Instructional Edge

May 2018

Waverly-Shell Rock Hosts Authentic Learning Celebration

May 21, 2018 - Waverly, Iowa


The Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School played host to the 1st Annual W-SR Authentic Learning Celebration. This event was constructed as an extension of the W-SR Nexus Showcase, which has been held at the conclusion of each of the past two school years. All Waverly-Shell Rock students and staff (K-12) were invited to showcase educational opportunities from the past school year that they believe provided some degree of authentic learning, which can very broadly be defined as instructional techniques and strategies that are focused on connecting what students are taught in school to real-world issues, problems, and applications. Thirty-seven entries were submitted for exhibition in three separate categories. Due to the generosity of a community supporter, three $50 grants were awarded to the top entries in each of the categories - Middle School Student, High School Student and Teacher/Classroom. Below is information provided by each category recipient.


Teacher/Classroom: Learning and Reading With A Dog, Mrs. Meier - West Cedar Elementary

Students are exposed to and interact with a service dog in-training through completing reading challenges, weekly character lessons, guest speakers and service projects. We use the dog as a springboard to discuss vocabulary words and to help students think past themselves and about others. We also discuss how some disabilities can’t be seen and encourage students to be more understanding of differences. We use our observations and knowledge about what the dog is being trained for and/or behaviors the dog displays to help us make connections and improve ourselves, making this a meaningful authentic experience for these second-graders.


I was very impressed with the variety of authentic learning experiences that were presented at the celebration and the leadership shown by the students presenting. It was inspiring to see a large number of students being proactive in their learning and sharing their passion with others.


I plan to use the grant money awarded to me to continue to invest in my program. Students can earn pictures with the dog in frames, paw print on a canvas, picture key chains, trips to local restaurants/businesses with the dog, and many other unique opportunities. These things cost money, but help enrich their experience and give them a tangible reminder of their time with the dog.


Middle School Student(s): Self Help, Linnea Beckstrom/Katherine Frantsen/Trinity Miller - 7th graders

In January we took Flight 8th graders through various activities to show them what it was like to be in other countries ravaged by the inescapable bonds of poverty. We made a Walk for Water Simulation, Hunger Banquet, and a Day in the Life of a Nicaraguan child. Each activity represented something different. The walk for water sim showed our peers that there are people who go through so much more than we do just to get water for themselves and their family. The Hunger Banquet was to educate them about what it’s like to not be as privileged as we are in the US with food accessibility. The Day in the Life of a Nicaraguan child showed our peers how different of a life people our age live in Nicaragua. All of these activities brought together a great experience for us and our classmates and showed them that this is a real thing happening to people all over the world. The Middle School really helped us because they gave us the freedom and right environment to do these things. The celebration also helped us showcase what we're doing and we would like to thank the Middle School for that as well. We will donate all the prize money to Self Help International to create more programs like ours in the hopes that young people like us will be educated so in the future when we run the world we can make it a better place.


High School Student: How To Vote, Elizabeth Peerman: 10th grader

My project was about the time that I spent teaching and student teaching in an 8th grade history class. I worked to create two lessons which I learned in my classes and then translated them into a lesson for middle schoolers. I wanted to teach kids about what they needed to do in order to respect those older than them. The second lesson is about voting and voting smart. Both lessons were to show what things in history still have meaning today.


This learning was authentic because it was something that I learned in school but I was able to learn it well enough and be able to teach it to a younger class. I loved the celebration because I was able to see what the middle schoolers and teacher who aren’t in the high school have been up to. I also loved how the community cane and I was able to share what I have worked on. I plan to use the prize money to give back to Mr. Groth who I have worked with to prepare lessons. I also plan to use it for supplies for my next lessons.


For additional information about Authentic Learning opportunities at W-SR, contact Instructional Coach Chuck Buseman

Revision of the "Get to Green" High School Graphic

Big picture

Fast Bridge Pilot Testing Completed!

The weeks of April 23 through May 18 served as a Fast Bridge pilot testing period for the Waverly-Shell Rock School District. Fast Bridge provides universal screening and progress monitoring assessments for reading, math, and behavior. The goal of the assessment system is to identify which students need additional support or instruction to meet grade level learning targets.


What pilot assessments were administered?

  1. Reading - Grades 7 and 8 piloted CBM-R and aReading. CBM-R is a Curriculum-Based Measurement that is an evidence-based assessment used for universal screening and progress monitoring. A teacher listens and evaluates a student’s performance while they read aloud from a grade-level passage for one minute. aReading is a computer-adaptive measure of broad reading that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts, and it is based on research recommended by the National Reading Panel (2000).

  2. Math - Two math assessments were administered in grades 4 through 8 - aMath and CBM Math CAP. aMath is a computer-adaptive measure of broad math that is individualized per student. aMath is highly researched and based on the recommendations of the National Math Panel (2008) and the Common Core State Standards. CBM Math CAP is a computer-administered assessment of applied math that includes: basic computation to multi-step algebra problems.

  3. Behavior - A behavior pilot assessment, called SAEBRS, was completed in grades K-6. SAEBRS is a behavior risk screener that evaluates Social, Academic and Emotional behaviors.


The test results provided great data that has already made an impact for individual students. We are continuing to learn more about the capabilities of these assessments/data to help us in making the best decisions for students.


Thank you for the flexibility and willingness to work with us through the testing window.


Reference: http://fastbridge.org


~Instructional Coaches

Stacy, Crystal, Allison, Kari, Keith, Chuck, Jeff