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Friday, March 24, 2017

School Challenges: Focus on the Good

There will always be challenges in the schoolhouse, after all it's people work and people work is often not simple.

Sometimes it's important to take some time out to focus on the good that's occurred in a week in order to note the challenges ranking in the overall school picture. Hence, here are some highlights from this week.

Superintendent Candidates
I listened to a number of skilled candidates share their perspectives about school life. By listening to these interviews, I learned a lot and gained some new ideas which I hope to use.

RTI Book Group
The small RTI book group that I'm leading is reading a wonderful book and having great conversations. Students showed nice gains on one reading test and discussed ways to make better gains on another assessment. It's a great group that I look forward to working with each week.

Jo Boaler
I shared a bit of Jo Boaler's extensive math research with students this week, and I could tell they were intrigued and inspired. I'm going to organize her student/family-centered work so that it's quickly accessible so that I can use it more to help students and families how to learn math well.

Math Tech
We focused a lot on how to use math tech tools this week to forward students' math learning. Students made tremendous gains on fraction story projects, Khan Academy practice, and Symphony Math. In addition, I was able to coach many individual students with specific learning questions. It was wonderful to see so many children lead their own learning with strength.

Technology Standards
At our PLC we reviewed all the technology standards from the state. I found them to be a wonderful list of standards as we discussed the ways we currently teach the standards and ways that we might enrich that work in the days ahead.

Room Re-Organization
We reorganized the room to make it more inviting and learner-friendly.

Kindess Matters Folders
Students decorated compliment folders, and have started writing wonderful compliments for each other to add some light to the gray, cold days of March.

Parent Conferences
We continued parent conferences which gave the students and me a chance to share a lot of examples of student learning and growth.

Overall there was a lot of good work this week, a week that brought a bit of challenge too.