October 20th, 2013

Week of October 21st, 2013

Hi All,

Here are several items of note for this week:

Dawn helped us get Cereal for Youth!

Cereal for Youth provides nutritious cereal to children and teens through schools and youth programs in Lane County. Attune Foods (formerly Hearthside) produces a new, highly nutritious cereal in 1.9 oz. size bags. These bags hold up well when milk is poured into them, or the cereal can be eaten dry, and children may eat the cereal at school or take it home for later. The product is donated to FOOD for Lane County and distributed locally to children through schools and youth programs.
For more information, contact Karen Roth at (541) 343-2822 or email info@foodforlanecounty.org.

What Schools Can Learn From Google, IDEO, and Pixar – The country’s strongest innovators embrace creativity, play, and collaboration – values that also inform their physical spaces. – This is a must read article that highlights three key themes I’d like to guide the design of our new building, CREATIVITY, PLAY and COLLABORATION. In many ways, what makes the Googles of the world exceptional begins in the classroom – an embrace of creativity, play, and collaboration. We can no longer afford to teach our kids or design our schools the way we used to if we want to prepare students to have 21st century skills (which are embodied in CCSS). In looking at various exemplary workplaces such as IDEO, Google, and Pixar, we can glean valuable lessons about effective educational approaches and the spaces that support them.

 Conferences Information – Conferences aren’t for a week and a half, but I did want to let teachers know that the PTO will be providing meals one evening and the school will provide the second. Also, I wanted to remind teachers that if you have 29 or more students in your class that you will be compensated for one half (1/2) day at your per diem rate. I’ve also included a link from the NEA Website with resources and tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Lastly, I shared these last year, but here are some good tips that I got from an ASCD article on conducting parent-teacher conferences.

• Listen well, regardless of the situation.
• Balance constructive critiques with positive comments about the student.
• Make parents feel welcomed and relaxed. Parents are not on their turf; they may feel anxious or nervous.
• Inform parents that you, the teacher, will take notes during the conference so you can carefully address each of their concerns.
• Be cool and calm in everything you say and do. Your tone of voice and mannerisms can escalate or deescalate parent-teacher interactions.
• Be deliberate and realistic in what you promise a parent. Remember that you cannot feasibly call or e-mail several parents or caregivers every day.
• Collect data on what you say. Take note of how many questions you ask, how often you offer the parent encouragement, and how often you emphasize the ideas or suggestions that the parent brings to the conference.
• At all costs, do not use your authority as a teacher as a means of forcing your point of view.
• Interact with parents or caregivers to learn more about the student and to understand how the parent has been successful or unsuccessful with that student at home.
• Understand your role as a teacher and have a working knowledge of how other school professionals can support parents and students. Generic referrals to “seeing a guidance counselor” are not always necessary or appropriate.
• Conduct the conference in a warm, enthusiastic, and professional way. Teachers who appear apathetic, aloof, or begrudging will seldom foster successful relationships with parents and caregivers.

Free/Reduced Meals Forms at Conferences – I plan on getting the Free/Reduced Meals counts this week.  I suspect that we are up a bit from last year but will let you know the data next week. October/ November is especially important to get parents to sign up for Free/Reduced Meals. Please highlight the program to families at conferences and have some forms on hand. Besides the importance of making sure families who would benefit from the program are participating, our F/R count directly impacts our classroom and Title staffing levels, so it’s a good idea for many reasons to encourage families to enroll in the program even if they don’t plan on using it.

Joel gone during conferences week: I will be a facilitator at a CFEE week long workshop during the first week in November.  I have been able to get a guest principal during that week, Alicia Kruska. Alicia has been the assistant principal of Madison for 3 years.  She has extensive experience in elementary as a teacher and will be great to have as a guest principal while I am in Cottage Grove. i will still be available by phone and text during this week so do not hesitate to communicate with me while I am out.

Joel Available at Conferences ( Partly) – I’m available to sit in on any conferences that teachers would like me to attend. Just let me know the date and time and I’ll get it on my calendar. This year, I do have a conference planned during the conferences week. I will be at conferences on Tuesday, but will not available before 4:00 PM on Thursday.

Phone Interpretation Services – The district is piloting a phone interpretation service for emergency/last minute requests or if a local interpreter is not available. This service only works for individual parent meetings, not group meetings. If you find yourself needing this service, let me know and I’ll get you the information. We also have Jose Torres scheduled for conferences on Tuesday and most parents who need these services have been contacted and worked with.

