as soon as we work out some final kinks.


Title staff members will still be available on testing days.

During the two weeks that there is testing, the grade that is testing will not have workshop. The grade level that does workshop with the grade that is testing will have to make alternative arrangements during those days that include title support staff but not Special Education staff.


If you have further questions, please ask me!

Powerful Messages

“I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or deescalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” Dr. Haim Ginott


As we move into the final three months of the school year, take a moment to pause and reflect upon some ways that we send powerful messages to our students.

-Are our students who receive Special Education services treated differently than students who only receive General Education? Think about the language we use- when we say "their students" referring to Emilie, Lisa and Cacey, does that then mean that those students are not a part of the general education classroom? What impact would that have on one of our students who receives Special Education services if they were to hear us talking about them in that way? Would we say that to a parent?

-When we find ourselves working with behavior challenges, how are we talking to those students? What is our tone, facial expression, posture and word choice? Do our interactions with these students, especially when they are being redirected, leave room for our relationship with them to grow or is it driving a further wedge in the relationship?

-How do we treat our favorite students? (yes, we all have them) Do we promote feelings among students that favoritism exists? What impact does that have on students that we find more challenging? What impact does that have on students who are easily overlooked?


I oftentimes have to take a moment to stop if I catch myself doing or saying something that could have a hidden message. I have had to rephrase my words many times when talking with students, or I have had to go back to students if I feel that something I did or said may impact my relationship with that student negatively. We are human. We make mistakes and do things unintentionally at times. What is important is that we get better at increasing our awareness of our impact and doing something about it when we catch ourselves.

Thank you, Lisa Anthony!

I forgot to add Lisa's name to last week's Weekly Notes for helping with the reading month activities- thank you, Lisa!

Let's Talk About Math

Math Talk!

I am asking that we step out of our comfort zones and try something new in math since Kristin Hilty was here. In the next two weeks, please let me know a time when I can come into your classrooms to observe a lesson with student discussion during math. We are trying to move to a more diverse way of teaching math that includes allowing students to talk about math. Please respond to my email so that I can get into your room to be able to see what you are trying!


This is NOT intended to be a time where I expect perfection! This is intended to be a time where I may be able to come in to see how I can better support you.

Who's Your Buddy?

Additionally, think of a partner that you can work with who will be a supporter of your math talk. I am asking that you consider a colleague who you may not know well and that upper elementary and lower elementary pair together. You and your partner will have an opportunity to observe and co-teach with each other during math to increase your capacity with math talk.

Calendar Math

By now, every classroom teacher at Jefferson has the Calendar Math Kit. In talking with Kristin Hilty before she left last Thursday, we had a good conversation about calendar math. She said that if all teachers learned how to do calendar math and did it every day, that our students would be prepared to do many concepts before units are even taught and that many of the Swiss cheese holes that we are trying desperately to fill would be filled with calendar math. I asked her to explain more and she stated that with calendar math, concepts like fractions and decimals are taught every day, not just when units are taught. Think about what a huge advantage we would all be at if every Jefferson student got calendar math every day- how would that impact our students as they moved up a grade each year? Would spending that small amount of time each day save us time in not having to reteach concepts?


I will be honest with you, when I was in the classroom, I had always assumed that calendar was something that was only done in lower elementary. It was not until Kristin talked about it when she first worked with us that I realized that it is something that benefits upper elementary too. Embarrassingly enough, I didn't even fully know all of the things that can be a part of calendar math. If I were in the classroom again, that would be something that would be a non-negotiable for me!


I am going to email you to see who already does calendar math and who is not yet doing it. This is not intended to be a "Gotcha!" (as I would be a teacher who did not yet do it), but it is intended to identify who among us needs support to be prepared to do this. I am going to then create time for those who do not have a lot of experience with Calendar Math to observe one of our Calendar Math "Experts" and then have release time to dive into the kit.


A goal for us next year is to have every classroom implement calendar math. According to Kristen, this could very well be one of the most powerful things we can do for our students... and we have all the tools right at our fingertips!


Lisa Hrit was able to get a video of calendar math from Kristin and shared it with all of us in Google Drive. Check it out!

Perspective on Testing

I got this from Syndee Malek and wanted to share with you- really makes you think about MEAP and MStep...


The MCAT used to take 3 hours and 30 minutes to take. Starting this
year it will be 6 hours. You need to take and pass the MCAT to get into
Medical School.

The DAT is a 4 hour and 15 minute test. You need to take and pass the
DAT to get into Dental School.

The LSAT is approximately 2 hours and 30 minute test. You need to take
and pass the LSAT to get into Law School.

Now lets take a look at the test that we are requiring students who are
in grades 3-8 and 11th grade and compare them with the tests we require
doctors, dentists, and lawyers to take. Do you think there is some
disparity here?

11th grade (16 and 17 years old)- 11 hours 20 minutes. Total time
including recommended sessions 15 hour 50 minutes.
7th and 8th grade (12-14 years old)- 9 hours and 10 minutes.
6th grade (11-12 years old)- 7 hours and 30 minutes.
4th and 5th grade (9-10 years old)- 8 hours and 40 minutes.
3rd grade (8 years old)- 7 hours.

To put this in perspective, we are requiring an 8 year old do more
testing than a person who is taking a test that someday may be your
doctor and may be doing life saving surgery on you. You are requiring a
16 or 17 year old take tests that if you combined the time it would take
allow someone take the MCAT, DAT, and LSAT.

Please make sure to have directions for all drills in your room for guest teachers!

Event Pictures- Send em my way!

Please send me photos from classroom events so that we can put them onto our website.


If you haven't checked out our new website, please go on there because it looks great!