Monthly Archives: November 2014

MS Weekly Staff Memo – November 22, 2014

What’s On My Mind
Dear MS Staff,
As we venture into this wonderful season of giving thanks, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the countless ways in which you serve our school community each day.  Not only are you outstanding educators who are providing a stellar education for our students, you are caring adults who put the needs of others before your own.  I see the ways in which you all support each other – to the same extent any blood family would – and I never cease to be amazed by your selfless acts of service.  While you don’t make a fraction of what you’re worth monetarily, I hope each and every one of you recognize the value of your presence at our school and in the CSD community at large.  Each of you bring your own special brand of magic to the table that flavors our community with a genuine sweetness that is practically palpable.  My Thanksgiving wish is that each of you find time this holiday weekend to “be” with those you love the most and to be reminded of the many blessings of our incredibly fortunate lives.  Get some rest, eat well, and most importantly, find a reason to smile and laugh with those you love the most!
All my love,
Juli

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Upcoming Events
Monday, November 24th

Tuesday, November 25th

Looking Ahead….
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
12/1 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk 8:30-9:30
12/1 – NO Parent Advisory in December
12/2 – Regional Charter School Meeting at HS 10-12
12/3 – MS Staff Meeting
12/8 – School Spelling Bee
12/10 – Band Concert 9:30-10:30
12/11 – MS Dance Dress Rehearsal (during school day)
12/13 – MS Dance Performance
12/17 – MS Show Choir Performance
12/22 – 1/4 – Winter Break

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
The admin team would really appreciate it if a few of you would write thank you notes to our auction team.  That amazing group of people worked many hours to give us a wonderful auction.  Thank you!

Be thinking about presentation topics for our Fresh Take Conference (January 23, 2015)!  We need you! Proposals are due and we have minimal offerings.  Please begin thinking or if you are willing but not sure what to do, see an admin or team member for brainstorming.  It is super important that we offer a variety of presentations.  I think we may have high numbers this year!  Proposals can be submitted through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FreshTake2015Presenters

As we approach the Holiday Season, please be mindful of not giving homework assignments over the breaks.  We really want students to be able to unplug and enjoy their family time without the pressures of having pending assignments hanging over their heads.  We also want YOU to be able to take a break from the demands of collecting and grading as you greatly deserve it!

Professional Development

Two names I highly recommend in the field of education are Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey.  They have published multiple books and articles on topics ranging from vocabulary development to formative assessment to student engagement.  Their research is convincing and I find their tips and strategies to be practical!  The following article, Speaking Volumes, was published in the most recent edition of ASCD’s Educational Leadership.  In this article, Fisher and Frey address the importance of talking and listening in an establishing an effective classroom environment that is conducive to learning.  As you read, I ask you to ponder the following:

Speaking Volumes by Nancy Fisher and Douglas Frey
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov14/vol72/num03/Speaking-Volumes.aspx

The person doing the talking is doing the thinking.  Question – Who is doing the thinking in your class?  Are you putting the cognitive load on the students or are you shouldering this burden yourself?  Ask yourself, “Who is doing the thinking?”  Also ask yourself, “Am I listening – really listening – to what the students have to offer?  Active listening affords us the opportunity to really understand our students’ thinking and intervene where necessary.

Setting the stage for meaningful student talk requires well-designed tasks that provide authentic purposes for students to engage in discussion as they resolve challenging problems.  Question – Are my tasks designed deliberately to provoke thought and engage the students in deep thinking and reasoning?  Am I challenging students to solve real-world problems or am I merely having them scrape the surface by reiterating procedural information?

Reading and writing float on a sea of talk.  Question – Am I making full use of student thinking by engaging them in a wide variety of literacy activities (no matter what the content area)?

Creating a classroom driven by discussion, rather than distraction, requires planning and well-honed procedures.  Question – Are my classroom routines and procedures creating an environment that in conducive to on-task, meaningful talk?  What can I do to refine or better hone these procedures?

decisive-element-print-megan-romo

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MS Weekly Staff Memo – November 16, 2014

Great Things I Noticed This Week
HUGE thanks to all of those who worked so hard to make Greek Day such a huge success!  These hands-on, culminating activities are a boat load of work, but they are also what makes our school so special and meaningful.  Thank you for always going above and beyond to make CSD such a wonderful place for teaching and learning.

