Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

Last Wednesday, we had our 2013 Fall West Ed T4S sweep. For those of you that were unable to join us for the debrief after school, here is a quick snapshot of what we saw.

Overall: We were relatively flat in comparison to last year's spring sweeps, except for two very exciting areas that we saw increases.

Exciting Increases:

  • Student Engagement: (directing students to be engaged, directing all students to participate in the academic learning at the same time, and making student engagement mandatory) was up to 85% which is close to DOUBLE what it was last year.
  • Cognitive Level of Questions and Activities: We saw a decrease in the % of activities/lessons at the Remember level and we saw 46% at the Understand Level, 23% at Apply Level, and 8% at Analyze-Evaluate-Create. 
I definitely attribute our increase of student engagement and higher cognitive level activities to so many teachers implementing the Common Core Standards this year. One of the West Ed visitors asked me if several teachers had attended Functional Writing because she saw many pieces of functional writing in several classes. I was able to tell her that several Crystal teachers did attend Huck Fitterer's Functional Writing and were very happy to begin implementing it right away. For those of you interested in attending a Functional Writing PD, there are a few workshop dates coming up: October 11th and 12th and November 8th and 9th. The Friday sessions will be held from 4:00PM-6:45PM and the Saturday sessions will be held from 8:30AM-12:15PM. You can sign up for these on the FSUSD website. 

Take some time to visit a colleague's classroom. Talk with him/her about what strategies he/she is trying and what is working for the students. That is a great way of gaining insight and trying something with your students that you know works in another classroom. This also helps give consistency to the students. A great example is when Cynthia worked with Paul and implemented his approach for primary sources in her English class. Students were able to see the crossover from their US History class to their English class. 

As I have been saying each week we want our students to be writing every day in every class. Here are a few pictures from Cynthia Merrick's 8th grade English class.

Objective: Using your story map for "The 11:54" outline, or map out, your story.

Students find a comfortable spot to think and write.

Students have found a corner of the room they want to work and be productive. 

Some students chose to stay at their desk and work while others spread out on the floor. 

Word of the Week:  CONTRAST: Contrast is to show how things are different.

Student Voices: My next "shadow" day will be this Friday, October 4th. 

Staff Meeting: Tuesday, October 1st at 3:20 in the library. Agenda will be shared via Google docs. 

Exciting News: Last year's Innovation Team (Josh, Cynthia, Shannon, Jonathan, and myself) will be presenting with Geoff Belleau at the CUE Conference on October 26th at American Canyon High School. Our presentation will focus on Innovation Day at Crystal Middle School. We will also have two students presenting with us speaking about their experiences on Innovation Day last year. 


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