Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Time to Take a Walk in the PARCC

Principal ponderings...

We have been talking about PARCC, practicing PARCC, and preparing for PARCC, and now the time has finally come to actually complete the first PARCC tests.  The 3rd and 4th grade teachers have been working hard to make sure their students are ready for this new online test.  Teachers have taken the practice tests.  Students have taken the practice tests.  Students have been practicing with the Chromebooks for several weeks.  And now it is finally here!

But before all of the recent "test prep"...we have all been preparing our students to show what they know and explain their thinking.  Kindergarten teachers have introduced this way of learning and assessing students' learning.  First grade teachers have continued the work.  And so have 2nd grade teachers.  It may be a different format for assessing what students' are learning, but the work leading up to it has certainly not been to simply teach to a test.  We want to see how our students do with reading passages, comparing, comprehending, analyzing.  We want to see how our students do with solving math problems, explaining their thinking, understanding concepts.  Crucial critical thinking skills that we want all of our students to move on from our school with as they advance to the middle school, high school, college and beyond.

So while PARCC is new, what we are hoping it shows us is that we are on track for the teaching and learning happening every day in every classroom.  Take a deep breath, relax and watch your students demonstrate their learning.

Currently reading:
As I was going through things in my office that had piled up while I was on leave, I came across two books that had been given to me.  The first book was The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?  I love the Mo Willems books, and this is another great one.  I am sure it will make for a great read aloud with our kindergarten and first grade students.
The other book I discovered was Patricia MacLachlan's book, Snowflakes Fall.  This was a good one to read right now since it focuses on snow turning to rain so that flowers can grow. 
I donated both of these books to our library so you can check them out from the school library any time you want!

Events this week:
**PARCC testing in 3rd and 4th grade all week
Tuesday - Grade 1 & Multi-age rehearsal @ 12:00
Wednesday - Library Fund Committee meeting @ 8:15, Dr. Rodriguez visits in the am, Grade 1 and Multi-age school concert @ 1:40, staff meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - Grade 1/Multi-age field trip, Grade 1 & Multi-age concert @ 7:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • On Tuesday, we had Digital Learning Day in the library!  Students got to experiment with MakeyMakey boards and augmented reality.  Thanks to members of the tech team who came over from other schools to help.
  • Mrs. Kavanaugh's kindergartners were practicing turn and talk after watching Mrs. Volpe and Mrs. K model how to do turn and talk to discuss a book.
  • 3rd graders in Mr. Smith's class were practicing on the Chromebooks in preparation for PARCC testing.
Check it out:
I thought this clip was entire neighborhood learned sign language and surprised a member of the community.

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