Friday, June 4, 2010

Week of June 7- The Final Stretch

Kudos and To Do's

Thanks for another great week! Thanks to all of the 8th grade staff for hosting an outstanding 8th Grade dance. The students looked awesome (I wish we could get them to dress like that next week). Kudos to all of you for keeping our students engaged as we experienced our unexpected heat wave and brown-out. You guys are the best! As we continue testing next week with History and Science, please remind students to be quiet as they travel the halls. Monitoring student movement is crucial this time of year. Make sure you are at your duty stations—especially during class changes. Remember to begin eating lunch in the cafeteria with your students beginning Friday, June 11.

Instructional Focus
As we approach the end of the school year, keep in mind that we are delivering instruction until the last day. I gave some links last week to some pretty creative end of school year activities.

This week one of our new teachers (Mr. Davis), asked if he could teach some of the rising 8th grade students some skills they would need for the first week of school. What a great suggestion— “teaching-up.” You could go online and look at the curriculum for the next grade and do some things with the vocabulary that they will need for the first few weeks of school next year. How about using the textbook for a couple of days to just introduce them to some of the skills and concepts?  Give it a try!

This Week
Monday- Walkthroughs with Dr. Steve Edwards
Tuesday- History SOLs
Wednesday- Science SOLs
Thursday- Rising 6th Grade Students and Parents visit in the AM/ AR Luau
Friday- Field Day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Week of June 2- Math SOL Testing

Kudos and To Do's

Thanks for another great week!  Our students are feeling confident as they take their test.  Thanks for helping to create that sense of confidence!  Big ups to all of our English teachers--thanks for preparing them.  Next week we begin our round of Math testing.  I know they are ready.  Mark your calendars, we will have a final walk-through with Steve Edwards and members of central office staff on June 7th.  All grade levels will be visited.  Also, rising 6th Grade students and their parents will visit us (tentatively) on June 10th. Our visitors will start in the auditorium and be given a tour of classrooms and the first floor. 

The end of the year is both exciting and stressful. Be sure to plan engaging activities for the close of the year. School is not over until June 17. It is imperative that we send a clear message that learning will take place until the last day of school.

Mini Relaxation Exercises

Stress Buster Tips

Instructional Focus

Work with your teams to plan fun and engaging activities for the last days of school. Celebrate what they have learned all year with high interest fun activities that you may not have had an opportunity to do before SOL testing. Your students will love the opportunity to show what they have learned.  Now is an awesome time to "Hobby Teach!" Or better yet, why not give kids a jump start on something they will need to know early next year.

Here are some links to some sites that have end of the year activities to keep students engaged.

End of Year Lessons 1

End of Year Lessons 2

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week of May 24- SOL Testing and End of Year Items

Kudos and To Do's
It's hard to believe SOL testing is in full swing! Thanks to all of you for working so hard with our students. Students are feeling good going into their tests!  Big ups to our P.E. Staff for organizing our Field Day.  They are planning some great activities for the entire school. 

Thanks for making sure that you are in the halls during class changes. Our students are doing well however, we need to make sure that students are safe during this time of year. Also a reminder, please be sure your students are traveling quietly through the halls during testing.

This year you will not receive hard copies of the end of year packets.  You will recieve an electronic file and a hard copy of the signature sheet. The file will be emailed to you early this week with specific directions.  I am using Google Docs for the six forms you need to complete. Three of the six forms are below.  The other three forms will be emailed to you this week.

Please complete these three forms by June 4. Mrs. Granby will monitor their completion:
Committee Club Request

Class Repair Form

Continue Stop and Start Form 
( You must send Mrs. Granby and email when you have completed the continue, stop,start form)

Instructional Focus
There are 50 million different things that our students can do during the last few weeks of school--even during testing week (besides watching videos, crossword puzzles and coloring).  Here is a link to a great site for end of the year activities:

End of the Year Activities

Have an idea? Post it to this wall wisher:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Week of May 17- SOL Testing in Full Swing

Kudos and To Do's

Thanks to Mr. Jastrebsky, Mrs. French and Mrs. Downs for putting on a wonderful Spring Concert!  I understand they were outstanding!  Mrs. Lambusta represented Passage well at the Teacher of the Year Banquet! Kudos to our Algebra and Geometry teachers (Mrs. Watkins, Ms. Berg, Ms. Cioletti, Mrs. Rath, and Mr. McDonald) for doing such a great job with our students, I am sure they did well on their SOL tests.  Thanks to Mr. Holden and Mr. White for coaching our Basketball teams this season! Our students did a fine job under your leadership!

