Building Learners through Purposeful Instruction and Planning

This is a two post topic that we are excited to be writing about and sharing with you. It has been a great experience for us to collaborate together as a husband and wife team on a topic we are both passionate about. Our hope is that you will come away from reading these two posts with affirmations of the great things you already do for students and with ideas that will allow you to revise how you plan for literacy instruction. 

This week is Part 1: The Big Picture; Creating Conditions for Biggest Impact On Growing Readers

Next week is Part 2: The Pieces and Parts; Thoughtful, Effective, and Efficient Planning  

Part 1:  The Big Picture

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I (Carrie) love puzzles.  I’m not sure why, but I do.  

What are the steps to choosing and solving a puzzle?

Most people choose a puzzle by looking at the picture on the cover, something that appeals to them.  They then have that cover, or top of the box, readily accessible to refer to as they attempt to put all the pieces together.  Many people also have a method, or system, to solving a puzzle.  Edges first is a common plan.  Grouping alike pieces is yet another strategy.  Then as you carefully study each piece, its cut, uniqueness, and color, you find another piece that it slips into it perfectly.  What a sense of accomplishment each and every time the pieces come together.  Slowly but surely, the picture you have been referring to takes shape, each piece an important part of the whole.  As you finish those last couple of pieces, you relish in the feeling of completeness, often reflecting on your struggles and steps along the way.  I often find myself wanting to glue it all together just to save it (although I have yet to do that).

Solving a Puzzle is Like Teaching Reading

I believe that solving a puzzle has a lot in common with successful reading instruction.  As teachers, we need to start with the big picture, or the whole.  We need to make sure we not only read aloud books that are of high quality and interest, but also that students have access to books that are highly engaging.  Along with that, we need to embed choice so students are excited and motivated to read.  We use the big picture, or the authentic context, to teach those smaller isolated pieces and parts that go into teaching reading (ie strategic actions, reading strategies, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency).  We can break it down, just like those individual puzzle pieces, to show students those pieces and parts.  We then bring it all back together to that meaningful whole for the students so they can apply their learning and truly see the purpose behind the what, how, and why of our teaching.  When it all comes together, it’s like a beautiful picture.  A beautiful picture that makes sense.

Whole-Part-Whole Teaching

In the book Read, Write, Lead by Regie Routman, there is a section titled Responsive Instruction Feedback, and Assessment.  In that section, Routman talks about the need for teachers to shift to Whole-Part-Whole Teaching, just as in the puzzle analogy mentioned above.  

“We often think that if we give our must struggling students isolated parts of whatever we are trying to teach them, that somehow all these parts will eventually come together as a whole.  It rarely happens that way.  We only confuse and frustrate learners and make it harder for them to progress.  In fact, a part-to-whole approach with its emphasis on isolated pieces is one of the three most significant, research-based factors that holds students back and keep schools low performing…we learn more-and more easily-when we start with a whole, meaningful text, process, or activity and embed within it the necessary skills and strategies the learner will need to achieve success…

Even kindergartners-who embrace writing free-verse poems-quickly grasp the idea of playing with line breaks, white space, rhythm, word choice, punctuation, capitalization, titles, and endings all at the same time.  If one of those areas needs special attention, we take it out of the context and explicitly demonstrate and practice what students need to know.  But that “isolated” teaching fits within the context of a meaningful whole, and so it makes sense to the learner.” (Routman, 2014, p. 61)

 

Routman’s thoughts are not new ones, but she explains it very well.  Dorothy S. Strickland also wrote about whole-part-whole framework in her Educational Leadership article titled What’s Basic in Beginning Reading? Finding Common Ground back in 1998.  

In their 2nd edition of Guided Reading, Fountas and Pinnell also point out, when discussing the Systems of Strategic Actions, that “Readers use all of these actions simultaneously in a smoothly orchestrated way.  They cannot be used or learned separately, but sometimes readers revisit or look back at a text after reading once to apply them in a more intense or focused way” (p. 200).  For the visual and more about the strategic actions, see the article What are the Systems of Strategic Actions?.  This quote speaks to the importance of whole-part-whole teaching.

So how can teachers purposefully plan to help students make meaning, get the biggest “bang for their buck”, while working towards an approach that encompasses all mentioned above?  We will suggest some instructional shifts that teachers can make in our post that will appear here next week.

Until then, have a GREAT week!

