Hello from your IC

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Hello Nowlin and Long! I really miss seeing all of you! I came across two very short youtube videos by Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and my personal favorite, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Each week she encourages the viewer to explore their own craft of writing. Please feel free to share with your students or explore your own inner author during this most unusual of times….

Greetings from Your IC

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Hello All!

Wow! Every day is filled with new information! I hope all of you are staying safe! I have been seeing many great things from all of you; Zooming with your students, reading books on-line, volunteering to pass out food, Google hangouts, Dojo messages to parents! You are all amazing! Please remember that! Also remember that in this time of crisis all of you stepped up and are continuing to be there for your students!

I was saddened to see the current decision by the MDE…I hope that will change. But after looking at what all of you have done within the last week of this crisis, I can only imagine the awesome things that you will do if we have to extend learning into summer or some other way that is placed upon us. All of you keep moving forward and keep your student’s best interest at heart! Please know that I am always here to support you in any way shape or form!

The Michigan Reading Association has sent us a link to some more ideas if you would like to take a peek!


Take care and remember you are all in my thoughts!

Words of Encouragement

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Good Morning! I found this on line and thought it was worded perfectly. Please let me know if I can support you in any way!

This is an extremely important read. I know we all want to do what is best for our kids, but in these unusual times our usual best might not be possible. 

From another site ….

12 Things You Need To Know About Teaching In a Crisis- written by my colleague, Brian Faith.

Hi everyone:
I believe I have some suggestions for my fellow elementary, middle, and high school teachers who are faced with teaching your classes while your schools have suspended face to face classes.

I teach at Paradise Charter Middle School in Paradise, California. We lived through the Camp Fire on November 8, 2018. Although our campus survived, we were unable to use it for school until August 2019. We finished out the 2018-2019 school year in borrowed classrooms at another school in nearby Chico. The vast majority of our families and 30% of our staff lost their homes, and many were living in other towns, some up to 90 miles away, yet they made it to school almost every day. Here are a few things my colleagues and I have learned over the past 18 months:

1. Let go of everything you can’t control. Stay in your lane. You are a teacher: TEACH!!

2. You HAVE TO BE WILLING to do a mediocre job. Your professional world just collapsed and you can’t be the teacher you thought you were before this happened

3. You ARE NOT creating online classes. You ARE delivering your curriculum in a digital format. Take a little time to think about the difference.

4. Your students may not have access to high speed internet. Watching videos may not be an option for them. 

5. Your students may only be able to access your curriculum on their phone – with limited data. DON”T FORGET THAT.

6. KEEP the rhythm and flow of your curriculum. Your students are used to the culture you have created – keep it intact as much as possible. Their connection with you is the best chance they have at experiencing normalcy in their day. Be honest and direct with them. They are more resilient than you think – maybe more resilient than you are.

7. DO NOT expect students to log on to a live streamed class. See above about connectivity issues. Also, understand your students’ lives are not structured the way they used to be. Many are with relatives, or being shuffled from friend to friend as parents improvise daycare. Too many kids are at home alone all day. Some aren’t eating or sleeping properly. They aren’t available during the day like they were at school.

8. BE CAREFUL ABOUT USING ONLINE RESOURCES. If you haven’t been using these resources already, this is the wrong time to start. You don’t know how to use it and neither do your students. Remember about connectivity issues when using resources you’ve been regularly utilizing in your classroom. Your tried and trusted resources may no longer  work for many of your students.

9. BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT DUE DATES.  If a student tells you they couldn’t get it done, they are probably telling you the truth. Let it go and make a plan based on their need, not yours. But hold them accountable to getting it done. 

10. DON’T YOU DARE THINK ABOUT HOW THIS MIGHT AFFECT STANDARDIZED TEST SCORES! You shouldn’t think about that during any school year. Our students took the standardized test last year after watching their town burn as they drove away, losing everything, experiencing divorces, losing beloved pets, wearing crummy, smelly clothes donated by strangers, being taught in a gymnasium for several weeks, living in trailers, driving for hours to get to school, and finishing out the year in an unfamiliar environment. They scored exactly the same as they always do. Don’t worry about it.

