Lots of great costumes Thursday! Here are two pictures of a some memorable ones. It was terrifying to walk down the end of the 8th grade hallway. Thanks to you all for making this a great day. [Did you guys see the gypsy?]
Student Centered Learning
We are making great strides in changing our learning environments, practices to reflect our mission statement of EMPOWERING students to achieve academic and personal excellence!
A lot goes into making this happen – creating great spaces for our kids to work, having data driven conversations with students or having goal setting conversations with students.
Bulldog Greeters and circle up activities are great ways to engage students in the learning direction of classrooms. We have to make conscientious efforts to get students talking about what our learning targets are and what expectations for learning we have developed. We have several teachers who are doing a good job learning as they are going along – visit one to see some great thoughts OR just jump right in!
Not-so-great starts are better than no starts!
RSS Calendar Committee
RSS is creating a Calendar Committee for the district and would like a representative from each school. If you would like to serve on this committee and represent our school, please let Mr McCoy know.
8th Grade Career Fair
RSS is hosting a Career Fair at West End Plaza for all 8th graders. Our visit is scheduled the morning of November 3rd during their exploratory time. We will be adjusting schedules that day to rotate exploratories. There will be over 80 local businesses and teachers there to share great information with our students.
We will be adjusting dismissal procedures on election day. I am anticipating a crowd in the front parking lot. As such we will be avoiding it that day. We will go back to dismissing bus riders in the cafeteria, like we used to. Car riders will dismissed from the 6th grade parking lot. Please try to avoid parking in the front lot if possible without killing all the grass in the back.
Please make sure you make your deadline for submitting grades. Remember – final grades for report cards, at the end of 9 weeks, can be no lower than 50. Also, last year we gave enrichment grades of ‘P’ for the report cards but we are no longer doing that. Leave that space blank. Please talk to your grade level chair if you have any questions.
Rita Pierson was one of my #eduheroes. I’ve seen her speak many times online or on videos and she has always had a great passionate message. I had the fortune of meeting her in Montgomery County, about 6 years ago and I can say her message and passion is consistent despite the medium. Even though she passed away some years ago, her word ring very true about what we need to do.
Teachers as Leaders
I was having a conversation with a teacher the other day about our inherent need to be proactive, work together and be decisive for the good of our classes. I didn’t think of it at the time but I was really talking about teacher leaders. This is one indication of a high functioning school – the role and influence of an empowered teacher. Our primary concern has to be students and their learning but that, and many other things, can’t happen if teachers aren’t empowered and encouraged to collaborate, make decisions and be able to take active roles in what happens in schools. Those of us who went to MeadowGlen Middle in SC will remember the house leaders who really ran the show. The administration proudly stated that these teacher leaders led the discussions, about academics, classes and operations that kept the school moving forward. It takes years for that culture to be built and I know we are on that path.
I want to encourage you to embrace the teacher leader in you – nurture and build him/her up.
I COUNT ON YOU TO BE TEACHER LEADERS!
I think one reason we are all so hesitant to embrace different roles, have certain discussions, get ahead of issues and make decisions is because we don’t want to appear to have failed at something. We are NOT building a culture of failure or a culture of success – those both imply a destination. We are building a culture where we achieve success, we are building a culture of learning. For both of those, we have to embrace setbacks and disagreements but keep working through to realize the true success at the end.
Let’s keep growing the teacher leader in all of us!
Go To Girls
We are alive and kicking!! Mrs. Stone is enjoying her time away with her precious new addition.
We are so happy for her but we miss her and are counting the days until her return!
The two remaining go- to girls are busy putting out small fires and an occasional three alarm fire. During our talks with students, be it individual or small groups, we are continually reinforcing West Middle’s Core Values and hopefully helping kids make the connection between their actions/behavior and these values.
Mrs. Muire is working with ISS students during enrichment time on a variety of topics(anger management, communication, coping skills, etc) as well as implementing some meditation/mindfulness into the time spent with them.
Teachers, if you have any student that you are concerned about his or her attendance, please let Mrs. Muire know. Please refer to the Attendance Protocol in Schoology. Let’s stay on top of those kids who are missing school! It would also be great to emphasize and highlight kids who are attending school regularly- more to come on that!!
SAT will be meeting on Friday, November 4. Please remember SAT meets every other week to discuss students who are having academic and/or behavior concerns that need some extra attention. Mrs. Horton will be providing more information on our new Branching Minds program to help streaming the SAT process.
Staff Shirts- Please see Mrs. Horton if you would like to purchase a staff shirt or pullover. She would like to have all orders and money by November 4.
