Weekly Information

  • 24-28 September - End of Q1 Already
    It's the end of first quarter already. And that means the year is 25% over - which is weird to think about. Five more days and you get a well-deserved break.

    Remember that, due to our half day of class and Parent/Teacher Conferences on Friday, Monday we will be running the Friday schedule. During Activity Period, Tharseo has a lunch party and Dennis will be kicking off the GameTogether room. Monday is also a non-uniform day for Tharseo and Machaira.

    For ASERT on Tuesday, we will have a brief high school meeting in the lounge, talking about some expectations for conferences. Beginning about 2:00, there will be an all-staff seminar with Paul Campy, an author and speaker; that will take place in Tipunan.

    Remember: In preparation for the end of quarter and parent/teacher conferences, please have up-to-date grades that reflect students' progress posted by end of day Wednesday, 26 September. Quarter grades are not final in high school, they are just progress grades for the semester, but students and their parents need to have an accurate picture of their progress up to this point.

    On Friday, we will run a half-day schedule with periods 1-8 meeting. It will give you some time to wrap up the quarter, return student work, or maybe get some quarter 1 feedback from your classes. 

    And speaking of quarter 1 feedback, please take a couple of minutes to fill out this First Quarter Reflection some time this week. During a free moment at conferences on Friday might be a perfect time since the quarter will be behind you at that point, but feel free to complete it sooner if you have a free moment.

    Parent/Teacher Conferences:
    High school will have only one afternoon of conferences on Friday from 12:00-4:00 (unlike the other divisions, which have two full days of conferences). As mentioned above, we will run a short schedule on Friday with an 11:00 dismissal.
    • All teaching staff are expected to be at conferences, even if you don't normally teach on Friday. If you need to be gone part of the time (eg. you coach a team with a competition that evening), please clear that with me so we can inform parents ahead of time. (I know about the cross country and boys soccer games already.)
    • Lunch will be provided in the lounge beginning at 11:00, so come and fill your belly before heading over to conferences.
    • During conference time, all high school staff will be at tables in Tipunan. Tables will have nameplates on them so parents can find you. Please be there by 11:50 to get yourself set up and organized. 
    • Parents will be able to sign up for 10 minute blocks with teachers. There will be an alert that sounds when the time is up. Please ask parents to be polite and move on when their scheduled time is complete; someone may be waiting for an appointment in the back of the room, but be too shy to interrupt your conversation. 
      • If it's obvious in once a block begins that a teacher is free, a parent may ask to speak with him or her.
    • This is a time for parents to ask specific questions about how their children are doing in your courses, so be ready to speak to that. They should all have been able to see updated grades, so it's likely you'll be seeing parents whose children are not doing as well as they hoped in your class.
    • Bring a laptop so you can access Sycamore and share it with parents. You may also want to bring other grades if they are not accessible yet online, student work if it would help parents understand their child's progress, or other materials that you may want to reference (eg. course resources).
    • You will likely have free time, so feel free to bring work to grade, a book to read, a game on your phone/tablet/laptop/etc. to pass the time if you are not currently with a parent.
    • Please plan to be there until 4:00. Some parents do take off work early and come later in the afternoon. So just because no one may be looking for you at 2:30 doesn't mean no one else is coming.

    Posted Sep 23, 2018, 4:53 AM by HSD Principal
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Thank You

  • Sunday Afternoon Tech Help
    A big thanks to Ahme who answered a Sunday afternoon tech request for someone when I was unable to offer assistance. We merely whispered her name, and like a magical fairy, she appeared out of thin air in the staff lounge to help with cloud printing.

    Thanks, Ahme!
    Posted Sep 23, 2018, 4:56 AM by HSD Principal
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Teaching Thoughts

  • Building Better Questions
    Following up on our webinar from a couple of weeks ago (and, yes, it was really long after a full day of teaching), we want to make sure essential questions are being addressed as we plan our units and lessons. As you are thinking through the questions you are asking, here is an article on How to Make Your Questions Essential that has a framework to help you rate your questions. Grant Wiggins (author of Understanding by Design) and Denise Wilbur describe essential questions:
    • They stimulate ongoing thinking and inquiry.
    • They're arguable, with multiple plausible answers.
    • They raise further questions.
    • They spark discussion and debate.
    • They demand evidence and reasoning because varying answers exist.
    • They point to big ideas and pressing issues.
    • They fruitfully recur throughout the unit or year.
    • The answers proposed are tentative and may change in light of new experiences and deepening understanding (McTighe & Wiggins, 2013).
    As you plan, they suggest you ask the following questions of your questions:
    • How well does the draft question meet the criteria?
    • If the question is too convergent, how can I phrase it to invite inquiry and argument? If the question is factual, what question on the same topic is worth arguing about?
    • Is the question merely engaging? Or will pursuing it lead to the topic's big ideas?
    • Is the question general enough to use across other units? Or is it bound too narrowly to just this topic or text?
    • Does the question get at what's odd, counterintuitive, or easily misunderstood? Or is it a predictable question with mundane and relatively superficial answers?
    • Am I trying too hard to craft the perfect question?
    • Am I looking for questions in all the wrong places?
    As you are planning the questions you will ask, you can also help students with the questions they ask. Like other skills, question-asking can be modeled, taught, and practiced in the classroom. In this article on 5 Ways to Help Students Ask Better Questions, Martin-Kniep writes that teachers can:
    1. Guide Students to Question What They See or Read.
    2. Establish Criteria for Questioning.
    3. Provide Protocols and Structures for Student Feedback.
    4. Invite Students to Generate Their Own Essential Questions.
    5. Design Learning Experiences That Encourage Students to Be Critical and Engaged Consumers.
    As you model asking good essential questions, you can build that skill into your students as well, a skill that will serve them well on their way to being Christlike lifelong learners.
    Posted Sep 13, 2018, 5:19 PM by HSD Principal
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