Weekly Update: 3/10/2014

Good morning everyone.  Sorry for the delay.  I was out of town this weekend and came down with a stomach bug.  This weekly update is a little lengthy because we will not meet together as a staff until after Spring Break so this is the primary avenue for communication for the next couple of weeks.  2 weeks left- hang in there!


This week our focus will be Guest Teacher expectations.  Appropriate seeing as we have several guest teachers this week for various reasons.  If you were at Writing PD Monday morning, please feel free to review this upon your return.


Please continue to work on unpacking Unit 6 and Unit 7 standards.  (4th grade might also be working on scoring of PTA from last week-due Mar. 21).  ILT members, please be committed to leading the unpacking as specifically and thoroughly and we did in our recent ILT meeting.  This process takes longer in the beginning but it is vital to fully understanding the standards and will ultimately help teachers and STUDENTS in the long run.

Ana Reyes will be visiting 2nd and 5th grade PLC on Tuesday.  Please feel free to ask her questions — she is here to help!

Staff Meeting/Report Cards:

There will be no staff meetings for the next two weeks.  This week, please meet with your team and work on report cards together.  There is merit in bouncing ideas off of one another with respect to report cards.  One of the challenges we face is when report cards from one teacher to another are inconsistent in nature.  Also remember to include student strengths in the comments portion of report cards.  Simply put, if you can’t find a student strength, this is not the right profession for you.  Every parent should believe and feel that their child’s teacher can find the positives in their child.  If you need help in writing comments about a student, asking your team might help.

Report Card info must be inputted by end of the day on Wednesday, March 21.  You will have next Wednesday after school to finish this up.  Please do NOT print our report cards prior to this date as attendance needs to be populated at last minute.  Please make sure to read email from Barb Montfort sent on 3/3/14 for further details and changes on report card.

Placement Cards:

Placement Cards need to be passed out today, Monday.  Please follow directions that Martha has provided.

Impact teacher:

Welcome Gaby, our new Art teacher!!  Gaby begins today, Monday.  If you have PE on our schedule, please make sure to remind students that it will now be Art.  Gaby will come to your room to teach Art.

Release for planning:

We have enough funds for each grade level to take one more 1/2 day release for unpacking and planning of your last “Units of Study”.  When needing guest teachers, PLEASE HAVE SOMEONE FROM YOUR GRADE LEVEL complete a p-30 (found in copy room).  If your team wants to request a specific guest teacher or you have pre-arranged someone, please put this on the p-30.  Eunice should not be completing these as it interrupts her many other office duties.  Eunice will send out another email with High Impact Days so you can avoid scheduling a release day on those days.  If you have add’l questions, feel free to email Eunice.

Email alert:

If you have created contact groups that include Erin, please make sure that you have now selected “Erin Major” and de-select “Erin Ecclefield”.  I do not think she will receive emails any longer if you use “Erin Ecclefield” as I saw an alert pop up last week when someone used that name.  Now I just need to remember to call her “Mrs. Major” when I enter her classroom!!

Writing Observations:

Thank you for those of you who have already signed up for us to visit during your writing time.  We are so excited to see what you are “trying on” and appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable.  More so, we appreciate that you are making efforts to bring writing alive for your students.  It’s fun to see students who see themselves as “writers” regardless of their insecurities or academic levels.  Please keep in mind, this shouldn’t be a “special” observation or writing time– this should be what you are doing regularly during your writing time.

My worry is that many of us are still not planning or teaching writing regularly and this may be why you are reluctant to sign up for a time.  If you reluctant to jump in, the students in your class will reflect that as well.  Please remember that it is OK to spend more than one day, lesson, etc. on “building background knowledge” or immersing them in the content/genre/text type before they jump into writing.  All of our mentors from SDAWP have discussed the importance of using mentor texts to help build understanding and also the use of oral language practice before writing.  We learn how to talk well before we learn how to write–there’s a reason for this.  Let your students talk about “what they notice” over and over again.  They will be more confident in their writing if they feel like they can talk about the subject/topic with ease.

Campus Expectations:

It has come to our attention that our students have not been responsible with their “clean up” during lunch time.  We will be asking Noon-time to enforce trash clean up before each grade level can walk to the playground.  Feel free to reinforce/remind this in your classroom or before you drop them off to lunch.

Similarly, we adults need to remember to clean up the teacher lounge after using dishes, microwave, etc.  Please see my email with pictures as “evidence”.

Question of the Week:

As we move into Math Common Core where we will focus much, much more on conceptual knowledge, what area of Math do you want to learn more about as an adult with respect to “conceptual knowledge”?

Quote of the Week:

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

-Mary Anne Radmacher

14 thoughts on “Weekly Update: 3/10/2014

  1. Conceptualizing the basic facts……this is so important yet students still can’t explain a number line.

  2. Fractions in general, but multiplying and division of fractions are especially difficult to understand on a conceptual level.

  3. Problem solving – How to effectively teach students both the why and the how and allowing students to incorporate solution methods on their own.

  4. Problem solving-Getting students comfortable with communicating mathematically. Explaining (How) Justifying (why)………….

    Mathematical practices…..especially-Construct viable arguments & critique the reasoning of others.

  5. I’ve noticed students seem to have difficulty conceptualizing word problems. They get to be fairly good with direct number problems, but when they have to read the problem, get to the nitty-gritty question being asked, then understand what they are supposed to do, they seem to struggle. They can’t seem to picture what should take place nor can they talk through what is expected. This has been a surprise to me as I’d think it would be the easier thing to do.

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