Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 14-18, 2015--Bolton Days of Joy and Cheer!

We are very grateful for and fortunate to have such a wonderful Bolton staff.  We would like to add a little extra joy and cheer to your days by showing you how very much we appreciate you. So this week we will celebrate the Bolton Days of Joy and Cheer!  
We hope you enjoy this!

On the First Day of Bolton Joy and Cheer:
Hot Chocolate Bar w/ all of the fixins in the Workroom
Monday, December 14th beginning at 7:45 am

On the Second Day of Bolton Joy and Cheer:
Pastries in the Workroom…stop in a pick up a pastry when you arrive.
Tuesday, December 15th

On the Third Day of Bolton Joy and Cheer:
Reindeer Trail Mix in the Workroom, stop by a grab a scoop of 
Reindeer Trail Mix when you arrive. 
Wednesday, December 16th

On the Fourth Day of Bolton Joy and Cheer:
Have a Holly Jolly Day! Check your mailbox on this day!
Thursday, December 17th

On the Fifth Day of Bolton Joy and Cheer:

Lots of laugh…It’s Ugly Sweater Day!  Let’s have some fun with this. 
Friday, December 18th 

  Happy Holidays and thank you for all you do every day to make 
our school a wonderful place to be!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2015

One simple but heartfelt thing this week....Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! Enjoy every moment of your time with your family and friends.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 16-20, 2015----High Expectations!

November 16-20, 2015----HIGH EXPECTATIONS! 

We are moving swiftly through our 2nd quarter.  The weather is changing and during this very busy November/December season I find it is always a good time to do a self check.  This week we want to go back to one of our foundational pieces of the Bolton family---High Expectations.  High Expectations for ourselves and the children that rely on us to do our part to prepare them for success in school and life. We model our expectations and belief in students in so many ways--tone of voice, how we greet them in the morning, how we handle their problems, our structure and organization for the day, etc.

This week's Learning Showcase comes from Edutopia:

The Pygmalion Effect: Communicating High Expectations by Ben Solomon

In 1968, two researchers conducted a fascinating study that proved the extent to which teacher expectations influence student performance. Positive expectations influence performance positively, and negative expectations influence performance negatively. In educational circles, this has been termed the Pygmalion Effect, or more colloquially, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What has always intrigued me about this study is specifically what the teachers did to communicate that they believed a certain set of students had "unusual potential for academic growth." The research isn't overly explicit about this, but it indicates that the teachers "may have paid closer attention to the students, and treated them differently in times of difficulty." This raises the following questions:
  • Why can't teachers treat all of their students like this?
  • How do we communicate to students whether we believe in them or not?

Excellence, Celebration, and Success

Based on my experience coaching AVID schools around the country, there are ways that I've seen teachers communicate to all of their students that they have high expectations. Here are a few practical tips that you can borrow from them:

Be Excellent in All Ways

Everything speaks. Every student deserves a clean, organized classroom. Every student deserves a structured and engaging learning environment. Every student deserves lessons that are well thought-out and delivered every day. Excellence is a habit that is cultivated. When we model this every day, we communicate to students that excellence is the expectation.

Celebrate Small Victories

Say, "I'm proud of you" -- and say it often. The day that I opened my college acceptance letter was the only time that I ever remember my dad saying, "I'm proud of you." It was so impactful and memorable for me that I tried to say that phrase to students every chance I got. Passed a test? "I'm proud of you." Got to class on time? "I'm proud of you." It's a low-cost investment with the potential for life-altering rewards. I love hearing teachers say, "Great job" or "You did it!" It's positive reinforcement at its finest.

