Bulldog News 02.17.2017

BULLDOG NEWS!

Time We Can’t Get Back

Our opportunity to make difference with kids is finite. We only have 180 rounds of 60 minute sessions to #bethatteacher. Every minute is precious. I find myself in disbelief that its already February. We need to treat every minute with students as the valuable resource it is – that includes the time from 2:20 – 2:30 pm. On different hallways, everyday, we can find students in the hallway not making the most use of time.

We should protect and make bell-to-bell instruction a priority.

Told Does Not Mean Taught

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An intentional conversation about HOW to talk to 7th graders

We have been having several conversations with different groups and people about some of the concerns around the school. Somethings are dress code violations, lunchroom behaviors, work ethic are among some of the main concerns.

You heard me say ‘Told does not mean taught’ before. It was a saying from my first principal has has stuck with me for almost 20 years and it holds real impact. I have full faith that we all have shared our expectations with students about these and other things, more than once. But reality is these are 11-14 year olds. They will need reminding and reteaching regularly.

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The greatness of the talking points are only eclipsed by DeAngelo’s slippers

I think of my kids. I love them fully and couldn’t be prouder of them but I remember well having to remind them regularly of certain things. These are not slights. We have to remember to NOT take these personally. We have to support each other in staying positive and coming up with creative and impactful ways of reteaching critical things to students and doing so in a positive manner.

The attached pictures of the 7th grade teachers was taken Thursday as they were planning a large group conversation with students about several critical topics. It was awesome to walk up on them as they were brainstorming the WHAT to talk about [Mrs Brawley and Mrs Rabon will share HOW 7th grade did it at Tuesday’s PD].

As these things come up we have to remember several things:

  • We have to model positive behavior and language
  • We can count on revisiting these points – how we do it is the challenge and opportunity. Be impactful and creative!

Dress Code

Thursday, the administrators walked the school and visited every class that had students to see the scope of the problem with dress code violations. The vast majority of dress code violations were minor infractions.

The solution here falls back to teacher expectation and communication of the dress code. Students notice inconsistencies and when and where rules are not being enforced. It is very important to note that HOW we communicate our expectations is just as important as what we are enforcing.

Poster-sized dress codes have been placed in everyone’s mailbox. This is the start – taking time to go over these expectations with every class and what is allowed and not allowed. Another issue that has come up is what needs to happen with repeated violators. We have come up with two necessary steps. First, Silent Lunch should be assigned. Have them sit in an assigned area not allowed to communicate and prohibiting free time at lunch. Second is teacher assigned After School Detention [ASD]. If it comes to it, teachers are to enter the dress code violation in Educators Handbook as a minor infraction and assign Detention to student. Please make sure you are not assigning detention the day of incident. For the first three weeks, we will have it twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday.

We are developing a teacher rotation for detention duty. We are anticipating some large numbers during the initial reminders so an administrator may help with the large group the first week. After 2/weeks, we will go back to one day a week.

Our solution here is not punishment or harsh language. We build the school we want by using positive language tied to our Core Values, repeating what is important and celebrating our successes!

Soft Rollout

We will always have new initiatives to work on, new endeavors to implement in the field of education. We deal with a dynamic commodity, students, in a medium that requires constant reflection and improvement – the field of education.

I use the term ‘soft rollout’ to aptly describe the stages I see us going through at West Rowan Middle. Soft rollout is a term use to alleviate fears and concerns. One of the barriers to trying new things here is our fear of ‘failure’ or having to start over. A soft rollout is intended to give us freedom to start slowly and with the confidence that no one is looking over our shoulders with a corrective voice.

A soft rollout gives us needed time to play in the sandbox to get comfortable with the new initiative. Yesterday, a teacher was overheard saying that if it is soft rollout time, it means we don’t have to start anything. That isn’t the case. Procrastinating causes the anxiety.

A prime example is standards based grading. RSS will very likely make the dive into standards based grading in the 2018-2019 school. It is easy to say that its so far off we don’t have to worry about it – that is not the case. Standards based grading is a fundamental, significant shift in how we look at education – FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT! Instead of waiting for PD the spring before, take this sandbox time to Google research and locate resources to find out what it is. Get your questions and begin finding out what areas you are strong in and which you may need to strengthen.

This is how we support your learning and comfort – giving you a preview. Our students need this as well. Remember we are stronger when we can have a heads up. Make the most of that time.

No More TACS

As a reminder from last week’s email, teachers are not permitted to sign in with TACS after Feb 28th. All staff need to check in and out if they leave after the school day starts or before it ends. Although TACS is not required for In and Outs, it may still be an option to be used in exceptional cases.

