As we transition back from Thanksgiving break, it is helpful to remember that transitions for our students (and ourselves) can sometimes be an adjustment. While we hopefully had opportunities to rest and restore some balance in our work and home lives, we also are returning faced with sad news of the loss of our colleague, Nipmuc teacher, Andrea Bosworth. Fortunately, we are returning to an amazing, caring, and supportive MURSD community. Please take extra care of your colleagues and your students as we enter this week.
Returning to as normal of a routine as possible will help students to transition back to school. Students do best when they have a predictable routine and know what to expect. Additionally, with the change in schedule over the break, students might be more tired than usual, so providing additional breaks can help them adjust to the school schedule. Some students may have faced challenges over the break, so they will be looking for safety and support from their trusted adults in school. Keep your eye out for students who may be struggling and may need extra support. Finally, the best way to re-engage your students in learning is through your continued work in developing highly engaging, student-centered, and relevant learning opportunities.
"It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy."-Unknown
This week is a great time to give pause and to help develop a culture of gratitude in your classroom. For some students, when they are off for Thanksgiving break, it may be a stressful time because of a wide variety of circumstances. While we can't control what happens with students outside of school, we can help them in school by providing them with tools for coping with stressful situations. Here is an interesting article on ways to build gratitude into your class.
I'll start off by sharing how grateful I am to work in such an amazing, close-knit, community of educators. I truly can say that when I get up every day, it is a joy to go to work and share in this journey with all of you. Thank you for your passion, dedication, professionalism, and endless focus on what is best for our students.
Incorporate one activity into your classrooms that help to build a culture of gratitude.
Questions to Think About
Earlier this fall, many of you were able to see a presentation by Dr. Bill Daggett. Last week I also was fortunate to see him present a similar message about reimagining our schools to help our students to be better prepared for college and careers. Dr. Daggett is the founder of International Center for Educational Leadership and he discussed the Top 10 skills that employers in 2017 are looking for in college graduates:
1. Complex Problem Solving
2. Critical Thinking
4. People Management
5. Coordinating with Others
6. Emotional Intelligence
7. Active Listening
8. Service Orientation
10. Cognitive Flexibility
As we look at these skills and think about our recently released MCAS results, there is an easily identifiable disconnect between what skills our students need, and our current system of assessment.
Some say that what we measure is what gets done....so while we are still going to continue to teach our state standards, the question remains is how can we be sure to integrate the above skills more purposefully in our school environment?
Over the next week think about some of the activities you do with students and lessons that you teach and see how many of these skills are reinforced throughout the school day.
As we are approaching our parent-teacher conferences and as you prepare for these conferences, take a few moments to put on the "parent hat" and think about what would you want the focus of a conference to be. Parents first want to know that their child is safe and happy in school. They want to know that when they send their child to you each day that they are loved, cherished, and supported. Parents also want to know how are they doing in their progression of learning. They want to know what they can do to support their child's' growth at home. If there are problems, they want to hear some solutions and contribute their own expertise of knowing their child as part of the solution.
Now, as we look beyond the parent perspective and think about how we are working on reimagining learning in our district, is there one thing that you can change in your conferences that gets us closer to our district work towards:
Questions to Consider