Bulldog News 12.02.2016



I took this picture earlier this week in Mr King’s room as he was in mid-redesign. During pre-planning he shared with me his intention was to design a room for blended learning. I have always liked the intentionality of that. I see that same thing in other classrooms that have been recently modified.

I encourage you to take a look at Ms Warren’s, Ms Hege, Ms Kohler,’s rooms. They started with one design at the beginning of the year and have changed it up as the year has progressed. We’ve talked about old classrooms with static rows and how they instill one message for kids and visitors to the classroom – same applies for tables. All of our lessons and activities vary from week to week. Its appropriate to move things around to encourage different conversations, opportunities for cooperation and sometimes just to fire up the brain. Be willing to move things around to get better things.

Learning Targets

Thank yo all so much for the masterful job you have done with our new learning targets. When we put this change in place and tied it to our Bulldog Greeters we knew it would go a long way to increasing our efforts to make students better communicators and owners of their learning.

Even though there are three parts to the learning target, we are only requiring two parts be displayed, the skills [what kids are going to be doing] and the Common Core/Essential Standard Tie In, the why. We don’t mandate the third part be displayed but is should be known in case its asked about. If you want to see a great example of the three components, please visit Mrs Roach’s room to see the direction of her class.

The vast majority of our visits have not had a Greeter! Make it a priority to have a talk to get it going. Greeters = Communicators
The vast majority of our visits have not had a Greeter! Make it a priority to have a talk to get it going. Greeters = Communicators

Moving forward, we need everyone to start being cognizant of making sure the learning targets are written in student friendly language. Remember, these aren’t coming from anyone but you and your planning partner[s] – they can say what we want and can read how we need them to. When writing the skills, the fewer the focuses the better. Making sure kids know the one or two things they will be doing well over the next couple of days is critical. If you have stations going, pick a station to write about – remember the Bulldog Greeter will talk about the learning in the room When you are writing about the standard, the why, give some special attention to writing it in student friendly terms. Remember, we don’t want kids to read the learning target, we want them to COMMUNICATE the learning.


We’ve been talking about some of the concerns we’ve been hearing about lunch. After a good meeting and some small group conversations, we will be changing up some of the procedures for lunch:

  • 15/15 – We are going to dividing up the 30 minutes into two chunks. The first 15 minutes will be everyone eating in the cafeteria, flexible seating, and the last 15 will be students either playing outside or moving to the courtyard or media center;
  • Half a grade level will be responsible for lunch supervision for a week at a time [or the grade level can come up with its own schedule]. During the first 15 minutes, all four teachers will be in the cafeteria, during the second, teachers will follow where students go – if half remain in the cafe, 1/4 go outside and 1/4 go to media center, please deploy accordingly. Teachers not on duty can use this time for team meetings, collaboration;
  • Hot food only in the cafeteria. Cold lunches or lunches from home will be allowed in the media center;
  • Admin will be in the media center or flexing time outside;
  • cyrqu9_xuaezc1vWorking Lunch – This will be a new addition. Each grade level will have a working lunch available for students to catch up on work assignments or to get answers for questions they may have. Today, I saw the power of working lunch in Ms Warrens room – FULL HOUSE! Make this time about getting work done, collaborating. We grow when we can get questions answered.


Since we have made adjustments to our announcements, we’ve cut down on our afternoon hallway noise and smoother transitions.


One thing we need to improve on is the morning announcements. We are waiting until the afternoon to send announcements for Ms Sifford or students to read. This past week, we only had the Pledge, Bulldog Statement and our Word of the Day read in the morning. This leaves ALL announcements to be read in the afternoon. Our morning announcements are the quietest time – let’s capitalize on that time while we have a captive audience. If you want it heard, prepare it for the morning.


wp-1480721538139.jpgLiteracy looks different now. At one time, the high standard of literacy and reading was keeping the room quiet, attending to the page and answering the point/blank questions at the end of the text.

We know different now.

We know brain wants the body to move and engage so it can attend better. There is nothing wrong with asking questions to ourselves as we read [metacognition]. We can stand up to read. We should be annotating regularly. Graphic organizers are needed. Conversations ahead of time and after the story build interest and start the learning.

While we want students to answer questions, we want them to be able to talk intelligently about the work, make inferences, and build on the great things in front of them.

Our teaching has to reflect the changed expectations. Make sure you are engaging in great collaboration with your planning partner[s] and are using our curriculum mapping tool to ensure we start with the standard, develop a good assessment and create learning experiences our kids will want to dive into.

Henley’s Hurrahs

Quarterly benchmarks, or predictive assessments, are a mainstay of education and have many uses:

  • reflect on instruction
  • indicator of student growth
  • drive instruction for future standards
  • data chats with students (including EVAAS & Achieve 3000)

When reviewing the benchmark PDF, I never noticed the first page:

Benchmark Assessment

“See what they know. Teach what they need.”

Benchmark results are just one of many sources of data teachers have at their fingertips:

  • Achieve 3000
  • common assessments
  • formative assessments

At times, it seems as there is too much data to analyze, break down, and sort through to determine how to “teach what they need.” What is your goal when using data?

  • create Guided Instruction opportunities
  • determine standards and student groups for Enrichment reteaching
  • look at a future standard using a different perspective
  • discuss and set goals with students

Next week, Monday – Thursday, the second benchmark of the year is scheduled. Hard copies of ELA and Math for all grades have been emailed, and 8th grade Science. Please remember to print off or give access to read-aloud teachers if a hard copy is not an option.

Typically after benchmarks, a Tuesday PD session is devoted to analyzing data, discussion, and making a plan. A PD session has not been set aside for benchmark B in December. Preparing for the next cycle of Enrichment (January 3 – January 27) will need to be integrated with content PLC’s the week of December 12-16 and 19-21. Please know I am available to meet with all content areas when planning for reteaching/remediation.

The first individualized PD menu concludes on January 10th, we want to hear from you! Please complete the Google form, so we can begin creating PD opportunities based on teacher interest.

67f65a24ca48c7fddc9bd1f90add77a8UPCOMING EVENTS

Sunday, Dec 4

  • Happy Birthday Mrs Kemp

Monday, Dec 5

  • 8th Basketball vs NRMS at Home
  • Wrestling vs NRMS Away

Tuesday, Aug 30

  • Happy Birthday Mrs McNeeley
  • WRMS CTE Exploration Day

Thursday, Dec 8

  • 8th Basketball vs Erwin Away
  • Wrestling vs Erwin at Home

Monday, Dec 12

  • 8th Basketball vs CLMS Away
  • Wrestling vs CLMS
  • Reindeer Express

Tuesday, Dec 13

  • Reindeer Express

Wednesday, Dec 14

  • Reindeer Express

Thursday, Dec 15

  • 8th Basketball vs Mooresville Away

Friday, Dec 16

  • Reindeer Express



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