Carrie and Herb

Upcoming Dates

Mon., Jan. 23 — PTO Spirit Night at Chipotle, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Jan 25 – ADE Staff Meeting – One2One Teacher iPad Checkout, starts at 3:30pm

Jan 27 – BAC meeting, 8am; 5th Grade Data Team check-in meeting, 2:45pm

Fri., Jan. 27 — Fruit and Veggie Samplings during lunches (cantaloupe and bell peppers)

Weds., Feb. 1 — School Community Meeting, 10:45 a.m. (Press Pause)

Thurs., Feb. 2 — Kindergarten Registration Day

Tues, Feb 7 — Building Improvement Team meeting, 8am

Weds, Feb 8 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8am — Serves as Literacy Data Team meeting: Focus will be on results/analysis of recent On-Demand Writing Assessment

Weds Feb 8 — RTI Team Meeting, 3:30

Feb. 13-16 — Parent/Teacher Conference Week

Mon., Feb. 13 — PTO Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Weds., Feb. 15 — Band & Orchestra Demonstrations to 5th Grade, during school day; ADE Parent Teacher Conference Night, 3:30-8pm

Fri., Feb. 17 — No School – P/T Conference Comp Day

Mon., Feb. 20 — No School – President’s Day

Thrs, Feb 23 — Mental Health and Wellness Team meeting, 8am

IMPACT — K-2 Math PD Dates:

1/26/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

2/9/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

3/14/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

4/5/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg 

PLC/Data Team Half-Day PD Days:

Feb 14 — 2nd Grade (AM), 1st Grade (PM)

Feb 15 — KG (AM), 3rd Grade (PM)

Feb 21 — 4th Grade (AM), 5th Grade (PM)

The Emotional Side of Leading

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I read an interesting article on this #MLK2017 day about the struggles King had when he worked to raise issues of poverty and inequality in the North, especially in Chicago.

Just before his death, the movement he became the leader of was at a crossroads. Many felt it was time to move away from nonviolent protest in favor of more heated and confrontational rhetoric while King wanted to continue with nonviolent demonstrations and expand the work across the country.

Months later at a conference in Virginia where many viewpoints expressed proved the movement was fracturing, King went into a rage, trashed one of the rooms, and openly cried out that he was done with being involved and just wanted to go back to when he was the pastor of his “little church”.

When we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on his birthday, we mostly remember the incredible accomplishments for equality through nonviolent demonstration that established King a Founding Father of our country, and for good reason of course.

But the challenges of his personal strength during the growing momentum of the Civil Rights Movement are just as interesting to me.

King’s struggle to maintain focus and energy for something he had worked passionately for since he was 26 years old was a struggle that reveals a more personal and fallible side to a great man.  Learning more about King’s struggle connected me to this part of our history in a new way — I have a different appreciation of just how precarious the movement was at the time and the effect it was having on King’s morale.

This anecdote about King also gives me strength as a leader because it’s a reminder that no matter how hard we try, it’s hard to remove emotion from every situation; to press pause and have the right response to every situation; and to move forward when it feels like everyone else wants to move in a different direction. There is a powerful emotional side to working in education that is natural but should remain in check in order to keep moving forward.  Learning from the leadership struggles of others is a way for us to grow as leaders and gives us strength to push through challenges.

 

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Upcoming Dates

Jan 17 –- 3rd Grade Data Team check-in, 8am; 4th Grade Data Team check-in, 11am

Weds., Jan. 18 — Yearbook Picture Day (will include group photos of our various clubs); Spec Ed Team meeting, Noon

Fri., Jan. 20 — Yearbook Sale Starts (runs until Feb. 3)

Fri., Jan. 20 — Meeting AT the Chamber of Commerce (Herb, Cindy, Jennifer Adams), 11am; ADE PTO Family Game Night, 6:30PM   

Mon., Jan. 23 — PTO Spirit Night at Chipotle, 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Jan 25 – ADE Staff Meeting – One2One Teacher iPad Checkout, starts at 3:30pm

Jan 27 – BAC meeting, 8am; 5th Grade Data Team check-in meeting, 2:45pm

Fri., Jan. 27 — Fruit and Veggie Samplings during lunches (cantaloupe and bell peppers)

Weds., Feb. 1 — School Community Meeting, 10:45 a.m. (Press Pause)

Thurs., Feb. 2 — Kindergarten Registration Day

Feb. 13-16 — Parent/Teacher Conference Week

Mon., Feb. 13 — PTO Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

Weds., Feb. 15 — Band & Orchestra Demonstrations to 5th Grade, during school day

Fri., Feb. 17 — No School – P/T Conference Comp Day

Mon., Feb. 20 — No School – President’s Day

IMPACT — K-2 Math PD Dates:

1/26/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

2/9/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

3/14/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

4/5/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg 

PLC/Data Team Half-Day PD Days:

Feb 14 — 2nd Grade (AM), 1st Grade (PM)

Feb 15 — KG (AM), 3rd Grade (PM)

Feb 21 — 4th Grade (AM), 5th Grade (PM)

 

Climate Check

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Photo Credit: Pixbay

I experienced a moment this week when everything seemed to align around one thing.

