Bulldog News 10.07.2016

BULLDOG NEWS!

NJHS is scheduled to have 3 dances but they will only need one. Nov 18th and April 28th are now open. If any groups want to pick up some extra funds, this is a perfect opportunity

Afternoon Announcements

We are doing our best to protect the instructional environment at West Rowan Middle and a big part of that started with us changing our check out procedures – no check outs after 2:00. This has drastically reduced the number of calls to classes at the end of the day.

However, we have been seeing an increase in afternoon announcements during same time. This is just as disruptive as calling to classes. We have to think differently about this. Instead of thinking of saving announcements until the end of the day, we should think of not making announcements at all [except for dismissal].

A great viable alternative is Schoology. We can post messages to the entire grade level in Schoology at once. I have done this with great success. I never count on every student reading the message, but there is definitely one student in the class who does – that student is the one who sends the message to the class/group. Students think digital communication – we have to use it.

The codes for the grade levels are: 6th Grade – 65TFK-99ZNG, 7th Grade – VPFVD-PDX62, 8th Grade – 42GV3-2TP5D. Please use them and connect with kids. Advance preparation can save the day. Also, use your Remind communication.

#BulldogGreeters

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Took this picture of Noble on another day but still, gotta love this face! Great job as #bulldoggreeter

We had some fantastic compliments from Dr. Morrow on her visit this week. She remarked about the work she saw students engaged in. Our first visit was to Mrs Brawley’s room, where we were greeted by Mr Noble. He did a great job explaining the learning target and using academic language to describe what was happening in groups. THIS is what we need to happen. Please remember, when we talked about #bulldoggreeters during pre-planning, we talked about our need to create a student centered learning environment and that means students [not teachers] being able to explain the learning in the classroom.

If we want this to happen, we should do a couple of things:

  1. Have the learning target prominently displayed, written big enough to be read from any point in the room
  2. Spend time EVERYday talking about the learning target, beginning and ending class. Students need to see you model this. Suggestion – start class with a 2 minute circle talk [whole class] talking about the learning target and the work that’s been done on it so far
  3. Make sure your learning target is in the two parts we talked about [if you need help with this, please ask any of us]

INSPIRATION

Anchor Charts help students for a number of reasons. First, they archive learning and previous teaching. Second, they give students the opportunity to find previous information and connect their need and previous learning without the teacher giving a lot of information. Here are some anchor charts from 6th grade:

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Take time for this. Identify some topics early on that would benefit student learning and have them ready before the instruction begins for the learning target. Don’t get caught up on handwriting, focus on learning

A Great Conversation

Had a great talk with Mrs Brawley this morning about creating her remediation groups. She was torn because she was thinking about creating groups from the 1’s and 2’s or overall scores from EOG. This bothered her but she didn’t know why.

I think this is a fundamental problem with how we teach and look at kids. We have had years of practicing a very fragmented look at achievement and remediation. If we see an AIG student, we assume they are skilled at a lot things or absorb things quickly or can handle [or want to handle] a huge load of work. If we see EC, we assume they don’t know basics or can’t read or need 5 problems instead of 10 or can only answer low level comprehension questions. Both of these thinkings do a disservice to kids. We can think and do better.

I talked to Mrs Brawley about not making the groups based on any overall scores but on data showing what skills they were deficit in. For example, instead of grouping kids by their overall DE score, create a group by an identified objective. This grouping may surprise you – we don’t wan to make certain assumptions. Sometimes our “1’s and 2’s” may have gotten a topic and our “4’s and 5’s” didn’t [I hate referring to kids like this]. Let’s make our groupings about what kids need, deficit skills, not about about a label like EC or AIG.

 

Henley’s Hurrahs

My first class at WRMS graduated June 2015, as I think back on my classroom and students, it is not the classroom of today. Desks in rows, textbooks, and “Madeline Hunter.” Over the years, rows have become groups or pods, textbooks moved to the book room, and student-student and teacher-student discourse and interaction has increased.

Along with a shift in instruction and student expectations, my communication and interaction with students needed to adjust:

  • In the minute conversations with students working independently, in partners, or groups can fix a misconception. Specific, helpful feedback on assignments, assessments, and/or projects informs students of what they are doing well and what needs to be improved.
  • Checking for understanding during a math unit, in lieu of just a unit assessment allowed me to address misconceptions in the moment,  work with individual students or small groups, and revise instruction based on student need.
  • Not just assuming students know “how” to effectively collaborate, but intentionally modeling appropriate interaction with peers…what it looks like…doesn’t look like, etc. and including myself in their conversations.

What is our role when students are collaborating:

  • Are we having conversations with students?
  • What is the purpose of those conversations?
  • How is Guided Instruction integrated with student collaboration and student-student and teacher-student discourse and interaction?

Click the Easel.ly link for a visual representation how feedback, assessment, and guided instruction are pieces of THE puzzle…just one missing piece and the puzzle is incomplete. Hover over each icon and click the link…

Learning Cycle Easel.ly

Next week:

  • Professional Development has been moved to Wednesday, the 12th instead of Tuesday
  • Please be on the look out for a detailed subject specific email detailing Wednesday’s PD

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, Sept 10

  • Happy birthday Coach Epps
  • Faculty Meeting

Tuesday, Sept 11

  • 7th Football vs Knox MS Home
  • Softball vs Mooresville at Home
  • Tennis vs Mooresville at Home

Wednesday, Sept 12

  • 8th Football vs Knox MS Home

Thursday, Sept 13

  • Softball vs SEMS Away
  • Tennis vs SEMS Away

Friday, Sept 14

  • 8th Grade State Fair Trip

Monday, Sept 17

  • Event

Tuesday, Sept 18

  • 7th Football vs NRMS at Home
  • Softball vs Knox at Home
  • Tennis vs Knox at Home

Wednesday, Sept 19

  • 8th Football vs NRMS Awasy

Thursday, Sept 20

  • Softball vs CGMS Home
  • Tennis vs CGMS Home

Friday, Sept 21

RESOURCES

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