Bright Future Campaign Week 12 Rewind – #NoOfficeDay 4th Grade
My day started with Mrs. Boyd’s class and math was on the schedule. Mrs. Boyd had planned, in detail what I had needed to do and provided all the materials, whiteboards, powerpoint and everything else I needed. Students showed me everything they knew about problem solving and solving multiple step problems. It was obvious students in Mrs. Boyd’s class had been working on problem solving and their success showed just how much their hard work was paying off. I was impressed with the technology being used in the room while I was at the teacher table. Students were on the laptops working on Big Brainz while Mrs. Boyd had the tablets checked out for students to use TTM. All students were engaged and every moment was maximized. Not only are moments maximized, but the space 4th grade and Mrs. Boyd use is as well. Take a look.
After math it was on to IC in Ms. Zwall’s room. Students rotated through seeing me at the teacher table as they presented their ecosystem/biome posters to me. Students had been working in groups of 4-6, collaborating on all aspects of an ecosystem of a specific biome. Students including key words such as composers, decomposes, predator, prey, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore as well as the oxygen cycle, and food chains and food webs. I was very impressed with the level of understanding among the students and their excitement in sharing their work. Never underestimate the power of having students share their work with you or with their peers. They were empowered to share their knowledge with me!
As we transitioned back to 4th grade I was headed into Ms. Bernal’s room for a guided reading lesson about MLK. Ms. Bernal had prepared a beautiful venn-diagram for me to use with the students after reading about Barbara Jordan, another powerful “orator” who fought for civil rights. Again, the 4th graders impressed me with their knowledge of MLK Jr. as they recited facts from his life while completing the venn-diagram. His birthplace, college, Father’s job, his job and why he left the legacy he did.
Each student in Ms. Bernal’s class was engaged with a teacher during my time in the room which was impressive and speaks to the organization Ms. Bernal holds, as we know more adults doesn’t always mean more gets accomplished. It can be distracting when not done right.
FolLowing a spirited lunch and recess Mr. S’s class was my last stop. After a brief introduction and review of our topic, MLK Jr., we participated in a fire drill and reverse evacuation drill (which I need to do with classes more often). Students did a great job conducting themselves and it’s always great to get a different perspective.
Upon our completion of the lockdown drill, we began our Poetry Friday activity. The task students were given was to write a poem about what they are passionate about. Fortieth grade is in the midst of writing their MLK Jr. paper so the poem shared as an example was “Stand Up”, by MLK Jr. himself.
Stand UpStand up against the bully.
Come and join the fight.
Stand up against the bully.
Try to do what’s right.Sometimes it’s tough
to speak your mind.
The going’s rough
to get behind
the kid who’s teased and kicked around,
to pick him up when he is down.But stand up against the bully.
Do what you can do.
Stand up against the bully,
Just maybe you’ll help him too.
I will be honest, as I was not completely sure what type of poems the students would create after discussing the rhyme and cadence along with other observations students had after reading the poem above. Student poems focused on littering, bullying, dancing and many other passionate topics. The day ended with a little poverty cafe full of wonderful poetry examples from or finest poets and of course, loads of finger snaps. I couldn’t participate in a poetry cafe without a little poem of my own, so while students were working , so was I.
Check it out and don’t judge!
Counting down the days until my next #NoOfficeDay!
Bright Future Campaign – Week 9 Rewind
The Power of Belief - Mindset and Success: Eduardo Briceno at TED
Bright Future Campaign – Week 7 Rewind
#NoOfficeDay – 5th Grade
Man, I look forward to these days. Those unfamiliar with #NoOfficeDays, these are days I spend out of the office with a specific grade level for the day. Last Friday I spent the day with 5th grade. Before I begin to showcase the highlights of my day, I must say, we as a campus get tunnel vision at times, focused on the students we have in our grade level from year to year. After spending time with our 5th graders, y’all are doing a phenomenal job! These students have come through the finest classrooms, led by the finest teachers and are all the better for it.
