Weekly Round Up 2/14/16

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Congratulations to our teachers who won the drawing for class coverage by a principal for an extra free period: Jenny Lin, Teresa Hinkle-Jones, Faith Anderson, Ashley Newton, and Emily David.  Also, I’d like to thank the BEST Committee for the sweet valentines they gave out to all staff.

As of today, the 4th grading period ends this Thursday, 2/18.  This will also end this 12-week cycle of extra supervision assignments, so the last round will start Friday.  See the file here to remember who goes where when: Extra Duty Schedule

I recently came across an article about design thinking and immediately saw the application to the tough decisions we will have to make because of the drastic cuts to our school budget.  The part that really resonated with me is that design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving.  Schools are an enterprise focused on humans, so it is natural that an approach with empathy as a tenet would be applied to schools.  

You have heard me talk about the need to be student-centered in our decision making, and this is exactly how we will frame conversations and decisions on the budget.  There are also applications of design thinking to the classroom, and you can easily find articles describing that, if interested.


  • This may be one of my favorite articles I have found recently.  It describes 15 different formats for planning and organizing class discussion.  We are all working on the component of Questioning and Discussion, and this will give you some great ideas to get our students talking, listening, and processing tough concepts.  I would love to hear feedback after you have tried some of these!
  • I stumbled upon this article that I find really interesting.  It’s about a concept I have grappled with regarding high school education — when our students (in the article referred to as “the Google Generation”) have access to any information they want right at their fingertips, what experiences and teaching do they need from us?  How should we be rethinking our curriculum and lesson planning?
  • Close Reading tip: Some students may struggle with reading complex texts because they do not have the background knowledge to understand references or vocabulary that we may take for granted.  Use a variety of media (video clips, podcasts, photographs) to introduce the text prior to reading.


Domain 4 Professional Responsibilities; Component A – Reflecting on Teaching

  • Accuracy
  • Use in Future Teaching

Reflecting on teaching encompasses the teacher’s thinking that follows any instructional event – an analysis of the many decisions made both in planning and implementation of a lesson. By considering these elements in light of the impact they had on student learning, teachers can determine where to focus their efforts in making revisions and what aspects of the instruction they will continue in future lessons. Teachers may reflect on their practice through collegial conversations, journal writing, examining student work, informal observations and conversations with students, or simply thinking about their teaching. Reflecting with accuracy, specificity, and ability to use what has been learned in future teaching is a learned skill; mentors, coaches, and supervisors can help teachers acquire and develop the skill of reflecting on teaching through supportive and deep questioning. Over time, this way of thinking and analyzing instruction through the lens of student learning becomes a habit of mind, leading to improvement in teaching and learning.

The indicators of instruction considered Accomplished are:

  • Teacher makes an accurate assessment of a lesson’s effectiveness and the extent to which it achieved its instructional outcomes and can cite general references to support the judgment.
  • Teacher makes a few specific suggestions of what could be tried another time the lesson is taught.

Some critical attributes seen in an Accomplished classroom are:

  • The teacher accurately assesses the effectiveness of instructional activities used.
  • The teacher identifies specific ways in which a lesson might be improved.

Question for Reflection:

In what ways do you reflect on the effectiveness of lessons and how do you keep records of your reflections in order to make adjustments later?



Student-Centered Classroom Setup

Consider the message your classroom set-up sends to your students: is it one that values collaboration, student diversity and voice? Perhaps it’s time for a Spring classroom re-structuring! While specifics will vary among teachers and classrooms, common elements of a student-centered classroom include the following:

  • Classroom milieu: Multicultural images on the walls that represent the cultures of the students in your classes not only shows respect and showcases diversity, but models for students all they can achieve
  • Arrangement of furniture and supplies: Arrangement should support collaboration, foster dialogue, encourage ownership and maximize comfort
  • Student roles and responsibilities: Structure classrooms in ways to maximize student voice, participation and leadership
  • Classroom norms: Involve students in the process of re-visiting classroom norms. Remember to take into account and honor the various cultural and communication differences and styles, and discuss school vs. community/home appropriate behaviors without devaluing behaviors that may work well in other contexts outside of the classroom


star Here is a lovely compliment I received from a staff member about 2 colleagues:

I thought you might want to know about something Don and Donna Evans took on to make life better for juniors, their English teachers and me.  When juniors begin their research projects, we show them databases we subscribe to and we explain the books available in the reference section. The book explanation usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.  What the junior English teachers and I have found is if someone misses that introduction, it’s hard to get that information to them. So we asked the Evans’ team to film the introduction and that way students can watch that and teachers won’t lose instruction time with the whole class.  Don and Donna made the video very helpful. They added shots of students at work, close-ups of the reference guide sheet and even added music. They made a dry subject much more palatable.

Thank you to our Broadcasting Team!

star Congratulations to the Boys Basketball team on a big win over Eastern Friday night!


√ Our condolences go out to Alice Ritter for the loss of her mother and to Michelle McKelvy for the loss of her grandfather.  I am so sorry to share that our colleagues are going through such a tough time.

√ Since the Homecoming Dance had to be cancelled Saturday night because of our power outage, we are looking to see when we can reschedule it (in case students ask).

Tuesday we are scheduled to have department meetings, but first, we will meet together in the chorus room at 2:35 for a quick whole group meeting before breaking to departments.


Happy Birthday in February to: Sandy Klinglesmith (8th), Chris Renner (9th), Lakunta Farmer (10th), Gary Crume (12th), Don Evans (12th), Donna Gray (14th), Max Slinde (14th), Kim Marshall (15th), Scottie Alford (18th), WS Walston (19th), Kevin Payne (20th), Kristy Holien (22nd), Dennis Whitehouse (22nd), and Nick Hibma (27th)!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s