Make Failure Unacceptable

The single most impactful way that we can communicate our beliefs to students may be how we react when they fail an assignment, test, or grading period. Rather than ignoring the situation or moving students to a different class, we must communicate this:
My job as your teacher was for you to learn this material, so let's figure out how to make that happen. If you're not learning the way that I teach, maybe I need to teach the way that you learn. Is this a cognition issue? Then let's get you to tutoring. Is it a learning strategies issue? Then let's talk about other ways to study, learn, and organize your thinking. Is this a motivation issue? Then let's talk about the short- and long-term repercussions of failing.
Failure cannot be the path of least resistance in our classes. Rather, we must do everything that we can to make failure unacceptable and difficult. When we accept students' failure, we give them permission to accept it as well. However, when we show that nothing they can do will ever make us give up on them, we give them permission to start believing in themselves.
So here are my challenges to you:
  • Look around your classroom or at your lesson plan for tomorrow. What is one component that you can make more excellent?
  • Find one thing to celebrate tomorrow, and look one student directly in the eye and tell him or her, "I'm proud of you."
  • Think of one student who has failed an assignment or grading period recently, make time to meet with him or her individually, and figure out a plan to not let it happen again.

November 17---Science Night and Book Fair Night--Certified staff please plan to attend.

November 17-20---ITBS Testing Week for a small number of students

November 20--Picture Make-Up Day

November 23--Haiku Training #2 

December 2---Staff Meeting at 7:30 am 

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 9-13, 2015---BRAIN BREAKS!

November 9-13, 2015--Brain Breaks  are a Powerful Tool! 

Happy Friday!  Our blog this week is all about BRAIN BREAKS.  Kids need them and teachers need them too.

Purpose of Brain Breaks from Peaceful Playgrounds:
"Well designed Brain Breaks accomplish three purposes: 1) they refresh students, 2) they refocus students for learning and 3) they re-energize students.
Every teacher has experience the glazed look from students who basically need a break.  Kids check-out when sitting and listening for a long period of time.  Once kids begin to check out– they cease to learn!"
When to Do a Brain Break:
The best time to do a brain break is before, during, and/or after an activity. The essential purpose for a brain break is to get students refocused and ready to learn again.
For example, if you have just finished a mini math lesson on counting, you may ask the students to count the steps it takes them to get back to their seats for a quick transition to the next activity. This will help you with classroom management as well, because students will be so focused on counting their steps, they won't have much time to chit chat during the transition period.
For the little ones in kindergarten, you may want to do a brain break after about five to ten minutes into a task when you notice students starting to wiggly around. For older students, plan for breaks about every 40-50 minutes.
May 13, 2015 / Lisa Irish/Arizona Education News Service 
When students get antsy, what should a teacher do?
Some Arizona teachers have found that giving their students a “brain break” of a few minutes of physical activity not only gets the wiggles out but also sharpens children’s focus and improves their behavior.
BrainBreaksStretchHP2“I know how antsy I get from sitting too long and understand the students feel the same way,” said Pearl Stumpf, a third-grade teacher at from Lone Mountain Elementary School in Cave Creek Unified School District. “The brain breaks aren’t anything formal, just a way to rejuvenate our energy.”
Stumpf has given her students brain breaks since she started teaching more than 10 years ago. She does so when she notices them losing attention.
“I have the students stand behind their chairs and lead them in some simple exercises,” Stumpf said. “They typically last five minutes and we do everything from stretching to yoga to jumping jacks to push-ups.”
Students often ask to lead the exercises, and Stumpf takes part in the physical activity, too.
“I feel the kids are more refreshed and ready to learn after we take a break,” she said. “They like taking the breaks.”
You can read the rest at:

Friday, October 30, 2015

November 2-6, 2015---Checking for Understanding

Welcome November!  It's a new month, let's add some fresh vision for where we see Bolton going this quarter.  Let's DREAM even BIGGER this 9 weeks! 

Classified Employee of the Year nominations are open from November 2- December 4, 2015.  This information was e-mailed to add WSFCS employees earlier this week. We will post the flyer in the main office and in the workroom.  Any WSFCS employee may nominate a classified employee for Classified Employee of the Year.  Please consider taking the time to nominate someone you feel would be a great candidate.