Normally, this kind of event is a celebration or a I-can’t-believe-it-finally-happened kind of moment.

But this week’s alignment was more of a smack-across-the-face kind of alignment.  

I had a meeting with one of my building teams that shares concerns or issues for discussion and possible solutions.  I always feel good about these meetings because they feel like they are productive.  This meeting with the committee this week was a lot different, but in the end it has been productive for me professionally.

During the meeting, I started to realize that I am not communicating as well as I need to be and that I have not be “reading” the building climate as accurately as I thought I was.  And it became clear to me much later that these two aspects – Communication and Climate – are more closely connected than I had believed.

Things continued to align on Sunday when I read this great post by Peter DeWitt called “Should There Be a 5th C In the Partnership for 21st Century Learning?”.  DeWitt included the feedback he received from teachers around the world that reflected how they felt about their principal in the context of Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.  Ouch. It was eye-opening to read because I wondered if some of the comments that were shared by the teachers reflected what some of my staff might say about me.

Before the red flags go waving and the alarm sounds, I firmly believe that the climate in our school is overwhelmingly positive.  How do I know?  Kids are smiling.  All of the time.  In the hallway, at lunch, in the classroom.  It’s a great thing to see.  The other evidence I have is in the handful of parent emails sent to me and to the teachers involved I’ve received over that past two months praising the work and efforts we are making each day at Alton Darby.  Comments like “I am so thankful that this is my child’s school” are the comments that mean the most to me.

So where is the disconnect? Something happened during the meeting that gave me pause.  Without getting too far into the details, the meeting showed me that I have more work to do to improve how I communicate with my staff and students.  I need to continue to find the right balance between “You are sending out too many emails” with “I feel like I don’t know what’s going on”.  I need to make sure my teams and committees are communicating with their teams about the work they are doing for the building.  And I need to create more opportunities for face-to-face meetings. 

When I communicate, I need to remember that communication for me is more about me listening than talking.  I need to remember that one of the main goals I need to have when I am interacting with my staff, students, and families is that I am always working to earn and build trust with the other person.  Trust – The thing that takes years to build and only a moment to destroy.

I believe that improving my ability to communicate will improve the overall climate of the building.

And I’m going to need everyone’s help to get better.

How can you help?  Talk to me.  Tell me what’s on your mind.  Don’t let something that’s bothering you wait.  I may not have an answer you like or an answer at all right away, but I will at least know what’s on your mind.  One thing I’ve learned from being a principal is that many small events can have big positive implications if you are patient enough to wait for it.

In the meantime, I’m going to use my One Word for 2017, Check, to help me stay on target for improving.  “Check” reminds me to check my heart, check my tone, check my focus, and check what the other person is really saying.

“Check” reminds me to think of James Ryan’s 5 Essential Questions In Life (The link is to his commencement address to the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is worth the watch). Ryan’s questions have helped me grow as a leader and I believe they can guide me in making sure I am getting better at communication:

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1.) Wait, what?

2.) I wonder why/if…?

3.) Couldn’t we at least…?

4.) How can I help?

5.) What really matters?

** Bonus question: Did you get what you wanted out of life, even so?

Earlier last week, I sent out an email called “Always Building Culture” and it’s true:  We are always building the culture of our school.  In order for me to contribute to that process, I need to continue to reflect on my leadership and exercise the gap between Good and Great, making sure that I am better today than I was yesterday and better  tomorrow than I am today.

Thanks for reading this!  Have a GREAT week!

