Welcome back! Its good to see everyone has returned, RECHARGED and ready for the new year and the second half of the school year. January is always a great month to reflect and come back with a new invigorated focus. While this won’t be about new years resolution, it is about committing to continuously developing ourselves – skills, tools and understandings – to better serve our students and school. Here’s to 2017 being an awesome year for WRMS!
Thanks to our artist-in-residence Coach Epps, we have a brand new focus to help us feature our work on Achieve3000. This permanent display will help us maintain a keen look on our efforts to grow our students’ reading abilities. This week, Mrs Henley is adding headers to our data displays that shows what our focus areas will be. We are going to start an ongoing competition amongst grade level wherein we award groups for their accomplishments and growth month-to-month. Nothing like a little competition.
As always, its up to us to make sure we are doing what we can to help students do well with their progress on Achieve3000. One of the major things we can do is to make sure we are not treating Achieve3000 articles like old school digital worksheets. We have to shift our thinking and practices from instructions disconnected instructions ‘read carefully’, ‘pay attention’ and ‘re-read as much as you have to’ to more in depth and strategic approaches like small group talks on specific strategies, leveraging the power of choice with selections when you can, and getting deep in thought questions.
This is just scratching the surface of what we can do with Achieve3000. Mrs Henley goes into more detail below with other strategies but you are openly and enthusiastically encouraged to seek her out for best practices with Achieve3000 and engage with your collaborative partners on next level practices.
Work From Home
Thanks for all who attended the meeting after school yesterday. I am proud of myself for keeping it to a 15 minute meeting [great celebration for 2017]. All employees received an email with directions on working from home. For safety measure, I resent it yesterday afternoon. It gives description on what all RSS employees have to do to work from home on optional workdays.
Again, this does NOT address what we have to do when students have to make up days – this was the topic of conversation for our afternoon meeting. Though not approved yet, we anticipate good news in two weeks. Because it has to be approved, details shouldn’t be communicated with the public.
We will communicate our expectations and suggestions for what blended learning and instruction will look like from home on snow days.
Give a special listen to the Un-Interrupted Teacher Time
Achieve 3000 Update
After numerous emails, phone calls, and online chats, I have answers to several questions:
- Choice, calendar (drag and drop), and mailbox articles ALL factor into Lexile adjustment and “valid” activities
- The teacher usage report currently reflects ONLY articles assigned through the mailbox. Achieve is in the process of updating the report.
- 5-Step Literacy Process and class roster posters are here, more on on the way! Please stop by my room if you need more.
- The following criteria are calculated into student, teacher, and school data:
- Minimum of 4 articles a month
- Articles completed between 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM
- 75% or greater on the first try
- Consistency in 75% or greater scores
During debriefing sessions with Debbie Henry, she suggested each content align Achieve with instruction a minimum of twice a month. Exploratory teachers may have a “stretch,” however Achieve seamlessly integrates with ELA, Science, and Social Studies.
- Each content “reserves” a week to prevent redundancy
- Teams create, share, and refer to a Google Doc or Team calendar to prevent “over scheduling” days
- During PLC meetings, teachers look for cross curricular Achieve article opportunities
- This week, and prior to Christmas break, when talking with 7th grade students, many said they would like the option to complete assigned as well as choice articles. The freedom to choose articles based on interest was high on their list of support needed from teachers to reach their Achieve Lexile goals.
Our first PBL implementation is set to begin on Wednesday, January 25th. Due to teacher concern five days was not ample time for students to progress through the PBL teaching model and generate a quality final product, the date was revised.
In an effort to create quality, engaging inquiry based learning opportunities, each content area creates one PBL and implements several times throughout the year. Students select a PBL based on teacher created description, and attend for the eight day implementation.
Just a few things:
- Problem, project, and/or inquiry based learning is not intended as an after fact, but an instructional model infused with differentiated standards based mini-lessons.
- Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Adapting or modifying a PBL based on your student population’s interests, readiness level, and learning style is doable.
- In an effort to create a WRMS PBL library, using a template or framework that includes critical components will help ensure consistent planning.
- PD on Tuesday, January 17th will focus on providing kind, specific, and helpful feedback to grade level colleagues using the design rubric and PBL checklists teachers received on 11/29.
Monday, Jan 9
- Faculty Meeting
Tuesday, Jan 10
- Band Booster Meeting, 6:30 pm
Wednesday, Jan 11
- LDC Meeting, Room 708
- WRMS Mentor Meeting, Main Collab Room
Thursday, Jan 12
Friday, Jan 13
Monday, Jan 16
- MLK Day – Holiday
Tuesday, Jan 17
- 7th Basketball vs NRMS at Home
Wednesday, Jan 18
Thursday, Jan 19
- 7th Basketball vs Erwin MS at Home
Friday, Jan 20
- Early Release Day
- PopUp Makerspace at CLMS
- 5 Strategies to Reduce Interruptions During Small Groups
- The 4 essentials of a successful Genius Hour
- 7 Reasons ‘Classroom Leadership’ Is Better Than ‘Classroom Management’
- It’s Easier Than Ever to Provide Differentiation in the Classroom