Monthly Archives: September 2014

MS Weekly Staff Memo – September 28, 2014

Great Things That Happened This Week
I hope everyone will join me in wishing our beloved Joy Warner a very happy 50th birthday!!!  We love you dearly, Ms. Joy!!!

Happy Birthday balloons

Upcoming Events
Monday, September 29th
8:30 a.m. – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk in MS Media Center

Tuesday, September 30th
Flu Shots (Round 2)

Wednesday, October 1st
11:00-12:00 – 6th Grade Team Meeting with Juli and Dana
3:30 MS Staff Meeting – – Classroom Management Series

Thursday, October 2nd
Dorothy Pagan – Teacher Leader

Friday, October 3rd

Looking Ahead….
10/6 – Parent Advisory – 7:30 at HS
10/7 & 10/8 – Juli and Joy in Raleigh for Charter Leadership Institute
10/8 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
10/10 – CSD Homecoming
10/13 – MS Math Vertical Team Meeting (11:00-12:00)
10/14 – Explore Test for 8th Graders; No school for 6th and 7th grade on this day due to testing. *Possible remediation for 6/7
10/14 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) – No MS tours due to testing.
10/21 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. only)
10/27-10/31 – Book Fair
10/27 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
10/27 – Quarter 2 of Explore Electives Begins
10/28 – 8th Grade Yearbook Pics
10/30-10/31 – NO SCHOOL; TEACHER WORKDAYS – Optional Parent Conferences
11/4 -11/6 – K-7 Yearbook Pics
11/7 – 6th Grade Greek Day
11/11 – NO SCHOOL; VETERAN’S DAY HOLIDAY
11/12-11/13 – 8th Grade Finance Park
11/14 – 7th Grade Africa Day
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips

Please do not shut off your computers at the end of the day.  Nucentric often does upgrades and maintenance after hours, so it is essential for staff members to leave computers on in order for Nucentric to be able to complete their tasks.  On a related note, if you are experiencing a technical issue, contact Nucentric at the following email address:  support@nucentric.com  NOT tech@csdspartans.org  Thanks so much.

Sign up for Auction Teacher Experiences here!  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kDBYRaSa1Db-pY1z8rsVaPRCE2fprQCVEHdvrfRS3KQ/edit?usp=sharing  This is a great way to raises money for our school.  Keep it simple (and cheap)!  The kids just love spending time with their teachers outside of the school environment, so no need to anything super fancy.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Leads, don’t forget to sign up for your cross-school observation! https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1fm7sqDeybDhrZ07KQLgijGMP1VKc4FlJheDDJPhpPRw/edit?usp=sharing

Thought-Provoking
The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’ – Have you contemplated this?
The role of teaching has evolved. No longer are we the carriers of knowledge, giving it to students and assessing if they can repeat facts successfully. We are, instead, tasked with teaching students how to find answers themselves.And it all starts with a simple three-word phrase: I don’t know. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/power-i-dont-know-heather-wolpert-gawron

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MS Weekly Staff Memo – September 21, 2014