-Herb

Articles Worth Reading

The “Change” That is Continuously Inevitable  http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/14028

How to Complain Like a Leader https://leadershipfreak.blog/2017/01/08/how-to-complain-like-a-leader-2/ via @leadershipfreak

Tim Kight on Twitter: “Are you On-Path? https://t.co/o2BdTvRMVp”

Update on School Start Times for 2017-2018:

Elementary I      9:05-3:30 (Building opens at 8:50)           

AVY, BEA, BRT, BRN, DCE, HCR, HRZ, HTE, JWR, RWD, WSH

AM K     9:05-11:30

PM K      12:50-3:30

Elementary II     9:20-3:45 (Building opens at 9:05)           

ADE, NOR, SDE

AM K     9:20-3:45

PM K      1:05-3:45

Preschool

AM         9:05-11:35

PM         1:00-3:30

Upcoming Dates

January

9 – KG Data Team Check-in, 11:45

11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am (Focus on Building Writers!); 2nd Safety Drill, 1:45pm

12 – 1st Grade Musical, 10:15am

13 – Interims go home, if needed; Elementary One2One meeting, 10-11:30am (Herb out);

5th Grade Data Team check-in, 2:45pm

16 – MLK Jr Holiday, No School

17 – 3rd Grade Data Team check-in, 8am; 4th Grade Data Team check-in, 11am

18 – Spec Ed Team meeting, Noon

19 – Admin Meeting (AM)

20 – Meeting with Chamber of Commerce (for Campus Project), 11am; ADE PTO Family

Game Night – Living out my dream as a game show host starting at 6:30 (until 8pm)

24 – 3rd Grade Data Team check-in meeting, 8am

25 – ADE Staff Meeting – One2One Teacher iPad Checkout, starts at 3:30pm

27 – BAC meeting, 8am; 5th Grade Data Team check-in meeting, 2:45pm

IMPACT — K-2 Math PD Dates:

1/26/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

2/9/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

3/14/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg

4/5/2017

8:30 AM-3:30 PM

 

CO-COA ConfRmLg 

PLC/Data Team Half-Day PD Days:

Feb 14 — KG (AM), 1st Grade (PM)

Feb 15 — 2nd Grade (AM), 3rd Grade (PM)

Feb 21 — 4th Grade (AM), 5th Grade (PM)

Get Instant Results!

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Do you want instant results?

Do you want to shift student learning in a fast and meaningful way?

Do you want to improve as an educator?

Sounds like you are interested in FEEDBACK!

As you know, feedback, when done with intention and focus on the process, can dramatically change the learning in your classroom and school.  According to Hattie’s analysis of research, feedback has a 0.73 to 0.75 effect size on student learning (0.40 is the threshold effect size for having noticeable positive effects, so 0.73 is significant).

Take a look at what Hattie says about feedback:

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What is important to remember is the way in which we provide feedback to other and that we as teachers must seek the feedback of our students about the learning experience in order to benefit from the positive effects feedback can have on learning.

There isn’t anything – not an app nor computer-based instruction program – that can have the same powerful effect on learning as the positive effect a teacher has on a student when providing constructive feedback that is focused on the process of learning something new.

Conversely, there is no better source of feedback – not from me, not from parents or coaches – than the feedback you receive from your students about your teaching if you allow them to provide feedback to you.

Feedback is a craft that takes time to refine — It’s a skill that takes time and intention to build.  There is a great book called Opening Minds  by Peter Johnston that would be a great resource for you to consider as you work to refine your craft.

I bring all of this up because this is important to me for what are, I hope, obvious reasons — because this particular exchange of ideas is a major source of effective next steps we all can take to improve.  This is the fastest way for us to improve our practice and get instant results!

As you reflec over the upcoming winter break, consider where you are with providing and receiving feedback.  What are ways you can improve?  How can you fine-tune your craft?

Have a great week!

— Herb

Feedback Tool —

 voxer-orange

Just as you rely on your peers and students for feedback, I rely on your feedback to improve!  You see things I don’t see, know things I don’t know, and hear things I don’t hear and that to me is a valuable resource.  Here is a great way for us to quickly communicate if needed — Voxer!

Getting Started Tips – Voxer Support

Vox me on Voxer! https://web.voxer.com/u/hhigginbotham — You’ll need to sign up for an account if you are interested.  Voxer is a quick and easy way to reach me.  Have a question or idea and want to get it to me or others before you forget?  Voxer can help you do that.

If you like the idea of recording your thoughts quickly and getting it to me, you could use the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or Google Keep on Android and text your recording to me.

You could always just find me and ask to chat.  This is a great low-tech option!

Articles worth reading —

Leading & Learning: The Power & Pressure of the Principalship: Why Principals Need Support Now!

Teachers, What Feedback Would You Give Your Principal?

