Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 5, 2014

We have reached the halfway point for the 2013-2014 school year. If you recall, we started out the year with a few "Guiding Questions." I thought it would be a perfect time to revisit those questions. Now that we have completed five months of the year take a look at the Guiding Questions and see where your thoughts are now.

·         Do you consider yourself to be a risk taker?
·         What goals are you setting for the 2013-2014 school year?
·         What is the latest educational book or article you have read?
·         If you could create the ideal school, what would it be like?
·         How do you deal with failure?
·         How will 21st century competencies be developed in your students?
·         Have you built a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?
·         In what ways will you challenge your colleague’s and administration’s thinking?

·         How will you differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners in your class?

In looking at the America Achieves website I found a few good videos that show teachers implementing Common Core standards. Take a look at the videos and see how what is shown relates to what you are currently doing in your class or ways that you can incorporate some new ideas.

Laura Kretschmar: For the love of math This Oakland, CA, educator teaches her 5th and 6th graders the meaning of division by fractions. But she also lets them make their own discoveries by working with partners to solve a problem. Laura says the new standards have empowered her to focus on helping students master thinking and self-directed learning, as well as skill building. As a result, she says teaching and learning math has become much more engaging. (sourced from 

Steven McKinney: Keeping it real It's easy to see that 9th graders in Steven McKinney's math class in Memphis, TN, are similarly engaged in their work when you observe his classroom. Steven makes the Pythagorean Theorem come to life and helps teens discover real-world applications for the concepts they are learning. He also asks his students for feedback - a smart and commonsense practice that too often gets overlooked. As you can see, young people have a lot to say about the lessons before them. (sourced from

As you have your students write every day in every class, there is a need to assess that writing. Many of you have talked about writing rubrics that are common for all to use. The Smarter Balanced Consortium has several writing rubrics already created. The link here will bring you to the writing rubrics page. Additionally, we are going to talk more at this month's staff meeting about a school wide writing prompt that will be administered in January (in English classes) and will be scored by all staff at our February staff meeting.

Site Visit by Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Feb 3rd:

We have the great honor of having State Superintendent Tom Torlakson coming to FSUSD on February 3rd and visiting Crystal as one of the three sites he visits. He will be here to see how we are implementing technology with our teachers and students and how we are implementing the Common Core. We will talk in depth about this visit at our January staff meeting. This is an unbelievable opportunity for each of you and each of our students to shine! We will have the opportunity to showcase the amazing things that are happening at Crystal Middle School!!!

EVALUATE: Evaluate is to judge how good, useful, or successful something is.


New Year's Day 2014 at Stinson Beach. It was a great way to start the new year!!

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