SpotlightWhat Differentiation Is (And Is Not)

Its exciting to see the momentum we are developing as the year progressing! If you think back to this time last year, we were still developing our understanding of and what our collaborative planning would look like and what it would be. This year, we decided to give teachers the first two Wednesdays to have more time in class and it has really paid off. We are seeing some great things developing in classes and our conversations in collaborative planning seems to have picked up mid-stream! We aren’t starting over – it feels like we are picking a conversation where in we previously pressed paused! This shows that we are driving forward with our emphasis on instruction, learning, planning and achieving!

This week was a busy week, more to the point it was a busy Wednesday! We had our Code Red Lockdown Drill and we had a DPI visit regarding some discipline concerns from last year. It was a lot to have in one day but #Broncos don’t buck from a challenge! I want to thank you all for really giving showing all our visitors and our students what a quality job is! There was not a single gap in any of our processes Wednesday – #flawless execution on all fronts! When I spoke to groups I mentioned that I didn’t want to make Wednesday about ‘putting on a show’ and that is exactly what happened! We saw a quality procedures in place, we saw great preparation and we got some great compliments from all visitors to the building! Our DPI guest wanted me to convey the ‘positive feel’ of the school which I told him is from the efforts of our #BroncoPride Plan! Thanks to you all for making sure our school is safe AND what you are doing to build a great culture!

Shout out to Ms Jackson! This weekend, she hosted the NCMEA Directors Meeting! She made such a great impression they asked that SLMS host next year as well! Way to let that #BroncoPride show!

We had a great first week of BroncoAthletics! If you have athletes in your room, please make sure you have encouraging words with them to keep them motivated and excited about helping SLMS shine!

7th Grade Spirit Week 9.21.14
– Monday, Hat Day
– Tuesday, Twin Day-
– Wednesday, GQ/Diva Day
– Thursday, Blue/Gold Day
– Friday, Wear Orange Day [7th Grade Team Color]

Welcome to the newest Bronco! We are excited to be joined by Ms Brandie Abraham, our new 6th grade science teacher! When you get a chance, please make sure you drop by B3 and give her a Bronco welcome!

Please remember to make plans for your Vision/Mission projects. The projects this 9 weeks should center around the first part of our mission statement – ‘The purpose of Spring Lake Middle School is to provide a safe, orderly, caring environment that makes high academic achievement the priority’. The major point of  this is to get our kids active in creating/participating in an activity that will show their commitment to our mission. We need to start talks about this as soon as possible. Every grade level has had some students making some ‘not so great’ choices. We need to remember that many of them are getting back into the swing of school and have had a couple of good months to practice some bad choice making.


This week I wanted to highlight our great 7th ELA teachers. The two videos you see above where taken during a visit to each teacher’s class on different days. As you watch, you will see that there is a clear focus on several things that are bound to make difference:

  • First, you see the teachers have a common focus on what need to be taught;
  • Second, after they have an agreement on what needs to be taught, they develop a common understanding of how to teach it. In this case, they develop a plan to teach concepts in smaller groups. Coming up with a rich mix of activities ranging from Prezis notes to worksheets allows the teachers to get in and talk to students and assess learning/understanding’
  • Third, the smaller groups allow us to place our focus on talking to students and asking questions that measure individual learning. This is the PERSONALIZATION/DIFFERENTIATION that will make a huge difference in our classes. Sometimes in group work we focus on work completion not how well each student understands.
  • Fourth, our modified block allows EVERYONE in our school to have 90 minute learning blocks. By design, these teachers set aside time over several days to complete the cycle. We don’t have to rush to get the great learning and teaching done – we only have to plan for it!

Upcoming Events:

  • Monday 9.15 – Department Meetings, after school
  • Tuesday 9.16
    • Grade Level Meetings
    • Girls Track Meet at Pine Forest MS
    • Enrollment Benefits Meeting – Media Center
    • PTO Meeting
  • Wednesday 9.17
    • Collaborative Planning – Please make sure you are on time
    • Volleyball/Soccer at Pine Forest MS
    • BT Meeting
  • Thursday 9.18
    • Protected Planning
    • Detention
    • Football Game against Pine Forest MS at Home
  • Friday 9.26 – Pest Control Visit [GIT OUT!!!]
  • Reading Rocks is Saturday 10.18

Resources for Instructional Focusfocus