Upcoming Dates —

Mon., Dec. 12                                   PTO Meeting, 7:00 PM (child care provided)

Thurs., Dec. 15                                4th Grade Musical, 10:50 AM, 1:20 PM & 7:00 PM

Fri., Dec. 16                                      Fruit & Veggie Tasting, during lunches (mangoes and tomatoes)

Mon., Dec. 19                                   PTO Spirit Day at Romeo’s Pizza, all day

Tues., Dec. 20                                  Classroom holiday parties, 2:30 PM

Weds. – Tues., Dec. 21 – Jan. 3      NO SCHOOL – Holiday Break

Weds., Jan. 4                                   School Resumes

Mon., Jan. 9                                      PTO Meeting, 7:00 PM (child care provided)

Thurs., Jan. 12                                  1st Grade Musical (Jungle Party), 10:15 AM & 7:00 PM

Fri., Jan. 13                                       Interim Reports Go Home, as needed

Mon., Jan. 16                                    NO SCHOOL – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Weds., Jan. 18                                  Yearbook Picture Day

Fri., Jan. 20                                       PTO Family Game Night, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Your Personal Average

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“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

I think about this quote often.  I think about how true it has been for me in my life.

In high school, I had a group of friends that I was fortunate to have in my life.  It was like I had 6 or seven more brothers to rely upon.  They truly had a positive influence over me. 

There was a point near then end of my junior year when I was set on not going to college.  I kept making excuses for myself because the process of getting in — the applying, the essay writing, the financial burden — were all so overwhelming to me that I just wanted to avoid the whole thing.

So here were my friends all going through the same process I would need to go through to get into college.  They all seemed to have a plan and were excited about this next stage in life.  I will never forget being over at one of my friends house one summer afternoon.  He had a pool and we were hanging out and shooting basketball into one of those poolside basketball hoops that I would one day completely destroy trying to be Shaq during a dunk.

My friend’s mom came out of the back door of the house and called for him to come in to take a phone call. “It’s OSU; they want to talk to you!”

Wait?  Colleges call people to convince them into going to their school?

A few minutes later, my friend jumped back into the pool with a big smile on his face.  “Ohio State wanted to make sure I was going to apply.  I told them ‘Of course!’”

I faked my enthusiasm because I was crushed.  I knew that with my attitude wasn’t going to get me into college, which deep down is what I truly wanted to do next in my life.  I wanted to be sought after.  I had dreams and aspirations too and I needed to do something about it.

It was that moment and all of the other positive effects of my other friends going through the process of getting into college that created a huge turning point in my life – One that I am thankful for each day.

I was fortunate then to have people around me who pushed me and made my “average” better. I continue to put this philosophy into practice today.  I learn from amazing people everyday and I am fortunate to be able to do so.  Each day I am pushed to grow better as a person because of who I surround myself with…And there are way more than 5 people who have this effect on me!

So, I ask you — Who are you surrounded by?  Are they pushing you to grow?  Are they inspiring you to get out of your comfort zone?  Are they helping you to improve your average?

Keep growing and have a GREAT week!

-Herb

Articles Worth Reading —

Elementary Coding for Hour of Code: Number Sense and Numeration with Racing Cars!

How To Bring New Students Into Your Peaceful Classroom | Smart Classroom Management

Being a Void that is Felt

Upcoming Dates —

Dec 6 — K-2 IMPACT Training; BIT meeting, 8am: Focus on R-Factor Program

Dec 12 – Herb out at meeting until noon; PTO Meeting, 7pm

Dec 14 — ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45 – Mental Health and Wellness Team to present

Dec 15 – 4th Grade Musical Performances: 10:50am, 1:20pm; Herb out at meeting until noon

Dec 16 – BAC meeting, 8am

Dec 20 – Classroom Parties, 2:30pm

Dec 21-Jan 3 – Winter Break

Jan 4 – Students return

Jan 9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm

Jan 11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am

Jan 20 – Family Game Night, 6:30-8pm

Clear Out the Crawl Space

The Thanksgiving holiday was a wonderful opportunity for me to relax.

Instead, I cleaned out the basement, decorated the Christmas tree, strung lights around my landscaping, and cleaned out the crawl space.

Yes, the Thanksgiving holiday was an opportunity for me to relax.

I admit now that it feels good now knowing I completed a lot these chores. Doing the chores at the time?  That was a different emotion altogether.

