Is It Time to Get Serious Yet? Nah!

Summer Dreams

We are certainly in that “zone” of the summer where thoughts are turned towards back yard grilling, visits to the beach, friends and everything but our classrooms… and that is good!

Unfortunately, the time is fast approaching when work will beckon us all back to our classrooms and offices with word walls and posters to hang and lessons to plan.

(Truth be told, all of you have never let your classroom get too far away from your thoughts!)

I know that you have all thought about the lessons you used last year and have been calculating how to make improvements for your students.

I do hope that you do take time for yourself and your families and enjoy this great weather and our great state and all that is has to offer during these great months.

Summer Work

For those of you who received funding for Summer Work proposals, please remember that you need to submit the results of your work by the first week of school. I know that we have received several proposals already, and there are probably more sitting on my desk right now.

This work is very valuable to the our school and the result of these programs have served to improve the work we do for our kids tremendously. Thanks for taking the time to engage in these programs.

First Days of School

OK, how’s this for a “buzz kill”. Our first day of school for teachers is Monday August 27th. I believe that we plan to meet at the High School with a light breakfast of coffee, juice, muffins and danish in the cafeteria beginning at 7:30 am. We will then gather in the Auditorium for welcomes by the School Committee Chair and Superintendent Sharp.

We should be back at the middle school by 10:45 and we will meet in our Auditorium until noon. You will then have an hour for lunch on your own and we will reconvene at 1:00 in the Auditorium to complete the “necessaries” of opening day. We will get better definition on the “necessaries” out to you all at a later date.

On Tuesday, August 28, all Special Educators will meet with Katie and Kathy from 8:00 am until noontime. The rest of us will gather in the Library to review the work expectations for the morning and then we’ll break out into content areas to review our work for the year. Lunch again will be on your own from noon til 1:00. The afternoon is reserved for you to work in your classrooms, until 3:00 pm.

First Student Days

The 6th graders will arrive on Wednesday, August 29 for their first day of school. We do plan to have some welcoming exercises to make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings. We will be expecting all of the faculty to be available to assist the 6th grade teachers in helping with the activities for the day. We will get more details out to you all in the coming weeks.

The rest of the students come on Thursday, August 30th and…  then… it’s non-stop until June 13!

We will plan to have grade level assemblies during the next week to “remind”our students of all things GMS.

Reserving Dances for Next Year

I have already received a couple of emails requesting dances for next year. We will use a method for reserving the dances this year that will be similar to previous years, first offering Grades the opportunity, then academic teams and finally clubs and activities. If there are any dates not yet spoken for after all of that, we may offer any open dates to outside organizations (I expect this to be highly unlikely, however.)

We will expect that those grades and teams who reserve a date for a dance will commit to being present at the dance to act as chaperones and assist in the set up and break down of the gym.

The Student Council has first dibs on providing the snacks for all dances. Any date that the Student Council chooses not to man the snack shack will be offered to those sponsoring the dance.

When sending in your requests, please include Susie and Kristen on your emails and while you may request a date for the dance, we cannot guarantee that you will receive your first choice.

Free Professional Development Opportunities

Over the course of the summer, I have come across several free opportunities for sharing of ideas from educators from around the world. The most recent opportunity is on August 3rd at 10 am from teachers Jane Krauss and Sheryl Nessbaum-Beach. They will be sharing their experiences with Project Based Learning in their classrooms and some of the strategies and “tricks” they use to make it work for their students. They promise to demonstrate some examples and give some solid ideas that you can take back to the classroom in September. To Register click HERE

Two “Trends” that I have followed on Twitter this summer are #flipclass and #edchat. These are real classroom teachers who have taken the time to offer suggestions, ask questions of each other and share successes and failures of their classroom practice for others to learn. There are several other trends that are available all of the time, but in both of these that I have mentioned there are regular meetings” of these groups with lots of conversations and sharing of ideas. If you do not have a Twitter account set up, you may want to explore it just for these 2 hashtag trends.

The Discovery Education Network people have put together several live webinars with the topic of Back-to-School ideas and activities. The Discovery Education Network (DEN) offers lots of PD opprotunities throught the school year, and not just for science teachers. Check it out here: DEN

Finally, through one of the folks I follow on Twitter I came across the LiveBinder put together by a classroom teacher as a resource for other teachers who want to try to flip their classrooms. This has lots and lots of resources and, as the name indicates, it is a live binder that is added to almost daily. Check it out here: Livebinder

Learning Teams for Next Year

In our next installment of the Memo, I will publish all of the different team participants. I know you’re all holding your breathe in anticipation.

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