Designing our Design LAB

2015-16: A Year of Learning, Making and Designing Together

Reviewing Professional Learning: Where are we and where are we going?

We're focusing on two topics in our 200 Minutes:

-Data Analysis

-Learning by Doing


Last week our data meeting included addressing the following questions in a working document I developed for our use:

-What Standard are you teaching?

-What do you want students to learn?

-What students are in your class and what are their NWEA scores?

-Where are your individual students on the NWEA Learning Continuum?

-How will you group your students based upon where they are on the continuum?

-What activity will each group do to meet your intended learning?

-What evidence of learning will each student give you?


This is our work for probably the rest of the year in our data meetings. We'll come at it from a couple of different directions and starting points, but using data to provide evidence of learning is our focus.


During our Learning by Doing time, you are first learning to use one of our tools for yourselves. While the intention is to bring our tools into your classrooms, that isn't where we are starting. It's a very different skill set to use a tool on your own than it is to use a tool to teach standards in class. We're starting with your learning, but we will be progressing to learning in class once you can use a tool on your own.


It's important to understand that we're coming at the same Intended Learning from two different sides. On the one hand we're looking at individual students and using their data results to improve learning one student at a time. We're using our current student data to shift away from "I'm done with my work." to asking each student "What's the evidence of your learning?".

In Learning by Doing, we're starting with you, but we're headed to the same place. You are currently offering evidence of learning a new tool, and not just saying "I'm done with my work." Soon, you'll start thinking about one tool that you have become comfortable with, and learn to bring that tool into your class as a means for students to provide evidence of their learning.


Together, regardless of the path, we are purposefully shifting away from "I'm done." to "I'm learning, and here's how I know I'm learning."

The Week Ahead: Routines

As I write this, all our heating units are working. While the temperature does vary from class to class, we should expect students to be in uniform. Thank you to Brian and Lindsay, who have both made sure that students being in uniform in their classes is a priority. As I've said before, I can't enforce uniforms on my own. It's incredibly frustrating when students I haven't seen, come to lunch wearing camouflage pants, or sweaters with writing all over them. The uniform policy only works if we all work together. We have plenty of solid sweaters in the Planning Center for students. Please work with me to enforce our uniform policy instead of leaving it to me to enforce the policy on my own.


Now that each of us has a Design Lab fleece jacket, I'm hopeful that you will wear them in school. I want our students to see them and want one for themselves. When enough students want them, we'll begin ordering for students. I can't afford to buy them for every student, so there will be some charge. But if we can get students wearing these fleece jackets, it will help solve our hoodie and uniform issues. The more you wear the fleece, the more students will want one for themselves.

Past Due Deadlines:

You have two deadlines with me that many of you have not yet met:

-If you have not sent me an email telling me the specific tool you will be learning during our Learning by Doing Time, please send me the email by the close of business on Wednesday.

-If you have not sent me your progress on your "Using the Learning Continuum to Meet Individual Student Needs" working document, you must do so by the close of our data meeting on Wednesday.

Robotics This Week:

The Tri-C Semester begins this Wednesday, January 19th. All Robotics classes will be held during Mr. O'Hara's science classes on Wednesdays. This means no 9th grade students will be pulled from any classes. 10th grade students will be pulled from class to enter one of Mr. O'Hara's science classes. I'll put out the list of 10th graders and the period they will miss on Wednesdays; this Tuesday.

200 Minutes This Week

Tuesday, January 19-Personal Planning Time

Wednesday, January 20-Data Team Meeting (bring your laptop and your work in progress on our working document.)

Thursday, January 21-Legal Modules Session for Teachers (4th Session-12/15, 12/16, 1/12) or Learning by Doing. (This is not personal planning time. Either you are working on the modules or you are working to provide evidence of learning on the tool of your choice.)

Making at Other Schools

Below is an audio link to an eleven minute conversation between Vicki Davis, a teacher, author, and blogger, and Kevin Jarrett, a New Jersey teacher who created a Makerspace this year. I've shared several articles by Kevin Jarrett this year about his space and getting started. Here's an audio conversation.

News and Notes:

-January 18th-No School MLK Day

-January 19th-Personal Planning Time

-January 19th-Family Maker Night for Prospective Families 5:30-8:00 (We will have dinner, a school overview and a project for families to make)

-January 20th-Data Team Meeting(s)

-January 21st-New and Innovative Schools Principal Meeting-Eric out of the building until 1:00 PM.

-January 21st-Senior FAFSA Night 5:00-7:30 (Speak with Michelle to participate)

-January 21st-Legal Modules Session for Teachers (4th Session) or Learning by Doing

-January 22nd-TDES Walkthrough 2 is due

-January 25th-27th-High School Recruiting Fair

-January 25th-Personal Planning Time

-January 26th-Data Team Meeting(s)

-January 27th-Learning by Doing

-January 27th-Evening High School Recruiting Fair at the Wolstein Center 5:30-7:30

-January 28th-Staff Meeting and Staff Celebration


Upcoming Dates:

-February 12-Teacher PD Day, no students

-February 15-President's Day-No School

-February 18-Early Dismissal-Interim Parent Teacher Conferences

-February 28-March 4th-3rd Quarter Exams

-March 4th-Unannounced TDES Observations are due

-March 7-18th-OGT's-This is a change from March 14-25th

Family Maker Night and the High School Recruitment Fair

We are holding our first ever Family Maker Night for Prospective Families on Tuesday evening from 5:30-8:00. We are hopeful that around 75 8th grade families will attend the event. They will have dinner, tour the school, learn about our programs and have the opportunity to see our Audio Production Studio, 3D printers, and Green Screen in action. All attendees will also have the opportunity to make a wooden bookmark in our Makerspace. We intend to hold this event again in early February after we've collected names of interested students at the High School Fair. We'd love to have you stop by for a visit or help out at either this event or our February event. Please let me know if you're interested and able to attend.


The District is holding the High School Recruiting Fair for 8th graders city-wide on January 25th, 26th, and 27th at the Wolstein Center at CSU. Over the three days, all 8th grade students will rotate through to learn about all high school programs in the city. On the evening of the 27th, (5:30-7:30), parents have the opportunity to attend the event and speak with representatives from each school. We'd love to have your support in our recruiting efforts at the fair.


Are you interested in attending the fair for a few hours to speak with 8th graders? Are you interested in speaking with parents on the evening of the 27th? Please let Jessica Y or Eric know if you want to attend and we'll build a participation schedule.

Thank You's:

Thank you to:

-Rob Senor for being the teacher in charge in my absence

-Rosemary White for meeting my district ILIT deadlines so I don't have to

-Rosemary White, Ken Beavers, Rob Senor, Garvin Yeung for covering Mr. Gill's classes when we didn't have a sub.

-Brian, Meghan, Loretta and Jeremy for attending the Facing History Training. I look forward to hearing how we can bring your learning to Design Lab.

-Jessica Y for visiting so many schools and for hours of phone calls to prospective parents

-Brian and Lindsay for enforcing the uniform policy in their classes