Calendar

Make sure you are using the calendar app to help students stay organized. We are using this to teach organization to our middle schoolers. Our students are digital natives – they have an aptitude for digital tools but that doesn’t mean they have a high level understanding of the tools and how to use them to enhance their lives.

Take time in your classes to pull up the calendar and talk about it. Dedicate time at the end of every class to remind students to use add valuable content to it.

stoplight-jgDevice Policy

We can’t communicate enough with students our expectations and using a visual to drive the point home helps as well. We have printed some of these and placed them in the mailbox room. Take one, add it to your room and use it to let students know what your learning parameters are like that class.

Involve the students – let them move the clip as needed. When we involve them, they become involved.

Go To Girls

Looking to change careers? Just kidding, but Career Day is coming up on March 16. Please ask your friends and family to come share about their career with our students. We want to expose them to a variety of options. Let Mrs. Horton know if you have someone who is willing to come or if you have a suggestion for a career we should seek out.

We will be taking the 8th grade students to West Rowan High School Home of the Falcons next Tuesday, February 14th. Yes, on the day of St. Valentine’s, we are giving them a free trip to their future.

Thank you for your help encouraging our students to begin their Compassion Projects. We are excited to see how they will grow in understanding of compassion as they show it to others.

“I have this theory that if one person will go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” -Rachel Joy Scott

Technology 

Remind: If you use the Remind app to communicate with parents and students, there is a way for students to message each other and other members of the class using the app on their iPad. The messages appear under your class name and title but you cannot see them as the owner of the course. To change this, go to the remind website. Go to your class or classes. Use the wheel in top left of your class icon to go to class settings. At the bottom, UNCHECK, “people in this class can see and message each other.

Henley’s Hurrahs

Enrichment/Core Schedule:

The enrichment/core schedule has been added the the WRMS Google calendar (red). Be sure to check it out. This time had been allotted for several student learning opportunities: PBL, Compassion Project, extended core class time, and core value re-visit. Dates are set until Spring Break.

Awesome Achieve 3000 Additions:

Several resources for teachers have been added:

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Achieve 3000 Additions  For a visual “walk-through” check out this video.

Data below is not exclusive to Rowan Salisbury Schools, but an average of all schools currently utilizing Achieve 3000: Smarty Antz, TeenBiz, and Empower. Grey represents expected Lexile growth during the instructional year. Green represents additional when the Achieve 3000 five-step literacy routine is implemented with fidelity.

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Last week’s Bulldog News included an Instructional Design Menu. Let me clarify its purpose:

In addition to Tuesday’s Whole group and ISD offerings, the design menu is intended to facilitate a more individualized PD option. On Friday, I had a wonderful LDC collaboration session.  Our original goal was to finalize a Preparing for the Task mini-task to introduce content specific vocabulary at the beginning of a unit. However, through conversation, brainstorming, and several aha moments we have the foundation for an LDC module. Take a moment, read the menu options and select an appetizer, entree, and/or dessert.

Instructional Design Menu

Instructional Design Menu Google Form

PBL SEA System Credit

Please make sure to drop by my room beginning Monday morning to initial the SEA System Roster. It is located on my “phone” table.

samr-model-expl_912_cbef70a5202e5f8144c037a7506c68aa9dbebe4bUPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, Feb 20

  • Happy Birthday Mrs Brumley
  • Student Council -Penny Wars
  • Enrichment – PBL

Tuesday, Feb 21

  • Student Council – Penny Wars
  • Enrichment PBL
  • 7th Basketball vs Mooresville at Home
  • PD – Responsive Classroom

Wednesday, Feb 22

  • Student Council – Penny Wars
  • Enrichment – PBL

Thursday, Feb 23

  • Student Council – Penny Wars
  • Enrichment -Compassion Project
  • 7th Basketball vs Southeast MS Away

Friday, Feb 24

  • Student Council – Penny Wars
  • Enrichment – Compassion Project

Saturday, Feb 25

  • Happy Birthday Mr Kepley

Monday, Feb 27

  • 7th Basketball vs Knox Home
  • Enrichment – Core

Tuesday, Feb 28

  • Benchmark Schedule
  • Band and Chorus 7th/8th Grade Concert WRHS

Wednesday, March 1

  • Benchmark Schedule
  • 7th Basketball vs China Grove MS at Home
  • Happy Birthday Mrs Kohler

Thursday, March 2

  • Benchmark Schedule
  • Happy Birthday Mrs Howell

Friday, March 3

  • Benchmark Schedule
  • St. Baldricks Event

Tuesday, March 14

  • RSS Middle School Principals Meeting at WRMS

Thursday, March 16

  • WRMS PD – Achieve3000 Training Social Studies/Science/Exploratories, ISDs for others

RESOURCES

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