January 20, 2013

By Allan  

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a good three-day weekend.

Ten items of note for this week:

• Design Team Update – The architects revised the two plans we liked from last week’s meeting, taking into account the design elements we felt were our priorities (see last week’s announcements). The architects also brought back Plan B-4, which we’d initially dismissed because it would have meant demolishing Rooms 1-5 in order to build, but the architects found a way around that. This plan quickly became the team’s unanimous favorite for a number of reasons. One, this plan would locate the playground west of the building (away from the community path to the park, is in a sunnier location, is closer to the track, and has a larger space for kids at recess) as opposed to Plan B-5. Two, the L-shaped design at the building’s entrance is much more attractive than a long flat front as in in Plan B-2 (and our current building). And three, this plan also allows for a better connection between the cafeteria and courtyard, which would allow students to better roll-up a big glass garage door for students to be able to eat at tables outside. Plan B-4 now works because the architects were able to re-site the new building so that it would only necessitate demolition of Rooms 4 and 5. The design team realizes demolishing this would be highly inconvenient for people working in the south wing, to say the least, but we would be able to make things work for one year in order to get the building layout we really want and works best. Attached here is a ZIP File of all the schemes that were presented to us.

And don’t forget about our Pinterest page if you have ideas for the new school; anything from design concepts, to furniture to technology. Just follow the page and I can give you access to pin your ideas!

• PTO Meeting, Tuesday at 6:00 PM – I’ll be out of the building the day of the PTO meeting, so it would be great to have a couple staff reps at the meeting, which will be on Tuesday at 6:00 PM in the library.

• Welcome Larry Soberman This Week – Larry Soberman, who retired as the Twin Oaks principal at the end of last year, will be covering for me Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Larry already covered at Adams for a couple month earlier this school year, so he’s still pretty well plugged into whats going on in schools. Larry also used to be the district 504 Coordinator, so this is your chance to corner someone with every 504 question you’ve ever had! I’ll still be checking email and texts, so feel free to contact me if there’s anything that comes up.

• January 31st PD Day – On our Howard PD day later this month, our main focus will be to begin a school wide Number Talks discussion. Reid Shepard will be leading the training, which he is also leading as a 5 part training of at the district level. Number Talks and the training are described as follows:

Number Talks are five to fifteen minute conversations around computation problems that are solved mentally. PLC participants will use the book Number Talks by Sherry Parrish to learn how to prepare for and design purposeful number talks and how to develop grade-level-specific strategies for the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

There will also be some business and informational items covered this day, including a CICO Training and an EPI Pen training. Please me know if there are any other agenda items people have for the 31st.

• School Wide Reading Book – Shelly already sent an email about this year’s school-wide reading book for the year, A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith. Books will soon be in teachers mailboxes and author & theme related books will be available in the library for students and teachers to check out. Hopefully classes will have activities/art/writing/poems etc. related to the book on display for your families for Literacy Night on Feb. 27. If you would like to do a school wide community project (Greenhill?) with this story please let Shelly know.

• More Grants for Howard From Eugene Education Foundation! – EEF has let us know that Howard’s grant request, authored by Lupe; “EEF-Funded Experience Science” has been fully funded to the requested amount of $2012, and Julie’s “EEF-Funded Oregon Battle of the Books” has been fully funded to the requested amount of $500. Way to go, Lupe and Julie!

• Reminder to Start Purging Old Materials Now – Ready or not, in a year and four months from now, we’ll be packing up everything in the building, wether we’re taking it to the new building or not. Remember that there is no time like the present to begin purging your old materials collecting dust. Doing a little housecleaning now will save a lot of time down the road!

• Study: Electronic books improve students’ literacy skills – Young students’ literacy skills may benefit from the use of electronic books — viewed on iPads and other devices, according to a recent study that found students respond to the ability to see, hear and touch texts using the devices. Researchers reported finding the type of device students use may have an effect. They write that “the larger desktop touch screen, it appears, supports different modalities than the smallest device, the iPod, while the iPad support comparable behaviors.”

• How teachers can help students achieve in the workplace – Workplace trends these days lean toward mobility and agility, and entrepreneurship is valued, according to Kristen Swanson, senior educational technology leader for BrightBytes and a founder of the Edcamp movement. In this blog post, she writes that teachers can help students become successful in their careers by branding themselves, identifying their strengths and teaching them to use different learning resources.

The concept of entrepreneurship is a key principle at the schools I’m visiting this week (along with project base learning in a high tech environment) and I think this article succinctly summarizes the skills related to this notion that schools should be teaching to promote entrepreneurship.

• Schedule of Events for the Week – See the Google Calendar for future events, but here are the events of note for this week:

January 20 (M)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – No School

January 21 (T)
Allan out of building. Larry Soberman Subbing.
2:30-3:30, PBIS Meeting (Room 21)
2:30-3:30, EEA Seminar Series Classes at Howard (Room 6 & 13)
6:00-7:00, PTO Meeting (Library)

January 22 (W)
A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith Delivered to Teacher Mailboxes
7:30-12:00, Data Team Meetings

January 23 (H)
2:30-4:30, Design Team Meeting (Library)

January 24 (F)
Crazy Hair Day
Health Screening (Gym)
2:30, Allan to IEP Meeting (Room 10)
6:00-8:00, PTO Family Movie Night (Gym)

January 25 (S)
9:00-12:00, Allan, Erin and Lori to School Showcase (Ed Center)

Have a great week, everyone!