2nd quarter is here! As we progress over these 9 weeks our instructional goals need to be intentional and they need to be purposeful.  This week's blog focuses on what it means to Check for Understanding.  The following Learning Showcase is very explicit in what it means and how we can do it with maximum efficiency.  You will also receive the sheet 53 Ways to Check for Understanding.  All 53 will not work for every grade level but stretch yourself and try something new. You will receive the 53 Ways to Check for Understanding handout with this week's lesson plan feedback. 

This Week's Learning Showcase: Checking for Understanding from

What is Checking for Understanding?

Checking for Understanding (CFU) is the backbone of effective instruction. Checking for Understanding is the teacher continually verifying that students are learning what is being taught while it is being taught. CFU provides the teacher the opportunity to improve learning based on student responses throughout the teaching and learning process. Using CFU in “real-time” allows teachers to make crucial instructional decisions as necessary (like re-teaching) during lesson delivery.

Research behind Checking for Understanding

According to the article Principles of Instruction: Research-Based Strategies that All Teachers Should Know by emeritus professor of education Barak Rosenshine (American Educator, Spring 2012, effective instruction asks questions and checks responses of all students in order to help students practice new information and connect new material to their prior knowledge.
The article suggests that to practice new information, teachers must ask students questions while they are teaching. In a classroom-based experiment, a group of teachers was asked to increase the number of factual questions and process questions during guided practice. The results of this experiment showed that students who had these teachers achieved higher scores than students whose teachers did not ask multiple questions. Also, teachers who asked a large number of questions had higher student participation. Furthermore, teachers were able to assess if the students understood the content, which allowed the teachers to make modifications of the lesson or reteach when necessary.
Rosenshine observed that successful teachers found ways to involve all students in answering questions. Examples include having all students:
  • Tell the answer to a neighbor
  • Summarize the main idea in one or two sentences, writing the summary on a piece of paper and sharing this with a neighbor
  • Writing an answer on a card and then holding it up
  • Raising their hands if they agree with the answer that someone else has given
The National Research Council recommends implementing formative (on-going) assessments such as checking for understanding in order to improve instruction.  The National Research Council frames such assessment as the process of teaching scientifically:
Teachers collect information about students’ understanding almost continuously, and make adjustments to their teaching on the basis of their interpretation of that information. They observe critical incidents in the classroom, formulate hypotheses about the causes of those incidents, question students to test their hypotheses, interpret students’ responses, and adjust their teaching plans.

Why is Checking for Understanding so beneficial?

Using research-based strategies, the DataWORKS Explicit Direct Instruction model incorporates Checking for Understanding during a lesson because:
  • It allows the teacher to make instructional decisions during the lesson. It informs the teacher when to speed up, slow down, or re-teach. CFU helps pace the lesson.
  • When teachers look at independent work, homework, quizzes, or state test results to see if students learned…it’s too late to modify instruction.
  • CFU is the back bone of effective instruction and Explicit Direct Instruction… because you measure and monitor student learning in real time.
  • CFU guarantees high student success (80-100%)… because you revise teaching in direct response to student learning.
  • CFU ensures that your students will not be practicing and reinforcing their mistakes.  Practice makes permanent, not perfect!

Some ways to check for understanding......

November 2nd--Haiku Training #1/ Please bring your laptop, District Teacher of the Year Celebration---Congratulations Mr. Monroe 

November 3rd--5th grade Field Trip to Walkertown High School Production

November 4th- November Staff Meeting @ 7:30 am

November 4th and 5th---3rd grade to Reynolda Gardens for Field Trip/ 2 classes on 11/4 and 2 classes on 11/5

November 6th--Bear Pride Celebration for October at 2:30 PM

November 16-20, 2015---ITBS (only a small group of students -2nd and 5th-will be testing, more details to come when we know who will be testing--this information comes from Central Office)

November 16-20--Book Fair Week

November 17th-Science Night and Book Fair Night

November 23rd--Haiku Training #2

Friday, October 23, 2015

October 26-30, 2015----THANK YOU!

October  26-30, 2015

Thank you for a great first quarter!  We have gotten off to a really great start--we've had an unexpected bit of information recently but we will rise to the challenge.  

