Falcon Flyer Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School of Coventry October 2014, Volume 2 Issue 1
Principal’s Message Meeting Dates 10/8: Faculty Meeting 10/22: Department Meeting
Grade Reporting Dates 10/8: 10/10: 10/17: 10/23:
ASPEN opens Last day to notify IEs Mid-T1 comments due Prog. Reports go home
Other Dates 10:13: No school 10:15: SIT Meeting 10/17: Sunshine Breakfast Athletic Home Games (all games are played at Foster Field)
Girl’s Soccer vs. Ferri
Girl’s Soccer vs. EWG
Girl’s Soccer vs. Deering
Boy’s Soccer vs. Burrillville
10/10: Girl’s Soccer vs. Ricci 10/15: Girl’s Soccer vs. Ponaganset 10/16: Boy’s Soccer vs. Scituate 10/20: Girl’s Soccer vs. North Smithfield 10/22: Boy’s Soccer vs. Ferri
The website for the online editions of the Falcon Flyer has changed: https://sites.google.com/a/ coventryschools.net/falcon-flyer/ All links are active in the online edition and all of last year’s Flyers are accessible.
Welcome to the Falcon Flyer, the second year of our in-house communication vehicle designed to help us connect to each other and to personalize our work in this large building. Justin Howman’s idea continues to reflect the vision we set in August, 2013: to recognize the work we do; to establish a trusting and open attitude; to reestablish a focus on each other and to support the academic and personal integrity and energy of the best middle school in the state. This was all seen in the last several weeks; September was a pleasurable opening month for our school. Any anxiety over the use of Chromebooks was dispelled as teachers and students became immersed in the discovery of their potential. Teachers shared websites as well as hints and advice with each other as we moved to new systems. And we began learning about the growth mindset and how it relates to helping students value effort, embrace challenges, work through obstacles, and acknowledge and learn from others’ success. This thinking, coupled with a personalized learning community, has the potential of allowing students to achieve at highest levels. It’s going to be a fantastic year! Arthur
Best Part of the Day A note of appreciation to our custodial staff who, despite cut backs, managed to put our school back together flawlessly for the start of the school year! Team Safari appreciates Joe Pirraglia’s frequent classroom walk-throughs. A huge thank you to Maria Boulmetis for her patience and assistance with the Chromebook! Thanks to Shawn Henderson for sharing NEWSELA!!! The kids love it. Thank you to Annie Printer, Ana Rocha, and Maria Boulemetis for sharing their ChromeBook knowledge! Thank you to the staff for helping me through my transition to my new position and my new duties. I am very grateful to staff assistance in editing our evacuation routes (a work in continued progress) and for all the help with lockers (particularly Brian Skalski and Keri Rooney). Thank you Shawn Henderson and Christine Conklin for taking the time to provide guidance and support to the Alternate Science program and students. Also, thank you Andrew Gervasini for spending the entire day here, every day – even though you are a half-time teacher at ASFMS, trying to speed learn alternate science instruction. The students loved when they made it rain!
Thank you, Mary Lou Bettez for your quick communication about student behaviors. Teams greatly appreciate being kept in the loop when one of our students is involved in an action that results in a consequence. Kudos to the members of the Social Studies department who continue to share and collaborate on everything including student work and uses of technology to improve teaching and learning. Thanks to Ted Mitchell for his continued diligence in posting our curriculum online that has made the transition to ChromeBooks seamless in Social Studies instruction. I think it is important to all of us to know when a parent is pleased. Kudo’s went out to the Puma Team from one of their parents for their outstanding communication. (Just wanted to say how terrific the Puma Team communicates w/parents. The weekly email and the team website are so helpful!!)
Kristen Skwirz, Samantha Taylor, and Andrea Lima, new special education teachers at ASFMS, deserve a huge round of applause for their amazing work to support student transitions. It’s hard to believe this is their first year here!! Although new to ASFMS, they are clearly quite knowledgeable and know how to best support struggling students. Whenever I pass Ana Rocha’s room, I am drawn to the engaging instruction and level of excitement I see in the student’s faces. Mantener el buen trabajo!
Teachers and students are doing incredible things with ChromeBooks. Just this morning, I observed Panda math and watched students self-select appropriate leveled practice items that met their needs. As students increase their proficiency they independently move toward more difficult items sets. Tracy Osterhout is able to monitor individual progress almost instantaneously using her Google Drive. I had the opportunity to watch Marzano’s 6-Step Vocabulary Strategy in action. One of Alicia Simas’ students was creating a metaphorical model of the earth by comparing it to a kiwi. Similarly, one of Jen Asay’s students was comparing it to another fruit. Marzano suggests that illustrating vocabulary is one of the most powerful ways to teach it. Thank you to Jen Kilduff for taking the time to visit the RISD Museum prior to a field trip in which she acted as a tour guide for students. THANK YOU to everyone in this faculty who goes out of their way to support those of us who are full of fear and feeling vulnerable when it comes to technology. Everyone, no matter what level of expertise they possess, stops to answer questions and provide direction at a moment’s notice. You inspire me to want to learn more and to never settle!