What’s On My Mind
Who owns the learning in your classroom?  Is the learning student-focused or teacher-focused?  Do your students have a voice, not only in how they demonstrate what they have learned, but also in the overall classroom environment?  These are a few questions I have been pondering lately.  As we put the first six weeks of school behind us and head towards the conclusion of the first trimester, I think it’s really important to reflect on what’s working and what leaves room for improvement in our practice.  This week I watched as a teacher courageously engaged in this type of reflection with her students.  This person put her ego aside and opened up the door to her students to provide feedback on the learning experiences.  As I watched this unfold, I was reminded of the tremendous importance of students having ownership in the process.  Too often, we inadvertently get caught up with ourselves…with our lessons…with our assessments… and we forget that our most valuable feedback comes from the kids.  This is not to say they get to call all of the shots in the classroom, but if we trust them enough to involve them in these types of reflective conversations or exercises, we are giving them the message that this is THEIR class and THEIR learning, so naturally, THEIR voice matters.  Therefore, I encourage each of you to ponder these questions and think seriously about soliciting student feedback.  WARNING:  This takes courage on your part, so please know, I understand that.  We sometimes have to have thick skin and we definitely have to risk vulnerability.  Engaging in this endeavor also requires us to put our own egos aside – no easy task for sure!  As I already mentioned, you don’t have to take every bit of feedback and implement it (they are kids, after all, and sometimes have self-serving agendas).  But often enough, they have brilliant ideas!  And ideas aside, just the act of opening yourself up to their feedback and respecting them enough to give them a voice in their learning can be tremendously empowering and motivating.  So be thinking… I have shared this article before, but I think it’s worth re-sharing.  It may give you some ideas. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/30/teacher-how-my-9th-graders-graded-me/

Upcoming Events
Monday, September 22nd
11:00-12:00 – LASS Vertical Team Meeting – 7th Grade Math/Science Room
Spirit Week Theme:  P.J. Day

Tuesday, September 23rd
Spirit Week Theme:  Neon Day

Wednesday, September 24th
Spirit Week Theme:  Sports Jersey Day
Fall Sports Pep Rally during Explore Electives – NO EE’s this day.
Thank you, teachers, in advance for supervising all students during the Pep Rally.

Thursday, September 18th
HOLIDAY – NO SCHOOL

Friday, September 19th
HOLIDAY – NO SCHOOL

Looking Ahead….
9/29 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
929 – Flu Shots (Round 2)
9/30-10/2 – K-8 School Pictures
10/2 – MS Staff Meeting – 3:30 – Classroom Management Series
10/7 & 10/8 – Juli and Joy in Raleigh for Charter Leadership Institute
10/8 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
10/10 – CSD Homecoming
10/13 – MS Math Vertical Team Meeting (11:00-12:00)
10/14 – Explore Test for 8th Graders; No school for 6th and 7th grade on this day due to testing.
10/14 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.)
10/21 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. only)
10/27-10/31 – Book Fair
10/27 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
10/27 – Quarter 2 of Explore Electives Begins
10/28 – 8th Grade Yearbook Pics
10/30-10/31 – NO SCHOOL; TEACHER WORKDAYS – Optional Parent Conferences
11/4 -11/6 – K-7 Yearbook Pics
11/7 – 6th Grade Greek Day
11/11 – NO SCHOOL; VETERAN’S DAY HOLIDAY
11/12-11/13 – 8th Grade Finance Park
11/14 – 7th Grade Africa Day
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
Please do not assign homework over the long upcoming weekend!  Our students and families need a chance to unwind and relax, and SO DO YOU! 🙂  Let’s give everyone a break and refrain from making homework assignments due the following week.

Please do not shut off your computers at the end of the day.  Nucentric often does upgrades and maintenance after hours, so it is essential for staff members to leave computers on in order for Nucentric to be able to complete their tasks.  On a related note, if you are experiencing a technical issue, contact Nucentric at the following email address:  support@nucentric.com  NOT tech@csdspartans.org  Thanks so much.

Sign up for Auction Teacher Experiences here!  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kDBYRaSa1Db-pY1z8rsVaPRCE2fprQCVEHdvrfRS3KQ/edit?usp=sharing  This is a great way to raises money for our school.  Keep it simple (and cheap)!  The kids just love spending time with their teachers outside of the school environment, so no need to anything super fancy.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Thought-Provoking
10 Questions to ask yourself before giving an assessment:
http://www.justintarte.com/2014/03/10-questions-to-ask-yourself-before.html?m=0

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MS Weekly Staff Memo – September 14, 2014

Great Things That Happened This Week
Thank you, teachers, for all of your hard work with Curriculum Night!  I feel it was a huge success.  You all are so impressive and you always do such a good job of informing parents about what their children will be learning throughout the year.  I know it’s a long night…which makes for a long week…but I sincerely believe it is worth every second!  I cannot tell you how many parents have made it a point to reach out to me and tell me what an outstanding team of teachers we have at CSD MS.  I couldn’t agree more!  🙂  If you haven’t already, please be sure to make your curriculum night materials available to parents who were unable to attend.  I really appreciate your outstanding efforts to strengthen the home-school connection.  You all ROCK!