This week's blog is a simple THANK YOU for all of  your hard work, dedication and effort.  In the spirit of celebration, on Monday I will place a neon colored shape in each Bolton family member's mailbox and I would like for each of us to think of one Bolton family member or more if you like (more shapes will be available in the office on the counter) to write a small thank you note.  We will display these on the board outside the cafeteria.  I will place a basket in the office for you to place your notes. The note should just say who you are writing the thank you note to and why--very simple--one or two sentences will be great.  Please do not use student names on these thank you notes.  Please try to think beyond your grade level/team to others that may not know how thankful another Bolton family member is for them. Once you are done put your name on the back of the neon colored shape. After we take the board down the note will be given to the person. Please pass this information along to others on your team or grade level. Gratitude is powerful---despite the unexpected turn of events with new state information WE HAVE A LOT TO BE GRATEFUL FOR! LET'S CELEBRATE OUR COLLEAGUES! 

In lieu of a Learning Showcase this week I wanted to share this 2 minute video with you:

You Make a Difference!

Upcoming Dates:

October 27---End of Quarter Make-Up Testing

October 28--United Way Chili Cook-Off 

October 30-PBIS Celebration

November 2nd--Haiku Training #1

November 3rd--5th grade Field Trip to Walkertown High School Production

November 4th- November Staff Meeting @ 7:30 am

November 4th and 5th---3rd grade to Reynolda Gardens for Field Trip/ 2 classes on 11/4 and 2 classes on 11/5

November 6th--Bear Pride Celebration for October at 2:30 PM

November 16-20, 2015---ITBS (only a small group of students -2nd and 5th-will be testing, more details to come when we know who will be testing--this information comes from Central Office)

November 16-20--Book Fair Week

November 17th-Science Night and Book Fair Night

November 23rd--Haiku Training #2

Progress Reports and Report Cards
Report Cards need to be submitted for review on or before November 3rd. 

First Quarter
Week of Nov. 9th-Report Cards Go Home on 11/12/15
K-2 teachers will submit Report Cards to Mrs. McBride for review
3-5 teachers will have their Report Cards reviewed by Dr. Frazier.  

Second Quarter
Week of November 30th- Mid-Term Reports Go Home
End of Quarter January 15th
Week of Feb. 1st-Report Cards

I have enjoyed all of the quotes submitted for the morning announcements so keep them coming!

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 19-23, 2015--- Testing and Lesson Planning

October 19-23, 2015----It's Testing Season!

The end of the first quarter is approaching swiftly.  During the week of October 19-23, 2015 our students in grades 3-5 will take the WSFCS Local End of Quarter Test.  We have had many trainings for test administrators, proctors, etc.  Testing requires a lot of hours of preparation before we even receive the tests in our building.  Testing can be a tense time and should always be taken seriously---accountability belongs to each one of us. Please be sure to follow all of the district guidelines for testing that you received at your test training. Just as a reminder our Quarter Test Schedule is as follows:

Monday, 10/19--no testing of students

Tuesday, 10/20--5th grade Online Science Test

Wednesday, 10/21--4th and 5th grade Reading Quarter Test and select students will take the Read to Achieve Test

Thursday, 10/22--3rd, 4th and 5th grade Math Quarter Test 

Friday, 10/23---make-ups

There are NO CONNECTIONS classes on Wednesday and Thursday of due to testing.


This was a very thoughtful post about all of the thinking that teachers do about lesson planning.  I also like how the author gives additional insight into Checking for Understanding and Closure. As always, this is a reflection tool to help us all focus on our district's goal of lesson planning. 

