Bright Future Campaign – Week 16 Rewind – #NoOfficeDay 3rd Grade

Bright Future Campaign – Week 16 Rewind – #NoOfficeDay 3rd Grade
My day started with our specials teachers after winding up our All Pro Dad’s Day. I walked into music as the students had already started their lesson and it was pretty cool to see the connection Mrs. Caldwell has with her students. The level of comfort they have with her is so noticeable and the learning that takes place due to the level of comfort is impressive. For example, how many of you know what “Syncopation” means? Students enjoyed listening to “Chairs to Mend” as Mrs. Caldwell read this story aloud, of course incorporating her musicality along the way. 
After music, I entered the art studio and caught just the end of a brain pop video introducing our artists to digital photography and some tips on using a digital camera. After the video students where given their digital cameras and instructions on taking pictures of their partner and then working in their self-portraits. I wonder what will happen to the picture one young man took of me? 
I made it into the gym, just as time was ending and students had just wrapped up some free throw practice as they prepare of their Free Throw Contest. The only thing you need to know at this point is, I need more practice at shooting my free throws. It’s been way to long! 
Returning to 3rd grade brought me to Ms. Das’s classroom where she was ready for me to serve at a station focusing on cause and effect. She prepared a great activity where students worked together identify he effect of a given cause. As partners worked together taking turns identify correct effects, they continued until all their pairs were matched. After finding all the pairs, Ms. Das has prepared an extension in which students then had to come up with their own cause and then their partner came up with an appropriate effect. Students were very successful and some were even able to work the activity backwards starting with he effect and coming up with what a potential cause may have been. 
Next up were the students in Mrs. Tolle’s room. As I entered the students were working through a problem solving question that incorporated specific literacy elements such as characters and setting, which clearly helped the students comprehend the necessary information they needed to solve the problem. Students displayed several different strategies to solve the problem which was the target of the lesson. Students were not focused on the answer in this lesson. Today the process was the focus and students showcased their knowledge of the process. Following math, students transitioned to LA in which I was able to work with students on another well done differentiated activity. This activity focused on sequencing events from a passage students had read. Only in this activity the highlighted aspects of the story were reworded so it was not directly what the students had read in the story. To scaffold the activity for some students, Mrs. Tolle, then provided some details from the story so students could use the given details as a guide in determining what happened next. The students were very successful and in some cases, they even surprised themselves! 
It was an honor to supervise the students during lunch and recess without 3rd grade teachers. I know they enjoyed the free hour and I hope others did as well! 
The afternoon started in Mr. Mateos room where the differentiated activities continued to meet students needs. We started playing a little game, Mr. Mateos called “A la Cola”? (If I am typing that wrong, please correct me Mr. Mateos) Students started in a line and were given a time they needed to display on their Judy Clock. Students has just a few seconds to display time on their clocks and then the bell rang and answers were checked. If they got it wrong, they had to go to the end of the line. We even had a couple of questions involving elapsed time. The students did very well! After our game, students rotated through stations. Mr. Mateos prepared a place  value station for me to work on with students where we enjoyed rolling the dice to create large numbers and then showcase our understanding of reading and writing numbers in standard, expanded and word form. However, I was more impressed with the activity Cesar was doing with students at his table. The students had previously been discussing the cost of buying a house one day after college and had greatly underestimated the real estate market. Cesar took advantage of this and created an activity that showed students an accurate cost of a variety of homes, which students cut out and glued onto paper. Once they had four homes and prices of the homes, they had to use their place value skills to determine which house had the highest dollar amount associated with it and the lowest and then ranked the numbers in order, lowest to highest and vice versa. Cool activity for students to practice a skill but develop a deeper understanding of a real life skill. I’m certain that covered a process standard! 
I made it into Mrs. Romeo’s room for my final stop of the day. Students were being introduced to an IC lesson where magnetism was being introduced. The hook involved a “trick” of sorts where a paper clip magically hung in a cup that was turned upside down. Students quickly discovered a magnet was involved and their minds were completely engaged. Following the introduction, students rotated through three stations that allowed them to explore different types of magnets and different types of materials that were and were not magnetic. Students were able to demonstrate an understanding of why magnets worked, including the opposite poles, and connected that to a Brain Pop video they watched at the beginning of the lesson about magnetism. Needless to say, students loved the rotations, Mrs. Romeo add some wrinkles to the stations to keep the students interested throughout their time at each rotation and students walked away with an understanding of how magnets worked, what types of materials are magnetic and why. 
It was a great day in 3rd grade and I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with the students.  I know our teachers in 3rd grade work hard, but spending the entire day in their rooms and seeing lessons from beginning to end and the various scaffolding and extending taking place, it was evident as to why the students were being as successful as they were. 

Thanks 3rd grade students and teachers! 

Bright Future Campaign – Week 15 Rewind

Bright Future Campaign – Week 15 Rewind
This past week was cut one day short as ICEMAGEDDON took over Dallas/Fort Worth, but the Sigler Staff and students were still shining bright, right up until dismissal on a frigid Thursday afternoon. 
As you know, we are in the midst of MAP testing at Sigler Elementary and students are spending a majority of their mornings completing assessments on the computers or working independently so students can have a quiet testing environment. In a perfect world, our students would log on, do their absolute best and achieve a score higher than their previous score. Of course, we do not reside in a perfect world. We celebrate the achievements made and reflect upon those that were not and adapt as needed to equip students with the tools they need to achieve the desired score the next time they are assessed. 
While I like seeing our students hit their goals just as much as the teachers do, take a step back with me just for a moment. What about the other successes we have that are not measured by MAP? 
What about the fifth grade student this year whose attitude toward school has totally changed? Last year this student did not arrive to school on time, did not want to work when she was here, and rarely demonstrated a compassion or care for others. This year she is on time, working hard in the classroom and developing relationships with her peers that did not exist a year ago. Measure that on the MAP! 
What about the teachers who are desperately wanting to partner with a local apartment complex and provide families with tools and resources to begin educating their children before they reach pre-kindergarten or elementary school? Teachers know the power our parents hold and yearn to teach our parents strategies to incorporate into their homes to strengthen the foundation necessary for learning. Does that show up on a MAP score?  
At the end of the day, we are measured based on the success our students have on assessments, but for me, its the success of the whole student. Yes, academics are one part of that, but again, the mission of Sigler Elementary is to “Prepare Students to Excel in a Diverse and Changing World” and our staff is ensuring our students will be ready academically, emotionally and socially. 
While everyone is working tirelessly to ensure our students and families have what they need to be successful, please do not forget to ensure you have what you need to be successful. It is easy to get caught up in making sure everyone else has everything they need and forget about your own well-being. Take care of one another! A great example of this is the fellowship being promoted through the Crock-Pot Club and the large number of staff signing up to feed one another. Another way you can support each other is by inviting your significant other to our winter party next week and celebrate the relationships you have at work by introducing your significant other to the folks you spend so much time with each week. My wife is excited to meet many of you and see several of you again and I hope you feel encouraged to bring your significant other with you as well. 
There are just a few days remaining in 2013 portion of the school year and 2014 is just around the corner. Let your brightest light shine in the remaining days. The students’ future depends on it!