11. Take time off. Every day. Every week. Take a day and don’t even think about your job. Leave it behind. It’s hard to do, I know. Do it anyway.


Selecting NWEA Screeners and Checklists

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If you are in need of more information on a student’s needs, NWEA Skills Screeners and Checklists offer a fast and efficient way to gather information about what a student knows in certain skill areas.

Check out the attached chart to help you determine the Skills Checklist(s) to administer in order to get more information and determine instructional next steps.

Selecting NWEA Screeners & Checklists

Exit Tickets!

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I have been encouraging the teachers I work with to use Exit Tickets! Here are some tips for using them!

How to Use

1. Create

Decide what you’d like to find out about students’ learning at the end of the lesson. Write a question or pose a problem on the Exit Ticket, or post the question or problem for students to see.

2. Collect

Set a specific amount of time for students to complete the Exit Ticket. Stand at the door to collect the tickets as students leave the classroom. Students could also post their exit tickets in a designated place in the room before leaving and/or transitioning.

3. Clarify

Examine the tickets carefully. Depending on your purpose, it might be helpful to sort the tickets into piles – for example, tickets that demonstrate students have grasped the content, tickets that show that students don’t understand, and tickets that you aren’t sure about. Consider starting the next lesson with interesting ticket responses or with a graph or chart that highlights common responses.

When to Use

Use Exit Tickets at the end of class to:

  • Check students’ understanding by having them summarize key points from the lesson
  • Verify that students can solve a problem or answer a significant question based on the lesson
  • Emphasize the essential question for the day’s lesson
  • Have students ask questions they still have about the lesson
  • See if students can apply the content in a new way
  • Formulate guided groups for students who did not demonstrate understanding after the lesson
  • Create extensions for students who demonstrate mastery after the lesson


Verbal Exit Ticket

Have students line up at the end of class while you stand at the door. As they reach the door, students must share an idea or concept they learned with you. Each student must give a different answer. As students stand in line, they can discuss different possible answers before they reach you.

Notes for the Week of September 9th!

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Welcome to our first full week of school! Just a reminder…if you would like to sign up for some open coaching I have attached my schedule for the month of September. Thank you to those teachers that have signed up! I am looking forward to going into rooms!

This week I am meeting with a giving an orientation with the Edsel Ford Highschool Cadets. The Cadet program is for Juniors and Seniors who are interested in becoming teachers. These students come to designated classrooms once a day to work with classroom students at grade level or above. They work closely with teachers to create lessons for these students. This semester, Jaime McShane and Deanne Jones, both Long teachers, have cadets coming to their rooms. If you are interested or think you may be interested in this please let me know.

This week Nowlin is having their Bookfair! I have recommended two books for the students. The first on is Pete the Cat and the New Guy! It is a great book for those new kids in class…it gives a spin on being new and what you can contribute to the class. The second book is Dog Man, for whom the ball Rolls. My son, who is now in middle school has loved the Dog Man books.

Have a Great Week and know that I am here!

Hello and Nice to Meet You!

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Thank you all for the warm welcome that I have had at both schools! I am looking forward to getting to know everyone on each staff at Long and Nowlin!

I was able to meet with both Josh and Veronica to discuss my role as your Instructional Coach! I am excited that both buildings are engaging in PLC. I think it is a wonderful initiative and will make these already strong buildings stronger.

Along with doing intervention with Second grades in both buildings, I will be available for coaching partnerships one in each building per quarter. If you are interested in a partnership please let me know. For the month of September I will be doing “al a cart” coaching and then in October I will begin formal coaching rounds.

I will be attending a meeting tomorrow (Friday) to finalize some questions regarding DRA administration in classrooms for the year. As soon as I have a solid answer I will share with Veronica and Josh for their approval and then I will share the information with both staffs. I am hoping to have information out by this Monday.

Each week I will be blogging, one part of my blog will be a Read Aloud suggestion. This week’s book is called What Does It Mean to be Present by Rana DiOrio. This book focuses on the here and now. With many of our students having trauma or anxiety this book gives them small suggestions on how to be present in the moment. Something I know I also need to work on.

Have a great Weekend. I look forward to working with all of you this year and beyond.