Important Upcoming Dates
October 4 – Marks the mid-point of the 1st Quarter
October 8 – Leadership Team Meeting 2:30 Melanie’s Room
October 9 – Faculty Meeting 2:30 GMS Library
October 14 – Columbus Day – No School
October 17 – PIE Meeting 6:00 pm in the Library
October 18 – School Dance GMS Gym 6:00 – 8:00 pm
October 23 – Early Release Day Students dismissed at 11:10
October 25 – Parent Teacher Conferences – No Students
November 1 – 1st Quarter Ends
Thank You to All
Our PD day, during the early release day seems to have been very well received by all of us. I want to really extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated as presenters and as the audience. It is really nice to see how many very talented folks we have on our staff.
Faculty Meeting Agenda
We will be meeting in the Library on Wednesday, October 9 form 2:30 – 4:00 pm. We have quite a bit to do:
Accolades and Acknowledgements
United Way Presentation
GMS Safety Plan
Homework Club and Library
We are changing the way we offer our after school services for our students this year, partly because we are struggling to find coverage and partly because we need to do something different.
We will offer Library, staffed by Jeff Carpenter, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 2:30 till 4:00. Jeff is not there to give direct assistance to students in homework help, but he will be available to assist students in finding resources for them to help themselves.
Also, students who choose to spend time in the Library are there to work on something academic. We are not providing a babysitting service or a warehouse for these students until the late bus arrives. Students who do not sign in to the Library from a teachers classroom (after 3:00 pm), will not be allowed to remain in the Library and will not be given a Late Bus Pass. Those students will be referred to the office where they will call home and get rides,or, if appropriate and confirmed by parents, walk home.
An Additional EICAL Offering for 7th & 8th Grade
We are entering an agreement with the Confusius Institute that will provide to our 7th and 8th grade students a Chinese Language and Culture class during the EICAL period on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The students will study with experienced Chinese faculty from Dongbei University, visiting the University of Southern Maine. They will learn basic grammar, pronunciation and word order/sentence structure. Additionally, they will examine the rich history and culture of China. At the end of the year, students should be able to write Chinese sentences in correct order, understand basic Chinese words when spoken and read Chinese characters.
We will be seeking from each team a list of students who are in good academic standing, are behaviorally responsible and have indicated an interest in foreign language. The class size will be 16 -20 students who will be able to make all classes (read: probably not band or chorus students).
The new Chinese Culture will begin on November 4th. As always, if you have questions give me a call. If you could send me your nominees for this class by October 18, that would be great.
MLTI Professional Development Opportunities
As MLTI does, so capably each year, they are offering several free (I love that word!) workshops for MLTI schools and teachers. Some offerings are for school engaged in the IPad Solution and some are for MacBook Air Solutions and some are for both. You will want to make sure that the session you plan to attend is either for MacBook Air or both.
For more information on these workshops and when they are happening, go to: http://maine.gov/mlti/events
My Not So Random Thought…
I am quite proud of the manner in which we, as a faculty, are able to come to agreements, even when we disagree! I know that there are many thoughts and rationales for the period of time during EICAL, and each of the differing ideas all have merit. In some cases, it may hold even more merit than our (my) vision for that time in our students’ week.
I can’t help but think, however, that this time can be wisely used and provide our students with the skills and dispositions that will lead to higher student achievement and student motivation.
I have spoken several times about the middle school in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia that struggled with the state standardized testing. For several years, they were considered a school “in need of improvement” because of those darn test scores. Rather then initiate more classes that would provide more of the same kind of instruction, the Principal instituted an idea that would engage the students in more reading… but for a real purpose!
The students took on some real challenges that face the world. Some of the challenges were in their school and some were half a world away. However, each challenge required the students to “dig” into text, understand and refine methods of research and then be able to communicate their findings in a manner that allowed all to understand.
The result of these projects were a dramatic first year improvement in student engagement, a dramatic decrease in student discipline and a (yup, you guessed it!) dramatic increase in score on the state, standardized tests.
We know these kids can learn! We need only look at how engaged they get in their gaming and how creative they are when they make their MineCraft world and share them with their friends.
We also know they can be very resilient in their learning, risking failure on a regular basis to get to the end of the game or to master a new trick on skate boards of bikes.
We need to harness all of these attributes in our classrooms everyday!
Just to let you know that the interventions attempting to keep me form videos haven’t taken hole yet, I offer this video for your consideration. And, yes it is a TED Video!
You’ll have to click on the link below to view the video: