Nicki Colbert, Westview Elementary, Kindergarten
Ashley Lohman, Westview Elementary, Kindergarten
Amy Gronseth & Lindsey Markus, Westview Elementary, 3rd Grade
Chelsea Lane, Kindergarten, Westview Elementary
In June, 2015 myself and a few others from the PBS team at the High School attended the MO SW-PBS Summer Training Institute in Tan-Tar-A. One of the presentations was done by Reed Springs High School in which they talked about their tier 1 and tier 2 interventions. One of the interventions was their D.R.A.F.T. This is a way to track student progress and assign points to students based on grade, attendance, disciplinary criteria. Teachers would “draft” students who they needed to see for one reason or another during their “study hall” time. This student would then be required to report to that teacher during a specified period of time. They also provided incentives for students who maintained good standing in grades, attendance, discipline, etc. How the incentives worked is that students in grades 9-12 would have an ID (Gold or Silver) that must be worn during privilege time (PT). Bronze card students would not have a PT ID for that 3 week period. Gold status would be given to any student with all grades being at an A or B, no discipline problems and 95% attendance for the 3 week grading period. These students would then have 4 days of PT (M,T,W,F) in limited locations (gym, commons, library, etc) and would have a reduced technology filter. Silver status would be given to any student with all grades at an A, B or C and no discipline problems for the 3 weeks. These students would have 2 days of PT (M,F). Bronze status would be given to any student with a D or lower and/or have discipline problems for the 3 week grading period. These students would have no PT and would have 4 days of DRAFT time. Any student could choose to be drafted if they needed to.
They used a Google Doc to do the tracking with students listed by grade level on 4 different tabs and a drop down menu to show a student’s incentive status (gold, silver, bronze). They utilized a team concept to, as they put it, “make everyone a part of something bigger than themselves.” The school was broken up into 4 teacher/student teams and the teams earned points for the incentive status of their students: Gold = 2 points, Silver = 1 point, Bronze = 0 points. Teams earned these points for each student at the end of a predetermined cycle. Points were also awarded to teachers who had students that moved up in the points category. They, then, had a team champion every quarter and an overall winner at the end of the year.
This year, we piloted the draft portion of the program only for freshmen and it went really well. Many more students got the help they needed from their teachers and teachers were better able to meet the needs of specific students. Next year we plan to attempt the draft with the entire student body.
We also piloted the incentive portion with all students. Our interventions coach, Christen Everett would pull the data and compile a google sheet, color coding the students who achieved gold or silver status. She would then send it out in an email to the whole staff and ELT teachers would release students with gold status to the gym for free time instead of study hall 2 times per week. Students with silver status would be released only once per week. The majority of students really took advantage of the free time and valued the incentives. We plan to continue this incentives program next year as well.
Post by: Melissa Quint | High School Social Studies Teacher
Hip Hop Genius by Sam Seidel was the focus of my flex day professional development. Although the author is a high school recording arts teacher, the book reflects on specific nuances of education. He does not force you to choose between theory and practice, but rather combines the two to create an ideal reality in the classroom. Hip Hop Genius is focused on sound scholarship and creative critical thinking. It confronts the numerous social disparities in America’s educational system and allows a teacher to see the creative value and worth in each student.
One specific lesson I found to be useful was the importance of student leadership within the classroom. He tells a specific story about one of his students that I found particularly useful. Seidel said of this particular student that “he was a great school leader. This is true not despite the academic struggles he went through as a student but because of them.” (Seidel 78). It’s important that we as teachers recognize that we have dozens of educational experiences sitting in front of us every day, some good and some bad. Each experience makes up the new experience that each student will have in your classroom and you must utilize every student to create a positive new experience. That why identifying and creating a setting for growth is vital. Sam Seidel discusses the importance of this and more in his book Hip Hop Genius.