One more thing. For those of you who are familiar with Rachel’s Challenge, the movie highlighting her life and movement, I’m Not Ashamed, opened in theaters Friday, October 21.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
― Mother Teresa
Remember a fun “takeaway” from PD this week…Quizlet.live! A quick, engaging, strategy to energize your students. Create an account, search for a quiz, (edit if needed), and play.
On Tuesday, we focused on quality instructional design utilizing the standard/instructional framework and the importance of including all components in the planning and implementation process. Continual reference of Bloom’s/DOK matrix will help ensure we are creating and implementing quality learning experiences for our students.
During each PD the “linearness” of the model was mentioned. While at first glance the framework appears static, during the planning process reflective educators are always revisiting and questioning their plans/curriculum to make certain all integral components are included.
Quality Instructional Design Framework:
- assessment (SchoolNet, formative, summative, anecdotal, projects, presentations, etc.)
- activities (purposeful, scaffolded, SchoolNet, etc.)
- vocabulary and questioning
- resources (tech, DE SOS, etc.)
One of the most important elements of the framework is YOU. In addition, your expertise, subject level colleagues, and effective collaboration are also important. Capitalize on your colleagues strengths and talents, and make sure to share yours.
Think back to the sorting activity on Tuesday, there were numerous, but non-negotiable, components for one standard. Several grade levels experienced frustration during the sorting task, due to my limited instructions until I established the components. Allowing students to productively struggle is how learning occurs, but to stave off “giving up” appropriate scaffolding, questions and instruction are a definite must.
Sixth grade teachers dove right in during PD and utilized the framework to begin planning for next week:)
- If your students haven’t updated their iPads they can now go ahead and do so.
- If you have the new version of email (you will know it looks totally different) in the settings it is defaulted to “reply all” to any message. You can change that. Click on the gear (by the question mark) > Options > Reply Settings > Select Reply instead of reply all
The back room of the library is in a transitional period. We are moving forward with our vision of creating makerspace for our students and teachers. As we are transitioning this room we appreciate your patients and understanding that something like this takes time to ensure that we have the space set up in an order that will create the highest level of engagement. It is our goal to create a space that is well designed, inviting, and offers a wide variety of both tech and non tech tools for everyone in our school.
A makerspace is an area within the school that can wear more than one hat. Students and teachers can use this space to explore their own personal interest BUT this space can and should be used for helping students to become more engaged with the standards in a creative way. MakerED has had such a large movement throughout our country because of its ability to help students connect with the standards in a way that has never been done before. A basic poster board with just a few tools can be transformed into a moving robot or an interactive story board.
I recently attended a training where we were given several different standards and told to pick one and code and create an poster with movement. We selected a 7th grade standard about body systems. We further narrowed that down to the respiratory system. Please keep in mind we had 2 hours to code this robot, gather materials, and design this poster (and I have NO artistic talent) …so please do not expect anything amazing 🙂 If you look closely you will see that as the light moves down the lungs rise, and as the lights move up the lungs go down.
Literacy Resources & Tools:
Flipsnack – online magazine or book publishing. Students can upload photos, PDF files, and create colorful, captivating finished products. Email required for account. Up to 15 pages per book without the “premium” package. Flipsnacks can be shared via: link, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
Wordnik – online dictionary with a twist. Not only can students define words, but they can: see images, hear related sounds, and see tweets with the imbedded term. Make sure to preview images for specific vocabulary words.
ThingLink – excellent, multi-purpose interactive tool. Introduce unit vocabulary, as a final differentiated product, or as an innovated platform for stations or learning centers.
Science Writer – differentiated process to support students writing Science lab reports.
Quizlet Live – Awesome!!!! Interactive vocabulary game! Make an account….search for your subject…play the game live…students will LOVE this:)
Monday, Oct 31
- Required Workday
Tuesday, Nov 1
- RSS All County Band Auditions – 4:00 – 5:00
- Visitors to WRMS
Wednesday, Nov 2
Thursday, Nov 3
- Wrestling vs Mooresville at Home
- RSS CTE Career Fair – 8th Grade
Friday, Nov 4
- Visitors to WRMS
Monday, Nov 7
Tuesday, Nov 8
- Report Cards Go Home
- Election Day [Avoid parking in the front]
Wednesday, Nov 9
Thursday, Nov 10
- Wrestling vs Erwin Middle at Home
- 8th Basketball vs Erwin Away
Friday, Nov 11
- Veterans Day Holiday – No School
- None of My Teachers Knew I Was Homeless. They Should Have – Must read!
- 8 ways teachers can talk less and get kids talking more
- 4 Useful iPad Apps to Help Students Learn about The Human Body
- Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points
- Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Good Homework Policy