Monday, January 25, 2016

Jan. 25, 2016


As we are approaching the two half days in February, I know many of you have started brainstorming how your conferences will "look". Since we are all at different levels of implementation of this process, I thought it would be important to review the "why" behind this process and provide some helpful resources.

As we work towards our students becoming “self-regulated leaners”, it is important that we help students have a VOICE as they reflect on their progress through self evaluation. (I realize this process is led by you in the classroom prior to the conferences.) I truly believe this process leads to more student responsibility to help drive their academic progress. The purpose of these conferences is to allow students to highlight their progress and discuss with their parent a plan to reach their next goal.

I have placed a folder called Student-Led-Conference Resources in your grade level PLC folder. You will find two resources that have some great ideas and examples regardless of your grade level. I would like to highlight three things you might find beneficial:

1) parent communication examples to explain the purpose of the conferences
2) a form that allows a parent to write questions or concerns that they have PRIOR to the conference
3) student self evaluations of “Work Habits” and “Social Skills”

To see the resources shared by Tona in last week's staff newsletter, click here. Also, Irene also shared this article with me from a teacher named Melissa Kozerski about her journey of implementing student-led-conferences. Thank you, Irene!!

Please do not get caught up in the details of specific numbers of “student led conferences” required. Focus on the value and impact these conferences will have on your classroom. I would love to brainstorm with you!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Jan. 18, 2016

Reminders about Cornerstone Tasks & Unit Math Assessments

Cornerstone Tasks (All grades)

Upload Cornerstone Tasks Here:

Each unit in the Social Studies curriculum has its own cornerstone as an assessment piece. As your students are completing their Cornerstone Tasks, please do not forget to snap a picture of one to upload to the Cornerstone slideshow. Humanities is still working this year to gather samples of the tasks to share across the district as well as update and combine tasks. It's a great way to gather ideas into one location and also to share our practice with others in the district. Next year the Cornerstone Tasks will drive our Humanities curriculum and it will be so great to be able to look at all the samples.

If you have trouble uploading your sample, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you.

Math Unit Assessments (All Grades)

As you are completing the units in Math, don't forget to complete the Unit Assessment. This year all grade levels have Math Unit Assessments for each unit. Unit Assessments can be printed from the following file: DMAC Elementary Test Key List. The results of the assessment are to be scanned into DMAC so I am happy to show you how to print your student bubble sheets and scan them for you when you are done.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Jan. 11, 2016

Many times we have the opportunity to attend a training, however we never get the face time with the presenter to personalize the ideas to our students. Our time spent with Dr. Julie Jackson has ignited great discussions to help us on our journey of growth from good, to better & best!!

This slide was shown during most small group sessions and will be a perfect addition to the planning process. It is imperative that we as teachers understand the reasoning (scientific principle) we teach so we set our students up for success.

The link to the blog article that Dr. Jackson referred to is

This link also has the Audi commercial "My Dad is an Alien" as well. In several of the small group meetings, Dr. Jackson shared this video and suggested that it might be a great video to use to introduce CER to your scholars. Enjoy!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Jan. 4, 2016

As the new year begins, I keep thinking about my "word" of the year via Jon Gordon. Last year my word was intentional. I still think that this is a HUGE word for me. Every decision I make needs to be intentional otherwise I am wasting time and not improving. At work, this word has served me well, however I don't think it has been as effective in my personal life.

This year my word needs to help me personally as well. I seem to "take care of myself" LAST as most mothers do. However, 2016 will be a HUGE year of change for me as my seniors girls will be leaving home to continue their education.

So the words I have pondered are: improvement, selfish, motivated, commitment, and growth. These words can all relate to me personally and in the educational setting. I've decided growth will be my word, which makes me laugh because physically I do not need to grow!!! However, I need to focus on my growth as a STEM educator and personally to be the best me I can. That means I need to have more balance and make time for my health and personal goals that I have put aside.

Happy New Year and may 2016 be the best year for you!