Today we began the process of sorting students into classes for next year. There are so many pieces to consider as we place students including behavior, academics, personalities, etc. This process takes a very long time and when we left we had a pretty good foundation for these classes. Over the next few weeks and months these will continue to change before class lists are finalized. I'm excited for what next year brings for my students and although I am very sad to see them move on...I know I have placed them in great hands-I've seen to it! :)
Today for PLC we were able to use this time to help plan instruction for our classrooms. As you know we have been studying the book "Making Thinking Visible" so we had a chance to plan some new thinking routines to use. I planned alongside Maggie Willett and we were able to complete CLO's (Content Language Objectives) for four math units. The entire staff reviewed the writing of these and then shared them through a staff website we have. We were able to look over each others and use them to help us write and adapt the ones we use each day in our classroom. If you'd like to see the ones that I use, they are posted on the bulletin board right by the entrance of the class under the "What are we learning today?" section.
Today we had a presentation by Michelle from PEBC. The staff brought artifacts from our thinking routine study that we have tried or used over the last month. I shared about a routine called "The Explanation Game". This thinking routine was to continue the work our class had done through our 'See, Think Wonder' routine. I wanted a way to really have them connect the scientific learning we had done (and are in the process of) to what they were seeing and apply it to the rocks we were studying in our classroom. For some reason, I must have skimmed over this routine while reading the book because when I went back to look at a new routine to mix things up, this one really spoke to me and I didn't remember it from my original read. The purpose of this routine was to have my class begin to explain and use scientific reasoning to explain what they observed in rocks.
What I did: I introduced this routine to my class by being very honest and saying that I really wasn't sure how I wanted them to show me the outcomes of this routine-but it sounded very fun and seemed to be just what our class needed. I read the section in the book (the gray box) and said I thought we might adapt it a little. I guided their thinking to four ideas/questions that we needed to explain for our 'Explanation Game' round.
I showed them a 'Desert Rose' rock (you can see it in the third photo) that I had been given last year as a gift. It is a really fascinating rock that even I dont' know much about. I then asked them to brainstorm ideas on how they wanted to show me their thinking. One class came up with the idea of a giant cootie catcher (they have a fondness for them with their multiplication facts!) and the other wanted to do a class anchor chart. Here are pictures of each of them:
Extend: My plan is to use this routine again, but have it a little more structured. Both classes did a great job of showing their thinking and I would like to combine their creativeness to come up with a routine that I can use in both classes.
Challenge: The biggest challenge for this routine was that it took us two class sessions to complete. I think this may have been mostly due to the fact that it was our first time and I wasn't very clear on what I wanted as an outcome for the routine. I felt like this allowed for a lot of genuine conversations and the students were really trying to figure out how this rock was formed and create scenarios based on their scientific knowledge. I really enjoyed it and will be using it again!
For PLCs today we worked on our PCKI Writing Study groups. The group that Jaime Jackson and I formed is working on teaching students 'SMART Goals' and also making sure that they write using those smart goals in all subject areas. We were also able to do some collaborative planning around writing and what our expectations are in second grade. When we shared out at the end we found out that there are a few other groups working on a continuum for writing so that we could use writing levels to help with guided writing practice in order to continue our school UIP (Unified Improvement Plan) to show growth in writing. Exciting things are always happening here at Bill Roberts! :)
Today for PLCs we had a presentation by our psychologist Sara Kohn about the differences between IEPs and 504s. These are both highly important documents that we need to be aware of as educators. They are to help students with learning and/or physical disablilities get the accomadations and support they need in general education classrooms. She was able to provide us information regarding both documents to support us in making decisions if a student in our classroom is on one, or in need of one. We also had a short activity to help lauch us into spring break about lumocity.com
This week the teacher took time to look really closely at the Common Core State Standards as well as the Colorado Academic Standards to asses which standards we have taught and mastered by the students, which are still being learned and ones that have not been taught yet. The 2nd grade math, science and social studies teachers discovered that we have taught all but two pieces or skills addressed in the math standards. We were also able to look at the Colorado Academic Standards for science and social studies. Our second graders at Bill Roberts have already mastered the standards in social studies and we are excited to work through our last two science units. It is amazing to see how much our students learn over the course of a year!
This week we were able to continue our work with Michelle from PEBC. We focused on Chapter 8 in "Making Thinking Visible" and shared with our colleagues about the thinking routines we have tried in our classrooms. I shared about "See, Think, Wonder" a new routine I tried in a science lesson. We are currently working on the rock cycle so I used a picture of sedimentary rocks. The students had some really great questions and ideas surrounding the photo-I invite you to come in our classroom and see their amazing work! They are doing so well using their 2nd grade writing skills in each of the content areas now that Jaime and I have been focusing on this for our PCKI work. It is wonderful to see it coming into view more and more the past few weeks.
Today we were able to continue working on our PCKI focus groups. Jaime and I began our writing goal work a few weeks ago and it has progressed over the past few weeks. Just to update you a bit on the papers you may have noticed coming home, we started with Jaime writing goals for each student in their writing areas. We quickly realized how time consuming this would be to do on a weekly basis, which is what we really wanted to have happen ideally. So we decided that we would teach the students how to write their own goals, which we call 'SMART goals'. We have been working over the past two weeks to be really explicit in our teaching and really allow the students the time they need to really be reflective about their learning. They have worked on creating goals for themselves in math (the papers that came home last week) and this week they are looking even better! Now that we feel they have a good foundation in goal writing, we will work on having them write specific goals for themselves in writing. We look forward to seeing how this transforms over the next few weeks. How amazing is it to see second grades setting goals for themselves and reflecting about themselves as learners?!
This week for PLCs we had a presentation from our RTI (response to intervention) team. We discussed various types of assessments that we use in our classroom (summative, formative, pre-assessment, standard based, etc.) and were able to collect ideas from other teachers.
This week we had an all staff T-CAP training. This is district mandated so that we can properly administer the upcoming T-CAP tests.
We then had team collaboration and planning time in which we looked closely at the standards we are currently teaching to make sure that we are encompassing all aspects. I really value the time in which we can share and get ideas from other teachers. I worked with Ms. Willett so that we could share ideas for our upcoming fractions and earth materials units.
Finally we finished our afternoon with a wonderful video about Spencer who has recently received his service dog. He will begin bringing his dog to school after T-CAP. L
You will find information about what the teachers at Bill Roberts are learning about and exploring during our Early Release each Friday from 1pm-3:30pm.