Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17, 2013

The Common Core Standards will be the topic of discussion at this week's staff meeting. If you remember, we moved our staff meeting to this week to accommodate for our 2013 IPR.  This will be the first time that Crystal Middle school has had our entire staff participate in our IPR. What is an IPR? It is our annual In Progress Review. The point of the IPR is to look at the goals of our school and see how we are progressing towards those goals. We then have the opportunity to reach out to Ed Services, who will also be in attendance, to get additional guidance and support.

The format for this IPR will be a unique set up and a great opportunity for everyone to be a part of the discussion. We are going to set up in a "fishbowl" like setting. In the inner circle will be our math, science, English, and history department chairs, as well as me, Leslie, and members of Ed Services. In the outer circle will be all other staff members. The department chairs are each going to give a brief five minute presentation on how their department is implementing the Common Core this year. They will give us insight to how they are working with DOK levels and how they are implementing writing. They will also speak to the support they need in order to best move their department forward with implementation of the Common Core. During this time the outer circle will log into a back channel using either their Ipad or Smartphone. On the back channel you will be able to make comments and ask questions without stopping the presenters. We will then be able to cycle back to the comments and questions in the back channel and review those. Not only will this be a new format for our staff and for an IPR, but my hope is that it will give you ideas of how to incorporate both "fishbowls" and back channeling into your classroom.

Technology Update: We have only the "E" wing and part of "F" wing left to receive the new teacher laptops. The rest of the campus has now received their new teacher laptops. Everyone should have theirs by this Wednesday. We are in the process of ordering a second cart of Chromebooks. That will end up giving us a total of 71 Chromebooks once the second cart arrives. We are also in the process of ordering and transitioning seven more classrooms to the 70" flatscreen displays with Apple TV. Once that transition is done we will have half our campus moved to the new student display system!!! Once the devices are installed there will be some "How To" sessions for those teachers. The seven teacher that are transitioning are: Ken Baptista, Carole Schneider, Tammy Collin, Carla Accetola, Tara Spinelli, Beth Ellis, and Jonathan Dunsworth. These seven will join the seven teachers that are already using that student display set up: Rachel Chang, Shannon Balthazor, Cynthia Merrick, Dawn Kasperson, Clement Lau, Nelda Taylor, and Joanna Rockwell. We need to know what Ipad productivity apps you would like to see purchased and "pushed" out to all the teacher devices. Please let your department chair know before you go out on winter break any apps that you think would be beneficial for all the teachers to have.

The Hour of Code is officially set for December 13, 2013. We will be on assembly schedule that day. Depending on if you are an "A" assembly or "B" assembly teacher, you will have your sixth period participate in The Hour of Code during your normal assembly time. I will continue to promote and advertise with students and parents that December 13th is a BYOD day. Additionally, student can access the tutorials on their smartphones and we will have the Chromebooks and our current computers to use. For any student that does not have their own device or one of our devices, he/she will be able to participate with the "unplugged" version. More details of The Hour of Code will be distributed and reviewed at our December staff meeting. Posters are currently being printed and will be placed around campus as soon as they arrive. Feel free to visit to watch promotional videos and learn more about The Hour of Code. 

No Excuses Update:  The No Excuses Team met on Friday and is working on a two-sided laminated "How to Get To College" document that will be provided to all our students very soon. We also discussed incorporating social norms into our monthly Character trait lessons. The November lesson has been moved from Monday the 18th, to Wednesday the 20th. A separate email with the short ten minute lesson will be sent to you. All teachers will introduce the lesson during 4th period this Wednesday. We have two new members that have joined the team, Jonathan Dunsworth and Clement Lau. We are working on starting a NEU student club too!! Any ideas or suggestions you have please share with any of the NEU team members: Kristen Witt, Leslie Marley, Shannon Balthazor, Lisa Lewis, Rachel Chang, Clement Lau, or Jonathan Dunsworth.  

WORD OF THE WEEK: DIAGRAM: is a simple drawing or plan that shows exactly where something is, what something looks like, or how something works. 


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