Well, we finished the last school week of 2015! Congratulations. What a fun week and a great reinforcement of what a family Fillmore is. The gift giving. The celebrations. The parties. After a few very busy and tense weeks, it was really nice to see, and the last week just felt good.
I wanted to thank the staff for a very thoughtful and nice gift that they gave me. I felt very honored and appreciated. I hope the staff enjoyed the breakfast that Judie and I set out for you. It was our very small way to help them feel appreciated, because they are.. by us... a lot.
There is a bunch I want to go into in the blog, both as a reflection and to get you all prepared for when we come back, although I don't want you to think about it now... too much. :)
First, if you didn't read it, here is the letter I sent home with the students this past Friday. It talks about all the great stuff we have done this past half year.
In case you missed it, here's the Mustang News for December 18, 2015. It's worth a viewing, I think.
You should also check out Ms. Culmer's class video on weather. They did a great job and I'm sure learned a lot about weather, making videos, and of course, speaking and presentation skills. I just love this sort of authentic, real world application for skills these students are learning.
And of course, here is the video to a small portion of the amazing Kinder Winter Show.
A few of the things I'm really proud about that we accomplished/are in the process of accomplishing this year.
1. The amazing effort that I see from this staff to really teach the skills called for in the CCSS. I am loving how you are looking beyond the text and "curriculum" to build real-world experiences that not only engage our students, but help learn learn the skills that will help them to be career and college ready. Ms. Lara's unit about water pollution where students built their own water filtration system was perfect. The red carpet event that Mrs. Castaneda and Mrs. Shammah had for their student-created plant video was beautiful. Genius Hour. The I Wonder moments. The guided practice in small groups. And so much more.
2. The use of our technology. I know that having access to the Chromebooks is both an exciting and scary thing as the learning curve is huge, but the possibilities are so much. I have appreciated your efforts to learn as much as you can and take advantage of the professional development opportunities that have both been offered and the ones you have sought out on your own. I have mostly appreciated the sharing and collaboration that this staff with each other.
3. Your care for our students and this community. I am so impressed by the amount of money we raised to support Nathan. I am humbled by the amount of work and time you put in to making sure the students at Fillmore are taken care of.
Here are some things we need to think about that are coming up in the new year:
1. SBAC interim assessment number two is coming up. It would be a good idea to have your students do some practice performance tasks for ELA so they have an idea of what they are doing.
2. SBAC tesiting window is coming up. The testing window starts in March and ends in late May. I will get more details out in January, but you might wnat to start thinking about how you would like to schedule your tests- about 16 hours worth total.
3. SBAC preparation. There is a lot you can do to prepare your students for the SBAC while still teaching the CCSS. For math, check with Linda Taulbee to see what she is doing. MyMath has a 20 week countdown to the SBAC with really good practice performance tasks. For ELA check CAASP digital libraries.
4. Start thinking about depth of knowledge and how to get your students to really think deeply. Here's a chart to help.
5. I have not seen any recommendations for SSTs and I'm thinking that may be an ignorance about how to use P4SS. I would like to have a training on it when we come back. This will have to be sometime after school, and should only take about 30 min... I hope.
6. Our first PLC when we come back will be looking at the tech standards and doing some self reflection around them.
7. Mission/Vision. Our Mission/Vision team met and I will be sending out an email with this Google Form (descriptors for the mission) to get input that will help guide us.
8. Let's continue to grow! I love the Fillmore motto, "A great place to grow!" Let's continue that mantra and keep making progress and trying new strategies and models in 2016!