We Made it to Vacation!

It seems like the Christmas break was ages ago and that this day would never arrive! Our favorite time of year, school vacation is just a mere hours away. We hope that all of us have a very restful and fulfilling week as we get ready for the “stretch run” to the end of the year.

  • Feb 19 – Pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers! Hope springs eternal!
  • Feb 29 – Mangiamo arrives! Those with reservation to the EICAL offering of Martha LaViolet and Lona Tassey’s kids will enjoy the tastes of Italy beginning at first lunch of the day and running through the last lunch. Enjoy!
  • Mar 2 – Students will enjoy a day of listening to our many presenters talking about what they do for a living. Lona, Kelly and Susie have been extremely busy gathering a tremendous number of professionals with as varied a background as we have ever had for the annual career day activities. The actual schedule for the day will be coming out at the beginning of the week, when we return from vacation. One caveat that I hope we all can be mindful of is that sometimes people have emergencies that will keep them from fulfilling their obligation with us. Please try to be flexible as we can be. This is not an easy task to put this together and, as they say, the best laid plans….
  • Mar 2 –Progress Reports will be going home with students at the close of the day. They should be prepared to be distributed at advisory period.
  • Mar 9 – School Dance sponsored by the Civil Rights Team, Odyssey of the Mind and Lego Robotics. The dance begins at 6:00 and runs til 8:00. As always, these groups would welcome any and all volunteers who would like (OK maybe not Like, but willing) to chaperone the dance. Please contact Sarah Rubin or Diane Knott to let them know.
  • Mar 15 – Our monthly PIE meeting in the GMS Library beginning at 6:30 pm, all are invited to attend.
  • Mar 22 & 24 – Our annual presentation of the School Musical, this year our students are presenting Into the Woods, a funny and musical look at some of our favorite fairy tales. The presentation will begin at 7:00 pm each evening in the GMS Auditorium, please save the date.
  • Mar 26 -There will be a district-wide Team Leaders meeting, the location has not been determined, probably Great Falls School beginning at 3:30. As soon as we get the agenda, we’ll forward it on to you. Please mark the date on your calendar.
  • Mar 29 & 30 – Early release day and teacher workshop day, respectively. These days are Parent/Teacher Conference Days for the entire district.
  • Mar 30 – 3rd Quarter ends, please have your grades into your grade book by Tuesday so that we can have report cards ready to go home on Friday April 6.

Other Stuff

Please, at the end of the day today (Friday 2/17), make sure that all extension cords are picked up off the floor and stowed away in a closet or cabinet. We will be inspected by two different inspection agencies over the vacation and we cannot afford to be cited for problems. Thanks for your cooperation with this.

The Folks at MLTI, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Maine are recruiting 7th grade math teachers in Maine to get free training and paid support on using ASSISTments to enhance your nightly homework.  This training is funded by an anticipated $3.5 million Department of Education grant to study the effectiveness of online homework and feedback on student learning.  The training session are on:
Friday March 2, 9:00 – 2:30 (sub cost will be reimbursed) in Bangor
Monday March 12 9:00 – 2:30 (sub cost will be reimbursed) in Auburn
This is for a research study that 7th grade teachers in your district may be interested in becoming part of.    Falmouth Middle School mathematics teachers have been working with Neil and Cristina Heffernan at WPI and have been using ASSISTments as a formative assessment tool and to deliver online homework in mathematics using the MLTI laptops.  These orientation/trainings are designed to let you get to know ASSISTments so you can learn if you want to land a spot in this study. To learn more and to register go to the Efficacy study page at http://teacherwiki.assistment.org/wiki/Study

Now that we have gotten the first edition of the Monday Memo out via this blog, it might be a good idea for each of you to “subscribe” to this blog so that each time an update in done,  . This will keep me from having to send out the email to all, not that that is a real problem, when an update is done. The RSS Feed is an interesting feature that I am just learning about, but what I have seen so far, I like.

So, how do I subscribe? I will try to explain and show you. On the right side of the page, about half way down you should see this:

Click on the Entries RSS

This will show up:

Click on Sunscribe

It should show up in your Bookmarks toolbar right above the page. If you don’t see the bookmarks toolbar, go to View, click on Toolbars and then check Bookmarks toolbar. It should appear. You will need to check the RSS Feed regularly since there is no notice sent when a new post

Hopefully this will work!

When we return from our break we will begin our work with our Learning Teams investigating a couple of subjects that we have discussed. Some of the topis that have surfaced in our discussions with the Leadership Team and some suggestions that came from the faculty are as follows:

Formative Assessment
Homework/grading practices
Culture and Climate
Literacy and Numeracy
Motivating the unmotivated students
Flexible groups
Parent Communication and Outreach

We will work these Learning Teams in much the same way we did last year, small group meetings with whole group report outs to inform the whole group of the work and to be informed by the whole group for “next steps”. There is no timetable for this work, unlike last year where we wanted conclusion in time to complete our schedule. This will be an on-going project. We are working now to collect some information for each group to have for the initial meetings, but all are encouraged to bring readings and other information to the group.

We hope you all have a very restful week, you have earned it!


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