Great start to a new Practicum rotation!  It’s so fun to see everyone hit the ground with their feet running!  HUGE thanks to Mr. Shane for all of his hard work with Practicum and EE’s.  You are a SUPERSTAR, and we all love and admire you!

I just wanted to offer a special shout out to ALL of you.  Please know that each of you bring your own special brand of magic to CSD each day, and although I’m not always great at adequately expressing my appreciation, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t stop and pinch myself at having the opportunity to work in such a stimulating environment with such incredible, passionate educators.  You each work so very hard and don’t get paid a fraction of what you’re worth.  Please know you are valued tremendously by administration, your students, and your parents.  My hat is off to you!

Upcoming Events
Monday, November 17th
Spelling Bee
Electives Team Meeting with Juli (11:00-12:00)

Tuesday, November 18th

Wednesday, November 19th
Teacher Appreciation Luncheon (11-12)
MS Staff Meeting – Brain-Based Teaching and Learning Strategies
MS Drama One Acts

Thursday, November 20th
8th Grade Finance Park

Friday, November 21st
7th Grade Africa Day
8th Grade Finance Park

Looking Ahead….
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
12/1 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk 8:30-9:30
12/1 – NO Parent Advisory in December
12/2 – Regional Charter School Meeting at HS 10-12
12/3 – MS Staff Meeting
12/8 – School Spelling Bee
12/10 – Band Concert 9:30-10:30
12/11 – MS Dance Dress Rehearsal (during school day)
12/13 – MS Dance Performance
12/17 – MS Show Choir Performance
12/22 – 1/4 – Winter Break

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
The admin team would really appreciate it if a few of you would write thank you notes to our auction team.  That amazing group of people worked many hours to give us a wonderful auction.  Thank you!

Be thinking about presentation topics for our Fresh Take Conference (January 23, 2015)!  We need you! Proposals are due and we have minimal offerings.  Please begin thinking or if you are willing but not sure what to do, see an admin or team member for brainstorming.  It is super important that we offer a variety of presentations.  I think we may have high numbers this year!  Proposals can be submitted through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FreshTake2015Presenters

Be sure to check out the latest admin blog posts on the CSD Power of We Parent Blog –  www.csdpowerofwe.org   The information about “grades” is super important as it is a major philosophical cornerstone of our mission and vision.  Please be sure to read this info carefully to make sure we are “practicing what we preach.”

As we approach the Holiday Season, please be mindful of not giving homework assignments over the breaks.  We really want students to be able to unplug and enjoy their family time without the pressures of having pending assignments hanging over their heads.  We also want YOU to be able to take a break from the demands of collecting and grading as you greatly deserve it!

Professional Development
I took the following two from Joy’s newsletter.  They are too good to not share!

I hope that you enjoy this article.  It really sparked some reminders for me.  I do hope we are always humble enough to grow and learn for the good of our students and I seem to find that I can never have enough reminders of what I want to be for our students.  I see you do these things every day…..thank you for that!  You are incredible teachers.        pernillesripp.com/2014/11/11/5-things-i-learned-to-say-that-changed-the-way-i-taught
·         Last one.  I seem to be the queen of mistakes so I have lots of opportunities to use my own mistakes for learning. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!www.edutopia.org/blog/use-mistakes-in-learning-process-richard-curwin?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=blog-use-mistakes-in-learning

Just Because:
For those of you who know me, you know this video holds special significance to me due to my background in music, singing, and opera.  But I feel there is so much to be gained from this little girl regardless of your musical background.  What would happen if we each owned our talents and convictions with the same enthusiasm and passion this young girl does?  What kind of an impact could we have?  How much more meaningful and fulfilling would accomplishing our mission be?  This little girl is onto something and totally reminded me of the importance of passion and conviction when committing to a cause.  I wholeheartedly applaud her efforts!  I hope it speaks as loudly to you. Plus, it’s just fun to watch. 🙂
http://www.cmuse.org/this-8-year-old-girl-singing-queen-of-the-night-seriously-understands-the-character/