Here's an excerpt:

The purpose of a lesson plan is really quite simple; it is to communicate. But, you might ask, communicate to whom? The answer to this question, on a practical basis, is YOU! The lesson plans you develop are to guide you in organizing your material and yourself for the purpose of helping your students achieve intended learning outcomes. Whether a lesson plan fits a particular format is not as relevant as whether or not it actually describes what you want, and what you have determined is the best means to an end. If you write a lesson plan that can be interpreted or implemented in many different ways, it is probably not a very good plan. This leads one to conclude that a key principle in creating a lesson plan is specificity. It is sort of like saying, "almost any series of connecting roads will take you from Key West Florida to Anchorage Alaska, eventually." There is however, one and only one set of connecting roads that represents the shortest and best route. Best means that, for example, getting to Anchorage by using an unreliable car is a different problem than getting there using a brand new car. What process one uses to get to a destination depends on available resources and time.

So, if you agree that the purpose of a lesson plan is to communicate, then, in order to accomplish that purpose, the plan must contain a set of elements that are descriptive of the process.

Each part of a lesson plan should fulfill some purpose in communicating the specific content, the objective, the learning prerequisites, what will happen, the sequence of student and teacher activities, the materials required, and the actual assessment procedures. Taken together, these parts constitute an end (the objective), the means (what will happen and the student and teacher activities), and an input (information about students and necessary resources). At the conclusion of a lesson, the assessment tells the teacher how well students actually attained the objective.


This is the actual plan. If you have done the preliminary work (thinking, describing the inputs), creating the plan is relatively easy. There are a number of questions you must answer in the creating the plan:

1. What are the inputs? This means you have the information (content description, student characteristics, list of materials, prerequisites, time estimates, etc.) necessary to begin the plan.2. What is the output?This means a description of what the students are supposed to learn.3. What do I do? This means a description of the instructional activities you will use.4. What do the students do? This means a description of what the students will do during the lesson.5. How will the learning be measured? This means a description of the brief assessment procedure at the end of the lesson.

Checking For Understanding (CFU) - The teacher uses a variety of questioning strategies to determine "Got it yet?" and to pace the lesson - move forward?/back up?  Which students got it and which did not? What do I do next for those that got it and those that did not?

Closure - A review or wrap-up of the lesson - "Tell me/show me what you have learned today".

Progress Reports and Report Cards
Report Cards need to be submitted for review on or before November 3rd. 

First Quarter
Week of Nov. 9th-Report Cards Go Home

Second Quarter
Week of November 30th- Mid-Term Reports Go Home
End of Quarter January 15th
Week of Feb. 1st-Report Cards

Now more than ever we have to.......

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October 12-16, 2015---It's All About Relationships

October 12-16, 2015---BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS!

We spent a large amount of time during our Opening Meeting discussing the importance of building relationships.  By now we have had most of the first quarter to get to know our students.  As we continue on our academic focus and then on to the end of quarter testing/assessments we need to not forget that building relationships is helps support our ultimate goal of success for all students. Simple greetings, notes of encouragement left on a student's desk, positive phone call home, etc. are just very small things that give you a BIG WIN. This week challenge yourself to do one small thing for a student or a group of students. The results will be priceless.

In lieu of a Learning Showcase this week I wanted to post this quote from Math Guru, Marilyn Burns:

"Too often mathematics instruction gives students the erroneous notion that learning math is all about learning procedures, rather than making sense of ideas."

The Week Ahead....
October 12--October School Improvement Team Meeting
October 14--Early Release Day #3---I am looking for a volunteer to do a 5 minute energizer on that day. If you have a great energizer that you want to lead--let me know!  Our focus will be on vertical alignment.  
October 15 and 16---Hispanic Heritage Celebration during Connections---more information to come!  K and 2 Field trips. 
Looking Ahead into October.....
October 20-23--End of Quarter Testing for grades 3, 4, and 5

October 26--No School for Students and Classified Employees

Keep dreaming......

Friday, October 2, 2015

October 5-9: Thoughts on Lesson Planning and October Calendar Events

Welcome October--Brand New Month with New Possibilities

I can't tell you how much we appreciate the time, attention and effort so many of you are putting into lesson planning.  To continue to support your efforts I have devoted several blog posts to lesson planning and the lesson plan components that our district has asked us to focus on.  I have found so much that I want to share but not all at one time.  This week's blog is a bit longer but I think the information is worth the read.  Our Learning Showcase for this week is THOUGHTS ON LESSON PLANNING. I wanted to share this because it should 1) encourage you that you are on the right track and 2) provide some ideas about lesson planning that you may not have considered.  As always I am not asking you to do exactly what you read here but to reflect on it and add things that will make your practice better.  


