Weekly Update: 12/2/2013

Welcome back.  I hope you had a great week off and had time to re-energize and reconnect with family and friends- and hopefully eat some yummy food too!!  Here are our weekly updates:


Chris sent our latest powerpoint, revisiting school-wide expectations.  Please make sure to use the first 30 minutes of your classtime tomorrow reviewing this with your students.


Please continue to work with your team on planning around Unit 4.  You might also choose to use a few minutes to take the PTA (performance task) survey for your grade level, score the assessment (if your grade level just gave the assessment), or look at recently sent “Source Sets” that are now included in your Unit 4 thanks to our hard working Educational Services team (Amy Illingworth has recently been sending each grade level an email with more info).

Staff Meeting:

We will meet in Rm. 26 this week and we will be doing some work around breaking down the standards.  We did this recently at our ILT meeting and your ILT colleagues felt that it was extremely valuable and asked that we do this as a whole staff.  You will be sitting in grade level groups at the staff meeting.  Thank you in advance to Mike for hosting.

Writing PD:

Chris and I will be making an effort in the next few weeks to visit you during your writing block so we can help support you and ascertain next steps for future Writing PD.  Reminder to primary teachers: next PD will be Friday, Dec. 13th in Rm. 21.  Please email me asap if there is anything specific you would like them to address.

Science Shed:

Thank you to Dana and Board Member Ellsworth for working on our Science shed over break.  It still needs some work but feel free to peek inside, your classroom key opens the lock now, and/or ask Dana about items that we still need.


I know we have all been extremely busy but if you are interested in having your students help in giving some TLC to our garden, please let me know.  It still looks good but is not as full as it was at the beginning of the year.  You can also email Angelica Goulding as she might have an idea about next steps.  I am more than willing to create a schedule for weeding and watering if you are interested.

Bicycle Update:

Monday, Dec. 2nd will be the first day that students who have signed permission slips can ride their bicycles to school.  I am also allowing scooters but only if they can be locked up.  Parents who attended our meeting and who have signed the permission slip are well aware that we are NOT responsible for the bikes and scooters while they are on our campus and that there will be no supervision dedicated to the bicycle rack area.  If students ask you about how they can begin to ride their bikes to school, please send them to the office for the permission slip.  Bicyles and scooters are expected to have a special sticker that we distributed and I will be checking the area to make sure that all of them have the stickers.  We will NOT open the gate near Rm. 15 after school.  This means that those who bring their bicycles or scooters to school are expected to WALK their bike/scooter to the front of the school and exit at the front and not mount the bike until they are down the street.  I appreciate your help in letting me know if you see a student who is on their bike or scooter in our hallways or blacktop as their priveleges will be revoked after one warning.

Ramona Visitors:

We had a really positive visit from our friends from Ramona.  They were really impressed with the way we are beginning to address Common Core expectations.  Most of the visitors were teachers and spent most of their time in classrooms looking at charts posted on walls and looking at what students were doing.  They were taking it all in, using ipads and phones to take pictures of great ideas and at the end they told me their brains were full with all of the great ideas that they saw.  Thanks to those teachers whose rooms we visited and thank you to all of your for being ready and willing to open up your rooms to them.  On Thursday, Dec. 12th, my principal peer team and Shelley Burgess will visit Emory from 10-12 to observe classrooms and callibrate our understandings around Common Core expectations.

Question of the Week:

What is one new thing you have tried around instruction this year for which you are proud? Why?

Quote of the Week:

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”  – Henry Ford


21 thoughts on “Weekly Update: 12/2/2013

  1. I am proud that my teaching team took on the Chromebooks. It’s been additional stress in a year that’s already full of that with the CCSS and Units of Study, but I feel it’s been very beneficial for the students.

  2. I have used fictional books for a week to teach the students author’s purpose, story structure and writer’s craft. I have seen value in this because the students have a much better understanding of the texts.

  3. I am proud of all the writing and reading I’ve done on my own searching for mentor texts and writing for my students. I love writing and forgot how much I missed it. My kids are now searching for great writing and are excited about writing. We are talking about literature and I’m pretty sure I might have a few future writers in my class. It’s exciting stuff !!

  4. I am proud of my efforts to teach reading again after a break, as a result of teaming, of about 20 years. Although I can’t say that I have always felt confident in my lessons, I have given myself permission to relax when I try new things and use mistakes as opportunities to learn.

  5. I am happy to have started a daily writing program in my class, rather than just adding a writing component once in a while.

  6. I am happy to have started a new writing program because it’s better! I have a more organized approach and the students are enjoying writing and conferencing.

  7. I have tried implementing the Writer’s Workshop we learned about during our Writing PD’s. The students look forward to it everyday and the mini-lessons have been successful. The students have been excited about working on peer revisions.

  8. This is definitely a year of trying new things, but I think I am most proud of our use of the Chromebooks. Students are so motivated by them and my PLC team loves them for planning. It is trial and error on some daysfor the students and I, but always very exciting!

  9. Poetry–figurative language (interpreting text and citing evidence), rhyming (identifying various spelling patterns for same sounds), meter, joy of poetic language-
    Student Conversations- encouraging sharing of ideas-still working on “building on others’ ideas.

  10. Writing hooks and leads plus awesome endings, which was reflected in their writing.


  11. This school year has been a year of learning great new strategies in writing. My students and I are enjoying using mentor texts to learn various skills: author’s purpose, improving our introductions with better leads etc.

  12. a strategy for subtraction with regrouping from educreations
    it worked and the students are doing much better with subtraction

  13. I am really proud to see my students who used to dislike writing, now not even want to put their pencils down even during a fire drill. Thanks to our Writing PD’s lessons! It is also great to see kids become stronger readers, writiers, thinkers and speakers.

  14. I am enjoying using Time for Kids and teaching the students how to use annotations to help them understand what they read. I only had one student fall asleep today! 🙂

  15. I’m really proud of all the technology I’ve used this year. Edmodo is our “HUB”. My students are becoming skillful writers. They are learning how to write thoughtful posts, how to ask their classmates interesting questions online, and how to navigate through various websites such as Kidblog. They also know the importance of practicing cybersafety. Using technology along with the implementation of SDAWP PD lessons has sparked excitement in my teaching and learning.

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