While I was cleaning out the crawl space, I noticed how much school stuff we had in there — We could probably run a 3rd and 4th grade class out of our basement.  I wondered if any of the materials in the crawl space would actually help create a classroom for today’s student needs.

We also ran across a box of stuff that we hadn’t opened since we moved into our house 7 years ago.  We took a quick peak and saw that it was a collection of hand-me-down dishes, pots and pans from circa 1962, which helped us understand why we hadn’t opened the box since moving in years ago.  So in determining what we were getting rid of and what was going into the crawl space, we decided that if we hadn’t opened the box since we moved in, what was the point of keeping it now?

I know that I am not alone in this dilemma, either at home or in the classroom.  We educators tend to hang on to things long past their prime or relevance by using the justification of “You never know if you might need it again!”.

Honestly, I’m not so sure we should be going through our profession with the mindset of “you never know” as a means for hanging on to aspects of our practice.  Think about it from a student’s experience.  Students begin each school year ready to build off of the skills they have learned in the past.  They begin with an eagerness to learn something new and rarely are they bringing in materials or work from last school year.

Once again, the student experience is an inspiration to me in my work.  The experience is a reminder of the power of starting anew with new approaches and an eagerness to learn that keeps the crawl space open to new ideas and practices.

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb

 

Articles Worth Reading

Seven Reasons to Show Your Work (Why You Should Share the Process) http://www.spencerauthor.com/2016/11/seven-reasons-to-show-your-work.html/ 

Keys for a Successful Digital Transformation http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2016/11/keys-for-successful-digital.html 

4 Things We Need to Always Remember in Education http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6874

 

Upcoming Dates

  • Watch for information about School Community Meetings throughout the rest of the year that focuses on R-Factor.

Nov 30 – ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45 (Building Safety Refresher)

Dec 6 – IMPACT Training, K-2 Classroom Ts; BIT Meeting, 8am

Dec 14 – ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45 (Mental Health & Wellness Team)

Dec 15 – 4th Grade Musical Performances – Schedule change

Dec 20 – Classroom Parties, 2:30 – Schedule change

Dec 21-Jan 3 – Winter Break

Jan 4 – Students return

With Gratitude

Saying thanks, giving thanks, and being grateful are all related to gratitude – The powerful state of mind that has profound effects on one’s well-being.

Research shows that including more gratitude in your life can improve your physical, psychological and social well-being.

Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, we often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. – Robert Emmons

R-Factor training has helped us to consider a “mindset process” where what we see affects what we think, which affects what we feel, which affects how we act.

When we invest in gratitude, we cause a positive effect on all four influencers of the mindset process.  We see things in our lives that we should appreciate. We think about people who we are grateful for being in our lives.  We feel a deep sense of happiness when we consider what is going well in our lives.  These effects lay the foundation for a growth mindset.

I have been focusing on leading a more grateful life over the past month.  The letters by our 5th grade students to the staff that were shared during our staff meeting on Wednesday was a proud moment for me and the kids. I had a feeling that this was going to be a memorable morning for the kids to experience and I hope that it’s one they will never forget.

At the Veterans Day parade, I was inspired by two young kids who yelled “thank you” to all of the passing veterans and by the veterans who said, “Thank you – This means a lot to us that you are here”.  This is what’s amazing to me — I saw an exchange of gratitude and I ended up feeling great!  

Gratitude is a powerful thing!

I hope that you are starting your week filled with gratitude for the opportunity we have to work with kids.  We are apart of an amazing and challenging profession.  Yet, there are so many reasons for us to be thankful for what we get to do each day!

Have a great week!

-Herb

 

Take a look —

 

Upcoming Dates —

Nov 14 — PTO Meeting, 7pm

Nov 14-22 — STAR Testing window

Nov 16 — Spec Ed Team Meeting, noon; RTI Team Meeting, 3:30

Nov 22 — Last day to enter data into Progress Reports; 5th Grade Talent Show

Nov 23-25 — Thanksgiving Holiday, No School

Nov. 29 — PTO Spirit Night at Skyline Chili, 5:00 – 9:00 PM

Dec. 2 — Progress Reports Available Online (after 2:00 PM)

Dec. 12 — PTO Meeting, 7:00 PM (child care provided)

Dec. 15 — 4th Grade Musical, 10:50 AM, 1:20 PM & 7:00 PM

Dec. 20 — Classroom holiday parties

Dec. 21 – Jan. 3 — NO SCHOOL – Winter Break

Weds., Jan. 4 — School Resumes