Stingray Staff

Stingray Staff
What a Super(hero) family!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Kryptonite Kudos

A big thank you to:

Everyone who helped out with the fall festival.  We had an amazing turnout, amazing baskets, amazing family and an amazing team.  I had people coming in early before work, people staying late after work and amazing basket donations.  As I watched Rick work his magic with the decoration, my heart was so happy thinking about how exciting the night was going to be for our families.  I could not have done it without each of you and our amazing volunteers.  I am afraid to even list people because I am afraid that I will forget someone:  Katie Reynard, Frank Robinson, Emily Loggins, Christina Platt, Melissa Grolley, Suzette Almeida, Sheila, Suzette, Gina Broadbear, Nicole Sackett, Tiffany Morra, Jana Bailey, Bonnie Kelley, Mark and his wife, Lisa and Caroline our fabulous face painters, our entire 5th grade team, Becki, Karen, Mick, Rick, Darla, Beth, Jennifer and Pam, Suely, and everyone who brought their children to enjoy the evening.  See I am nervous even pushing enter on this because I am afraid I forgot someone.

Karin Somanath who is working to put together an amazing Great American Teach In.  If you have never experienced a Sexton style GATI, you are in for a real treat because Karin goes above and beyond for our students.  Days like GATI are the moments the students will remember for years to come.  They are the moments that create wonder and spark an interest in our students.  Enjoy that day with them. 

Teri Trudell who has been super flexible and is splitting her day between two classrooms.  If you see Teri, please give her a hug.  She needs one.  It is not easy being in two places at once.  How many times have we misplaced something in our classrooms and that is when we are in one place.  I misplace something daily, so Teri I can totally relate to how you are feeling.  You are amazing.

The entire 5th grade team for the support you are providing Teri as she adjusts this week.  

School Wide Feature: Language Arts module work

There is evidence of language arts module work in every classroom at Sexton Elementary School.  Not that it wasn't there last year, but maybe I am just excited that I know exactly what I am looking at this year and can identify what standards we are working on based on the work I am seeing.  But aside from that, everyone seems more confident in the work they are doing with their students and perhaps everyone is more confident in the work and for that reason it is displayed front and center in every classroom.  Whatever the case, our students will benefit from our awesome module work.  Here are some examples of what is evident across the campus: 

 Outside of Nicole Sackett's 3rd grade classroom is a series of guided writings.  Students have had the experience of reading multiple texts on topic and creating a opinion piece using text evidence.

 Students in Kelly Czarnecki's room have begun to compare text to video.

 Students in Tiffany Morra's room are learning how to use graphic organizers.  They don't know how to use it unless we teach them.

 Students in second grade have plenty of opportunities to interact with vocabulary throughout their module work.

 Graphic organizers are displayed and used to teach students how to organize the information they are learning.

There are processes in place to help students remember the procedures and steps for different ways to interact with text. 

I wish I was able to give the proper credit to each of the photos.  I have been collecting them over the last few weeks as I am in and out of classrooms and could not remember the location of each photo. 

Primary Teacher Feature: Jennifer Johnson

This week's primary teacher feature is coming to us from the first grade team.  It is their fabulous team leader, Jennifer Johnson. 

I will never forget the first time I saw first grade journals.  It was in Jennifer Johnson's classroom last year.  I remember thinking....Holy cow, these journals are amazing.  Her first graders were writing....and they were writing a lot.  They were writing on topic and they did so consistently. 

Because of the way we have split the grade levels this year, I do not have the opportunity to go through the primary classrooms as often unless I am looking for something specific.  So having the opportunity to really look at one primary classroom over the course of a week, while I capture the essence of that teacher has been amazing.  There are always so many details I never notice otherwise, and Jennifer's classroom was no exception. 

 Her door is always welcoming. 

 One thing I never noticed was just how visual everything in Jennifer's room is.  Pictured above is the morning routine which is featured prominently upon entering the room.  There is a picture flow chart along with a description of what each picture is for.  There is not a question about the processes in place in her classroom. 
 Each student has work featured on the student work board. 

 Jennifer's classroom is an underwater sea theme.  The theme's at Sexton are amazing.

 I thought the pictograph/bar graph was super first grader friendly.

 The student work is colorful and covers the room. 

 Another example of a very visual processes chart.  I never noticed this CHAMPS chart before on the back office door, but I think it a highly effective tool for primary students.

 Data is displayed for students to set goals towards where they should be each month in first grade. 

 Math manipulatives are well organized and easily accessible.

Another small detail I had never noticed before featuring Jennifer.  Small cones for students who have achieved above and beyond that week. 

Intermediate Teacher Feature: Chelsea Riley

This week our intermediate teacher feature is coming to us from the 5th grade team.  This week's featured teacher is Chelsea Riley. 