The first excerpt comes from

How many of you would go see a movie or read a book that was all mixed up? Let's face it, we all like a good beginning, middle and end in movies and books. So why not in our lessons?
If you think about a book or movie, the beginning should catch your attention. I don't know about you, but if the beginning doesn't catch my attention I will probably quit reading the book and might leave the movie. So how do we catch the attention of students? We call that a hook; something that makes students curious, something that makes them want to learn more. That is our beginning in a lesson.
Let's look at the Common Core Standards in writing as a foundation and source of possible beginnings.

Kindergarten Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.1: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events; tell about the events in the order in which they occurred; and provide a reaction to what happened.
Beginning: Be a mime for a few minutes. Explain to students that you are going to tell them a story without words. You want them to watch and, at the end, guess what the story was. Then use pictures and gestures to tell a story.

6th Grade Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6: Write argSupport claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
Beginning: If you wrote that standard on the board and said, "This is what we're going to do today," the students would start ignoring you right away. Instead, think about starting class with a little controversy. Act as if you are reading a news article that states dogs with long hair are smarter than dogs with short hair, and give several made up claims about why this is true. Then discuss it. Middle school students love to debate, and that kind of claim will grab their attention. Make the reasons so strange that they start looking at you and wondering what's going on.

The Rest of the Plan

Now that we have our beginnings, what about the middle? This does not mean the middle is boring. However, since we do have everyone's attention, the middle is full of information. Look at the standards we are using; what would be your middle? Post it in the comments section below, and let's talk.
And then there's . . . the ending! This is where you bring the lesson to a close. You might do that by repeating the beginning, you might give the conclusion yourself, or lead the students there and let them give the conclusion. When you create the ending, you are answering the question, "What do I want my students to remember?"
But wait -- you aren't finished! Students need time to reflect. Reflection on the entire lesson is as important as the beginning. I like to give students a sticky note or 3X5 card and have them write the most important thing they learned, and up to two questions that they still have. Then I ask them to write why they think this lesson is important. Careful here, let them be honest. It will assist you in planning future lessons.
The second Learning Showcase comes from

Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning  Stiliana Milkova

Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

A lesson plan is the instructor’s road map of what students need to learn and how it will be done effectively during the class time. Before you plan your lesson, you will first need to identify the learning objectives for the class meeting.  Then, you can design appropriate learning activities and develop strategies to obtain feedback on student learning. A successful lesson plan addresses and integrates these three key components:
  • Objectives for student learning
  • Teaching/learning activities
  • Strategies to check student understanding
Specifying concrete objectives for student learning will help you determine the kinds of teaching and learning activities you will use in class, while those activities will define how you will check whether the learning objectives have been accomplished (see Fig. 1).

Steps for Preparing a Lesson Plan

Below are six steps to guide you when you create your first lesson plans. Each step is accompanied by a set of questions meant to prompt reflection and aid you in designing your teaching and learning activities.

(1) Outline learning objectives

The first step is to determine what you want students to learn and be able to do at the end of class. To help you specify your objectives for student learning, answer the following questions:
  • What is the topic of the lesson?
  • What do I want students to learn?
  • What do I want them to understand and be able to do at the end of class?
  • What do I want them to take away from this particular lesson?
Once you outline the learning objectives for the class meeting, rank them in terms of their importance. This step will prepare you for managing class time and accomplishing the more important learning objectives in case you are pressed for time. Consider the following questions:
  • What are the most important concepts, ideas, or skills I want students to be able to grasp and apply?
  • Why are they important?
  • If I ran out of time, which ones could not be omitted?
  • And conversely, which ones could I skip if pressed for time?

