Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday the 13th! Whatta Spook-tacular Week!

This week, I am inspired by teachers sharing their ideas during CPT and willingness to try new things.  We have been talking about blended learning and station work for a while now, and many of us use technology and station rotation already in our practices, but it's great to feel that spark of new energy as ideas are shared and adopted by colleagues.  During Kuss, Morton and Talbot CPT's this week, our discussions gave way to some great thoughts for how these strategies and tools can strengthen our work, and engage students in some really great tasks.  Thank you!

Goals and Professional Development:

  • At this point, I have given feedback to all who submitted their goals to me.  Thank you so much for the thought that goes into this process.  It's only as valuable as you make it- and I value the information relayed to me via your professional practice goals, as this is what fuels my PD planning!  I will be developing the November 7th Full Day PD Plan based on these areas you have identified:
    • Blended Learning/Tech in the Arts Classroom
    • Accountable Talk/Writing- Building Content Language "Muscle"
    • Interpretation/Evaluation of Art Form- Scaffolding the Thinking and the Writing
    • All City Performance Planning- Band, Orchestra, Chorus 
  • The next step in the goal setting/eval work is to write the Ed Plan Development Form.  This form will be shared in your folders, and is really the road map for achieving your goals.  You should have two forms- one for the SLG, and the other for the PPG.  In the columns, you should be documenting what tasks you (or students) will complete in order to achieve the goals, when you will be doing them, and what resources you will be needing to do so.  This document is super helpful for the person evaluating you, because it can guide them through the process you have planned!  Most will have a combination of the pedagogic structures and the assessments along the way to measure growth.  Please let me know if you need any support in this work!
Design Students from Ms. Arsenio's class in the IMC gettin' inspired!

School Walk Through Info:

  • As part of our District Improvement Plan, we will be engaging in learning walks at schools throughout the year.  These have begun, and are a great way for building leadership teams to gain insight into the implementation of strategies and tools.  This is a good time to let students know that "The Grown Ups Are Coming!" We love talking to students when we can, but will try to be as non-intrusive as possible.  Small groups will be in classrooms for less than 10 minutes, and will take notes.
  • Some things teams look for...  Are objectives posted?  Students engaged and on task?  Blended Learning, station work, morning meeting where applicable?  Is the classroom environment conducive to learning?  Learning Walk Teams will be celebrating and supporting what you do when they report these findings back to building teams.

Coming Up:

  • On the Calendar, we have...
    • Durfee's GOT TALENT!  Tonight!
    • Monserrat visits AP Art on 10/19
    • Monthly Fine and Performing Arts Department Meeting- Thursday 10/26, 3:45 at Silvia and Kuss
    • Durfee Department Meetings- 10/18
    • Michael Troy Tribute Concert at the Narrows (Benefit for Michael Troy Memorial Music Foundation)- 11/5, 1-4PM
    • Full Day PD- 11/7
    • End of Term 1- 11/9
    • Veteran's Day- 11/10
    • PD 1/2 Day- 12/7
    • Durfee Musical- Legally Blonde! 12/8-12/10!
    • Durfee Winter Concert 12/14

Reminders, Nuts and Bolts:

  • Lesson Plans- Thank you for sharing!  Please send to me by Monday morning, beginning week!
  • Call Outs- If you are sick, text me by 6AM!  Text back in when you return!
  • Durfee Progress Reports- will be given out Monday.  I will pick up in the main office and distribute!  Please make sure you are discussing plans for improvement with kids who are not meeting the mark!
  • Durfee Staff- As always, I will distribute the Matt and Shayna Notes Monday Morning!

Collaboration and Growth:

  • I am planning for professional development in the areas I listed above during the November, and January PD days, as well as the release time days.  Under these "umbrellas" I have special guests to help us out as we learn new strategies to implement.. 
    •  I will be tapping into UMASS and the NBSO for some support for music teachers to add to their tool boxes.
    • We will host Carolyn Jane from Dick Blick in December to work our way through stations with new art media!  Once we experiment with these, we will be able to make a more informed decision for next year's supply orders.
    • We will continue to map the learning objectives, vocabulary, blendspaces, and resources for each course and grade level as collaborative teams using the Google Drive.
    • We will continue to use Blendspace and Google Classroom during PD time.  Blendspace is a great platform for quick and effective lesson planing online, and Google Classroom makes teaching (9-12) and learning super efficient and puts the ownership in students' hands.
  • I want to share weekly ideas that support our alignment to SIP/DIP Literacy Goal, so here is this week's first installment...
    • Art Teachers, check this out..  
    • This Google Site allows you to click on the menu at the top left and choose from a number of categories.  If you click on collections, artists or mediums, you have a variety of information at your fingertips!  Click on Collections, then select one to see the quality of art images and comprehensive descriptions of each, including artist information.  This site can be super helpful when planning presentations, or who knows, maybe a research station in your art room?  Check it out!
    • Music Teachers, check this out... 
      •  Music Map
      • What an informative and easy to navigate site!  This could also be used in a station with students as they dive into genres.  Check it out!
      Have a wonderful weekend, Arts Fam!


