Pride Post #77

Dear team,

The Honor Roll Celebration brought a wonderful sense of community and closure to the week. Amidst all of the news about college acceptances and the accomplishments by the middle school students Taffie leaned over to whisper “Our kids are just amazing” to which I should add so are our teachers. With the spring play to look forward to I am certain this week will end even stronger.  Plus benchmarks–seriously how much fun can you pack into one week?

I had the good fortune to pick Brent Maddin’s brain about his work at Teacher U in NYC.  One current area of focus for them is the dual purpose lesson.  Some of you may remember Dave Levin talking about these at KSS.  How do we create lessons that teach academics and character simultaneously or as Dave poetically states “lessons that are Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate and peanut butter?” These happen all the time in our building: a lesson on writing a thesis statement that subtly teaches perseverance, a lesson on fractions that also develops grit.  The dual purpose lessons boils down to the idea that Christine raised that when we do our most purposeful planning and teaching we blur the lines between character, culture, and academics.

There is much to share from this weekend at RBT.  Yesterday we focused on diagnosing the causes of discipline problems in classrooms and coaching teachers to solve these problems.  Today we are studying principles of learning.  I will try to get my notes together to send out later this week.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who attended Barbara Gleason’s services and especially, to Dr. Stimson and Mrs. Stallings who spoke for the school.

Many thanks and much love,


Readings, Links, and Other ways to get smarter

1. Teaching and learning is an art and a science.

This site is packed with math and science links and applications.

More evidence that physical activity is not only important for health but it increases academic achievement.  We have to create a culture where standing around during a PE or resource is unacceptable and sweating is great thing. Study: Exercise may boost children’s learning ability, test scores Physical education, recess and active extracurriculars may increase students’ ability to pay attention to academic lessons, according to research led by a University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor. Twenty 9-year-old children in the study performed better — especially in reading comprehension — after a 20-minute exercise session than after a 20-minute rest. ScienceDaily

2. All students leave GCP with the desire and skills to choose the life they want and become the people they want to be.

This book review and the book it reviews present some great arguments for the power of environment to increase intelligence.

This article presents some compelling statistics about the needs and challenges of media literate students.

3. The students and teachers are passionate about ideas, their school, their community, and their growth.

Articles like this make me want to be mathematician. Basics:  The Biggest of Puzzles Brought Down to Size With a bit of reasoning (and a cocktail napkin), you too can crack math’s imponderables.

Get your GCP photos online. Don’t keep those amazing pictures of classes, Pride times, and trips to yourself.  Share them on our shutterfly account.  I am looking for some high quality shots to frame for the front lobby.  If your shot is selected I will make you a free extra copy;

You can upload your photos at                                        Password: pride

4. Our school embraces the idea that this is a long term struggle to build strong people and an enduring community institution.

The conflict between KIPP and the traditional union bureaucracy is fascinating and KIPP NY’s teachers voted the union out.

I am currently reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.  Friedman is one of my favorite thinkers and this book about the environmental and political challenges facing America and the world has my brain buzzing.  Here are a few quotes and connections that stick out two hundred pages in:

“Emulation is always more effective than compulsion.”

Vijay Vaitheesswarean writes, “the only natural resource that the world has left in infinite quantity is human ingenuity.”

Ethakota is a city in rural India that due to the flattening world of online communications is now a favorite place for Indian engineers and software designer to work and avoid the city life.  If our kids have the skills to function in the digital world who’s to say that more of our kids won’t be able to return to Gaston and run the business/organization/mission of their dreams without having to live in an urban center?

John Gardner talks about global warming “Great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems.”  I think the achievement gap in education could be described in similar terms.

We are often afraid to admit the scale of a problem.  We try to make people believe going green is “easy”. Do we do the same thing with getting kids ready for college?

To Dos and To Thinks

ì Experiment and expand your skillful teaching and learning repertoire. Implement your “behavior that lets kids get smart” action step.

ì Plan and script purposeful questions.

ì Check out the Pride Post for parents and let me know if there are any additions or corrections.

ì Enjoy dismissal. 

Ongoing reminders

* Take care of yourself and have fun with kids and teammates.

* Plan and teach thoughtfully.

* Save $ and resources creatively.

* Seek out additional funding and resources. Donorshoose is a way to make this happen.  Emily has already had two projects funded.

* Draft your next unit and assessment according to the due dates you established.

This week I will try to…

ì Plan for several planning conferences and post-observation debriefs

ì Continue Observation rounds #7 and #8.

ì Participate in plant, budget, and leadership team meetings.

Upcoming Events and Due Dates

The Robertson Scholars visit.

April 7

Spring Concert

May 6

Title One Monitoring Visit

May 7-8

NC teaching fellows visit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2016 EOY Trip

Tuesday May, 26-Friday May 29

2015 EOY Trip

Tuesday May, 26-Friday May 29

2014 EOY Trip

Saturday, May 30-Wednesday, June 3

2013 EOY Trip

Friday, May 29-Monday, June 1 (Williamsburg)

End of 4th Grading Period

June 5th

2009’s Commencement Ceremony

June 6

Grades Due

June 8

Grade Verifications Out to Teachers

June 9

Grade Verifications Due Back

June 10

Report Cards Printed

June 12


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