Oh, wow how this break has been so amazing to have! This year has been incredibly busy and it is just Thanksgiving. The month of November has been a busy one for my school, my class, and me.
The week before we got out of school was crazy for me. I was out Monday at a Aspiring Leaders Institute in Atlanta and Tuesday at my school I was out for a FIP planning day. (I will explain in more detail later in this post.) That left only Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for us to do all of our Thanksgiving stuff and festivities! I was super bummed Tuesday when I found out that we would be having Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I had no time to prepare my students and get their costumes ready. However, I was going to make time that Wednesday morning before we went to Thanksgiving lunch at 11:00 am. So here is what we did:
I asked the students as they all came in what they wanted to be a Native American Indian or a Pilgrim. I had a lot of them choose to be Native American Indians. However, I have to say the pilgrim outfits for the boys were so stinking' cute. (Can I remind you that I did all this on a whim. My best work comes from those pressure moments when I am grasping at the seams to stay a float. This is what happened with those Pilgrim outfits for the boys!)
Monday's Workshop and what I learned:So, I am in an Aspiring Leaders Program through the county I work in and their partnership with the Principal Center at Georgia State College in Atlanta. This course is very similar to the Teacher Leader Course taught by MGRESA. However, it looks at everything from the perspective of an instructional coach or AP. (Which is something I am interested in doing in the future real soon.) During this meeting we talked about our school's SMART goals. So many schools have way more than 3 goals, making all of the goals impossible to attain. However, I do have to give props to my administration because they know exactly what they are doing as leaders. We have 3 goals that we are working on as a school: attendance, raising our school climate score, and our CCRPI score. Each grade level does have a reading and a math goal as well.
While in this meeting we had to pick one of our goals and tell how we are working towards increasing it. Great conversations were started due to what each school has as their goals. We had a conversation with the instructor and she asked me, "What are you doing to increase your student's reading fluency?" I was caught off guard a little, but remember I think fast on my feet when I am under pressure. I told her, "Well, we have reading buddies with the 5th graders once a week (If you teach a lower grade and do not have this set up in your classroom, DO IT! It will help you primary students and elementary students tremendously!), we also do running records weekly for each student, and stress AR." She looked at me and she said, "You GOT IT! Your scores will increase, because of what you are doing to help your students!"
What do you do to help your students reach their own personal goals?
Tuesday's Workshop: FIP and what I learned:During this workshop we discussed standards based classrooms. What do you think standards based classrooms look like?
Here are some examples of what we are doing in K-5 to make sure we all have standards based classrooms:
I don't know if you noticed the Learning Target posters (They have the target on them.) We use those to have the students tell us where they are in their learning after we have taught them something. I don't like the learning targets as much as I like using Plickers. Check out the link. It is fabulous for formative/summative assessments! LOVE it! (I am planning on doing a blog post on this soon too. I have so much to share with you all!)
During this workshop, we also looked at assessments and making sure we are giving students quality assessments that involve more than the students circling a, b, or c for every question asked on the assessment. I encourage everyone to rematch the FIP Module 3 video on the GADOE website. It makes you second guess the kind of assessments your students are getting.
What do your assessments look like?