Thanks to everyone for contributing to a great Community Visit this week. I think our visitors had a unique experience and a wonderful time seeing the great things at West Rowan Middle. I shared with them that my goal at West Rowan Middle was to redefine middle school education in NC and we are on the team to do it.
We Have to Call
Recently, we have been getting calls from parents needing help clearing up classroom issues. 9 out 10 times the solution has been calling parents, not just an email. Parent Portal, email and Remind are great ways to stay connected with parents but when there are issues to discuss – ‘Why is this occurring?’ – we have to be take the time to call parents. A good conversation goes a long way in resolving a problem and at the same time it builds a much needed bridge. We have to be partners with parents in our students educational trek. Make that call to build that relationship.
Presenting and Communicating
I’ve already shared this with students as a model for how our presentations at WRMS have to start looking. These girls did a great job with the challenge I put to them – 1) know what needs to be said; 2) talk from the heart; 3) COMMUNICATE with the audience, don’t read to it.
I asked them not to take notes up front and really make an effort to connect with the audience. I was building a presentation for the morning and these #herostudents said that we shouldn’t have a presentation, we should only drive talking points from the most important thing in our school – our core values. That was something special. They didn’t know it but they were channeling some of the conversations I’ve been having about how we are going to change presentations at West Rowan Middle. We have to elevate our expectations for student presentations – we want them to be Communicators.
From this point forward we will set some expectations for student presentations:
- Presentations should illustrate pictures and ideas and not be loaded with text – We have a lot of presentations where students will copy and paste a lot of text on presentation slides. Coach students to take distracting text off pictures
- Notes, if needed – While there is nothing wrong with having note cards with key points, we want to be cognizant of students who instead of copying and pasting text on slides they do so on note cards. This is a great chance to monitor note cards to make sure they have essential points or that they don’t use cards at all. We should make sure students know material and speak from the heart. Communication is a needed skill and we have a vital part in building that skill.
- Vibrant presentations – Our presentations should have colorful and eye catching visuals that students can use to drive talking points
There is a lot of coaching opportunity here and a great opportunities to help students understand there will always be room for improvement.
Go To Girls
Thank you all for your support in our campaign to fight hunger in Rowan County. We will continue the Bulldogs Freeze Out Hunger through February 3rd. One of the NJHS members will come during the school day to total up the points. Please keep the food in your room until February 3rd when we will collect it to send for donation. Encourage your students to show compassion for our community by helping those in need.
Coming soon…compassion project information. “Kindness, like a boomerang always returns.” –Anonymous
In the next few weeks Mrs. Horton will be meeting with teachers who still need information on Branching Minds. She will also be registering 8th grade students for high school classes during the month of February.
Homeroom teachers will receive a book in their box today from the counselors. More information will come about how we will share this book with our students. The message of the book is that of kindness, empathy, and compassion.
“I cannot do all the good that the world needs, but the world needs all the good that I can do.” -Jana Stanfield
This week’s hurrah is going to be a smorgasbord of …updates, shoutouts, and points to ponder.
- Great PD on Tuesday, providing specific feedback prior to PBL implementation. Please remember this is our first iteration, and there may be a few “bumps in the road.”
- We are getting our feet wet with the first “go round” perfection at this point is overrated!
- Take a moment to reflect each day, jot a few notes…what went well? What needs tweaking? Possible improvements?
- Implementation Dates: Wednesday, January 25th – Friday, February 3rd
- Many of you may already know about Cool Tools for School WikiSpace. Thanks Mr. Brothers for sharing the link! This IS one stop shopping for digital tools: presentation, writing, drawing, assessments, etc. A must have for Blended Learning classrooms.
- 100% teachers registered for ISD Take 2
- 7th Grade ELA and Science are rocking’ out Achieve competitions per class utilizing rosters from Debbie Henry…if you need more drop by my room, they are on the “phone table.”
Points to Ponder:
- PLC or protected planning time is for the benefit of educators and students.
- Time is of the essence when planning with colleagues, but debriefing is also important.
- Instead of diving right in, checking email, and asking the ubiquitous question, “What are we teaching next week?” try a device free debrief with PLC members.
- Share successful instruction or strategies, discuss struggles, and brainstorm solutions.
- PLC or Professional Learners Collaborate is just as it states, when professional learners (we all have the potential for growth) collaborate, higher quality instruction is the result versus autonomous planning.
- Collaboration is key! Bouncing ideas of colleagues, sharing amazing ideas and resources, planning and creating rigorous learning experiences benefits educators and students.
- The 4 Questions to drive your PLC:
What do we expect the students to learn? (And, how will they learn it?)
How will we know when they have learned it?
How will we respond when they don’t learn?
How will we respond when they already know it?
Monday, Jan 23
- Required Teacher Workday
- BOE Meeting – Mrs Shue’s Makerspace Recognition and WRMS Presentation to BOE
Tuesday, Jan 24
- 7th Basketball vs CLMS Away
Wednesday, Jan 25
Thursday, Jan 26
- RSS Teacher Breakfast
Friday, Jan 27
Monday, Jan 30
Tuesday, Jan 31
- 7th Basketball vs Mooresville Away
Wednesday, Feb 1
- Report Cards Go Home
Thursday, Feb 2
- 7th Basketball vs Knox Away
Friday, Feb 3
- Honors Chorus Rehearsal