Friday, October 24, 2014

November 3 , 2014

10 Ways You Can Help Your Children Succeed in School
By: ColorĂ­n Colorado (2008)

As a parent, you are your child's first and most important teacher. When parents and families are involved in their children's schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school. In fact, many studies show that what the family does is more important to a child's school success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have. There are many ways that parents can support their children's learning at home and throughout the school year. Here are some ideas to get you started!
Develop a partnership with your child's teachers and school staff
1.    Meet your child's teacher.
2.    Get to know who's who at your child's school. There are many people at your child's school who are there to help your child learn, grow socially and emotionally, and navigate the school environment.
3.    Attend parent-teacher conferences and keep in touch with your child's teacher. Support your child academically.
4.    Find out how your child is doing. Ask the teacher how well your child is doing in class compared to other students.
5.   Make sure that your child gets homework done.
6.   Help your child prepare for tests. Tests play an important role in determining a student’s grade.
7.   Get involved with your child's school.
8.   Volunteer at your child's school and/or join your school's parent-teacher group.
9.   Ask questions. If something concerns you about your child's learning or behavior, ask the teacher or principal about it and seek their advice.
10.                Let the school know your concerns. Is your child doing well in school? Is he or she having trouble learning, behaving, or studying?

Have a great week,
Ms. Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant principal
Grade 1 teacher

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 20-24, 2014

Student-Led Conferences: A Growing Trend

For years parent-teacher conferences have been the primary means of parent-teacher communication. But now, many schools are trying something new -- student-led conferences that communicate not only how a student's doing but also why.
Parent-teacher conferences -- we all know how they go. Parents troop into classrooms to talk with teachers about their children's progress in school. Often, the process feels rushed, and parents leave feeling vaguely dissatisfied, as if they didn't really get what they came for.
For years that process has been the norm, but now it is changing. In more and more schools, students are leading conferences, and, overall, the word is that they're doing a fine job.
Many teachers themselves speak enthusiastically of the advantages of student-led conferences over teacher-led ones. "We found the [student-led] conferences most beneficial," said Keith Eddinger of the Marcus Whitman Middle School in Rushville, New York. "From a teacher's perspective, we were able to get a better picture of each child. It forced us to sit down with each student and review strengths and weaknesses. This conversation often told us the students learned more than perhaps we had measured through conventional assessments."
Eddinger added, "Our post-conference reviews with parents and students were overwhelmingly positive."
John Osgood, of C. L. Jones Middle School in Minden, Nebraska, found that "comments [about student-led conferences] from parents and board members were very positive."
Another staff member, Dick Philips, said, "Most parents listened to their child. It was interesting listening to [children] explain low grades to their parents. It did open the lines of communication."
"Several parents really liked it because it gave them an opportunity to see their child's work," said Sue Yant, another staff member. Yet "some [parents] said they hoped we [would hold] the traditional conference once a year."
Ms. Nora Sierra
Early Childhood Assistant Principal

Grade 1 teacher

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 6, 2014

Math Centers provide an opportunity for students to practice and apply skills and strategies taught within the classroom. While students are engaged in purposeful centers, teachers have the opportunity to work individually or with small, flexible groups to meet the individual needs of students.

Centers should be designed to:
  •  be an integral part of daily instruction for all children;
  • provide meaningful, independent practice based on the Standards, curriculum objectives and students’ needs;
  •  include a variety of activities differentiated to meet the needs of students;
  •  change regularly according to the needs of students;
  •  hold students accountable for the work in which they are engaged;
  • allow teachers to assess students’ math skills, strategies and understandings.

It is important to build a community of learners so that students will be able to work independently at centers since you will be engaged with other students during this time. When introducing Centers for the first time it is important to:
  1.   communicate clear, explicit, high expectations and develop a few non-negotiable rules established jointly by both you and your students;
  2. be available to assist students during center time and reinforce appropriate behaviors;
  3.  instruct, model and provide guided practice opportunities before placing new tasks in centers;
  4. hold very brief ‘mini lessons’ every day prior to children going to centers focusing on how to use the equipment and materials, how to share materials, how to take turns, put things away etc. During this time you might have two students role-play the use of the materials while others critique their efforts or model how to solve a problem without teacher assistance.

Whenever possible center activities should be open-ended, allowing for multiple responses to allow students to learn in their zone of proximal development, and provide for a mixture of independent as well as paired tasks. In order to encourage students to talk with one another, problem -solve together, and assist one another in their learning a center should generally have between two and six students.


Ms. Nora Sierra
Discovery School
Early Childhood Assistant Principal
Grade 1 Teacher

April 20, 2018

Wrapping Up the School Year The end of the school year brings the expected joy at finishing another year, and perhaps some sadne...