Week of October 10, 2016

reflect

Dear Staff,

Well, we’ve made it.  The first six weeks of school are officially under our belts.  We all know how critical the first six weeks of the school year can be.  This is the time in which we establish routines and procedures and work diligently to get to know our students and families on a personal level.  This is when we try out new strategies we read about over the summer and stand by eagerly waiting to see whether they will work brilliantly or fail miserably.  In this six weeks, we experience highs and lows.  Some things work; some things don’t.  We laugh at the absurdities of our job, and then we cry only to laugh some more.  Then somehow we manage to fall back in love with our profession and proclaim we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  The first six weeks can be a rollercoaster of emotions as we celebrate some huge wins for our kids and then wade through some frustrating losses.  But somehow through the laughter and the tears and the sheer craziness, we typically begin to settle into the school year and figure out how to chart our course for our new community of learners.  At this point, we’ve learned what works (and what doesn’t) and begin to feel more confident about which tactics and approaches work with our particular group of kids.

So now as we begin to wrap up our first trimester, I hope you’ll carve out some time for personal reflection.  I’ve been doing the same, and it’s been very rewarding for me.  By doing some professional reading and engaging in some thought-provoking questions, I have a much clearer sense of what I’m trying to accomplish in my role at CSD.  My hope is that each of you will join me in this endeavor.  Through reflection we grow, and when we are brave enough to look at ourselves with a candid eye and an open heart, magical things begin to happen.  Below is a list of really great questions that help us assess our commitment to a “learning focused classroom.”  I sincerely hope they evoke some deep inner thoughts and perhaps even some great conversations amongst colleagues.  Please pay particular attention to the last section entitled “Mental Health.”  Lots of food for thought here!  Happy Reflecting.

Love,
Juli

30 Questions For Teacher Reflection

Written by Mark Clements – http://www.edunators.com/index.php/becoming-the-edunator/step-5-reflecting-for-learning/30-questions-for-teacher-reflection 

A lot of college level teacher training programs talk about the importance of developing a “reflective practitioner” but what exactly does this mean for the classroom teacher? If you haven’t yet accepted responsibility for student learning than it doesn’t mean much at all. You’ll have some success as a teacher and some failures which you’ll most certainly blame on any number of factors. If however you believe that all students can learn at a high level and that your performance as a teacher has a direct impact on student learning, than reflection should be an integral part of what you do.

Below you will find a list of 30 Questions Teachers should be regularly asking themselves to ensure they’re classroom is as focused on learning as they would like it to be. Feel free to beg, borrow, steal and share however you see fit.

Modeling Reflection – Questions to Ask With Students
1.Was this activity successful….why or why not?
2.If we do this again, what can I do differently to help you learn more?
3.Did this activity help you learn more than others we’ve done? Why?
Classroom Culture – Questions to Ask About Your Rules & Relationships
4.Are the relationships that I have with my students helping or hindering their ability to learn?
5.Could the problems I have in my classroom be solved by pre-teaching my expectations or developing rules/procedures to deal with these issues?
6.Was my demeanor and attitude towards my class today effective for student learning?
7.Am I excited to go to work today?
8.Are my students excited to come to my class today? (How much does #6 impact #7?)
9.What choices have I given my students lately?
10.Can I explain at least SOMETHING about each of my student’s personal lives?
Curriculum and Instruction – Reflection on Assessment and Grading Practices
11.Does my gradebook accurately reflect student learning?
12.Do my assessments really reflect learning, or merely task completion or memorization skills?
13.Why did I REALLY choose this particular lesson to cover this objective?
14.What evidence do I have my students are learning?
15.What new strategies have I tried lately that might benefit a student I am struggling with?
16.In what ways am I challenging students who are clearly being successful in my classroom?
17.What do I do when students aren’t learning in my classroom?
18.Which students benefited from this activity?
19.Which students did not benefit from this activity?
Collaboration – Questions to Ask Ourselves About Our Place in a Professional Learning Community
20.In what areas can I still improve professionally?
21.What’s stopping me from improving in these areas?
22.In what ways can I support my colleagues in their student’s learning?
23.Do my actions as a teacher show my belief that all students can learn at a high level?
24.Do my actions as a teacher show that I take pride in my work?
25.Are the relationships I have with my colleagues conducive to creating a collaborative culture focused on learning?
26.Are the relationships I have with my student’s parents conducive to improving learning?
Mental Health – Questions to Help Teachers Maintain a Healthy Outlook
27.What new ideas have I tried in my classroom lately to keep myself energized about teaching?
28.What have I done lately to relieve stress and focus on my own mental health, to ensure I remain an effective teacher?
29.What things am I currently doing that I could realistically make less of a priority in my profession?
30.How much time have I spent with my friends and family in the last two weeks?
would-you-want-to-be

