Wolcott's Weekly "What's Up"

Office of Teaching and Learning Update 11.13.2014

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Math Feedback, BYOC and Google Docs

I have appreciated all of the feedback received regarding teacher needs in the area of math. Rachel and I have started discussions on how to start addressing the needs. One overwhelming concern has been the inability to feel comfortable with BYOC. This has been an ongoing concern over the last several years.

Despite all the potential BYOC has, it is clear this program is not meeting staff needs. We are working on a plan to transfer all curriculum materials to Google Drive. Not only will this make access and downloading curriculum easier for staff, it will potentially free up funds we can use to purchase additional resources to support the math curriculum implementation.

Once we figure out the best way to proceed, we will start the process of transferring the math curriculum over to Google Drive. More information to come in the coming weeks.

W.E. 2014

Tarah is busy putting together a schedule for the WE 2014 School Improvement Day on Friday, December 12th. We are sill in need of additional presenters and additional ideas on how to meet staff needs.

Please remind staff we really want to provide differentiated opportunities to increase their knowledge and skills in the classroom and need their feedback and input in order to plan an awesome experience for them!

Important Renaissance Updates

1. We have recently received free access to AR 360. Accelerated Reader 360, an upgrade to Accelerated Reader, is now available to a select set of AR schools. Designed for busy teachers and librarians, AR 360 supports independent reading practice and the three key instructional shifts being emphasized in the Common Core: more nonfiction reading, more reading of complex texts, and the ability to cite text evidence. Most importantly, it brings actionable insights across independent and instructional reading practice into educators’ hands. More training will be announced before the end of the month.

2. Lexile levels for students will be available in Accelerated Reader beginning Wednesday, November 12. See information below.

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KIDS Assessment

The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) was established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), in collaboration with the KIDS advisory committee. The Kindergarten Readiness Stakeholder Committee was convened by State Superintendent Christopher Koch in March 2010. Over 50 committee members worked hard to examine the feasibility of adopting a uniform statewide kindergarten readiness process.

The goals of the process were:

  • Identify gaps in school readiness
  • Provide information to drive more effective classroom instruction
  • Support state and local data-driven decision-making on professional development and resource allocation

The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) Advisory Committee was convened in October of 2011 and met in March and June 2012. The role of the committee was to advise and support the selection, development, and implementation of the instrument. After careful consideration the California Department of Education's (CDE) Desired Results Developmental Profile-School Readiness instrument was selected. It was developed by the CDE, WestEd and the University of California, Berkeley BEAR Center. Over the next few years, research studies will be conducted to adapt the assessment to be Illinois specific.

Developmentally appropriate and aligned, the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) assessment can provide useful information to teachers and administrators in order to better address children’s learning and developmental needs over time. It is an essential strategy to close the readiness gap and ensure all children thrive in their earliest years. KIDS is a comprehensive process designed to provide information about children’s competencies across developmental domains over time and to inform whether Illinois’ kindergarteners have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in school.

For more information...http://www.illinoiskids.org/

I am currently working with staff from Illinois Kids to set up onsite training for administrators and kindergarten staff. More information will come once training dates have been solidified.

Weekly Resources/ Food For Thought

Getting Students to the MVP

In this article in The Reading Teacher, Carolyn Strom (New York University) suggests getting students to use the athletic concept MVP – Most Valuable Player – to choose the most important phrase in something they have read. “A conversation about a text’s MVP prompts students to champion specific lines of text and explain their significance,” says Strom. “Facilitating this kind of purposeful talk encourages students to elaborate on their ideas and to develop their overall understanding of a text.”

Before using this strategy, Strom recommends that students achieve a literal understanding of the text so they’re reasonably familiar with it. At that point, students can use MVP as a mnemonic device, asking themselves if a phrase does at least one of these:

  • M – conveys the Main idea of a text;

  • V – provides a Vivid mental image, enhancing comprehension of the overall text; this encourages students to pay attention to both semantics and syntax and tune in on compelling language, stepping back from a text’s literal meaning to reflect on sentence structure, craft, rhythm, and lyrical qualities.

  • P – is a “Phrase that stays” with a reader because it adds nuance to the way a concept or idea is understood, adding to a reader’s developing schema.

In small- and large-group discussion, students are challenged to justify their choice of an MVP phrase or sentence meeting one or more of these criteria.

This article clip courtesy of Kim Marshall www.marshallmemos.com

“Designating the MVP: Facilitating Classroom Discussion About Text” by Carolyn Strom in The Reading Teacher, October 2014 (Vol. 68, #2, p. 108-112),

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/trtr.1287/abstract; Strom can be reached at chs289@nyu.edu.

Free brain breaks for your classroom?

Keep kids focused + motivated. No special equipment or setup. All you need is a computer and a screen the whole class can see. Check it out.



PARCC Tutorials

The purpose of these tutorials is to demonstrate the navigation and tools available for Computer-Based Assessments and the use of the Test Booklet and Answer Documents for Paper-Based Assessments. The items appearing in these tutorials are samples used to allow students and educators to gain familiarity with the technology platform and paper-based format that will be used for PARCC assessments.


PARCC Practice Tests

Below you will find links to online practice tests students can take to become familiar with the new testing format. Feel free to use at your discretion.


PARCC Accessibility & Accommodations Manual

Below you will find a link to the important information we will be discussing over the next several months to prepare for PARCC testing. Please note the 3rd edition of the manual will be released in mid-November. Until then, this site will help give you some advance notice in several areas.


Principal To Do List

  • Send Greg Math Curriculum Feedback
  • Please work with Rachel Manjarres to set up a math workshop day at your building
  • Schedule Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Discuss with staff or send out to staff reminders and ideas on how to run effective conferences
  • Share School Report Card information with staff
  • Present the School Report Card information at a regularly scheduled PTO meeting by December 1st.

On the Radar

  • 11/18: Principals Teaching & Learning Team Meeting
  • 12/2: Principals Teaching & Learning Team Meeting
  • 12/9: District Admin Meeting
  • 12/12: WE 14 School Improvement Day
  • 12/16: Principals Teaching & Learning Team Meeting
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