Monthly Archives: January 2014
Thank you for all of your positive energy and good vibes! Very excited to announce that we were the GRAND PRIZE winners in the Aviva Community Fund Competition! Souris Consolidated School was awarded a cheque today for $135 000 to pay for our inclusive playground. It just goes to show that when parents, teachers, students and entire communities work together, amazing things can happen. Mountains can be moved. What may seem impossible, becomes a reality.
Thanks again, everyone! What an awesome, emotional and simply unforgettable day!
Souris: A Playground for All (coverage about us begins at 20:50
Remember a while back when I asked for your help by voting for my school’s inclusive playground project? And then I asked you to help out AGAIN when we made it into the finals?
Well, we did amazingly well in the competition with immense support from our community and all over (especially considering our community’s small size of 1 300 residents)! We will find out on Tuesday, January 28th if we won! Can you say EXCITED? Although I’m quite confident that all of our hard work will not go un-noticed by the judges, there are 29 other amazing projects from all across Canada that we are up against, AND I am a practical person.
So, I’m thinking I need to do my part and pull out the big guns. Yep, you guessed it. Positive vibes! You got ’em. I need ’em. Just to cover all of our bases, you know? There’s over $100 000 on the line here!
I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking, and so all I’m asking is that you send our school some positive vibes between now and Tuesday!
If you have a second, maybe even comment on this post with your province or state so we can feel where all of the positive energy is coming from!
What a productive PD day! This year we have been focusing on improving our students’ writing and we had the entire day today to do moderated marking of writing that our students completed two weeks ago.
In the fall, it was decided that the type of writing we would focus on this year, would be procedural. This meant that at some point early in 2014, every student in the school would write a procedural piece which would be marked, and the feedback given immediately to the classroom teachers, to inform their instruction.
Once our students had completed their writing assessments (different grade levels decided on different prompts) we were given numeric codes to label our writing. These codes were provided by our resource department, the purpose being to keep the identity of the students unknown (as much as possible) during marking.
With the pieces of writing completed and labeled, it was time to choose exemplars to establish the expectations of our writing assessment at each grade level. What a huge task! You wouldn’t think choosing exemplars and providing justification for those choices would be so difficult, but it was! Teachers were were given sub time to meet with their grade level and choose those exemplars, using a common rubric based on our standards. We had resource people and a literacy coach at our disposal as well, which made things run quite smoothly. Even though it was a challenging day to choose those exemplars, it was time very well spent to go through all of those pieces and really work to compare them to the rubric. The conversation that we had to justify our choices is how I see true “professional development” – which you know I love!
So, all of that led up to today, which was our PD day to actually do a school wide moderated marking session of the writing assessments. We were paired up and together we worked to mark each of our pieces on the traits of content/ideas, organization and conventions. After we agreed on the three marks for the piece, we also had to give one strength and one “next step” for the student. Finally, each teacher was given back his/her marked writing assessments. What we’re able to do now, is to create class profiles based on the information that we’ve gathered. In my class, for instance, one “next step” that came up quite a few times was to work more on strong introductions and conclusions. As a homeroom teacher, that is powerful, practical and useful information.
Does your school do any sort of “school wide” assessments (reading, writing, math) which are created and marked by your staff? A math assessment is a future goal for us and I’d love to know if your school has any sort of “school wide” assessment (not talking about standardized assessments here, but rather teacher-created common assessments, to inform instruction).
Please share! I’d love to know what’s going on at other schools!
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