Spotlight on Learning
This week the teachers concluded our six-week focus on teaching writing. Every Wednesday for the last six weeks, teachers met in their PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) to answer questions about student writing such as, “What do we want we want students to learn?” How will we know if they learn it?” “What do we do if they don’t?” “What do we do when they do?” Teachers brought student writing samples to their meetings for reflection and planning next steps. This is called Data Driven Instruction, when we look at a piece of data (can be a test score or a student work sample or anything that gives us information about how students are doing), and plan our instruction based on what we see. This cycle, the kindergarten and first grade PLC team focused on informational writing: teaching students how to create writing that teaches the reader something the student knows about. The California Common Core standards state that students should “Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.” The students are still in the middle of their unit, working hard on writing books that teach about an animal they know all about.
Today, for St. Patrick’s Day, the students took a little break from information writing to complete a fun writing activity in which they got to imagine what they would do if they found a pot of gold. Ms. Gravelle took this as an opportunity to focus on writing conventions. Often, teachers will use a less demanding writing task to teach these skills, as it is easier for students to practice things such as the appropriate use of upper and lowercase letters, writing on the lines, using good handwriting, etc, when the content of the writing task itself is not as demanding.
When students are figuring out how to teach someone about something through writing, all their brain power must go to skills such as understanding the difference between fact and opinion, sounding out hard words, organizing their thoughts by category, and more! No room to think about whether they are remembering to capitalize the first letter of each sentence!
Brayden White, first grade, wrote “If I found a pot of gold I would donate it to the poor. I would buy lego Batman and Superman.”
Spotlight on SEL
As we prepare for testing, Redwood Heights is focusing on the power of effort. And we’d like to take a moment to share our gratitude for all the effort put in from students and families throughout the Golden Sneaker Competition! Whether it meant waking up a half hour earlier, coordinating with other parents, or following a 1st grader on a scooter, we all came together and had record high participation. Special thank you to the constant efforts of Elsie Lee, the fearless leader of the RHS Walking School Bus, who builds community and reduces pollution each and every day. And thank you to the impressive efforts of Ms. Antonian and her class that had over 80% participation in the competition. Well done, team!