January 2018

"Golden Apple"

By Diana Knudson

Hi and Happy New Year!  What a cold, long winter so far.  I am hoping for an early, warm, and fragrant spring.  I also heard a great tip when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.  Instead of saying resolution, we should use the word commitment.  When we commit to something, we get a plan of action.  I thought that idea might help me COMMIT.

Our New Teacher’s 2nd meeting this year is coming up February 6. .  I really hope you send your new teachers this year.  We have the meeting before school starts each year in August, but this 2nd meeting is fairly new.  The reason for this meeting is simple yet complicated.  New teachers who are involved in their family at school and in their coop if they are in smaller schools, may be more likely to stay.   Teachers have to feel needed and appreciated to build strong ties.  I work to be part of that positive connection.  This New Teacher Day is focused on appreciation and professional development.  It will take place at the 3D in Great Falls from 9:00 to 2:00.  Just let Brianna know who you will be sending.  (Brianna@gtccmt.org)  

The PD focus for our new teachers is the book Teach like a Champion 2.0 by Doug Lemov.  This book is jam-packed with how to make concrete changes in classrooms so we can all become “Champions.”  An area we work on in curriculum meetings and one that we should be forever fine-tuning in our classroom is assessing and improving objectives.  “Objectives should be measurable, manageable, made first and most important.

·         Manageable—a classroom objective should be of a size and scope that can be taught in a single lesson. Most big and important skills in simple and complex forms requires multiple lessons.  So daily, it is important to conceptualize the steps necessary to achieve mastery and each piece on the way to mastery is a single objective.

·         Measurable—an objective should be written so that your success in achieving it can be measured, ideally, by the end of the class period.  The best teachers measure every lesson with a short activity, question, or set of questions so they have the way to assess what to do the next day with every student.

·         Made First—The objective comes first.  Be aware, however, of just how many teachers who believe they are objective driven start with an activity—we are playing Jeopardy today and then retrofit an objective to it.

·         Most Important—An objective should focus on what is most important on the path to college, and nothing else.  It describes the next step straight up the mountain.”

“Now—the following objectives fail to meet at least one of the 4M’s criteria.

  ~ Students will be able to add and subtract fractions with like and unlike denominators.  This objective is not Manageable.  It contains at least four different objectives for four different days and maybe four different weeks:  adding fractions with like denominators, subtracting fractions with like denominators, adding fractions with unlike denominators, and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators.  Realistically, this objective is in fact a standard, a huge one, and the topic of a unit plan.

   ~ Students will be able to appreciate various forms of poetry, including sonnets and lyric poetry.  What is appreciation?  How will you know whether it happened?  Can students understand T.S. Elliot and not like his writing, or do they have to pretend to assimilate your tastes as well?  This objective is not Measurable.  It is probably not manageable either.

  ~  Students will view scenes from the film version of The Crucible.  This is an activity, not an objective.   This is not Made First.  Showing the version of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible could be a home run or a waste of time, depending on what its purpose is.

  ~  Students will construct a poster to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  In addition to describing an activity, this objective is not Most Important.  Skill at making posters will not help put students in a position to succeed through the content of their character.   Understanding Dr. King’s legacy certainly is deeply important, and that understanding might be reflected in a poster, but a champion teacher would consider poster making useful only if it was the best way to reinforce that understanding.  The objective should be about Dr. King”.  

Lemov, Doug.  Teach Like a Champion 2.0, Jossey Bass, 2015. 

Chapter 4, pp. 137-140.

Congratulations to our December gift card winner, Barb Buechler from Malta!!  Keep reading the Golden Apple to find out when our next drawing will be held. 


Are you tired of being left out of the loop? Need reminding about those Committee meetings? Want to know more about Summer Institutes and other Professional Development? Then subscribe to the GTCC Headline enews. Every month you'll receive headlines from the GTCC E-News in your mailbox. Just send an email to gtcc_enews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.  Be sure to tell your co-teachers too!

Web Resources, Grants and Other News...

Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom
Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can UseWith Susan Winebrenner,
Nationally known author and presenter on Gifted and Talented Education
6 OPI Renewal Units
These workshops are being offered free of charge through the Montana RESA network
Registration includes book.
Two Locations
January 15, 2018 Shelby Shelby High School, Shelby, MT 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
January 16, 2018 Havre MSU Northern, Havre, MT 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
This workshop is designed to help educators become knowledgeable about techniques to adapt their teaching of
required standards to meet the learning needs of their most academically capable students of all ages.
Learn how to:
● Understand the academic and social needs of high ability/high potential students.
● Increase the motivation and productivity of high ability/high potential students through compacting and differentiation opportunities.
● Differentiate curriculum while still holding all students accountable for meeting state content standards. Accomplish these goals without too much extra work and without alienating other students or parents.
Lunch is on your own. We will take a one-hour break.
Register NOW at https://goo.gl/forms/CexQsBdtncKkYAnf2 
Learn more about the Montana North Central Educational Service Region at mncesr.org

STREAM Online Module Calendar

 Standards-Based Teaching Renewing Educators Across Montana (STREAM) will offer over 25 online, mini-courses during the 2017-2018 school year.  Courses are designed to help K-12 mathematics teachers improve their knowledge of mathematics, deepen their understanding of our state standards, and engage their students in meaningful learning of mathematics. STREAM modules are free and teachers can earn 15 OPI renewal units for successful completion.   You can learn more by reading the STREAM Online Module Calendar and the STREAM Online Module Descriptions.

Please join us online by signing up for a course.  Please help us get the word out by distributing this information widely to K-12 mathematics teachers in your district. Thank you!!

The STREAM Leadership Team
Jennie Luebeck – Montana State University
Matt Roscoe – University of Montana
Lisa Scott – Billings Public Schools

Resorce links from PBS and Sesame Street on discussing trauma with young children. 





Another link



Better Lesson - Master Teacher Lessons for Math, Science, ELA, and blended subject areas. 

Free Activities for Teaching Science and Math With Music

MathScienceMusic.org, a new website from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the NYU MusEDLab, features free resources to help teachers incorporate music in science and math lessons. The activities and apps are designed for all students, kindergarten through college. Subjects covered include geometry and physics, among many others, and all lessons teach students about the strong relationship between music and STEM learning.

Exploratorium Science Snacks Hands-On Activities

Created by the Exploratorium, Science Snacks "are tabletop exhibits or explorations of natural phenomena that teachers or students can make using common, inexpensive, readily available materials." There are hundreds of hands-on activities in the collection, and they're created to be easily digested with a short photo/video intro, a materials list, helpful hints, and advice.

Check out News ELA https://newsela.com/. Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events.  Free leveled news, primary sources, and more, with standards-aligned formative assessments. 

Subscribe to OPI's 3 Big Ideas Newsletter.  http://opi.mt.gov/subscriptions/