The end of the trimester happened. We had our Thanksgiving break. Just two more weeks until our Winter Break. A great time for reflection. I sent out an email on Thursday that had some information that we can all reflect on. I provided my takeaways and would love to hear yours. I will do a brief recap.
Here's a link to the announcements in case you missed them: Mustang News, December 4, 2015
Classroom visits... In my classroom visits I observed a great deal of student engagement, a high level of the use of technology by our students, and lots of modeling, monitoring and checking for understanding. Great stuff. In light of the instructional shift that needs to happen to really meet the rigor and needs of the CCSS our students still need to do less listening to us, more doing, and more collaborating with each other. Here's a link to the article I shared last week: Stop, Start, Continue.
STAR data: I am impressed with the results of our first trimester data and hopeful that we will continue progressing at this rate. If we do, that would be a game changer for our students. Keep it up!
My main reflection as it pertains to student achievement is, and this is as an educator and a parent... I firmly believe that if we figure out a way to positively engage our students and get them excited about coming to school to work on meaningful and authentic assignments and activities that prepare them for the real world, then we will have students that will want to not only learn the skills they need to be successful, but get them involved in complex texts and concepts.
Here are some examples of that happening in classes this week:
The button business done by Mrs. Asmussen and Mrs. Torres' classes is a perfect example of where standards are meeting the real world. Students used Lucid Charts to design the button. They had to use perfect measurements to fit the space, therefore learning the concept of circumference and area. They used technical writing skills to come up with catch phrases as well as matching visuals. These students are learning how to be graphic designers! And they sell these things- entrepreneurs!
The Innovator's Club has students creating real world items that solve real world problems and get students to critically think, problem solve and collaborate. They have built catapults, wells, hand drills, wheel barrows, paddle boats, roller coasters, bridges, and I'm sure I'm missing some. The kids love it and so do I.
Mrs. Castaneda's and Ms. Shammah's class created movies about plants and presented it through a red carpet premiere. Not only did these 2nd graders learn about plants, but they learned how to sequence a story, write a script, edit video, upload video, add enhancements to video, collaborated with a partner, and used their speaking skills to present to a real-life audience: their parents. And the Oscar goes to Sarah and Sarah!
Mrs. Wilson has her students practicing for a presentation of "A Christmas Carol." The final product will not be available until December 15. Presentation skills, fluency, comprehension, prosody, what else? And of course the Kindergarteners are getting ready for their Winter performance.
Ms. Lara had her students learning about how wind is created by using hot and cold cups of water- we need this knowledge in Lompoc!
Mrs. Henkel has created a mobile classroom, taking her speech services into the SH classes, where they learn and practice language in authentic situations like making food. The students, teachers, and I just love it.
Students in many classes are also starting to code in preparation for our Hour of Code week next week. The skills coding teaches: sequencing, direction, problem solving, critical thinking, planning, addition, subtraction, following directions, creating, etc. Not to mention that coding is a highly desired skill in the job market. Coding sets our students up for rich futures.
And of course, the Peace assembly this month was a huge hit. So good that it made the Lompoc Record. Here's a link to the article. Fillmore students focus on R-E-S-P-E-C-T during Peace Assembly.
I was also impressed with Mrs. Taulbee, who has used the expertise of both Mrs. Denton and Mrs. Hough, the district math coach, to help her create really wonderful centers in her class. Students were doing math games, practicing math skills and bringing literature and literacy into math problems. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
QR Codes are going up. Judie, Adriana and I are putting up a bunch in high visited places. They link to rules videos, our announcements, Hour of Code information, and they welcome visitors. The entire 2nd grade team has put QR codes with links to their websites up outside the entryway to their rooms. And Mrs. Knapp has done one bettter. Her whole door is covered with AR codes with links to her very own students using their own voice to tell about themselves. What an innovative way to get information to our parents.
If you noticed, our announcements got a little more high tech. We used iMovie and were able to use a cool news template as well as a really clear green screen background. I encourage all of you to use iMovie to get students to publish their work. Both Mrs. Denton and I can take students and help them as well as train you. Please come see us.
A big welcome to Ms. Shammah for joining the Mustang family. We are so lucky to be able to have her for the rest of this year.
Friday, December 4 is the Lompoc Christmas parade and we will be represented well by students, teachers and families. Look for the banner.
Hannukah starts on Sunday night, so Happy Hannukah and good latka eating to all those who celebrate that holiday.
Mrs. Knapp and Mrs. Asmussen will be available to help, model lessons, anything you would like them to do technology related in your classes. They are very knowledgeable about coding so invite them in and learn something new.
Kindergarten is having an awards assembly on Wednesday.
I will be out Thursday and Friday of next week for LATSS.
Two more weeks to go before a THREE week break. Let's have fun and get those kids really rolling into the break.
Enjoy your weekend!