Thanksgiving Edition

As we head into this Thanksgiving week, I wanted to be sure to let all of you know how grateful I am for this incredible Mohegan community.  This year, in particular, it means even more.  As the world outside of our walls grapples with so much fear, anger, disenchantment, disrespect and a tornado of distrust- I am ever more appreciative that in this place there resides a community that embodies the best of what we can hope for- supportive, caring, generous, open-minded, and talented people who come to work each day with the highest intentions to make this world a better place for our youngest members and, of course, each other.  We have  our colleagues’ backs and the respect that you all convey for the work, our students, and one another every day is inspirational.   Thank you for providing this sort of haven for our entire community.  I am committed to ensuring that this Mohegan spirit remains as vibrant and present as it is today, and I know you join me in that commitment.  I wish everyone a joyful and peaceful Thanksgiving with loved ones from far and near.  I do hope that you will spend some quiet time reflecting on that for which you are most grateful.

In the continuing effort to build our toolkit for reinforcing important ideas in this community of learners, I have come across many picture book lists that address a variety of perspectives that you may want to share with your students.  The links are below:

Diversity : pic

To inspire philosophical discussion:



To inspire a Growth Mindset:

Assorted other tidbits

Thank you to all for your thorough preparation for our goal setting meetings.   I really appreciated the chance to sit with you and have a chance to talk through the needs of your students and various ways to meet those needs. The goals for your class revealed a great amount of reflection on your parts, using a wide range of assessments -both formal and informal.  I hope that you find having the goals for each student an important component of the work moving forward.  Don’t forget to include the students in this process by letting them know those goals and holding them accountable when you meet with them in all settings.

Along those lines, I thought this description of using interactive read alouds as an important means of informal assessment worthy of sharing:

One example of informal formative assessment that I do in my fifth-grade class occurs during interactive read-alouds. I consciously note who asks questions, who makes inferences, whose inferences are grounded on evidence from the text, who is able to access prior knowledge to deepen understanding, who is able to build an understanding of main idea (informational text) or theme (fiction), and who has difficulty with any of these aspects of comprehension. I’m able to follow up on this in conferences with individuals during independent reading time, as well as in small-group. When we have literature circles, each student has a journal in which topics that the student would like to discuss are written. Additionally, each journal has notes on whatever literary element (conflict, plot structure, character development, etc.) we’re investigating. These journals are useful formative assessments that help me in my work of facilitating discussions that will deepen students’ understanding of literature. Conferring with individuals during independent reading time is also useful, giving me a moment to do on-the-spot teaching as well as informal assessment.”


As I’ve mentioned, you will also have a chance to set class goals for your students in math.  After the Thanksgiving break, I will begin to set up release time for meetings with Grace to help you prioritize focus areas and create small groups and activities to address those needs.

I thought many of you would be interested in a blogpost from Marilyn Burns about the importance of assessing your students’ place value knowledge.  She has a method for that assessment that evolved as she learned what she thought was true, was not true:

Marilyn Burns is a math teaching guru whose methods for teaching mathematics predates the current Common Core approach- she was advocating conceptual understanding as the key to math learning for at least 20 + years.  Jo Boaler has continued this line of thinking more currently.

Notable Noticings

STEAM Night!!!

Thanks to everyone for a fantastic event- a special shout out to Grace Hendrie for organizing and facilitating this evening.  The feedback was excellent- students and parents all had a great time.

Forbes Flyers!!!

Wow!  What an incredible performance- a huge thank you to Dave Blackmore for organizing this assembly.  Thanks to everyone for the flexibility in scheduling to allow this event to take place.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 22- Early Dismissal- Professional Learning- 1:45-3:45

  • K-4 and Special Ed teachers- Brief meeting together in Library to begin-Time to work on planning for strategies required meet the needs of your goal setting work
  • Special Area and Pre-K teachers- please refer to the email sent by Lorraine Rossner for your specific assignments

Wednesday, November 23-Early Dismissal

Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25- Thanksgiving Holiday

Friday, December 2- PBIS assembly/Incentive -Time TBD- before 11:30 lunch wave

Friday, December 2- Early Dismissal- Professional Learning-1:45-3:45

  • Vocabulary and Student Engagement Edcamp- think about an activity or strategy that you have used that you think others would benefit from and can speak about/share with colleagues for 5 mins

Wednesday, December 14-Glitter and Gold/Winter Concert-(snow date December 15)

  • 6:00 pm concert,
  • 7:00-8:00 Glitter and Gold

Tuesday, December 20- Happier Holidays Assembly- 2:00 PM

  • Would someone please let Amy Herold know the time?

Thursday, December 22- Leadership Team meeting 4:00-5:00 pm

Friday, December 23- Early Dismissal- Winter Break

Monday December 26-Monday, January 2- Winter Break

Tuesday, January 3- Back to School


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