Monday, November 23, 2015

The week Nov. 16-20, 2015

Thanksgiving is almost here and there is so much to be thankful for: good health, family, friends, and a wonderful school where the staff greatly cares for our students. This has been a really busy start of the school year. I have been reflecting a lot. So, this blog is going to look and read a little different. I'm going to start with some things I've been doing and pondering that I wanted to share with you.

In case you missed it, here's the Mustang News for Friday, November 20, 2015.

1. Gold Ribbon Schools application: I shared with leadership that I wanted to submit an application for us to be a Gold Ribbon School. "The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools while the California Distinguished Schools Program is on hiatus as California transitions to new assessment and accountability systems." I just turned in the application today. It was a lengthy, but good process. Most importantly, it really helped me see all the good we are doing and our impact on student learning. The application was based around a model program. I called our model program Building 21st Century Learners, and it is based on our attempt to shift our instructional model to effectively teach to the CCSS and build 21st Century skills in our students. If you would like to see the application, let me know and I will send it to you. In the meantime, here's a reminder of the 21st Century skills that we are expected to build in our students to help them to be career and/or college ready:
- The 4Cs: collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity
- global awareness
- digital proficiency

2. Speaking of 21st Century skills I came across this article and thought it fit perfectly with what we are trying/need to do. Stop, Start, Continue: Conceptual Understanding Meets Applied Problem Solving. Click on the link to read the full article, but if you want to save a little time, here's a brief summary:
  • What should we stop doing?
    • Stop teaching as if we have the answers
    • Stop rushing.
    • Stop talking.
  • What should we start doing?
    • Start looking for problems to solve, actions to take, and beauty to create.
    • Start teaching with new discoveries about the brain in mind.
    • Start seeking out authentic, high-stakes audiences for student work.
  • What should we continue doing?
    • Continue with your professional development, and model the growth mindset in action.
    • Continue to place our work with students in global contexts.
    • Continue believing in the potential of every student.
3. Thoughts on the interim assessment: I know that scoring was tedious and you ran into some glitches. But, and I'm sorry I didn't stress this earlier, this was really for you. It was a way for you to see where your students were at, what they had to deal with, and to share your findings with them. It is all a way to prepare for the SBAC and get students, and YOU, more comfortable with the process and the content. 

We all know that the CCSS are rigorous and the SBAC is tough. So, it shouldn't surprise us that our students didn't do very well. It also probably isn't a surprise that our students didn't do very well explaining their answers, but what a great opportunity to have an authentic conversation with your students about their answers. Throw up a question on the projector. Try to solve it together. Then show exemplar answers. Reflect. Problem solve. Use those critical thinking skills. Collaborate. Challenge your students and yourself. Get excited about solving a problem. Make it fun!

4. Data from 1st Trimester: I'm still waiting for 3rd and 4th grade to input all their scores, but here's the growth we have made from August to November- pretty good!

ReadingBegTri 1Growth
1st Grade1.11.50.4
2nd Grade1.92.30.4
3rd Grade2.5
4th Grade3.3
5th Grade4.34.80.5
6th Grade5.25.40.2

MathBegTri 1Growth
1st Grade0.91.50.6
2nd Grade1.82.50.7
3rd Grade2.6
4th Grade3.4
5th Grade4.44.70.3
6th Grade5.56.20.7
As you can see, so far, all grades, on average, grew. And, in most cases, the growth was beyond the minimum of a third of the year (0.3). In math two grade levels grew over two thirds- very impressive. Remember, our goal is to make over a year's progress by the end of year. So, keep up the good work!

And, as usual, here's a recap of what I witnessed in classes this past week:

The Innovator's Club continues to amaze me. These past 2 weeks they build catapults out of Popsicle sticks.There was a competition and the kids had a great time. Check out the video.

Mrs. Torres and Mrs. Krebs organized a luncheon for students who met their AR goals. Good stuff. I missed it, but I heard it was fun.

Great awards assemblies this week. Lots of happy and proud students, parents and teachers.

3rd grade has been rotating through the classes to learn different facts about the history of the Chumash. This was all to prepare for their History of Lompoc field trip.

In Mrs. Culmer's class her students were really doing some designing: building bridges with popsicle sticks, creating water pipes, and starting their own blog. I am so impressed.

Mrs. Knapp's class did a video Google Hangout with Mrs. West's class from Crestview. They talked about their "wonders" After a few kinks they figure it out and it was really cool, although I missed it. What a great way to collaborate with another school. And what an opprtunity to create connections with other classes in the district an around the world- global awareness, collaboration, and digital proficiency.

The Genius Club and other classes started coding using Scratch to practicing coding in preparation for the Hour of Code.

Great "Brown" poetry recital by 3rd grade. I throughly enjoy seeing these students present- great way to build fluency, confidence and enjoyment.

The Button Business is thriving and even made a button to try to get Mrs. Kirsch to buy from them :) Nice work!

TinkerCAD is being used in some classes to create 3D models. This is an application that is a precursor to AutoCAD, a design program that is used at the high schools. What a great opportunity to get these students some skills that they could already come into high school with. These designs can even be printed using a 3D printer. I so want to try this!

All sorts of really cool stuff happening. I am so impressed and excited about our school and what our teachers are allowing our students to do and engage with.

Great work Fillmore!

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

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