The end of the year is rapidly approaching! In order to reach the big payoff—summer vacation, we have to deal with the stresses that the last few weeks bring: end of the year testing, summer school lists, parents who do not understand why their children have I’s, rooms to be cleaned and items to be stored, accounts to be reconciled, and many more items that I'm sure I’ve missed. And of course… your personal life continues to move forward through all of this. Heaven forbid you get sick at this time of year!
So, how can we handle all of this stress? Unfortunately there is not one magic answer. The good news is, we can find a lot of relief by practicing a positive attitude each other, our students and towards all of the problems facing us. This makes all of the difference.

Try this strategy next week: Giving kids “hope.”
Frequently, make statements like, “I know you can do it.”
“I know you are ready for the test because you have been working hard.”

Remember, the only thing you really have the ability to improve is yourself. Amazingly when you do, everything else around you does as well. Bring on those SOL tests!

Instructional Focus

Here are some great sites to use with students to review for the SOL tests:

Interactive Quizzes by Tami Maloney- Great site

SOL Pass has released tests etc…

Different on-line tests some from Texas (they have a similar SOL type test)

Jefferson Lab- great site

A Glance Ahead- 
Monday- Faculty Meeting/ Vertical Team Meetings
Thursday - 6th Grade English SOL Test

Friday, May 7, 2010

Week of May 10 SOL Testing to Begin Soon

Kudos and TuDo’s

Thanks to the 6th grade staff for coming out this week for a 6th grade SOL night. I appreciate your willingness to work with families to give them strategies to assist their children at home! Thanks to everyone for doing an awesome job with creating small group lessons and activities this week! Big ups to the Instructional Assistants for their effort this week with small groups--Keep it up!

Instructional Focus

Its crunch time! Be sure to use data to form groups for review. Remember the “one size fits all” method of review is not as effective as targeted specific reviews. This week, encourage your students to complete at least two JLabs a week. Have them email the results to you. The familiarity of testing format will assist them with feeling comfortable with the SOL test.

Jefferson Lab SOL Quizzes

A Glance Ahead
Tuesday May 11-Algebra and Geometry SOL testing

Friday, April 30, 2010

Week of May 3- Special Education Audit Feed Back

Kudos and To Do's 
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  Last week Dr. Kilgore had a great visit with about 17 of our students. She asked them thought provoking questions. Our students were very complimentary of our teachers! I will share some of the things they said at our faculty meeting Monday. Our performing arts department rocks!  Great job with the competitions! High five to Mrs. Wright for diecting this years drama production, "Willy Wonka Jr.!" What a great performance! Big ups to Mrs. Hackman and Mr. Wright for leading the efforts with our Special Education Audit-we came out smelling like roses! The SpEd Department is really working hard! Congratulations to Mrs. Merritt for being invited by the VADOE to work on the English Curriculum Framework this summer! Thanks to Mrs. Francis, Ms. Jeffery and Mr. Giffon for attending the PTA planning meeting Thursday evening!  We are off to a great start for next school year! 

Instructional Focus
As a reminder next week is walkthrough week. All of the content supervisors will assist with the walkthroughs at some point next week. The "look for strategy" is small group instruction. I am looking forward to us talking about all of the great things happening in each other’s classrooms.
Monday and Wednesday- Math and Science
Tuesday and Thursday- English and Social Studies
Friday- All contents

Here is a tackle box of technology tools.  There are some great resources in the toolbox (acutally its a wiki)

A Look Ahead (check the calendar)
Monday- Faculty meeting
Tuesday- SOL examiner training