The Week At A Glance:

Monday, October 10th:
Sapp to Pines
Teckenbrock to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, October 11th:
James to Laurels
CSD Kickball Tournament
Wednesday, October 12th:
TEACHER WORKDAY – Joy is allowing staff to trade this workday for attendance at the Kickball Festival, so enjoy! 🙂
Thursday, October 13th:
Washam to Olde Knox Commons
Webb to Huntersville Oaks
Love and Logic Parent Class 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 14th:
K-7 Garden Workday 9:15-2:30
Picture Makeup Day

Upcoming Dates:
Oct 18th – K-7 Lottery Open House 9:15 & 6:30
Oct 19th – K-7 Staff Meeting
Oct 19th – 4th Grade Reed Gold Mine Field Trip
Oct 20th – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 7:30 at K-7
Oct 24th – ASE Session 2 Begins
Oct 24th – Report Cards due to Admin
Oct 27th – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 7:30 at K-7
Oct 27th – 2nd Grade to Children’s Theater
Oct 27th – 3rd Grade Schiele Museum Field Trip
Oct 28th – Elementary Parade of Fiction
Oct 31st – No School; Teacher Workday
Nov 1st – No School; Teacher Workday
Nov 2nd – K-7 Staff Meeting
Nov 3rd – Elementary Day of Dead Celebration (Spanish)
Nov 3rd – K-7 Lottery Open House
Nov 3rd – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 7:30 at K-7
Nov 4th – Elementary Spirit Day
Nov 4th – Kindergarten Aw Shucks Farm Field Trip
Nov 4th – 7th Grade Africa Day
Nov 8th – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 8:45 in 6th Grade Art Room
Nov 13th – K-7 Lottery Open House 9:15 & 6:30
Nov 14h – 7th Grade Africa Day
Nov 11th – NO SCHOOL – Veteran’s Day Holiday
Nov 15th – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 8:45 in 6th Grade Art Room
Nov 15th – K-8 Cyberbullying Parent Workshop – 7:00 in MS Black Box
Nov 16th – K-7 Staff Meeting
Nov 17th – MS/HS Band Concert
Nov 18th – 6th Grade Greek Day
Nov 21st – Davidson Walking Tour – ½ of 2nd Grade
Nov 22nd – Davidson Walking Tour – ½ of 2nd Grade
Nov 22nd – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 8:45 in 6th Grade Art Room
Nov 23rd – Nov 25th – NO SCHOOL; Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov 29th – Love and Logic Parent Workshop – 8:45 in 6th Grade Art Room
Dec 1st -3rd – Christmas in Davidson
Dec 16th – 2nd Grade Art Gallery
Dec 16th – 3rd Grade Charlotte History Performance
Dec 19th – Jan 2nd – Winter Break
Jan 3rd – Classes Resume

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders:

From Sarah Hoff:  I have updated and published your class lists in Jupiter for the 2016-2017 school year. While grades are not due until October, I need you to go ahead and log in to verify that all information is correct. When you have a minute, please check to make sure that the students in Jupiter accurately reflect your class list. Please let me know if you need a student added or removed so that everything is ready to go when you begin to enter grades next month. Elementary teachers, please also check to make sure that parent email addresses are up to date for each student in your class. Otherwise parents will not receive access to report cards when they are emailed out. (When you log in, click the “setup” tab in the top right hand corner and choose “students.” Then click through each of your students and verify the parent email addresses.) Elementary teachers, you have the ability to change or add parent emails as you check each student’s information. You can make email address changes yourself and just let me know if you need students added or removed from your class. Middle school teachers, I have done this for you since not all advisors are on Jupiter to verify parent emails. Thank you for taking a few minutes to attend to this. Please send me a quick email to let me know when you have verified your class lists and parent email addresses (if applicable).

Report Cards will be due to admin for proofreading on October 24th.  Please let us know if you need any help with conducting assessments or preparing for Parent Conferences.

Just for Fun…

flip-that-water-bottle-one-more-time-4209534

But on more serious note…being the mom of a 7th grade boy, I actually found this oddly interesting…  Goes great with our “perspective-taking” focus for this year.  Enjoy!

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/09/29/bottle-flipping-becames-rage-with-middle-schoolers/1INRaYEj9dQILseR5cgVUK/story.html

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