Friday, October 6, 2017

October 6th, 2017! Going BLENDED!

Welcome to the long weekend, Fine and Performing Arts Family!

Here are some pictures and recaps from the 
Thursday Professional Development Meetings...  


At Letourneau, K-8 Music Teachers had the pleasure of being hosted by Ms. Becky Jontos, and walked away with the ability to plan a lesson using the Compose Yourself musical composition game.  These will be arriving in all schools very soon.

Tasks for K-8 Music:
  1. Watch video explaining features of Compose Yourself
  2. Each group will explore and compose using the program
    1. 1 person complete the registration
    2. Start composing as a group
  3. Composition share outs
  4. Watch video about Compose Yourself:
  5. Each group will plan a station activity based on resources available in their schools and write down the directions
  6. Each group will follow directions left behind and try the station activity.  Leave any comments, suggestions, ideas for the planners.
  7. Reflect on the program and stations
  8. Discuss goals
What tasks will we plan for our students that will engage them in station rotations?
  • Boomwhacker activity to reinforce treble clef note reading
  • Rhythm patterns
  • Review rhythmic syllables “ta, ti-ti, ta-ah”
  • Composing
  • Self expression
What key vocab terms will our students be asked to know and use?
  • Tempo
  • Beat
  • Rhythm
  • Quarter, eighth, and half notes
  • Staff
  • Measure
  • Musical alphabet
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra
  • Compose/composition
  • Notation
  • Phrase
  • loud/soft
  • Ostinato
  • Harmony
  • Melody
How could this rotation through stations with different learning tasks help to enhance these experiences?
  1. Students with challenges with long term tasks will be more successful with smaller time framed stations.
  2. Varied activities would peak interests and different levels of engagement in different students
  3. Engages students with multiple intelligences
Here are the team goals that develop students' musical literacy as well as teachers' use of technology in stations to engage all learners...
Elementary Student Team Goal:
By the end of May 2018, 80% of grade 5 students will play recorders independently with steady tempo, rhythmic accuracy, appropriate technique and correct posture, proficiently as measured by a recorder rubric that addresses each of these skills. Students will be assessed in small groups and/or individually, monthly.

Elementary Professional Practice Team Goal:

In order to uphold common grade level high expectations for all, the district music staff will increase their skills and practice in blended learning strategies by building an accessible online technology platform to collaborate and share online music units of study including vocabulary, tasks, resources, station ideas, and online lesson platforms (Blendspace) to engage all students through technology.  By the end of May 2018, we will implement this platform into the district’s music planning/teaching practices as demonstrated by the collaboration space on the GDrive that educators will use to share effective instructional strategies, exemplars, rubrics, videos/tutorials and model units of music study.  By the end of May 2018, we will implement at least one lesson per trimester using Blended Learning.

Also at Letourneau, K-8 Art Teachers met with Ms. Victoria Arons to brainstorm through ideas for station rotation in the Art Classroom. Lots of great conversation was had around norming practices for moving from station to station, clean up, set up and tasks at each station. Teachers discussed:
  • Breaking down lesson into two stations that both adhere to the same Element and/or Princple but via a different media.
  • Having a teacher led station for small groups, while remainder work independently (depending on class needs) with a Blendspace video tutorial plying at independent station.
  • Creating Blendspaces that could be at each station with a mini-lesson
  • Laminated How-to cards at each table with steps for task
Also discussed were ways teachers could implement this in their classrooms. We will be continuing on with this work during the next professional development day, as Steph Pereira from Silvia will model how to film an art lesson and upload to Blendspace! So excited!

