Instructional Spotlight

This is a great share! Mr Butts has designed a great layered lesson and you can see the benefits and payoff with the great engagement in the room. This is the result of advanced planning for  learning outcomes and attention to instructional design. Great embedded use of technology! You see a clear focus on learning! Pay close attention to Mr Butts role here! He has has designed student high level student work/projects that allow him to check on progress and understanding. This is incredibly beneficial for his kids because he can be supportive and push students. He has given them the resources to they need to find the answers for their project/work and he can work on helping kids with the higher level functions. Great job here!

Productive Struggle

I read about this term recently. The title drew me in instantly, I was curious what it meant and how it pertains to our work. When I read the article [How ‘productive struggle’ leads to deeper learning] not only did it make sense but it resonates with all of us. It makes sense in our work, professionally and personally.

Productive struggle for students is when they have work that is slightly above their skill level and they have to ‘stretch’ to reach their goal. This makes sense in our classroom because if we give students work they can do at their skill level we would never introduce new material to them OR never give them work that would allow them to explore new areas of their personal development. I’m sure we all have a story to tell about someone ‘pushing us out of the nest’ to help us reach a new level or accomplish a goal. I thank many people for their encouragement and push. If not for that I wouldn’t have become a teacher, began looking for different ways to reach kids in my classes, and be at peace with my daughter being away at college [working on that on].

For us, this means we need to plan and design lessons carefully. We need to be aware of where are students skills are so we can give them some good room to stretch. We also need to be there to be of support to students. This means scaffolding and personalizing as we need for each student as we come to new content. We need to know what resources are best used to teach and what resources are best to assess.

I think productive struggle is a great concept. When I think about my accomplishments, I am most proud of the good work that I was successful with that didn’t come easy. After the sweat and work, I was proud of the journey at the end. Let’s give our kids some work they can be proud of at the end. We can be proud because we will have helped them stretch and realize they can be successful in their work.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Our conferences are this week. This is a great time to connect with parents and put a plan in place for second half of the year.

I’ve attached an article below in the Resources section on parent conference strategies, Six Tips for Planning Productive Parent Conferences. It has some great considerations points. I want to briefly focus on Tip: 4 Listening.

We have to remember that we are making parents understand that we are all committed to making plans that will truly help their kids be successful. That is their primary concern [and ours]. Let parents know that you are listening attentively – take 10917865_10152964938755115_6363538115855950748_ngreat notes, nod affirmatively and communicate a good educational plan. Keep the other tips in mind as you plan these meetings with your team.

Shout out to our Treyvon Taylor as he delivered Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream Speech’ at the Spring Lake Rec Center. Here, he is pictured with Mayor Chris Rey.



‘Nothing was going to stop me..’

“I have a very happy life”

I was moved when I saw this. It would be easy to feel sorry for this young man, his uphill walk is very different. But looking at his 3 philosophies for a happy life I feel less sorry for him and more admiration for his courage.

Happy Point #2 – Surround Yourself With People You Want to Be Around

This point makes me think of our school and climate. We can’t pick and choose our students but we do control the atmosphere we set in our classrooms and hallways for students and ourselves. Sam’s point about surrounding himself with positive people translates into us creating an atmosphere that students want to belong to and are happy to be a part of.

  • Everyday we can welcome them to class
  • We can smile [even when we don’t have a lot to smile about]
  • We can share teach about the intrinsic value of good work
  • We can teach that respecting others brings about smiles.

Let’s think about our climate, what and who we are surrounding ourselves and how a positive atmosphere benefits everyone


Week of January 26th

  • Literacy Week
  • Parent Teacher Conferences [Conferences before, after school and through planning periods. Students with failures should be contacted]

Monday Jan 26

Tuesday Jan 27

  • Bronco Basketball at New Century
  • Bronco Wrestling against New Century at Home

Wednesday Jan 28

Thursday Jan 29

  • Happy birthday Ms Gorman
  • Bronco Wrestling at John Griffin
  • Bronco Basketball against John Griffin at Home

Friday Jan 30

  • Pest Control – Entire building at 4:00
  • Happy birthday Ms Hall