Upcoming Events
Monday, September 15th
CSD Board Meeting – 6:30 at HS

Tuesday, September 16th
Staff Flu Shots

Wednesday, September 17th
Special Guest Visitor (Tony DeRose) in Dan Merithew’s morning class
11:00-12:00 – 8th Grade Team Meeting (with Juli/Dana/Denise)
3:30 – MS Staff Meeting – Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Thursday, September 18th
Beth Knight – Teacher Leader

Friday, September 19th

Looking Ahead….
9/25-9/26 – NO SCHOOL; (Jewish Holiday)
9/29 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
9/30-10/2 – K-8 School Pictures
10/2 – MS Staff Meeting – 3:30 – Classroom Management Series
10/10 – CSD Homecoming
10/14 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.)
10/21 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. only)
10/27-10/31 – Book Fair
10/27 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
10/27 – Quarter 2 of Explore Electives Begins
10/28 – 8th Grade Yearbook Pics
10/30-10/31 – NO SCHOOL; TEACHER WORKDAYS – Optional Parent Conferences
11/4 -11/6 – K-7 Yearbook Pics
11/7 – 6th Grade Greek Day
11/11 – NO SCHOOL; VETERAN’S DAY HOLIDAY
11/12-11/13 – 8th Grade Finance Park
11/14 – 7th Grade Africa Day
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
Prior to this week’s staff meeting, please be sure to view the video Karen Cain sent out earlier this week via email.  The subject line of the email is Preventing Child Sexual Abuse.  We will use staff meeting time to discuss this sensitive topic, so please be sure to view ahead of time.  

Please do not shut off your computers at the end of the day.  Nucentric often does upgrades and maintenance after hours, so it is essential for staff members to leave computers on in order for Nucentric to be able to complete their tasks.  On a related note, if you are experiencing a technical issue, contact Nucentric at the following email address:  support@nucentric.com  NOT tech@csdspartans.org  Thanks so much.

As we are doing our annual technology inventory, we implore teachers to please help us to make sure that our students are good stewards of our resources.  We MUST take care of the equipment in our building.  Thank you for putting procedures in place that enforce student accountability.  Constant care of communal property is truly one of the most important messages we can give our students, so thank you for helping us get this across to students.  We need you!

Professional Development
I follow George Couros on Twitter.  I often find his tweets thoughtful, insightful, and thought-provoking.  This week he shared a great blog post entitled, 8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom.  http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3586
If you are new to Twitter, Couros is a good one to follow.  Same is true for Will Richardson (who is cited in the article).  Richardson has a very innovative approach to educational philosophy.

Here’s another great post that focuses on teachers and teaching: 11 Habits of an Effective Teacher  http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/11-habits-effective-teacher  I hope these posts give you some things to think about as we head into another adventurous week in our classrooms!

Inspirational

643925_10151159353722428_62662312_n

 

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MS Weekly Staff Memo – September 6, 2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Great Things That Happened This Week

-An AMAZING 6th grade book club discussion where the kids literally functioned as if the teacher was not even there.  The discussion was real and the discussion was deep.  It was incredible!

-Teachers writing love notes to their same-subject colleagues after a day of cross-school observations.  Magical!

-Kids highly engaged in learning through the use of high-energy, hands-on games in the classroom.

-Kids freaking out at the thought of possibly losing old pieces of writing on the google drive… How special is this?  Seriously, how many kids actually care this much about old pieces of writing from years’ prior?  Warms my heart in ways I truly can’t even explain.

