Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reading like a Detective and Writing like a Reporter is TOUGH!

Reading like a Detective and Writing like a Reporter is TOUGH!

As teachers begin to facilitate our first few weekly and unit assessments don’t be alarmed if you children’s assessment scores are not quite as high as they were on last year’s reading tests.  As I have shared in the past, our new curriculum brings with it some higher expectations for students and also some shifts in the way that they are asked to dissect and comprehend text.  We now ask students to read far more non-fiction and rigorous text and to also provide text-based answers, based on evidence from within the reading.  We ask students to write from sources, like many professionals do within the working world, we are also asking them to constantly utilize increased levels of academic vocabulary.  With a little more practice, our student' reading test scores will most certainly improve and while our expectations are indeed higher, we do feel that we as educators and students alike will soon feel a sense of pride as we surpass these increased expectations and move to greater levels of college and career readiness. 

September Professional Development

Our district strives to focus on results and to remain data driven!  On Friday, September 13, 2013, we had an outstanding professional development day, in which we focused on our district’s assessment data.  We use data daily within our school system, but we dedicate one day each year specifically, to analyze our district-wide data very closely.  This assessment data help us to assess our curriculum and it’s alignment to the Iowa Core Standards.  Additionally, when evaluating trends, we also spend ample time looking at individual student data and making plans for specific students.  When we dissect data to this extent we use the motto, “If it’s predictable, it’s preventable!” 

Prior to the completion of our work time together, our teachers were responsible for setting an annual professional goal, utilizing the S.M.A.R.T. goal format.  In other words, our teachers utilized the data to create a goal for the school year that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. 

After each professional development day, my pride for this school district continues to grow!  Our teachers are so incredibly professional, passionate and committed to learning more so that they can do better for each individual child.  Our next professional development date is Friday, October 11, 2013.  It is then, that distinguished author and professor at San Diego State University, Douglas Fisher, will present to our staff in regard to our new reading curriculum and the specific strategy of “close reading”.

Denver Elementary teachers work collaboratively to analyze student data.