As the day began, I was jumping right into my chair at the teacher table for my first hour of guided reading. Students in Mrs. Tucker’s class were hard at it when in arrived and reading a passage covering the American Revolution, which they have been studying in Social Studies. I loved how the team was connecting across the curriculum, as students were sharing what they knew about Paul Revere as they read this story. This specific story shed light on a special young lady who played a similar role to Paul Revere as a 16 year old girl. The discussion had with two groups was engaging as we wondered why we had not heard of this young lady before and how unfair it was for the girls in the group to have this story go untold until now.
I transitioned into Mr. Braden’s room as students were working on some note taking in pairs, determining what exactly they were reading and whether the purpose for their reading was informative, analytical or both. As students shared their thoughts, it was obvious they had made some connections to this Folktale, Terrapin and The Hare.
Specials broke up the whole group conversation, and I began my specials rotation in the “Art Studio”. Students waled right in and engaged in a warm up activity defining a piece of art based on prior knowledge of art. Students clearly have the mind of an artist as they articulated details about a mask they were studying including whether it was 2-D or 3-D, if it have overlapping parts and the specific medium and media being used.
As I left art and entered the music room, students were just wrapping up a mini-lesson on reading music and jumped into a brain break which included some folk dancing and mighty nice footwork (not my footwork). Students danced to a choreographed routine, in which each of them knew the steps and participated fully. My time wrapped up with a Mi, Re, Do exercise in which students had the liberty to see with their hands, bodies or however they needed in order to decipher between the various notes. Each student was able to participate using their own learning style. Great job Mrs. Caldwell!
The final stop during specials was fitness and PE which had combined together for a little scooter basketball. Our students have so much fun while they are with our coaches and our coaches have a darn good time with them as well. Students were excited to play and anxiously awaited their turn to play again as they rotated around.
Getting back to 5th grade allowed me to see just how much our students mature from KN-5th. Students had been reading a Folktale, Terrapin and The Hare and were faced with a couple of reflective questions they needed to answer when walking back into the room. Once answered students participated in a “reading seminar” where they were able to share a question they may have had about the text and fellow students were able to weigh-in in an attempt to answer the question or add their own in-sight. It was awesome to see a teacher sit back and listen as students controlled the classroom for 45 minutes.
Returning from lunch and recess, which is always a good time to see how our students interact outside of the classroom, brought me to Mrs. Beck’s IC class to see some group presentations from a Mind Missions activity they had completed before lunch. Students were given materials to create a “shoe” that would provide comfort, warmth and work in weather conditions.
Students presented and model their shoes as they articulated why they designed their shoe how they did and after reflecting, we’re able to share what they may have done differently given a second chance. Audience members asked questions that proved students had throughout about their designs and showed they had been listening intently. Bravo to the creators, presenters and audience members.
I doubled back for math and revisited Mrs. Tucker’s class and ended my day in Ms. Mancilla’s room. Both classes were focused on an old favorite of mine, The Product Game. Students were in small group rotations in Mrs. Tucker’s room were I was able to play the product game with students to help them think about some questions they needed to answer about the game. Playing the game while answering the questions showed me our students have the ability to be successful, but at times need a concrete visual or must be a part of something in order to male connections to their learning. After playing a couple of games, winning one and losing one (still can’t believe it) I took my skills to Ms. Mancilla’s room to redeem myself. The day before Mancilla had provided me the lesson plan and shared I would be teaching, so I hope I didn’t let her or her students down. We worked through the necessary vocabulary and a was able to select a brave volunteer who played the game with me as an example for the other students I’m the room. After redeeming myself, students played the product game in pairs for the remainder of the class. Of course, as students packed up for the day I found a few more minutes to square off against one young lady as my first first opponent was a young man. Again, I left feeling on top of my game and let the students know I would be returning to defend my reign as they continued to learn some of the strategy needed to win the product game.
We are entering our 7th week of the school year and yes, I know teachers are feeling the pressure of needing to succeed in their grade level, but please remember, you cannot do it all. Narrow the focus, pick an area or two and rock and roll. Know that as students leave your grade and go on to the next, there is another teacher who is fighting the battle right along with you. If students keep entering 5th grade ready to succeed we are doing what is right by our students.
In closing, I couldn’t help but wonder, would one of our 5th graders be on stage one day, just as this young man was last summer at our AVID Summer Institute.
