UAI Staff News
December 17th, 2018
(99 instructional days remaining)
Lessons from Visits, Observations, and Intervisitations. In the final teaching days of 2018, it's a good time to take stock of some key feedback and observations that we've had (or have done) in the last several weeks. The biggest trend is around how we are working with our Lesson Look Fors. We are improving significantly as a group in articulating quality look-fors that demand higher order thinking from our students. As a result, our students across grades and classrooms are definitely being pushed to think beyond "identify" of "matching" or copying. More of our students are posing questions, sharing their ideas, and putting their thinking into writing as a means to consolidate their learning.
One common stumble that we are seeing through our intervisitations and observations is in teacher circulation. In pursuit of finding the look-fors, teachers are pausing too long with turn and talk pairs to elicit them from students. This means that many teachers are spending 2-3 minutes with a single pair, while the remaining talking pairs are either finished with their discourse and/or making the same conceptual mistakes without prompts or guidance.
This week is a great one for taking stock of your own practice by looking at thinking and circulation:
Planning for Student Thinking
Continue working on your lesson look-fors. Evaluate them using Webb's DOK (what level of thinking are you demanding). Look at your lesson time allotment. How much time are students spending at Level 3 or 4 for the duration of your lesson (students should be thinking at Levels 3 or 4 for a minimum of 30 or more min during the period)? Suggestion: About every 5 minutes, students need to be asked to be doing something (writing/talking/engaging in an activity to figure something out). At the end of a piece of instruction, create a quick turn and talk (or stop and jot) to help students engage in thinking.
Pay attention to your timing and circulation. How long are you spending with each pair? Are you picking up trends across multiple pairs? What are you doing with the trends and patterns that you find? Suggestion: During student discourse or work, use the first 1-2 minutes to get a lay of the land - visit every pair or group and take stock of what you hear first. THEN, make a decision with what to do with it - what hints can you drop to put pairs on the right track to think independently without you? Do those hints work for the class as a whole - if so then pause the talk and give it to everyone!
To Do This Week
Monday PD. We are rescheduling our Parent-Staff extended PD from this Monday to a Monday in late January/February. We are still finalizing plans with Mr. McLean, Damon, and Doris. Stay tuned!! For this Monday, we will be giving the time over to grade teams to complete DESSA evaluations, January Plops, coordinate any logistics for trips this week (if applicable), and share any final scheduled assessments. To the extent possible, please do not overburden students by giving multiple exams on the same day. Having 4 major course content exams on the same day is unfairly taxing on students. Please check in with one another to avoid this outcome as much as possible. LDC teachers will continue to meet in 305 with Marsha and Rebecca. All other members of grade teams will meet in the following rooms immediately at 3PM
- 6th Grade: Alison (facilitator), Jennifer, Amanda, Tracy, Jennifer, Marni
- (Laura, Sarah & Phillan will be in LDC)
- 7th & 8th Grade: Natalie (facilitator), Megan, Matthew, Cherry, Joanna, Jake, Natalie
- (Kristina, Christina, Marsha will be in LDC)
- 9th/12th Grade: Jamie (facilitator), Meaghan, Zach, Elana
- (Damon will be at SLT; Cassandra, Rebecca C., Rebecca F will be at LDC)
- 10th/12th Grade: Danielle R (facilitator), Nina, Kristi, Suzannah
- (Elena will be at SLT; Tiffany & Freida will be at LDC)
- 11th/12th Grade: Kelly (facilitator), Judy, Tom, Giselle
- (Joey will be at LDC)
Holiday Craft and Karaoke. Please remind your advisee's families that we have our annual UAI family craft and karaoke night on Monday, December 17th at 5:30PM. Please invite them to tjoin us!
Tuesday Outreach. Please let families know that we will be doing a rapid dismissal at the end of 6th period at 2PM on Friday, Dec 21st. There will be no after school, and all staff must make plans to rapidly dismiss the building along with the students. We will be closing the building for the holiday just after dismissal. If you are planning a trip, students will not be allowed into the building after 2PM. So, if students need to re-enter, please return to school no later than 1:30PM.