Friday, August 28, 2009

Week of 8-24-09

I actually have to look at my Outlook calendar to remember everything from this week. It has been so busy.

One of my main goals this week was to put some help files for CPS & Workspace on our webpage for our teachers who are piloting the 21st Century Classrooms. We have .pdf files and online video tutorials. Eventually I'd like to post videos of some of our brave teachers using the equipment.

Jamie and I were able to make several more connections/introductions & it seems the more we make, the busier we get. We had to troubleshoot quite a few different I am always learning new things. I can't even believe how much I've learned since a few weeks ago.

One highlight this week was my observation of Plato Focus at Bryant Elementary. I love how this program begins with explicit, direct instruction & then allows the students to reinforce their learning through the computer application. I am anxious to get this going with a couple new teachers, but I just need some brief training of how to enroll them as users. I plan to return to Bryant once the students are practicing independently on the computers.

Another highlight was a meeting I had with a teacher at Crescent Park Elementary. What enthusiasm! The idea of TSF came up. (TSF is a password protected folder system for students created by one of our own very ingenious MIS specialists. It is used primarily in our High Schools and Middle Schools.) Our elementary students really need to know how to manage files & this is a key component to this. Well...after talking to our TSF guy...he said it's a go! Woot! Woot!

And...I did read that article that I promised to last weekend. The main thing that I got out of it is that a turnaround in producing significant achievement gains requires dramatic changes in a short period of time (2 years) followed by a longer period of sustained improvement. The change needs to be "people focused." And one of the 9 elements is "Personalization of Instruction"--which is now where our school district is in hiring the instructional coaches and focusing our PD on differentiation. The personalization of instruction requires frequent formative assessment, immediate analysis/feedback, and instruction adapted quickly. Our initiative with the CPS/e-instruction responders is just the ticket for this. In short, I think we are on the right track.

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