Post by: Seth Morton | High School English Language Arts
Impact Teaching, by Richard Howell Allen, was the focus for my Flex professional development. This book is a strategy guide for maximizing the impact of instruction in the short time we have with students each day, and is solidly rooted in current educational research. The text focuses instruction strategies for large groups (direct instruction), maximizing efficacy and retention of actual instructions to students, the use of emotionally positive, unambiguous language in the classroom, and a simple approach to interactive lesson design.
This book does presuppose fairly orthodox educational settings and procedures, but nonetheless provided extremely useful, instant-impact strategies that I applied in my classes this year. While too much direct instruction has been discredited as ineffective, its use on a daily basis is necessary. All teachers probably have experienced the frustration of needing to repeat statements and instructions delivered to students. I myself have blithely issued directions for an assignment, only to find when the work is submitted that fundamental requirements were not met. Allen provides some tips that have made my instructions more effective. For example, he recommends a simple device known as ‘open loops’. An open loop consists of dropping a high-interest fact or question at the beginning of class or segment of instruction without immediately addressing or explaining it. Then, at a later point, the loop is closed with an explanation or chance for students to respond. The idea is to generate a little suspense and anticipation and orient student’s attention in a desired way. This has been a method for me to simply improve focus. Between the time the loop is opened and closed, verbal instruction seems to be better retained.
Post by: Chris Hull | HS English Language Arts
Jeff Haney attended a workshop on costume design this year with some of his students and learned a lot about helping students problem solve and work through issues. Here is his reflection!
This is the first fitting of the gown. We spent three hours at this first fitting. The designer shared how she would go about moving the boning in the bodice to fit and how we would move from a very long sergered hem to one of a blind hem.
She spent time sharing how to move from the sergered hem to the blind. It was the first time I had a designer/costumer spend the time to make this process understandable. The students on the costume crew learned a great deal that day that they were able to move to the gowns that were to be hemmed for the "king's wives".
This is the gown on the first day of fitting. The designer added the metal hoop. The costume crew had the opportunity to learn how the mechanics of this thirty pound hoop would work with the silk gown and how they would dress and undress the actress in the 3 minute time frame.
The designer taught us how to go from the white dress used in the prior scene. They practiced with the designer's guidance how to move from the full white dress...remove shoes, dress, and prep the ball gown (two parts), add the metal hoop, earrings, necklace, long gloves and bracelet in the 3 minutes and without talking.
The crew learned how to be prepped for the fast costume change and to do it without throwing the actress off of her energy for the next scene. It was really impressive to see how we would move all of the pieces without talking...the designer taught them so much about non-verbals, prep for the actress, moving through the process without any real issue.
They had learned this change so well that we did it again for the curtain call. The crew felt they could move her from the black mourning dress to the ball gown again...and they did!
This is the final fitting of the ball gown. The process of getting the soft, hidden hem is worth noticing. This is a skill that was we were very interesting in learning to accomplish. Also the train was vital for the "Shall We Dance" number. The designer added a thirty pound metal hoop in order for the dress to move as it should and maintain its shape. The dressers had the opportunity to learn how to best work with the 3 minutes costume change moving from a plastic boned hoop skirt to this heavy hoop.
We were able to fully appreciated the process of getting the original design to fit the actress. It is worth noting that the actress was losing weight through the last two weeks which give us the opportunity to refit the bodice of the dress three times. We had the opportunity to learn from the designer how to refit the boning in the dress as the actress was changing sizes
After working with an outside source (community outreach) and experiencing the value of adding a professional element to the high school theatre world we have found the following reflections:
Students grow both in the real-world interaction and in the appreciation of what we do is valuable as a workplace job skill. We will continue to have this interaction in future productions in order to use this enlightenment as part of the growth in value of the classroom outcomes.
Students are highly motivated to impress and do their best work when a professional is both teaching and evaluating their work. The students appear to appreciate the professional for both their expertise and high expectations. A continuation of this relationship is highly valuable in making the classroom outcomes more meaningful and to add to the level of expectation for their work on the productions.
The following production there was a strong carryover of the skills taught by the professional. I observed their demand for high expectations for their work continued without the professional.
Post by: Jeff Haney | High School Theatre Teacher
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