May 9, 2016

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When I was in the classroom, EOG Prep was always a love/hate time of year for me.  While I adamantly oppose the way some schools/districts/parents/educators misuse standardized testing data, I am not necessarily opposed to the tests themselves.  Those of you who know me know that I’ve always been a huge proponent of backward design (UbD), and that if assessment is of high quality (meaning that it is transparent and aligned with quality learning goals), then a lot of meaningful learning can actually occur in the process of preparing for “a test.” However, I also know firsthand the anxiety some people encounter when faced with assessment, particularly assessment of the high-stakes nature (hence the “hate” part).  So I always found it essential to strike a proper balance between preparing the mind and preparing the heart.  While obviously students must be knowledgeable of the content and be able to demonstrate mastery of the defined learning objectives, it is just as crucial for students to hold the belief that they can actually do so.  In fact, my experience taught me that the latter was actually more essential.  In other words, if the kids didn’t believe they could perform well on the tests, then they didn’t.  Conversely, if the kids struggled with the content but held the belief they could succeed with enough determination and hard work, they did.  The best teachers I’ve observed in action are the ones who held this same philosophy.  As Lynn Erikson so eloquently states, “Teachers are the architects for learning.  They design the environments for developing minds.” (pg. 217 Stirring the Head, Heart, and Soul by Lynn Erikson).  So as we head into the homestretch before EOG’s and report card assessments are administered, I challenge you to view yourself as an architect.  YOU are the one who creates the daily climate in your classroom.  YOU are the teacher to whom the six-year-old above is referring.  So embrace your architectural skills and design accordingly.  You are definitely shaping the heads, hearts, and souls of all those who are lucky enough to occupy seats in your classrooms, and our students deserve the very best we have to offer. 🙂

Love,

Juli

The Week at a Glance

Monday, May 9th:

Tuesday, May 10th:
1st Grade Rainforest/Endangered Species Science Fair
Wednesday, May 11th: 
MANDATORY EOG Testing Training during staff meeting
Last day of 6/7 Arts Electives
Admin Team leaves for Annual Planning
Thursday, May 12th: 
Kindergarten Oceans Play
Admin off campus
Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
Friday, May 13th: 
STAFF LEAVES FOR RETREAT! YAY! Arrive by 10:00 a.m.

Looking Ahead…. 
May 17 – 4th Stone Mountain
May 17 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 19 – 3-8 Reading EOG
May 20 – 3-8 Math EOG
May 24 – 7th Grade Ropes Course:  Knight, Keys, Ream, McMillan
May 25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course: Tornberg, Robinson, Hof, Siadak
May 25 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Parents & Family
May 26 – 1st Hiddenite Mine Field Trip
May 26 – 4th Economic Fair
May 26 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Open to Public
May 27 – Kindergarten Screening
May 27 – K-7 Report Cards Due to Admin for Editing
May 27 – Teacher Workday; Optional Parent Conferences
May 30 – Memorial Day HOLIDAY – No school
May 31 – 3rd Kool Kats Cafe
May 31 – 7th Change Project
May 31 – Kindergarten Water Day
May 31 – State of the School Address
June 1 – Last Day of School
June 2 – Graduation
June 2 & 3 – Teacher Workdays

NUTS/BOLTS/REMINDERS:

The retreat is coming!  The retreat is coming!  Make sure you’ve carefully read the email from Joyce with subject line “Retreat Check-list.”  Also, we have one other favor to ask.  One of our activities involves the Myers Briggs Personality Types.  If you don’t already know your type, please take a few moments (prior to the retreat) to take this brief quiz.  Hold onto your results as we will be asking you to refer to them during one of our sessions at the retreat.   Finally…. a test with no wrong answers. 🙂  Enjoy!  https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test 

All Chromebooks will be collected from 565 on Wednesday, May 11th and Thursday, May 12th for EOG/EOC testing.  Please plan accordingly.  For more information, please click here:  https://slate.adobe.com/cp/7Pv2J/

Below is a sign up for the annual Volunteer Appreciation event.  It will be held concurrently with the “State of the School”  meetings on Tuesday, May 31, (9am and 7pm).  We will be providing a breakfast bar during the morning session and a dessert bar during the evening session.  In order for this to be successful, we need each staff member to sign up for a donation of food, time, money or help.  Thanks in advance for your contribution!  If you have any questions, please email or text Lisa Humphries lhumphries@csdspartans.org or 704-763-1642.  Location:  High School Arts Commons outside the ArtSpace Theater.
Click here to sign up:   Volunteer Appreciation Sign Up

Please start to clean your classrooms and resource rooms to get ready for state testing!

Teaching Tips by Marianne: 

This week teaching tip is to remind you to take care of yourself!  I loved this email I received from the Love and Logic® Institute!  I also love these Love and Logic ® teacher-isms:

The person who makes the problem gets to solve the problem.

The most important problem-solving rule: Feel free to solve your problem in any way that doesn’t make a problem for someone else.

Loving our children and our students requires that we first take care of ourselves in loving, unselfish ways. That’s the First Rule of Love and Logic!

Too frequently, we are led to believe that “good parents” and “good educators” should sacrifice their own needs to serve their children. While this sounds sweet and ever so politically correct, trying to accomplish it leaves our love-reserves depleted:

When our bucket is empty, we have nothing to give.

Love and Logic is not about being narcissistic or selfish, it’s about giving kids the gift of patient, encouraging, relaxed, and enthusiastic role models. Listed below are a few quick reminders:

Focus on what you can control.

A sure recipe for disaster involves trying to make kids happy, attempting to make them be good students, trying to make them get enough sleep, ensuring that they pick the right friends, etc.

What we do have control over is what we model, the types of limits we set, and how we respond when these limits are tested.

Set limits to avoid becoming a doormat.

Effective people set limits by describing how they will take care of themselves…not what others should do. For example:

I do the extra things I do around here when I feel respected.

I listen to students when their voices sound calm like mine.

I _______ when I don’t have to hear complaining or arguing.

Provide discipline when it’s convenient for you…not for the kids.

Avoid falling into the trap of trying to solve problems or provide immediate consequences. Take care of yourself by taking time and handling the problem when you have the time, energy, and support you need.

Refresh your skills at our annual Love and Logic Summer Retreat.

One teacher stated: “Love and Logic really works well when I remember to use it.” Living these skills requires constant repetition and practice. I even find myself slipping when I’ve taken too long a break from learning.

Plan your summer vacation around our annual Love and Logic Summer Retreat. Enjoy three days of inspiring presentations, amazing mountain recreation, and some of the most awesome scenery on earth. We guarantee that you’ll leave refreshed and ready to enjoy your kids!

Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.

Dr. Charles Fay

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