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Falcon Flyer Stay A.C.T.I.V.E. Ask questions; Connect; Track Information; Infer; Visualize; Eureka! Synthesis Ciao! Sono uno studente della classe che vuole realmente imparare. Purtroppo, una volta sono andato in una scuola media, l'apprendimento è diventato molto più difficile per me. IO sono un buon lettore e ho sempre fatto bene in matematica, ma per qualche motivo, le cose sembrano molto più difficile nel 7° grado. Can you read this? If you understand Italian, perhaps this paragraph is simple. Maybe some of you can read and understand some of it. I can recite all the words, but have no clue what it means! This is often true for many students once the expectation changes from learning to read to reading to learn.
If you need a Get A.C.T.I.V.E. poster– or have an interest in learning more, see Sandy Clunan.
Charlie Blanchette has been using www.symbaloo.com, a way to personalize your desktop, with a lot of success in his classroom.
On Friday, October 17th, Sunshine will be hosting a breakfast for all of our staff in the mailroom. There will be a lot to enjoy! For those of you who have joined, thank you! We will be holding a gift card raffle for members on October 17th. For those of you who have not joined, please consider doing so. If you need a new form, please see or email Kate Arsenault. If we get 100% participation, we will be holding another gift card raffle for $20 to Fat Belly's! It has been a great and positive start to our school year!
To our office clerks, Cheryl Daley and Terri Gralenski, who have been bombarded with parent requests and Chromebooks brought to school late - thank you for maintaining a positive, friendly and professional front office.
ACTIVE is high quality, research based, tier 1 core instruction. The ACTIVE mnemonic represents the synthesis of a wealth of research supporting the practice of teaching students particular cognitive strategies – thinking strategies - to support comprehension and the construction of meaning. “… by explicitly thinking aloud with students to show how a proficient reader uses the (ACTIVE) strategies and then gradually encouraging the students to use them independently (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983)…many researchers concluded that comprehension strategy instruction has a significant and lasting effect on students' understanding” (Keene & Zimmerman, 1997/2007; Pearson, Roehler, Dole, & Duffy, 1992; Pressley, 2002). When we teach students how to construct meaning from what they are learning, we are showing them how to enhance understanding, acquire and use knowledge, monitor their own understanding, and develop insight. In essence, we are giving them the tools they need to be independent, life-long learners. Let’s continue our work from last year and embrace what we have learned. Start small – perhaps modeling for your students how you generate questions when reading, looking at a picture, a mathematical equation, or game strategy, etc. by using a “think aloud”. Let’s STAY ACTIVE! “Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success In case you are wondering, here is the English translation of the above passage. Hello! I am a student in your class who truly wants to learn. Sadly, once I came to the middle school, learning became much more difficult for me. I am a good reader and I have always done well in math, but for some reason, things seem much harder in the 7th grade.
Technology Corner Struggling with or need some extra help learning how to use Google Forms?? Check out a presentation that Maria Boulemetis put together. http://bit.ly/1tCiFPt. Be especially sure to check out Maria’s presentation if you haven’t discovered all that Flubaroo can offer!! Derek Larguinho has found many uses for http://www.polleverywhere.com. See him if you have any questions. Also, check out the website Kahoot (https://getkahoot.com/). If you haven't heard of it, it is a game-based questioning website that not only allows students to answer content based questions that you create, but also scores them against one another interactively. Unlike polleverywhere.com, it allows you to download a form that provides the responses for each student throughout the multi-question survey. It is the same premise as polleverywhere.com, but allows you to view the data on an individual and whole-class level. Jen Graham found this web tutorial online that shows how you can use Google Forms to create a grading rubric. You fill out the form as you grade each student's work and the results are put into a Google Sheet. Then you can reorganize the data so you have all of the kids’ grades. For people who use Sheets or Excel for grade books you could then copy and paste into the grade book. It is much easier than manually entering the information. Also, check out the Google “Gooru’s” blog for other useful tips and tricks: http://www.googlegooru.com/tips-for-teachers-using-google-forms-as-grading-rubrics/
Life Skills News Students in the Life Skills program at ASFMS participated in a fundraising opportunity for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation. Students decorated wooden boards that will be held by volunteers along the WaterFire Walkway on October 11, 2014 during the Survivors March at the Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life. Afterwards, a demonstration will be held where the karate students will break the decorated boards. Boards were $5.00 and all proceeds will benefit the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation. Boards will be displayed at Mastery Martial Arts, 555 East Main Street in East Greenwich, until the event is held. Special thanks to Robin Strang for purchasing and donating the boards to the Life Skills classroom and to Michael Pezzillo, Chief Instructor at Mastery Martial Arts, for the opportunity. Flames of Hope: A Celebration of Life™ is the largest breast cancer awareness event in the Northeast. Held every year on Columbus Day Weekend, in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, this event provides education, exhibits, interactive health screenings, healing arts activities, music and lots of family fun. The pinnacle of the weekend is the Illuminations of Life Ceremony. Breast cancer survivors and loved ones carry torches in memory of those who have lost their battles to breast cancer, and to light the way for those who have yet to begin their journeys. - See more at: http://gloriagemma.org/signature-events.html#sthash.6HBvFiXk.dpuf