Friday Focus

February 7th, 2014

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Thank you all for your thoughtful participation during data reviews this week! Everyone's dedication is so evident as we work toward moving those meters (student growth and college and career readiness). Keep up the excellent work!!!

Dealing with a Lack of Motivation

This topic came up in a few data meetings with our grade levels. Some teachers shared concerns of a lack of motivation that some students exhibit. Below is a link that shares strategies based on some reasons for a lack of motivation that I think you will find helpful.

When dealing with characteristics associated with what appears to be a lack of motivation, consider if what we are seeing is related to a lack of understanding or if the characteristics we are seeing is student choice, thus behavioral. Let's go through a quick mental check to see if we can narrow this determination down: Do we have a caring relationship with the student and is it felt by the student? With that, even when we have that, the student may still act unmotivated from time to time. Everyone has a bad day every once in a while, right? Does the child know the expectations? Does the student have the knowledge, ability, and readiness level to do what we are asking of them? Is the child feeling well? Do they know what the success criteria is? If we can say yes to these questions and other questions that we may ask of ourselves, the characteristics that we are seeing are likely a choice made by the student, thus they are behavioral choices and should be dealt with as part of the Three-Step Process.

Here is an example of how to deal with behavioral choices seen in your classroom (remember, you said yes to that quick mental check):

  • Student doesn't take part in a collaborative discussion with group members. Teacher - "Come on, Juan. I know that you can do this. The expectation was that you take part in this collaborative discussion with your peers and you are choosing to read. This is your first warning, please follow the directions."
  • Student puts his head down on the desk when he is suppose to be taking part in discussion. - "Juan, you had your first warning. You have so much to contribute to our classroom discussion. The expectation is that you are a contributing member of our class. This is your second warning. Remember, that another warning is going to result in a phone call home and removal from class."
  • Student continues to keep his head down. "Juan, I have given you two warnings about your behavior. I will need to call home and talk to your mom about your choices today. When I call her, I will ask if you can stay after school until 3:30 to work with me because I really want to hear your thoughts about what we talked about in class. For now, I need you to go to Mrs. Johnson and I hope that you can complete this task there."

Yearbook Information from Lisa Perkins

Group pictures will be taken on February 20th around 1:00 for the following:

Geography Bee and Winners

Spelling Bee and Winners


1yr Band

2nd yr Band

5th grade Chorus

6th Grade Chorus

Student Council and Officers

Inventors Club/Tech Club

Notes and Reminders

  • Report Cards go home Monday, February 10th!
  • Students require positive reinforcement. I'd like to see a significant increase in the amount of paws given out. Thank you.
  • Our Monday Meeting will focus on the Seven Keys.
  • We will discuss the new and improved ISAT schedule at our Monday Meeting.
  • Have YOU been adding your daily collaboration minutes to PD 360?
  • Please ensure that you are requiring ALL students to meet our building-wide expectations.

Coming Up...

Monday, February 10th - Monday Meeting - All Staff

Tuesday, February 11th - District Spelling Bee (1:00-3:00 @ Woodridge Park District)

Tuesday, February 11th - Market Day Pick Up

Wednesday, February 12th - Child's Play Assembly 1 PM

Thursday, February 13th - PTO Meeting, 7:00 PM (Fifth Grade Teachers Represent)

Friday, February 14th - Valentines Day!

Friday, February 14th - 2nd-6th Grade AR Awards Assembly 1:30 PM

Friday, February 14th - 100 Day Parties 2 PM

Myths and Realities

In an effort to promote some critical thinking and reflection, each week I am going to post one myth and one reality from Myths and Realities: Best Practices for English Language Learners by Katherine Davies Samway and Denise McKeon. Some may be obvious while others will surprise you. As teachers of English language learners, we must continually do our best to meet their unique needs.

Second Language Literacy Myth: "ELLs need to be given lots of writing exercises and practice with parts of written language before being asked to write their own messages (stories, reports, poems, etc.)."

Reality: "ELLs need lots of authentic opportunities to write in order to become writers, and they should not be kept from writing until they have been taught the component parts of the language. Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary (as well as other aspects of writing, including organization, style, and content) can all be developed in the context of the student's own writing." Page 57

Bucket Fillers

Here are this week's colleague to colleague bucket fillers...

  • Stephanie, you are such a valuable addition to the district! Thanks for your hard work coaching us and helping us to improve!
  • Zohaib, thank you for watching my class during indoor recess and having them in their seats and quiet!
  • Linzey, thanks for all the hard work. It's nice to see a smiling face each day after school, with a good attitude!
  • Barb, Megan, Lisa, Reg, Michele, Brenda, Kelly, and Donna, thanks for a smooth and efficient data review!
  • Janet, after spending time with you in data review, it has confirmed you are a conscientious, caring, and knowledgeable teacher. Your students are lucky to have you! - Rosemary
  • Data Review Team - Thank you for all your expertise, cooperation, and problem-solving abilities to help our students. Being "locked up" all day doesn't dim your talents!
  • Vicki, you rock! You always put others first. You don't have a selfish bone in your body. Thank for all you do, and the positive attitude toward all.
  • Lisa P, and Kathy, thanks for helping me with Tech Club this week.
  • Maggie, thanks for being flexible and helping me with STAR math testing of first graders.
  • A HUGE thank you to all of you who dropped everything Monday to help me find my diamond! What a great group of people I work with! Thanks especially to Erin and Liz for finding the needle in the haystack! - LP
  • Thank you, Jill and Marybeth, for laughing with me on those horrendous days when that's the only thing you can do! - Donna
  • Kelly, thanks for all the report card help. - Kevin
  • Maggie, thanks so much for the coffee surprise. What a nice thing to do! It made my week! - Doug
  • Thanks for the speakers, Vicki. You are a magician. - Magdana
  • Doug, Linzey, Katie S, and Zohaib, thank you for making my Fridays unforgettable. You rock!
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