Chelsea Riley is someone I truly admire.  She is calm and consistent in her classroom.  She is always thinking and is innovative in what she does.  Chelsea has amazing journals across all content areas and she has some amazing tools in her classroom that she uses to help her students achieve to their highest potential.  If I end up back in a classroom during this crazy journey that I am on, I can only hope that I would be half as effective as Chelsea is highly effective. 

Chelsea and Leanne Lapointe recently participated in a professional development session which was primarily focused on increasing engagement during the language arts block.  One of the components that both brought back from it was a tool called mentor text.  Using a sentence from a text in the classroom, they have begun to implement a five minute a day routine that spans across five days, which is a way for them to squeeze in the foundational grammatical components in a highly structured, engaging way.  Here is how Chelsea brought back some of those pieces into her classroom: 

 Students have a review of the parts of speech, something that is vital as they go forward and master the FL standards.

 On day one, students simply state what they notice in the mentor sentence.  Mostly identifying parts of speech and having brief discussions about what these mean for the sentence.

Students then go through a few days where they are manipulating pieces of the sentence to make it "better" or more "powerful". 

Students then interact one on one with the text. 

I am not doing the strategy justice, if you want to learn more about this strategy, or you have been trying to find a quick routine for incorporating daily grammar into your language arts block, see Chelsea or Leanne for a better explanation of this routine.

Chelsea's classroom is filled with so many tools and high yield instructional strategies.  Here is a highlight of just some of them: 

 Students have access to a variety of graphic organizers to suite their individual learning needs.  Students always have the freedom to choose the graphic organizer that helps them to make the most sense out of the information being presented.  This makes them more aware of why they are using the graphic organzier. 

 Students monitor their progress in relation to each benchmark with their assigned number on the math board.

 Chelsea is exploring different ways to incorporate opportunities for students to express their thinking.

A document that looks similar to the science success criteria is also in their math journals. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Kryptonite Kudos

My Kryptonite Kudos this week is completely dedicated to those of you who have volunteered your time for Friday October 24th from 6-8 for the PTA fall festival. 

As most of you have heard, the fall festival was on the brink of being cancelled.  Thank goodness for Sheila, and our wonderful volunteers:  Mr. and Mrs. Mize and Tara for helping me to ensure this happens.  And thank you all who are able to volunteer to run a booth that evening.  We have face painting lined up, the duck pond, some toss games, the cake walk, bowling, corn hole, tattoos, the pumpkin lollipop, crafts, baskets, popcorn, cotton candy, pizza, dunk chair, and a few other games that people are setting up.  It will be worth it to be able to provide our families with an inexpensive night out in a safe environment. 

If you see Sheila, Tara, or Mr. and Mrs. Mize this week, please tell them thank you for being AWESOME and thank you all for always going above and beyond.  I appreciate each and every one of you. 

School Wide Feature: Science Lab

Instead of featuring a curriculum component this week for the school wide feature, I wanted to feature the science lab and our science lab managers:  Tracy and Amy. 

Two weeks ago, the science lab district coach came by to drop off a few boxes of supplies and emailed me as soon as he got back to the office to say how great our science lab was.  He even said he took some pictures to feature on the science lab moodle site.  I thought..."gosh, I better feature the work of these two fabulous ladies before they become district celebrities." 

If you haven't had an opportunity to see our science lab on campus, pop your head in and check it out.  Amy and Tracy go above and beyond every single week.  They have a basic outline of what they are required to set-up and if they have the ability to go above and beyond that to make it more user friendly for the classroom teachers, then they do.  They are fabulous and it has really been a smooth transition for grades 3-5 and their ability to implement this into their days. 

In this case, I am not sure the pictures really do the science lab justice, but here is a little sliver of what it is like to be in the science lab: 

Primary Teacher Feature: Molly Overby

This week I would like to feature Molly Overby as our Primary Teacher Feature.  Molly is coming to us from 2nd grade this year.  Molly is rocking in second grade.  You would think that she has been teaching second grade for longer than just two months, but that is how long it has been, since Molly was a first grade teacher last year. 

Molly has amazing processes in place in her classroom.  Her journals are amazing and I have featured those on the school wide curriculum feature last month.  This month I wanted to feature all the little details that are awesome strategies for highest student achievement that are evident in every space in her classroom. 

 There are numerous access points to vocabulary that is displayed throughout the classroom.  There is no question as to what these mathematical terms are referring to. 

 The vocabulary routine that is present throughout the second grade team, including Molly's classroom is highly interactive. 

 Her fifth grade friends re rejoicing as they see evidence of science being taught and experienced by her second graders.

 Molly has set the tone for the expectations in every content area.  The expectation is you will participate, but you will do so with constant respect for your peers.

 A little superhero corner.. :)

 Students can leave specific compliments to each other. 

 Data is displayed and tracked.  It is easy to understand and is accessible.

A rubric is present and used throughout the day. 

So many high yields strategies in one classroom.  Molly is an amazing teacher and we are so lucky to have her at Sexton Elementary School.