February 11, 2013

By Allan  

Hello Staff,

I’m going to try something new this week. I’ve been buried with paperwork (or the electronic version of paperwork) lately, so in order to get into classrooms more, I’m going to visit classes with my iPad or laptop and do some multitasking. Hopefully my ADD won’t get the best of me with this experiment.

Ten items of note for this week:

• Safety Week This Week – This week is “Safety Week” to practice the most common safety drills. If you need a review of any of these drills, see the rainbow colored Emergency Procedure Manual and also the Howard handouts for Lockdowns, Code Blue and Code Red.

Monday is an Earthquake/Fire Drill, which I believe everyone is familiar with. For the Room Clear on Tuesday, classroom teachers should schedule a time with a teaching partner to practice a Room Clear at some point during the day. Wednesday, folks get a break. Thursday will be a Lock Down drill, which we will conduct the same as we did the previous one, starting with a Code Blue and then move to a Code Red. Remember to email Lori with your attendance during this drill. Friday will be a Directed Relocation, which will happen right before the Roadrunner Assembly. Lori or I will get on the intercom and will direct classes to the gym for this drill. Below is the concise version of the schedule for the week. Please let m know if you have any questions regarding any of these drills.

⁃ Monday, Feb. 11 – Earthquake/Fire Drill, 9:30
⁃ Tuesday, Feb. 12 – Room Clear, time decided by teachers
⁃ Thursday, Feb. 14 – Lock Down, 10:30
⁃ Friday, Feb. 15 – Directed Relocation, 12:50 directed to the gym (right before the Roadrunner Assembly)

• “Taking it Up” Opportunity – There will be a second opportunity coming VERY soon for any staff members interested in attending “Taking it Up” who have not already attended. The two-day seminar will be offered February 21st & 22nd. Downtown is paying all of the registration fees and I will be paying for substitutes if any of you would like to attend this excellent two-day experience. Two graduate credits will also be available. For those not familiar with “Taking it Up”, it is a provocative seminar focused on helping educators, school board leaders, and community members deepen their understanding of the institutionalized racist barriers that hinder elimination of Oregon’s racial achievement gap. This focus on working from the inside out will challenge participants to step out of their comfort zone and create new entry points for becoming aware of, understanding, and interrupting inequitable policies and practices in our schools. Please let me know by the end of this week if you would like to attend this high quality and challenging workshop. See the attached flyer for more details.

• iPad Mini Pilot Update – Four teachers stepped forward to be part of our iPad Mini Pilot; Kim, Melissa, Angela and Allison. They are all working to figure out the best ways to integrate the minis into classroom, both instructionally and logistically. If you’d like to follow their progress and hear about their challenges, success and other thoughts, they’ve created a terrific website for folks to keep up on their pilot. Way to go Mini Maniacs!

• Staffing Survey Due, Monday, February 25th – If you haven’t done so already, please return your staffing survey to me by Monday, February 25th. You can reply to me via email or by returning a hardcopy to my mailbox (although I prefer email).

• Title I Blog from Suzy Price – If you’d like to know what’s happening in Title 1 from the district level, here is Suzy Price’s February blog post. There are several good instructional link and of special interest to 3/4/5 teachers, there is some information on how OAKS growth scores are going to be calculated.

• A Teacher Gets the Most Out of an iPad in Her Classroom – This short one page article, although written by a high school teacher, has some good ideas how to use a single teacher iPad with students. There’s also a list of useful apps that might be worth checking out.

• Educator uses social media to lead project-based lessons – Elementary teacher Krissy Venosdale uses various digital media tools, including Skype, Twitter and blogs, to take learning to the next level, journalist Suzie Boss writes in this blog post. Venosdale uses KnowGlobe to connect students to others around the world and recently organized a mock election at #KidVote. “My kids are used to that sense of exploring. They want to know. They want to ask. They’re constantly thinking,” she said. Of all the ideas presented in this article, I found her uses of Skype the most interesting.

• Will an elementary-school student create the next big app? – Here’s a good article about students at an Ohio elementary school learning to develop smartphone applications at a new after-school program. Using the “App Inventor,” students will design apps and then market them to the public. This is a great way to start planting seeds early, saying you can go into technology and science.

• Kids should learn programming as well as reading and writing – Related to the above post, this TEDx video sets out a tech challenge that I haven’t seen any other elementary school in 4J taking on. This TEDx video is of Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group (where the free kids’ programming language Scratch comes) doing a TedX talk about the role of programming in education, arguing that kids should learn to code so that they can use code to learn:

Most people view computer coding as a narrow technical skill. Not Mitch Resnick. He argues that the ability to code, like the ability to read and write, is becoming essential for full participation in today’s society. And he demonstrates how Scratch programming software from the MIT Media Lab makes coding accessible and appealing to everyone — from elementary-school children to his 83-year-old mom.

As director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, Mitch Resnick designs new technologies that, in the spirit of the blocks and finger paint of kindergarten, engage people of all ages in creative learning experiences.


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

Feb. 11 (M)
PBIS Focus: Cooperation
Safety Week – Earthquake Fire Drill

9:30-9:40, Earthquake/Fire Drill (weather permitting)
12:15-12:45, Allan to Formal Observation Pre-Conference
2:30-5:00, Allan Elementary Principal’s Meeting

Feb. 12 (T)
Safety Week – Room Clear (time to be decided by teachers)

7:30-7:55, Allan to Formal Observation Pre-Conference
8:00-9:00, Allan to Teacher Formal Observation
9:40-9:55, Allan reading to class
11:00-12:00 OBOB Practice (Room 2)
2:30-3:30, Collaborative Practice Meeting

Feb. 13 (W)
8:50-9:50, Allan to Teacher Formal Observation
1:20-1:50 Parent Laptop Training (Room 6)
1:30-2:30 Allan to Common Schedule Operations Meeting (Ed Center)
2:30-3:30 Allan to Teacher Formal Observation Post-Conference

Feb. 14 (H)
Valentine’s Day
Safety Week – Lock Down

10:30-10:15, Lock Down Drill
11:00-12:00, OBOB Practice (Room 2)
12:15-1:15 Allan to Teacher Formal Observation Post-Conference
2:30-3:30, IPBS Meeting (Room 10)

Feb. 15 (F)
Safety Week – Directed Relocation

12:50-1:00, Directed Relocation to Gym
1:00-1:30, Roadrunner Award Assembly

Look forward to your three-day weekend!