Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Teams

The roster for next year 2008-09 has been out for several weeks now. Planning for the new year actually starts at the Leadership table in early February, so by this time of year teachers know which grade they will be teaching next year, if they will be teaming and with whom, and where their new classroom will be. Last week we started getting the new teams together for a New Team PLC day. The new 1st grade team met this morning, just like every other grade level will meet. Each teacher began by introducing herself. This first grade team is especially strong with seven teachers looping up with their class from kindergarten, two teachers who will be remaining in 1st, two teachers who are coming down from a higher grade to first and one who interned at Chets Creek in first grade and will be a first year teacher. These are the teachers that I will travel with next year as I archive their year at the Creek.

The purpose of this day is for new teams to bond and to decide as a group what things they will all agree to do next year. We call these our non-negotiables. Teachers are reminded NOT to put anything on the list that they do not agree to do! Following is the agenda notes of the things that were discussed and agreed upon.

New First Grade Team Meeting (May 21, 2008)New 1st Grade Team: Randi Timmons and Cathy Daniels, Haley Alvarado and Meredy Mackiewicz, Debbie Harbour and Patty VanAlstyne, Maria Mallon and Cheryl Dillard, Toni Chant, Vicky Groves, Heather Correia, Chevaughn Sasso

Time for Subjects
2 ½ hour Literacy Block (includes Skills Block, Reading, & Writing)
1 hour Math Block
15 min. daily Science Block instruction plus hands-on on Long Wednesdays.
Social Studies & Science are integrated throughout the week
Math Counts & Calendar taught during the morning

Artifacts for Teachers and Students
Standards- It’s not important to post ALL of the standards, but rather coming up with a system to ensure that you are connecting the standard with the lesson so that students know and understand the connection. When asked, students should be able to articulate the standard they are working on in any Workshop.
Word Walls- Sight Word Word Wall, Vocabulary Word Wall, Word Family Word Wall, Science Word Wall, and Personal Word Walls in Writing Folders are all examples of the way word walls can be used and displayed. The purpose is to teach students how to utilize the word wall as a learning tool, rather than just having one posted in your room to be compliant.) Words should be added to these word walls and introduced to students throughout the year. Students should be able to articulate strategies for finding words on word walls that they do not know how to spell.
Portfolios/Individual Writing Folders-
Work-in-progress folders have already been ordered for the grade level. The first homework project is for students to take a piece of card stock to decorate with pictures and words. This serves as a “writing idea” menu for Writer’s Workshop.
Cumulative folders: Have a system to organize and show students’ daily work as evidence of daily Writer’s Workshop. Think of a system that works best for you. Work may be sent home but folders should always include enough work to show fluency and progress over time
Final year end portfolios: All final pieces of the portfolio should be kept in orange folders which can be found in the child’s cum folder.
Readers’ response- Decide on how you will be cataloging readers’ responses and what works for you and your kids (such as composition books, folder, etc.) Readers’ response is a primary focus in first grade.
Diagnostic "notebook"- Diagnostic notebook/ folders/ file system should include a tab for every child. It should include reading profile sheets, DIBELS and DRA documentation and the same type information for Math.
Readers’ and Writers’ “notebooks”- Some system should be in place to keep readers’ running records, benchmark tests, guided reading group work, anecdotal notes and also writers’ anecdotal notes.

Book of the Month: Have a place in which the book of the month is clearly displayed in your classroom. Must have a Book of the Month basket in your genre library which includes books from the previous and existing year that students have access to.

Standard Based Bulletin Boards: Of the 7 required standard-based bulletin boards, each first grade teacher will be responsible for one literacy, one math, one science, and the last one should be a work over time board. The remaining bulletin board content areas are for you to decide.

Standard Snapshots: This will be part of our early release days, discussing student samples and writing the snapshot. The topic for these snapshots will be decided ahead of time to give teachers time to collect adequate work samples. A piece of student work will be attached to the snapshot to go home.
Common Assessments: Comprehension common assessments in first grade are given after the first nine weeks. Specific test-taking strategies have been identified and common assessments written to roll out the comprehension piece in a direct, explicit manner.

Grade Level Homework: The Grade level will all do the same homework which will follow the Pacing Guide. Think carefully about adding extra homework! If adding extra homework gets to be a problem with comparison out in the community, you may have to get "add-on" homework approved.

Communication: Weekly Newsletters will be done by every teacher and will go out on Mondays! This is the best way to communicate with parents and let them have a look inside into the learning that is going on in your classroom.


debrennersmith said...

Do you have your book of the month lists posted anywhere? Do you decide as you go? Obviously these first graders already heard the kinder books, so what where the books??? I love this idea. I am very curious about the book selection process.

dayle said...

Books of the Month are posted on our school web site ( There is a Book of the Month page and then a list of books on the Nation Model page. The books are chosen by the principal. She uses the book to teach "something"-sometimes a teaching strategy, sometimes something about school culture, etc. All teachers are expected to read the book to their class and use it in some way throughout the month. It's a great K-5 piece because all of the children in the building know the book. Thanks for asking.