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Volume 3*Issue 4
Once again, Nixa met with EXCELLENCE 14 out of 14
standards on our Annual Performance Report!
quot;Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.quot;
December 1, 2008
Merry Christmas! I hope this finds
you rested after our four-day Thanksgiving
break. I have once again avoided baking the Benchmark Assessments
turkey (or the ham for that matter). My
husband’s eighty-five year old
grandmother continued the tradition of
hosting Thanksgiving at her home in
Buffalo, MO. Now, it’s time to think
Christmas presents. I am determined to
shop early this year. We’ll see …
December is a busy month. Please
don’t hesitate to contact me if you need
Benchmarks are COLD assessments.
They should be administered similar to the
M.A.P. test. Do not review beforehand
or provide assistance during the test
unless an I.E.P or 504 plan calls for
modifications. This is IMPERATIVE for
data collection. Remember, the data
collection is for YOU, the teacher. It’s a
gauge to see where your students are in
comparison to other students in the
Have you ever been water skiing? I had the opportunity a few years ago
and was completely astonished that I remembered all the procedures
involved. I had not been on skis for nearly TWENTY years. In fact, I got up
the very first time (short of completely standing up) before I let go of the
rope. I quickly remembered face planting as a teen and didn’t care to
repeat the experience; I opted for intertubing instead. Think of bowling.
How do you hold the ball? How do you walk? What about riding a bike?
Procedural memory is STRONG. If you’ll consistently add gestures to
content, students WILL have a better chance remembering the
information when necessary … on say the M.A.P. test.
Repetition also makes the memory stronger. Remember, drill and
thrill; DON’T drill and kill. Once you have a gesture, REVIEW it.
Math Gestures Plot Gestures
Exposition: Introduces characters and problem.
Teach millimeter, centimeter, meter Have students cross arms in an X position in front of
and kilometer with gestures AND tone. their faces and rest their chins on their X. Then, have
them turn their heads sideways with their tongues
Hold your thumb and first finger about a hanging out.
millimeter apart and in your BEST English
accent say, “Millimeter.” Rising Action: Have students squat and gradually
rise while saying, “rising, rising, rising, rising
Move your thumb and first finger about a ACTION,” in a silly voice.
centimeter apart and in your BEST English
accent say, “Centimeter.” Climax: Have students place their arms above their
head and say, “Climax.”
Move both hands about a meter apart and
in your BEST English accent say, “Meter.” Falling Action: While standing, students gradually
lower to a squatting position while whispering,
Open your arms as wide as they’ll go and “Falling, falling, falling, falling action.”
in your BEST English accent say,
“Kilometer.” Resolution: While standing, have students rub
their hands together like they’re wiping them clean
Let the students practice with you. It’s fun and say, “Resolution.”
Speaking of Gestures:
Your hand makes a
PERFECT graph for plot!
December M.A.P. Checklist
_____ I teach and assess the written curriculum AND keep up with the scope and sequence.
_____ I use Depth of Knowledge when teaching and keep my Depth of Knowledge Wheel close
to remind me to ask questions in the Skills/Concepts and Strategic Thinking levels.
_____ I give cold assessments with feedback AND error correction opportunities.
_____ My assessments consist of multiple choice, constructed response and
performance event questions. I am careful to include skills/concepts and strategic
thinking multiple-choice questions in my assessments.
_____ I am utilizing data to drive my instruction. If asked, I could tell specific areas
of celebration and concern from previous years’ M.A.P. data.
_____ I use the glossary of terms provided from D.E.S.E. for math, communication arts and
_____ I use the Math GLE examples for review AND do cumulative assessments over similar
items for retention.
_____ I USE the Communication Arts Interpretations Document and require my students to
give TWO details from the text on constructed response items.
M.A.P. Basic Training
Would you show up to play in the Super Bowl without practicing football? M.A.P. is the
same way. Be sure to practice the way we play.
D.E.S.E. recently released a new DRAFT copy of Communication Arts questions. These
questions can be used with ANY text. Goal Process Standards 1.6, 2.2 and 3.5 have been
tested the most the last few years.
The purpose of this document is to define how the Communication Arts Process Standards are interpreted, to provide examples of high
quality open-ended constructed response and multiple choice items to support classroom instruction and assessment, and to bring about
greater learning through in depth questioning.
December 15, 2008
Professional Development Offerings
Google… It is More than a Search Engine with Lori Elliot
Tune in to http://www.lorislatestlinks.blogspot.com/ on December 15 to find out all about the
amazing tools Google has available for teachers. Follow Lori’s screencast to learn about Google
Book Search, Picasa photo slideshows, Google Earth, and many other helpful tools. This session
will be presented online on the blog. Enjoy this session at your leisure.
Teaching Respect and Responsibility Everyday- 10 Easy Ways with Joana King
Come and learn 10 easy everyday strategies for helping children develop the respect and
responsibility they need to navigate the challenges of adolescence and adulthood. From sharing the
agenda to teaching the golden rule, these 10 strategies will infuse your students with the desire to
take ownership of their own actions. This workshop will also be offered as a pod-cast. RSVP to
Testable Questions with Barbara St.Clair
Do your students have difficulty with that critter called a “Testable Question”? It appears on every
MAP science test but data shows that students aren’t very successful with it. Here is an opportunity
to indulge in a playful activity and then apply some strategies for teaching students to recognize and
then write their own testable questions. Grades 3 through 8 RSVP to
Using DRAs and Running Records to Inform and Differentiate Instruction with Debby
We will start with a sharing session. Then, we will look at student examples and commonly score
them using the comprehension rubric. Finally, we will gather information from the student examples
to differentiate reading instruction during guided reading and use student reading levels to make
sure our students are reading just right books during SSR time. RSVP to
Writing Prompts, Writer’s Workshop and the Six Traits of Writing: Getting the Most
Out of Your Writing Block with Cheryl Dick
This session will focus on layering mini-lessons and effective conferring to boost students’ writing to
the next level. See example at www.cherylsclassroomtipsdi.blogspot.com. RSVP to