What to do? It seems as though there is never a lack of things to do to move a staff forward. This week was no exception. Between mentoring the new staff and keeping up with the needs of the crew "that has been here and done it all", it was a busy week.
As Common Core moves us forward we are looking closely at how we are having our students write in the classroom. It is not only how but when and what do our students need to write about? There is definitely the push to do more nonfiction reading. With reading goes writing hand in hand. As grade levels collaborate and share those writing ideas, we also then turn our thoughts to how will the writing be reflected upon by the student(s) and evaluated in some way? How will the scoring end up on the new standards based report card?
My new teachers in the building were busy this week. I have modeled power writing in two classrooms and let the teachers provide me some feedback on how the students writing has improved. The students in the classroom thought power writing was easy and had a lot of fun writing. I need to continue this support of power writing in their classrooms and I am thinking of whether we try and use the students writing as a common formative assessment or not. I am trying to decide and I need insight from my new teachers on how we continue to move the power writing forward. I need to remember to follow their lead and be the support.
Two other brand new teachers decided their goal for the week was to improve in the area of math. I watched a new teacher do an excellent job giving a number talk. She gained so much info on how her students were processing information. I laughed with her about the thinking of one student in the room that went in a backwards way to solve a multiplication problem. He was absolutely correct in his thinking, but I and the new teacher had never thought to solve a problem in this way.
My youngest teacher in her primary classroom did an excellent job teaching place value. I gave her a general feedback/ observation and documented for about 30 minutes in her classroom. I also took out the iPad and did a quick video of students doing the place value activity, which I then sent to her by email for her electronic portfolio/evaluation. She used buttons and Dixie
cups along with a place value mat to teach place value in the ones and tens place.
My favorite part of the week was seeing the writing in the hallway of Kindergarten students. They were asked to write what they were thankful for. One student wrote they were "thankful for cats and Jezus". That one made me laugh and made my day!