The Good Behavior Game – Brianna Stiller sent principals two version of The Good Behavior Game (version II and version III) and asked us to share it with staff. Read on for what Brianna has to say about the behavior management game. It sounds like a simple and effective classroom management system. Resources are also available on the 4J Curriculum website.

Message from Brianna:

Recently, there has been some press and at least one training relating to the Good Behavior Game.  I’m not entirely sure if anyone has tried to make money off of this concept yet, but I’m sure someone eventually will.  My message is:  It’s a very effective tool — so, if you are having difficulty getting students to meet your behavioral expectations, by all means, use it.  But don’t pay for it!!!!

The Good Behavior Game is exceedingly simple and is often used by elementary teachers, but I have also used it successfully with middle school students and I am confident I could also make it work with high school students, with a few changes in language to make it more developmentally appropriate.  I’m pretty sure Jill Corrigan at NEHS uses it routinely with success ——

Attached are two versions of the Good Behavior Game:  One version I got by going online and downloading it; and one version I wrote with editing from Cheryl Linder.  You are also welcome to create your own version — the big idea is to be extremely clear with your expectations; to give students points at a high rate when they are following directions; and to give yourself points if there are infractions that have been specifically identified as “teacher point” or “red point”.  You have to set it up so that kids win the game at least 80% of the time.  Don’t do this by lowering your expectations — do it by focusing on “catching them being good”.  The less often they are winning, the more you have to focus on “catching them being good”.



CCSS in Kid Friendly Language – Here are some nice posters of the CCSS in kid friendly language, broken down by subject area and grade level. Follow the link to find your grade level.

TalentEd Update on “misplaced” documents – HR just received word last Friday from TalentEd that the first phase of the data recovery process for documents entered into the system prior to October 1, 2013 (and perceived “lost”) have now concluded. This work was set to be completed over the weekend and the system should be fully operational again on Monday. Please do not go on Talent Ed this Sunday.  Also, I encourage you to save all work done on Talent Ed as a print out or a PDF document in your own files.

Find Your Balance Challenge – Here is an environmental contest that’s open to elementary school classrooms in grades K-5 and rewards student teams for taking steps toward achieving Energy Balance in your own school communities. See their website for more information!

Using Children’s Books to Enhance Mathematics – This article suggest ways to use children’s literature to explain mathematics and make it vivid for students. The key steps, they say, are (a) choosing a good text, (b) exploring the text in a read-aloud and discussion with students, and (c) extending the text by getting students to explore ideas after the read-aloud is finished. See the attached article for some books they suggest, along with the math links and suggested age-ranges.

Free Access to myON Books – The Oregon Department of Education is providing free access to myON Books through December 20, 2013. It’s an online library of over 4,000 enhanced digital books K-6 for students and families. TumbleBooks still looks like it has a better library of more familiar titles, but I thought myOn looked worth sharing. Similar to TumbleBooks, students can read or have books read to them on the site. See the attached letter for more information.

Equity and Anti-racism Resource of the Week

Here is a student story called The Leaf Rakers that one could use to initiate a conversation with students on bias and interrupting racism. This short story is in this month’s issue of the Teaching Tolerance magazine. This story could be used in a CFK class meeting or as a 4th or 5th grade reading activity. I will continue to provide you with resources similar to this so you have something practical to use to be proactive in your discussions of race with our students.

Schedule of Events for the Week

October 21 (M)

8:40-9:15  Joel in Parent Meeting

9:15-10:15 Joel doing walk through observations.
12:30-1:00, Joel in Parent Meeting

1:45-2:10- Cookie Dough Assembly, All students will attend. We will start calling students down at 1:35.

3:00-  Kinder Common Goals Meeting

October 22 (T)

3:00, PBIS Meeting

3:00, Sibling – Parent Conferences Meeting

October 23 (W)

Sara Cramer at AP All Day

8:30-11:30, 1st Grade Goes to the Pumpkin Patch

2:00, Joel in Goals Meeting , Joel’s office

3:00, Goals Meeting with the intermediate team, Room 13.

October 24 (H)

11:00-3:30, IIPM Consultation Day in Room 13

3:00-3:30, IPBS in the Conference Room- Please remember to fill our request for assistance forms and give them to Kristen about behaviors. Remember the IIPM team is focusing on reading, math, and writing issues. All behavioral

October 25 (F)

1:30-2:30, Joel meets with Melissa about Title 1 programs and documents.

3:00-4:00, IEP Meeting for a 3rd grade student.

Have a great week, everyone!



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