(2) Develop the introduction

Now that you have your learning objectives in order of their importance, design the specific activities you will use to get students to understand and apply what they have learned. Because you will have a diverse body of students with different academic and personal experiences, they may already be familiar with the topic. That is why you might start with a question or activity to gauge students’ knowledge of the subject or possibly, their preconceived notions about it. For example, you can take a simple poll: “How many of you have heard of X? Raise your hand if you have.” 
Develop a creative introduction to the topic to stimulate interest and encourage thinking. You can use a variety of approaches to engage students (e.g., personal anecdote, historical event, thought-provoking dilemma, real-world example, short video clip, practical application, probing question, etc.). Consider the following questions when planning your introduction:
  • How will I check whether students know anything about the topic or have any preconceived notions about it?
  • What are some commonly held ideas (or possibly misconceptions) about this topic that students might be familiar with or might espouse?
  • What will I do to introduce the topic?

 (3) Plan the specific learning activities (the main body of the lesson)

Prepare several different ways of explaining the material (real-life examples, analogies, visuals, etc.) to catch the attention of more students and appeal to different learning styles. As you plan your examples and activities, estimate how much time you will spend on each. Build in time for extended explanation or discussion, but also be prepared to move on quickly to different applications or problems, and to identify strategies that check for understanding. These questions would help you design the learning activities you will use:
  • What will I do to explain the topic?
  • What will I do to illustrate the topic in a different way?
  • How can I engage students in the topic?
  • What are some relevant real-life examples, analogies, or situations that can help students understand the topic?
  • What will students need to do to help them understand the topic better?

(4) Plan to check for understanding

Now that you have explained the topic and illustrated it with different examples, you need to check for student understanding – how will you know that students are learning? Think about specific questions you can ask students in order to check for understanding, write them down, and then paraphrase them so that you are prepared to ask the questions in different ways. Try to predict the answers your questions will generate. Decide on whether you want students to respond orally or in writing. You can look at Strategies to Extend Student Thinking, to help you generate some ideas and you can also ask yourself these questions:
  • What questions will I ask students to check for understanding?
  • What will I have students do to demonstrate that they are following?
  • Going back to my list of learning objectives, what activity can I have students do to check whether each of those has been accomplished?
An important strategy that will also help you with time management is to anticipate students’ questions. When planning your lesson, decide what kinds of questions will be productive for discussion and what questions might sidetrack the class. Think about and decide on the balance between covering content (accomplishing your learning objectives) and ensuring that students understand.

(5) Develop a conclusion 

Go over the material covered in class by summarizing the main points of the lesson. You can do this in a number of ways: you can state the main points yourself (“Today we talked about…”), you can ask a student to help you summarize them, or you can even ask all students to write down on a piece of paper what they think were the main points of the lesson. You can review the students’ answers to gauge their understanding of the topic and then explain anything unclear the following class. 

The Week Ahead
October 5--Eppley/Cuthrell/Connor to the Dixie Classic Fair
October 6--Frazier @ Joint Principal's' Meeting 7:30 am/ Dental Screening for Grades Pre-K, 3 and 5--schedule will be e-mailed to you 
October 7--October Faculty Meeting and Monroe/Crowell/Sterne to Dixie Classic Fair
October 10--Bully Walk--please be sure you have read the information from Mrs. Williams
Looking Ahead into October.....
October 12--October School Improvement Team Meeting
October 14--Early Release Day #3---I am looking for a volunteer to do a 5 minute energizer on that day. If you have a great energizer that you want to lead--let me know!
October 15 and 16---Hispanic Heritage Celebration during Connections---more information to come!  K and 2 Field trips
October 19---Haiku Training during planning times--district personnel will be on site to make sure that we know how to utilize Haiku--every school has this training
October 20-23--End of Quarter Testing for grades 3, 4, and 5
October 26--No School for Students and Classified Employees

I have been tweeting your Dream Big displays--so if you see me with my phone taking photos--it's to share it with the Twitter community.  October is a really great month to recharge yourself about Dreaming Big--don't let our focus get lost...Never Stop Dreaming!

Twitter accounts----@cjfbolton  @Principalcjf