I don’t like to think of myself as being old, but when I look at how education has changed since I attended school, it certainly makes me feel old! Times certainly have changed, especially with technology. Technology allows us to connect in ways that before, where not possible. As a middle school, our Literature teachers decided to participate in the Global Read Aloud (GRA) 2015 that is connecting us with students across the globe.
The premise of the Global Read Aloud is simple. Teachers read aloud to their students for a set 6-week period the same book (Fish by L.S. Matthews). During this time, classes make as many global connections as possible. GRA originated in our very own Wisconsin! Pernille Ripp, a 7th grade teacher teaching in Oregon, Wisconsin started this project in the summer of 2010 because she wanted to expand her global collaboration and make the world a little smaller. She had a desire to open students’ eyes to the rest of the world and look at shared experiences. Since this time, the GRA has expanded. The map below includes only one marker per state or country participating in the 2015 GRA. If all participants were included, the map would contain over 9000 different markers!
So far, our very own middle school students have made connections with Ontario, Canada, New Zealand, and Texas. Being able to connect with others around the world about a shared book that is being read has been an exciting experience for students and staff alike. Being able to share perspectives, ask each other questions, and “see” each other via Skype or other media has been a new adventure. As a result, the world is a little smaller.
I’m grateful that the literature teachers have taken the time to connect their students to people and places unbeknownst before this experience. Watching teachers step outside of their comfort zone, expand their repertoire of instructional strategies, and give students a multidimensional insight into the book Fish has been fun to witness.
Good morning, Parents.
Last week I attended the state Principal’s Convention, where I had the opportunity to further my own learning about how to improve teaching and learning (both teacher learning and student learning). One of the sessions that resonated with me dealt with the importance of planning and goal-setting conferences.
We believe goal-setting is an important part of learning. Goal-setting has been found to be an effective instructional strategy (effect size 0.56). It also develops confidence in our students. Our teachers meet with students regularly to set goals not only for academic progress but also social and behavioral progress. This year, our school academic goal focuses on reading (85% of students will meet grade level reading benchmarks by the end of the 2015-16 school year.) Our social and behavioral goals focus on being respectful, responsible, and safe in all school settings. This year, we are extending these goals to include bus behavior to and from school.
Within the classroom setting, teachers meet with students to set individual goals within each academic area. When I walk through classrooms, I see very specific goals on desks which may include stretching sounds in words, looking for inferences, or mastering specific math targets. Teachers often have the goals on the boards and review them with students to make sure they have a deep understanding of their expectations. Goal-setting keeps students involved in their learning and provides an opportunity for students and teachers to have rich discourse about their thinking and where they are going next. When goals are accomplished, we celebrate, and the success encourages future efforts toward accomplishing goals.
As parents, you can be involved in your child’s goal-setting by talking to them about their goals in school. If you have trouble getting specific answers (which is often the case in my home), please contact the teacher. When we work together to show students that their goals matter to us, they will engage more deeply and hopefully develop more confidence. Students love to show us the great things they are learning.
Have a great weekend!
- Monday: Follow Your Dreams, Don’t Do Drugs! — PJ Day
- Tuesday: Show Your Character, Say No To Drugs! — Favorite TV/Movie/Book Character
- Wednesday: Stay Drug Free Every Decade! — 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s wear
- Thursday: I have the Power to say “NO” to Drugs! — Superhero Day
- Friday: Red Ribbon Day — WEAR RED!
- Students who participate will receive a raffle ticket and a chance to win prizes!