Sunday, October 27, 2013

October 27, 2013

This was a very busy and exciting week at Crystal. We had our 1st Spirit Week that culminated with our Super Hero dance Friday afternoon. Each day there were many staff and students that participated in the theme of the day.

Sports Day!!
Sports Day: 49er Territory!!

Disney Day!!

College Pride Day!!

College Pride Day!!

We had a great assembly put on by Kaiser, Nightmare on Puberty Street. The actors were able to touch on some sensitive but very important topics with our 7th and 8th graders. The students were glued to the presentation and were able to gain a lot of useful information.

We had our Coffee with the Principal on Friday with another good turnout. The number one thing that came out of the meeting was our parents want to learn about technology so they can help support their students. I am going to work with Geoff Belleau and see if we can provide some evening classes for parents on how to navigate GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and Digital Citizenship. It was very encouraging to hear that they want to learn too!!

As I say each week, take some time to get into a colleague's classroom. You can gain so much by watching a lesson in action. It is always nice to see your own students in a different setting. It helps give you a new perspective. Below is a snapshot of a "fishbowl" activity in Balthazor's math class. If you remember the video that was shown at our last faculty meeting where we saw a high school class engage in a "fishbowl." Well, it is now happening here at Crystal too. The students are placed in an inner circle and an outer circle. All students are given a math problem (word problem) and then are given a one minute think time. The inner circle students each have a whiteboard to write their solution and steps on. As soon as the minute is up the inner circle has to immediately jump into their conversation. Each student has to speak before anyone can speak a second time. When a student speaks, he/she must explain the steps that he/she took and the answer that was achieved. Students in the inner circle will also say if they agree or disagree with one of the speakers and why.  During the inner circle conversation, each person in the outer circle is taking notes on what is being said and preparing to make a constructive response.  Once the inner circle is complete then the outer circle must all provide feedback/constructive criticism. Once that is complete the groups switch and a new problem is posed and the process begins again. I spoke to a few students about this and the feedback was very positive. The students liked being able to talk about the process of solving the problems and also commented that they liked to hear the feedback from their peers. This is a great way to get all students problem solving, thinking, citing and providing specific and immediate feedback to one another. Common Core all the way!!!

Students during their one minute think time in the fishbowl.

The group set up for the fishbowl. Each student used this to set up their note taking sheets.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of presenting with Josh Harris, Cynthia Merrick, Jonathan Dunsworth, Shannon Balthazor, Geoff Belleau, Britanny Hietala (student), and Erina McSweeney (student) at the Fall CUE conference, Diving to New Depths with the Common Core at American Canyon High School. We presented on our Innovation Day from last school year. We talked about why we did Innovation Day, the planning process, the ups/downs, what we learned, and the students gave the student perspective. It was a great opportunity for us to share with other educators from across California what we did and how they too can make it happen at their sites. A comprehensive digital folder was provided to all of the participants and was made public on the web for anyone to be able to access. We are going to more than likely also present in April at the LEAD conference. It is a great opportunity for us to share what we have done and provide others access to do the same with their students. I encourage you to attend a CUE conference if you get a chance. You can also follow CUE on Twitter @cueinc.  CUE stands for Computer Using Educators.

Innovation Team and Erina McSweeney (8th grade) & Brittany Hietala (9th grade)

Josh, Geoff, Jonathan, and Shannon

Britanny and Erina right before the presentation

The Innovation Team: Shannon, Josh, Cynthia, & Jonathan
The audience/participants listening to our presentation. Tim Goree also stopped by, you can see him standing on the side.

This week is our Red Ribbon Week!! We will have our Red Ribbon Assemblies on Monday. Each day at lunch we will also have additional activities to spread the word to be Drug Free!!

Continue to have your students writing every day in every class. Encourage your students to be the problem solvers and you be the facilitator of the learning. Continue to have students explain and cite their reasoning. Share with another. There are amazing things happening in many classrooms that can easily be adapted and duplicated in your classroom!!

Word of the Week: DESCRIBE:  to say what something or someone is like by giving details about them.


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