Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Working with Michael Rettig!

Both today and tomorrow I have the pleasure of working with Michael Rettig - the block scheduling master.  I thought reading his material was phenomenal, but working with him in a room is even better.  As we get ready to be one of the pilots for block scheduling, we couldn't be in better hands.  Want to know more about him and his work?  Check out him out here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vocabulary Instruction!

Did you know that kids who "read a lot" learn about 8 words per day.  Kids who "do not read a lot" learn about 2.  While 2 and 8 don't seem like huge numbers, take that over the course of a month and now you have 60 words vs 240 words.  While it is not a new concept or idea, direct vocabulary instruction has gained a lot of attention over the recent years by education researchers and practitioners.  So the question becomes - how do we take what we know and translate that into learning for ALL students?  In this book, Beck and McKeown provide some very easy vocabulary instruction activities that can be done across all content areas.  We know that the adolescent mind is in high gear most of the time, but one of its struggles is to make meaning and connections in its world.  Therefore, teaching vocabulary across all content areas can help our students make those connections.  Who says that only the Math teacher can teach about tessellations?  My money is usually with the Art teacher.  But thing about what a powerful combination it would be if both were teaching the same concept and vocabulary!  Powerful!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Busy Start

So I realized this weekend that it has been a long time since my last entry.  That is directly correlated to the business in the new job!  Williamsburg Middle School has kept me very busy.  We have already had 1 parent outreach off campus, a PTA meeting, Back to School Night, and right on our heels are student led conferences.  Needless to say, things are busy.  This past week I have been engaging in wonderful conversations with the teachers about their Professional Development Plan goals.  It is always great to sit down and talk about researching aspects of pedagogy to improve student achievement.  I am looking forward to seeing all of our plans come alive.  Perhaps we can take a breath at Thanksgiving.