Bright Future Campaign – Week 4 Rewind
This past summer I read something about pressure and the pressure we face as educators to nurture, instruct, grow…and the list goes on. Within the article it referenced everyday we come to work as Game 7 of the championship game. Do or die, win or go home and I cannot shake that from my mind. Each day we enter the doors of Sigler Elementary it is game 7. We must execute, we must improve and with every game 7, you must win. In this case, our winning translates into student success and bright futures. Are you up for the challenge to win game 7 and impact the future of the students we serve?
Bright Future Campaign Week 3 Rewind
The past week at Sigler presented itself as the first full week at Sigler Elementary where instruction was at the top of everyone’s list. The first week serves as the important “relationship week” as students and teachers are working together to get to know one another. Week two is shortened by the Labor Day weekend while teachers begin to focus on instruction while still setting classroom expectations, but week three, the focus completely shifts to what can we do to instruct these students at a high level so they can be prepared for a bright future.
Teachers at Sigler have been collaborating on a weekly basis, specifically after the students go home on Wednesdays to grow their knowledge of what students need and what they can provide to ensure students are, as I stated above, prepared for a bright future. Teachers KN-5th have been involved in conversations about what they can do to address students specifically in their classrooms and I hope they would agree, have each become better educators with this investment of time. I know the administrators at Sigler appreciate their efforts, preparedness, and dialogue during these planning sessions.
Another component I’ve appreciated our teachers participating in this fall are the one-on-one “kid-talks” we are having during their planning times. It’s obvious the teachers I have met with thus far, know their students and the discussions we have had, have shown just how passionate they are about meeting students right where they are and how they can meet their individual needs. We are looking forward to the remaining talks for those who have yet to have theirs.
This past Friday the administrators at Sigler were able to take a team of teachers to learn more about how we can use data to drive instruction and again, prepare students for a bright future. Teachers were able to sit with other grade level teachers from their respected teams across the district and discuss STAAR data and how we can use what we have to better prepare, instruct and assess our students. Thank you Kari, Wendy, Ben, Scott, Dina, Lauren & Jennifer for coming with an open mind and transferring what we learned to positive impact our students. I know the staff who was not present will appreciate hearing the message. Those who were back at Sigler on Friday, thank you for holding down the fort and for the teachers in 3rd and 4th thank you for taking on some additional students for those that were off campus with out a substitute. I know it’s a sacrifice you may not have been prepared for.
This week grants us another opportunity to make a big impact at Sigler Elementary. You are prepared and ready and I know the students will be direct recipients of the fruits of your labor!
Keep doing all you do to as we continue on our Bright Future Campaign!
Students are at the center of everything we do at Sigler and this past week, teachers in grades 4th and 5th met with our administrative team to review student performances and what their academic focus will be for specific students within the classrooms. While these conversations could easily turn to “these students can’t” the teachers in 4th and 5th embraced the challenge ahead and openly accepted the responsibility to tap into their students’ full potential.
Another grade level we met with last week is taking responsibility to ensure students are working to their full potential. 2nd grade was the first grade level in the building to hold their 1:1 Kid Talks with administrators. In talking with 2nd grade, it’s clear they are heading in a direction with their students that will better prepare them for success after 2nd grade.
The accolades to pass out after just two weeks exceed what can be focused on in just a single email, but our KN team is working together to ensure the safety of each student. Our first grade team is working hard to turn our first graders into blooming readers& writers. The third grade team is coming together as a group to support each other and their students as instruction gets dialed up a notch to unlock student potential. The support team has been a true support team to any and all who have needed it over the first two weeks as they have been wherever they have been needed (cafeteria, carpool, in classrooms or studying data to drive instruction. The staff that makes up our special education team has worked hard as a team and is working together to help each other and meet the varied needs of each of their students. Staff in the AELC have enjoyed working with new students and continue to rely in one another to meet the needs of their students. Finally, the front office staff has survived the inundation of paperwork, requests, new students and withdrawing students and still thrives in maintaining e daily operations of the school office and creating a welcoming environment for any who enter the front doors of Sigler Elementary.
There is so much to acknowledge and I hope I captured at least a piece of what each of you are doing to contribute to The Bright Future Campaign at Sigler Elementary.