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

MS Weekly Staff Memo – November 8, 2014

Great Things I Noticed This Week

I don’t know who was responsible for all of these INCREDIBLE quotes covering the walls of the middle school, but I just want to say thank you.  I stopped and read each and every one of them, and as I did, I was reminded of how blessed we are to be called into this wonderful profession of teaching.  Taking the time to read these words and think these thoughts changed the trajectory of my entire day.  What a gift.  My cup runneth over with gratitude for the opportunity to spend my days with such inspirational people.   Thank you for ALL you do to give these children such amazing experiences.  You all truly exemplify the educator I strive to be.   #blessedbeyondbelief

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Upcoming Events
Monday, November 10th

Tuesday, November 11th
NO SCHOOL; Veteran’s Day Holiday

Wednesday, November 12th
11:00-12:00 – 7th grade team meeting with Juli and Dana

Thursday, November 13th

Friday, November 14th
6th Grade Greek Day

Looking Ahead….
11/19 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
11/19 – MS Drama One Acts
11/19-11/20 – Finance Park (8th Grade)
11/19 – MS Staff Meeting
11/21 – 7th Grade Africa Day
11/26 – 11/30 – NO SCHOOL; THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
12/1 – MS Principal/Parent Coffee Talk 8:30-9:30
12/1 – NO Parent Advisory in December
12/2 – Regional Charter School Meeting at HS 10-12
12/3 – MS Staff Meeting
12/8 – School Spelling Bee
12/10 – Band Concert 9:30-10:30
12/10 – Understudy Dance Performance 5:30-8:30
12/11 – MS Dance Dress Rehearsal (during school day)
12/13 – MS Dance Performance
12/17 – MS Show Choir Performance
12/22 – 1/4 – Winter Break

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips

Be thinking about presentation topics for our Fresh Take Conference (January 23, 2015)!  We need you! Proposals are due and we have minimal offerings.  Please begin thinking or if you are willing but not sure what to do, see an admin or team member for brainstorming.  It is super important that we offer a variety of presentations.  I think we may have high numbers this year!  Proposals can be submitted through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FreshTake2015Presenters

Be sure to check out the latest admin blog posts on the CSD Power of We Parent Blog. http://csdpowerofwe.org/  The information about “grades” (Entitled – When All Is Said and Done) is super important as it is a major philosophical cornerstone of our mission and vision.  Please be sure to read this information carefully to make sure we are “practicing what we preach.”

As we approach the Holiday Season, please be mindful of not giving homework assignments over the breaks.  We really want students to be able to unplug and enjoy their family time without the pressures of having pending assignments hanging over their heads.  We also want YOU to be able to take a break from the demands of collecting and grading as you greatly deserve it!

Professional Development
Staff Meeting Recap:  Adolescent Brain Development and Brain-Based Teaching and Learning

The article below goes right along with the information discussed at Wednesday’s staff meeting.  I like this article because it includes even a little more science about the physiology of the brain.
The Mind of a Middle Schooler – How Brains Learn:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/middle-schooler-mind-how-brains-learn-heather-wolpert-gawron

Here are the video excerpts from the PBS Frontline Special: Inside the Teenage Brain
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/view/  (Note the different chapters)

At our next staff meeting, we will explore the latest research out there on brain-based teaching and learning.  I am extremely passionate about this topic and I can hardly wait to watch you all put these ideas into practice.  Many of you are already doing this and have much to celebrate!  Great stuff!!!

Thought-Provoking:
Although this is written from a high school student’s perspective, I thought this article had interesting concepts and take-aways that apply to all teachers of all areas.  Great things to consider as we plan instruction for our students.  Enjoy!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/24/teacher-spends-two-days-as-a-student-and-is-shocked-at-what-she-learned/?hpid=z7

Inspiration:

live with intention

And be sure to laugh this week!  It truly is the best medicine. ~Juli

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized