Sunday, December 1, 2019

Week of December 2nd

UAI Staff News

Volume VII
Issue 16
December 2nd, 2019


Happy Birthdays! No birthdays this week!

It's December!  We are well into the swing of the 3rd marking period.  There are 27 days remaining in this marking period, and they are well organized into two chunks of uninterrupted instruction.  This is the perfect opportunity to get into instructional patterns and flow that optimally support student achievement.  In addition, there are a couple of important reminders about this marking period to keep in mind:

  • Students who are passing this marking period are guaranteed their fall credits (even if they fail in the spring).  Looking at your students who failed (or nearly failed) MP2, think about the interventions and supports they need to flourish for MP3.  It is never too late.  Ever!  With two large stretches separated by a sizable winter holiday (12 glorious days), there is plenty of time for students to catch up and make up for past failures.  For this final MP, make sure to attend to the needs of our neediest students, and if you need support, please reach out to Annie or myself for extra help!
  • Grades DO matter for this MP.  Students applying to colleges or programs for the summer or spring will be using this report card to demonstrate academic achievement.  For ALL students, think about opportunities in your class to excel.  This does not need to be extra work.  Rather, think about ways to make sure that your students maximize performance on their existing tasks.  Provide:
    • Clarity around grading expectations (e.g. rubrics and model responses), 
    • Significant instructional supports (e.g. class discourse, multiple opportunities for formative assessment and feedback), and 
    • Multiple summative assessment opportunities (and modalities via speaking and/or writing)
      NOTE:  When YOU are crystal clear about what you want students to produce (i.e. your lesson look-fors or the model responses that you created for your various tasks), then you are that much better able to communicate your expectations to students.  When your students understand what you want, they are better equipped to perform at high levels.  

Preparing for A Superintendent's Visit.  While I have not yet heard from Deb or Fred about a visit, I am sure that they are going to make their rounds to UAI soon!  I will share more specific information as I get more details from them, but one of the big foci of this year is how we plan and how those lesson plans lead students to

  • Successfully Engage with rigorous texts and concepts.  
    • What are you putting in front of your students for each lesson?  What literacy and/or reasoning skills does the text require?  Are those skills grade appropriate?  Could you find more complex texts (meaning literature, charts, graphs, images, etc.) that get at the same concepts but also challenge students?  How could you support student access to those 
  • Maximize Discourse to deepen understanding and make connections
    • How often do students speak in your class?  Who spends more time speaking - adults or students (time yourself to find out - it should be the kids who talk more ALL the time!).  How do students use discourse in the class?  Are they only telling things or are they working to figure things out (or make connections/new understandings)? [Use discourse to help students figure things out -use your lesson look fors to help you do that!]
  • Perform DAILY Writing Tasks that prompt students to consolidate learning
    • Students need to be writing their ideas down every day. The easiest way to get them to do this is by embedding this expectation in your tasks (or exit tickets).  Higher order questions that demand students explain, justify, predict, etc. are the types of questions you want to pose to students as a summative assessment that allows them to show their thinking and understanding of the lesson.  
  • Effectively utilize discipline-and-grade-level specific vocabulary
    • All disciplines have course-specific vocabulary.  Make sure you are not only asking students to learn the new words, but more importantly, they need to be using the vocab in their Turn and Talks and writing.
  • Finally, Help us ALL make passing periods shorter.  
    • End your classes on time (use timers and keep yourself on pace).  Start your classes on time (make Do Nows that allow you to be at the Door to welcome students and start on time).

To-Do This Week

Blog Review!  For Grade Team PLOP/Attendance Meetings, we'll skip the blog review to maximize work time for teams.

Monday Professional Development.  This Monday is the first Monday of the month!  So, that means grade team PLOP writing, attendance team check in, and selections of student of the month.  Please come prepared with your suggestions for student of the month, and with the student work/data you need to write your PLOPs.  Here's Monday's Agenda

Tuesday Family Outreach.  Please share with all families that we are hosting our Annual Parent Craft, Snack, & Karaoke night on Thursday, December 19th.

Social-Emotional Learning Updates

No Updates this week.

Remember:  Save the Date for the Staff Party on 13DEC19.  Location still TBD, but for $25, drinks and food from 4-6PM will be available!

Per Session Opportunities

Holiday Craft Party.  If you are interested in working the Annual PTA Craft and Karaoke party on December 19th, please let Jen know ASAP.  We are looking for folks to run craft tables (whatever you'd like!) or any other artistic/holiday related activity.  Please see Jen for details.



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