UAI Staff News
November 26, 2018
(122 school days remaining)
- In the name of "test prep," students spend hours and hours completing worksheets that are presumably meant to increase their test scores on standardized tests...Some instructional approaches focused solely on repetition of decontextualized bits may "work" temporarily to raise test scores for children in urban settings, but if the children's minds are not engaged, then the programs are failures.
Our main instructional goal for this year is to engage teacher thinking around student thinking and to do so by articulating lesson activity look-fors in their planning. By being explicit about look-fors, teachers will be able to evaluate the level of thinking that their activities demand of students. In so-doing, the goal is to plan for critical thinking and to move away from planning for doing. When we focus on planning for thinking, we achieve high levels of student intellectual engagement.
Throughout our visits to classrooms, worksheets are common. The paper itself is not the issue, it's what's on the paper that needs to be considered. To what extent are kids being asked to critically think, and if the task is clearly one that requires higher order thinking, are we over-scaffolding the exercises to get them to completion vs. supporting their ability to productively struggle?
This is a short week leading up to our first series of benchmark exams, our baseline measures on state exams. Continue to exercise high levels of planning and reflect on the levels of thinking that your lesson activities demand of students. To see how this plays out in your own discipline please sign up for a visit to one of your colleague's classrooms by CLICKING HERE. Once you sign up and we finalize the calendar, you can expect a google calendar invite and follow-up instructions for coordinating logistics.
To Do This Week
Monday PD. On Monday, we're going to have a series of different activities for staff. Several folks will want to be in two places at once. All staff should report to your assigned rooms at 3PM. No announcements this week. We'll do a combined announcement next Monday to cover both last week and this week.Prepare for Student Led Conferences. Please use Tuesday outreach time this week to prepare your classrooms and bulletin boards with student work. Please make sure you are keeping THIS DOCUMENT up to date with your notes and appointments. The main office will be scheduling students and confirming appointments this week. It will greatly help the main office and the professionalism we put forth with our families if our Del and Nancy have up-to-date information.
- In Room 409 w/ Annie - Setting and Following Through on Common Expectations for 8th graders. This is targeted for any teacher of the 8th grade. The team is working on establishing and committing to following through on behavioral and academic expectations. This team will meet on the following Mondays; 26NOV and 10NOV to complete the work. Damon, Meaghan, Cherry, Joanna, Christina, Jake, Natalie, Nadine, Elana, and Tracy
- In Room 407 w/ Kiri - Planning Intervisitation Visits for Lesson Look Fors. We'll begin prepping for classroom intervisitations coming up in the next couple of weeks. Cassandra & Rebecca F. (9th ELA), Kristi & Amanda (Earth Sci), Jamie & Matthew (8th Gr. Algebra), Elena & Giselle (Spanish)
- In Room 305 w/ Marsha & Rebecca - Continuing LDC Work with Christine. Laura, Sarah, Phillan, Kristina, Tiffany, Freida, and Joey
Prepare for Benchmark Exams. Please check this Benchmark Schedule. There have been changes. Your lunch period is a full lunch period, now. Everyone has an extra long prep on Thursday, and all teachers should report to their assigned grading room, promptly at 1:10 to grade the Thursday benchmarks. At the start of each benchmark day, all proctors should report to room 145 to pick up their proctoring bins for the day. At the end of benchmarks, please return those bins to room 145. All teachers who are hosting intervisitations for next week need to report to room 401. Prep time on Friday will fall at different times for different teachers, depending on your SLC appointments.
We will be wrapping up our week by prepping for our student-led conferences. We are excited to show off our artifacts that represent areas of strength and reflect on those that represent areas of struggle.