Durfee Fine and Performing Arts Teachers visited with Mark Carvalho and Gary Bigelow to see how they have implemented regular use of Google Classroom to allow for more independent learning. They use it for uploading tutorials, assignments, communicating, collecting work, and providing students with a platform for self-guided learning. We had a special guest visit from Case High School- Greg Sampl, art teacher. He emailed me later on that evening to say what a wonderful family we are, and that we have a "Gem" in Mr. Carvalho (he was with Mark in his model classroom). Kudos to Mark and Gary for doing this for us. So helpful!

In the News This Week...

  • Terry Walkowicz and the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra visited their first two of five schools in Fall River this week- Tansey and Spencer Borden. 3rd Graders were intrigued by the connections between musical composition and our Earth's Ecosystem... So many parallels! So cool to see the musicians play for our kids!

  • The Doran School's Chorus is up and running!  So excited to revive our young choral program this year in Fall River.  Jayson Newell reported out that his ensemble met and he is excited to work with them!  Yay Jay!
  • Instrumental Lessons are also up and running and Band, Orchestra and Percussion Leaders have chosen their repertoire for the winter concert, and will begin practicing with sight reading these pieces with their students soon!  Teachers should be sharing their schedules with building offices in case there are any questions from parents or teachers.
  • Teachers have submitted their SL and PP Goals and they look great.  I am excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work with all of you!  I will be looking at all teacher PPG's so I can compile my Professional Development offerings throughout the year to support these.
  • I will review all goals and make any comments in the "comments" tab to the right on the google document.
  • The next task will be to complete the Ed Plan Development Forms.  These will be in your folders.
Have a wonderful, restful loooong weekend!

Friday, September 29, 2017

9/29/17- Bye Bye September!

Here we go- well into into the work with our students as we enter October!  Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING!!

Here are some pictures I would like to share from the Grade 6-12 Learning Walk this week!



And look at these happy K-5 Music Teachers at their Monthly Department Meeting, learning with Amelia Nixon from the Rhode Island Phil!  Go LINK UP Recorder Program!

 And if you could only feel the excitement in the air when this Doran Scholar got his band instrument!  So EXCITED!

In the News This Week...

WHASSUP, continued:

  • The Yellow School Bus Grant requests are in and WE GOT THE GRANTS for all five schools who will be attending the NBSO's Orchestra as Ecosystem performance at the Zeiterion in March 2018.  This means each school will get $200 towards student transportation to the event!
  • I have requested from principals that you be allowed to come to a PD opportunity with your art and music colleagues that is aligned to this year's SIP strategies (blended learning).  I will be asking teachers in art and music to model their simple and super effective strategies for blending learning in the classroom using technology and/or station work- we have some awesome stuff happening!  Please reach out to building leaders in the next week to confirm that you are able to attend!  
  • Durfee Band will be traveling to Dartmouth High School Saturday (tomorrow) to participate in the US Bands Dartmouth Home Show.  This is going to be awesome for our kids!  GO DHS!!!
  • District Orchestra and Band students received instruments for the most part this past Thursday evening, or at their school.  Lessons will begin with instruments next week.


  • Last week in middle school and high school CPTs, we shared common Student Learning Goal sentence frames for teachers to draft their goals from.  In addition, I have some sample Professional Practice Goals for you to use.  I will include those in a document in this email for you.
  • These Goal Samples are aligned to both the Literacy Goal for the district as well asstrategies that we are focusing on.  Please reach out to me if you need support as you develop your goal!  It's the first step in plotting your "learning" road map for the year!
  • The first step in the evaluation process is a Self Assessment. This is simply a reflection of where you are in relationship to the Rubric.  I have included this document in your folders as well as the goals doc.
  • Each school has created a School Improvement Plan (SIP) that will drive the work for improving student learning. These plans adhere to goals around Literacy, Numeracy and SEL/Attendance. High Schools have additional goals around graduation. As you draft your goals, please consider using the shared team goal for you to adopt if your building leadership allows- this goal will tie directly to theLiteracy District Goal, but will be relevant to students' visual and music literacy and using content specific language to defend, critique and explain their reasoning. (See doc shared in email)
  • It will be our goal to support our schools and students in this focused growth as we excel our students' abilities to communicate with and about the arts.  As we create art and music student learning goals, these will support the school literacy goal as we ask students to improve their ability to communicate using specific content language as they defend their choice making, support their claims, and critique student work (their own and others).


  • 10/6 Self Assessment and Goals submitted
  • 10/13 Review and Approve Goals
  • 10/27 Ed Plan due 
  • 11/3 Review of plan complete
  • Unannounced observation by 11/7

Have a great weekend!