Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

This week I wanted to focus on a resource that is located within the Social Studies curriculum and probably other places I am not aware of. The nice part is, at our fingertips, we have access to BEST PRACTICE TEACHING STRATEGIES that are easily incorporated into lessons at all grade levels in ANY SUBJECT. This week’s focus is just on the Collaboration strand. Things like this just make me happy! :)

In the curriculum, under Social Studies, there is this link to instructional strategies
WICOR- is research based BEST PRACTICE strategies to engage students in these categories: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, Reading.

LET'S FOCUS ON COLLABORATION: Fostering teamwork skills through activities like Give and Get, Give One to Get One, Inside Outside Circle, Talk a Mile a Minute, Think-Pair-Share

Please take a few moments and review or preview for the first time “best practices” strategies to include in your classroom. If the link doesn’t answer all of your questions on how to incorporate it into your classroom, I will be happy to get you more information or help clarify. Please invite me to come see you using one of these, or similar, with your students. One way to keep students engaged is by providing a variety of activities to keep lessons interesting!!

THANKS TO JENNIFER SCHULTZ for sharing this great visual posted below that she found on Twitter. This is an awesome AND authentic example of S.A.M.R., which we have been discussing in PLC's. And... it IS pumpkin season!

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

One of the expectations of the Learning Liaison is to help provide access to resources.  While visiting classrooms I am searching for resources to help make connections between teachers for our own professional learning. So often our best resources are right here on campus but we do not utilize them. I asked permission to share what I found AND I will be asking you in the future as well.

This past week I discovered in two 1st grade classrooms a way they were setting expectations for their students in writing.  Diane Norwood and Irene Boyton have the GCISD writing stages posted on the wall but they provided a KID-FRIENDLY list as a description of that stage.  Even if you do not teach ELA- you still write within science, social studies and math so this idea can just be adapted for your students.  Students will not meet the challenge of growth, in any subject,  if we do not continually raise or communicate the expectations.

Also-Diane has an extensive classroom library with genre signs which will help her students read a variety of different books while fostering the love of reading.  Donalyn Miller, author of Book Whisperer, would LOVE your efforts to reinforce genres in your classroom.  If you do not teach ELA- you can reinforce genres with your content books as well. 

So please ask these ladies questions OR just go look in their rooms for ideas:)  Cannon is full of gifted teachers!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 2014

Cannon Staff,

iStation Math/Reading Assessments are in full swing or crashing, it just depends on the moment.  (Just remember to keep taking deep breaths.)  
Language Arts:  Beginning of the Year (BOY) writing assessments should be completed and scored in two weeks.   The deadline for entering the data into Eduphoria is Monday, September 29th. To help aid you in scoring your expository and narrative pieces, there is an e-course in Eduphoria (Workshop) listed under Language Arts called Scoring Student Writing.  This training is essential for new teachers and a great review for those of you familiar with the writing rubric.  Let me know if you need help but please do not wait until the last week.  Here is the link to the prompts if case you are having trouble finding them: 
(You MUST be logged into your GCISD gmail account for these to open.)

Collecting the data is an important and soon we will begin the process of using it to drive our instruction.  I leave you with two thoughts to ponder:
1.   Data is only valuable when we take ACTION through effective instruction. 
2.   The three characteristics of an effective teacher are: a) has good classroom management skills, b) teaches for mastery, and c) has positive expectations for student success.
Remember, I am your supporter and biggest fan!! If I can help you in any way, please let me know.

My favorite Constitution Day Schoolhouse Rock Song for September 17th:  
School House Rock - The Constitution - YouTube

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

As I think about the one gift we can give to all students, is a true love of reading.   The GCISD Book Challenge backbone is helping to create the love.   Reading is a free life long ticket to see and experience the world.  If you haven't read ​Reading in the Wild​ by Donalyn Miller, please put it on your reading list.  Take a quick look at this book trailer.  

Please send me ideas of professional learning you would like to have during your PLC time.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

Cannon Staff,

You have amazing programs and an eager staff.  I appreciate that you have embraced me and I can't wait to visit more classrooms.  Albert Einstein said this and I think it fits Cannon Elementary:)

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."

Please fill out this quick and confidential survey to help me begin our PLCs.