Monday, March 28, 2016

Complex Instruction

Have a great week before spring break!

Excellence in Education: Complex Instruction
Complex Instruction is a differentiation strategy where students work in heterogeneous groups on tasks that draw on strengths of each student. The key, of course, to all group work is interdependence where the work of each student is indispensable to the entire group.

  1. Create open ended tasks that are explicit, challenging and interesting for students.
  2. Tasks should be varied to take advantage of each student’s strengths, skills and abilities.
  3. Incorporate reading and writing into each task.
  4. Requirement: for each task, each student must be ready to explain what their group did for each task.

As students are working, as a teacher you should move around the groups asking questions, probing to better understand what students are doing and why. Wandering also allows you to provide valuable feedback.

Why it Works:
Students are much more likely to learn if they are invested in the process. By developing appropriate tasks and having students collaboratively plan and then specialize, students will be more eager to learn.

This blog was inspired by the work I witnessed in Government class by students working on their CAP (Community Action Plan). The idea comes from Elizabeth Cohen’s Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom

Shout Out

Need to Knows
Please remind your students to bring their charged computers on March 29.

We Notice Nominations Now Open - Recognize An Employee by March 31
The Albemarle County Student Council is excited to announce the start of the annual We Notice Program. This is an opportunity to recognize a teacher or staff member whose work you would like to celebrate. This recognition can be given to any staff member who works in our schools, such as teachers, office staff, building service team members, teaching assistants, cafeteria workers, school nurses, and bus drivers. Please complete the nomination form, including a message that will be shared with the staff member, by March 31.

Positive Referral Link:

Technology / Website Permission Request Form

Spring Calendar (Grades, SOL, Exams, Etc): Obviously, this is subject to change with weather, but it’s a start. Some significant schedule changes begin next week.

Don’t forget to email April Wilkerson to sign-up to help for prom! Her catchy email alone should be enough to entice you!

Calendar Items
March 29: No Mustang Morning; First Period is Extended to take Survey. Please remind your students to bring their charged computers to school.

Clubs are canceled for this week (March 30) because of exams

April 15 @ noon: Grades are due

Please read this important information to ensure that your grades are correctly calculated.
Regardless of when the mid-term exam is given, the date 4/2/2016 must be used. With this date, the exam grade will fall under the E3 Term in the gradebook.
If a teacher decides to give their exam early (March 24th or 25th), they need to understand that any assignments given after these exams, must have a date of 4/11/2016 or later, so that it falls in the Q4 Term.
If a teacher decides to give their exam March 31st or April 1st, they can use any date for Q3 assignments, prior to April 2nd (if they want it to count towards the 3rd Quarter Grade).
March 28: Hank Atkins
March 31: Chris Columbano
April 2: Karen Ye
April 5: Gwen Reynolds

Worth Your Time
Why is the Material in a Standardized Test Treated as More Confidential than Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Email Don’t worry this isn’t a political email but it makes a great point about our standardized tests.

Can There Be a More Apt Example of Trying to Do The Wrong Thing Right Than in Schools? This article reminds me of one of our early faculty meetings where we challenged each other to do the right thing, not the easiest thing.

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