Head U Gator News

Jan. 17, 2016

A grateful heart

My heart is grateful for..

...people who take on jobs even when no one has asked, just because something needs to be done. In particular, Jayne for assuming responsibility for the recycling even when Gatorville isn't going on.

....the progress we've made this year. Wednesday was great fun as we heard about all that has been done this year. (see article below, too!)

....special ed teachers that are exceptional. When a new student arrives, they spring into action and create plans for implementation without missing a beat!

...people who are willing to invest in students just because. Both Leah and Karen talked to me about judging for DI. I know many of you try to stop by parties, games or recitals to cement relationships, and I appreciate the investment you make.

Small group minutes

With great representation giving pretty accurate data for this week:

Small group reading: 87%

Small group math: 75%

Goals for the year: 85/82

Faculty meeting and celebrating

At the faculty meeting, we celebrated things we had done this year that got us closer to our vision. We shared a few but didn't have time to share all, so here are the items that were categorized under teaching practices:

Kids are loving what we are doing in class.

Getting feedback, learning from it, and using it in my next lesson.

Meeting one-on-one with kids to discuss goals, and making goals meaningful.

Collaborating with grade level colleagues.

Students working on different activities of same concept, based on their needs.

Relying on student voice more to drive lessons/classroom environment.

Less worry and planning now that Gatorville is only first and third nine weeks.

(We do have it planned for 2X this spring....)

Set monthly goals and graph Istation scores to track progress.

Providing standards for each math unit so students can own their learning meet goals at their own pace.

Teachers knowing and utilizing colleagues strengths and expertise. (X2)

Making sure students are on topic and on task. (I'd like to know more about this one!)

Students held accountable to deeper thinking.

Student voice is very important- has a whole new meaning for me this year.

Integrating subjects more helps kids realize how subjects connect.

Implementing lesson plans (trial and error) (Would like to know more about this!)

Working to better differentiate in math.

Differentiation. (X2)

Use of Depth and Complexity Icons and increasing the rigor.

Using the voice of my students to get a constant feel of classroom climate.

Using Google Slides to goal set-lots of goals- constant revising of goals.

Utilizing the 3rd grade expertise of my dear Julie Lee :)

Individual learning-goal sheets-students work on individual goals on goal sheets.

Differentiation. My team has worked very hard this year.

Differentiation-making literacy and math to fit the needs of the kids.

Love team teaching with Will! We're getting better every week!

Team teaching strategies

More intentional about pre-tests and designing activities to learn more about kids- then designing lessons around that.

Student goal setting.

Whew! What a great list. Reading through these makes me very proud of you and your efforts! Here's what we said about our vision for the year:

Collaborative teaching

Teachers knowing and utilizing colleagues' strengths and expertise

Getting specific feedback on a regular basis on my teaching practices

Ideally to have observed in every classroom in the building to better understand each teacher and celebrate their work with specifics

Teachers in and out of each others classrooms without being required

Relying on student voice more regularly to drive what goes on in the classroom and what changes should be made

Working on what they (students) need to work on.

Goal setting

Everyone using goals for all instruction

Continue to improve student goal setting

Integrating subjects


Having kids SOO engaged they want more

It sure looks to me like we are making some good solid progress toward that goal. As you think about this list, try to also think ahead to a year and a half from now (May of 2017). What will we want to have accomplished by then? You'll need to share with your team leader because we'll do the same vision casting at our next team leader retreat.

Data collection

I happened to see this being used in a small group by a teacher collecting data and thought some of you might be interested. The teacher (who will remain anonymous unless you talk to me privately) said that it allowed her to track student understanding with multiple trials and also indicate when they were still requiring scaffolding with a concept.

While it looks really overwhelming, it was very easy for her to make a check or other mark while she was working with her small group in math and you can see how valuable that would be if you were talking with parents about their child's progress, or even deciding where to go next with instruction. This is definitely high quality formative assessing!

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Glow in the Dark party

PTA is trying something new this year for the winter event. Apparently they have done it at HES and it's been well-received. Kids are supposed to wear "glow in the dark" clothes (neon or white are best) and then before or during the event decorate with glow in the dark duck tape or paint. Then the lights are mostly off and they dance around.

I'm not sure how it will go, but we'll give it a whirl and see!

We'll start with recognizing Reflections participants.

This week:

Monday, Jan. 18

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, Jan. 19

La Academia Spanish 2:45-3:45


Wednesday, Jan. 20

no choir

Thursday, Jan. 21

Good News Club 2:45

Friday, Jan.22

8:00- Spelling Bee

La Academia Spanish 2:45-3:45

Bowman 2:45-3:45

PTA Winter Event:

Reflections and Glow in the Dark party 6:30-8:00