-Hearing/Seeing/Reading about kids who are in love with their teachers and showing their appreciation by writing notes of gratitude.

-Seeing kids spill out into the community to work on a collaborative military Halloween Drive.

-Teachers springing into action and helping their colleagues in their moment of need on a moment’s notice.  Priceless.

-Being reminded of the incredible group of people I work with as I attended the K-12 Staff Meeting this week.  You all ROCK!!!

Upcoming Events
Monday, September 8th
7:30 p.m. – Parent Advisory Meeting at HS
Mimi Siadak – cross-school observation day

Tuesday, September 9th

Wednesday, September 10th
11:00-12:00 – 7th Grade Team Meeting (with Juli/Dana/Denise)
3:30-4:30 – Benefits/Retirement Info Staff Meeting at K-8 (Optional)
5:30-8:30 – MS Curriculum Night

Thursday, September 11th
Sara Keys – Teacher Leader

Friday, September 12th
6th Grade Ropes Course ((Hof, Knight, Siadak, Tornberg)

Looking Ahead….
9/15-9/17 – Barrier Island Trip
9/16 – Staff Flu Shots
9/17 – Pixar Employee to visit Dan Merithew’s math class
9/17 – K-12 Staff Meeting – From Darkness to Light Training
9/25-9/26 – NO SCHOOL; (Jewish Holiday)
9/29 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
9/30-10/2 – K-8 School Pictures
10/2 – MS Staff Meeting – 3:30 – Classroom Management Series
10/10 – CSD Homecoming
10/14 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.)
10/21 – Lottery K-8 Open House (9:30 a.m. only)
10/27 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk at 8:30 in MS Media Center
10/27 – Quarter 2 of Explore Electives Begins
10/30-10/31 – NO SCHOOL; TEACHER WORKDAYS – Optional Parent Conferences

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
As we are doing our annual technology inventory, we implore teachers to please help us to make sure that our students are good stewards of our resources.  We MUST take care of the equipment in our building.  Thank you for putting procedures in place that enforce student accountability.  Constant care of communal property is truly one of the most important messages we can give our students, so thank you for helping us get this across to students.  We need you!

Thank you for your patience as we have undergone this somewhat messy google username transfer.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Juli.  We are optimistic that things are almost settled, and we are extremely grateful for your patience and support.

If you are a lead teacher, don’t forget to sign up for your cross-school observation appointment by clicking here:
https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1fm7sqDeybDhrZ07KQLgijGMP1VKc4FlJheDDJPhpPRw/edit?usp=sharing
Shannon and Beth partook of this opportunity this week, and they both had nothing but positive feedback to share.  Make sure you don’t miss out!  Sign up today.

Professional Development

Notice my new widget on the sidebar with my twitter feed.  If you don’t already have one, I encourage ALL of you to create a twitter account for professional development.  It truly is one of THE BEST sources of PD out there!  Start following your favorite educational gurus and let the learning begin.  #awesomesauce #somuchtolearn #solittletime #brainfood #lovemesometwitter

Great article by my boyfriend, Rick Wormeli.  “Carrots and sticks won’t make middle schoolers learn.  These approaches will.”
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept14/vol72/num01/Motivating-Young-Adolescents.aspx

As we consider motivation, we must also consider lack of motivation.  Here are the Top 12 Demotivators from the master, my man, Rick Wormeli.  Gonna confess…  I agree with #10 philosophically, but man do I struggle with it in actually practice. Just so you know!  You guys can help me wrestle with this one as I truly go back and forth on it often.

Top 12 Demotivators

 

Thought-Provoking/Inspirational:
Just when we think we have it tough…  The images contained in this article put a whole different spin on carpool for those who might be tempted to complain.  #carpoolaintsobad #wegotitprettygood
http://www.boredpanda.com/dangerous-journey-to-school/

carpoolaintsobad

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized