Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday, February 14th, 2020

 I am including a link above that needs no explanation, other than that Ms. Gael Berberick led all Letourneau students in an amazing performance last night...  Please take a few seconds out of your busy day to smile and listen (above).

I want to keep this blog entry short and sweet, like my neighbor's corgi. 

I hope you all have an awesome vacation week.  Come back rested and ready, because we will be looking at one week of February (with METG Preliminary Comps), and then WE ARE ON TO MARCH.

What's in March, you ask?

  • March 3- NBSO Trip for 3rd grade!  This year’s program is called “Tracking Rhythms: Shared Rhythms in Classical Music and Animal Gait Patterns.” Over the course of our 3-phase program, students will engage in a cross-domain exploration of rhythm, investigating the ways composers create diverse and engaging surface rhythmic groupings in classical music and how similar rhythmic groupings can be discovered in the gaits of quadrupedal animals, such as walktrot, canter, gallop, and bound

    In science, students will observe quadrupedal gaits in motion and analyze them by the sequence of their limb movements. Students will also examine animal ground track patterns to identify the various quadrupedal gaits and to speculate about the rhythmic patterns each animal creates when moving across a surface. In music, the students will determine how composers organize rhythmic groupings and vary rhythmic activity throughout a piece of music. In this program, students are encouraged to find a connection between the energy and rhythmic activity of classical music and quadrupedal locomotion. Please feel free to take a look at the attached curriculum flyer for more information or to share with your faculty. In addition, I have attached a couple of youtube links below to give a short demonstration of the link between quadrupedal gaits and track patterns, and rhythmic figures in classical music. 
  • March 9- Release Time Day- PD will be tied to Arts Expo (preparation for the exhibit), Fall River's 5th, and other performance based tasks.
  • March 25- Middle School Theater Field Trip- Number the Stars at the Z!  As German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen's family takes in Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her by pretending she's part of the family. Then, through Annemarie's eyes, readers watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark — nearly 7,000 people — across the sea to Sweden.
  • March 14- METG Semis for Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild- Good luck to Durfee Theater Group!
  • March 24- All City Band
  • March 25- All City Orchestra
  • All Month- Teacher prep for ARTS EXPO!
Have a wonderful week,


Friday, February 7, 2020


Image result for 100 days of school meme

Hello Team, and Welcome to Another Friday! 

In the News This Week:
  • BIG NEWS: The ARTS EXPO IS MOVING!  The annual huge event, usually held at Durfee will be held AT CITY HALL this year!  Teachers will be given more details as soon as I get them set- I discussed this with City Hall this week, and they are SUPER on board.  This will take team effort as always, and we always come through in an AMAZING WAY.  Teachers, thank you for thinking and collaborating on these ideas for the EXPO on Friday.  I am grateful for your creative thinking!
    • We will be setting up the EXPO in the main floor of the City Hall on Monday, April 27th (I will ask principals to release you for some part of the day, and will have Russ bring over the cardboard bifolds).
    • The EXPO OPENING for the PUBLIC: We will be open for the public from the Monday the 27th (after set up) to Monday, May 4th.
    • The EXPO DATE: Thursday, April 30th- THE BIG NIGHT EVENT!  We will make postcard invites for all kids as we always do.
    • I sent an email with specifics earlier on Thursday- all you need to know is listed there!
  • The FLU has hit!  Make sure you are disinfecting your classrooms regularly- I bring a can of Lysol to my office every year hahahha, washing hands and staying healthy this Flu season!  We need you to be hydrated, healthy and happy :)
  • The FlipGrid and Google Arts and Culture PDs were super cool- if you need support implementing these for the first time, reach out to your tech facilitator!  We have Nicole Medeiros, Christy O'Connell, Nicole Sheahan and Beth Lewis across the district as our fearless tech leads- find out who services your building and reach out if you need help!
CPT Notes:This week, we discussed take-aways from the PD day in our middle school CPT time.  Teachers were very grateful for their colleagues' leading professional learning time on Friday, and have plans to implement FlipGrid, Google Arts and Culture and other new ideas presented.  A big BLOG HUG goes out to all- whether you were teaching or learning on Friday- THANK YOU!  

At the High School, we are finalizing furniture requests for the new school..  so fun, but so comprehensive!  These specialized classrooms will be outfitted with some amazing new technologies, instruments, and art specific stuff.  We can't wait to have the entire team meet there for PD days in the 2021 School Year!
On the Calendar:
  • We will be presenting the next school year's budget to the School Committee for the entire district.  Dr. Malone has been super supportive of the arts in Fall River, and continues to be.  I will keep you in tune with what's up as things roll out.  Good stuff!
  • Durfee has a faculty meeting on Tuesday, February 11th.

  • March 3rd- 3rd Grade Field Trip to NBSO!  Our kids at 5 schools have been working with Terry Walkowicz from the NBSO on "Tracking Rhythms- Shared Rhythms in Classical Music and Animal Gait Patterns."  Students are thinking across domains- exploring rhythm and the ways composers create surface rhythmic groupings in classical music and HOW these are similar to the gaits of quadrupedal animals!  Tell me that's NOT COOL?!  
    • Teachers from Watson, Tansey, Doran, Silvia and Letourneau- you should have received the permission slip form on the drive, and modified for your school.  
    • I will also set up buses.  
    • What I need you to do- submit the Field Trip Request Form to your building admin with the list of students attached.
    • Please also let me know if we have any nurse needs!
  • All City Band Concert- March 24th
  • All City Orchestra Concert- March 25th
A Little Note:
  Can you please go into TeachPoint and put in your feedback for the PD sessions you attended?  That way, the district can have a lens into what we need to improve.  Thank you!

Weekly Reminders:
  • Lesson Plans are due on Monday morning.
  • Emergency Sub Plans need to be prepared and left on your desks (Durfee has a specific folder) in case you are absent.
  • Workshop Model aspects should be present (in your room and in your planning):
    • Posted Agenda
    • Warm Up (up to 5 min)
    • Opening (10-15 min)
    • Work Period (30-40 min)Closing (5-10 min)
Thank you, and have a great weekend!


Friday, January 31, 2020


MAN, were we busy this week!

  With the start of a new semester, most of us welcomed new "class-fulls" of kids into our learning environments!  This meant resetting expectations for learning, behavior and general rituals and routine work.  Congrats to all of you who made it through and still have a beautiful singing voice.. even if it's only in the car hahahaha...  

  We closed the week in true FRPS Fine and Performing Arts fashion- with some really fun, and meaningful PD time with each other.  It's always great to see the teams working together, and I love hearing snippets of conversations around planning how this that we are "doing" in PD would work in your worlds.  I am sharing all of the PD documents and presentations in the weekly email so you have them.

Today, WE:

  • Created art inspired by Frida Kahlo using new media 
  • Used FlipGrid to learn how to implement it as an assessment tool 
  • Chatted on how to make the Arts Expo work simpler and shared tips and tricks for preparing student work
  • Used Google Arts and Culture to introduce to students so they can see art up close and closely "read" what they see using tech
  • Planned for Fall River's 5th
  • Planned for Solo Fest and All City Band and Orchestra

Here are a few pics from the day!  

It tells me I did my job today, and that was to provide my teachers with a little time to experiment, to collaborate, to laugh and to PLAY together.

Have a wonderful weekend, 
and let's go, Jimmy G!


Friday, January 24, 2020

Week Ending 1/24/20

Image result for quote on setting clear expectations

YOU are leaders of your classrooms.
YOU create conditions for students to motivate themselves.
YOU DO THIS by communicating clear expectations for learning and behavior.
YOU follow through with feedback and positive reinforcements..


Intrinsic motivation will outlast external motivation ANY DAY.

As we transition into the second half of the school year, I just wanted to say to all of you that your work does not go unnoticed. 

I love walking through our schools and seeing all that you do with our kids. 
I love reading your weekly lesson plans.  
I love problem solving with you.  
I love listening to you plan for your kids.
I love helping you get what you need for your programs.

So, before we get into some reminders and news, I wanted to thank you for getting to this point with me... we are HALF WAY THERE!  From here, it is the COUNTDOWN TO SPRING!  

So, in the Blog this week...

  • I will be doing the 6-12 Learning Walk during the week of February 10th.  I am going to list a few expectations that would be expected to be visible during this walk (and consistently).  
    • At that point, all new classes should be in their second week, so expectations will probably be reinforced, but tasks in place.
    • Agendas should be posted, with tasks from the Grade Level Standards.
    • Mini Lessons should be engaging with content specific vocab!
  • The PD Day is Friday the 31st.  See you here at 8AM!  Get here early if you want a good parking spot!  
    • The list of classes are on TeachPoint- MAKE SURE YOU REGISTER ONLINE THROUGH TEACHPOINT!
  • Middle School Music Teachers- I have requested to PURCHASE SOUNDATION!  Thank you to Gary Bigelow for facilitation of all of this roll out and support!
  • ALL CITY PRACTICES- These have begun!  This is our way of giving FRPS Instrumental Students a free chance to get additional after school instruction so that they can develop a mastery of their pieces before the big ALL CITY CONCERTS!  Thank you to all of the Band, Orchestra and Percussion Teachers!

Calendar Items:
  • 1/24 End of Term 2
  • 1/31 PD Day- Halftime Event @DHS
  • 1/31- Monthly Dept Meeting K-5 (after PD Day)
  • February Vacation- Week of 2/16
Weekly Reminders:
  • Lesson Plans are due on Monday morning.
  • Emergency Sub Plans need to be prepared and left on your desks (Durfee has a specific folder) in case you are absent.
  • Workshop Model aspects should be present (in your room and in your planning):
    • Posted Agenda
    • Warm Up (up to 5 min)
    • Opening (10-15 min)
    • Work Period (30-40 min)Closing (5-10 min)
Thank you, and have a great weekend!


Friday, January 17, 2020

Week Ending 1/17/20

Image result for daniel pink quotes

..And isn't that how you plan for your lessons?  I mean, think about it... to MOTIVATE your kids, you:
  • Give them AUTONOMY- tasks that have students demonstrate skill while creating, drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, performing, acting, playing.. letting them practice, experiment, and develop their voice, their art.
  • Develop MASTERY- Practice, practice, practice..  pitch, line, shape, form, tempo, range, expression.  Our job is to "set the stage" for the achievement of MASTERY of STANDARDS of ART, MUSIC and PERFORMANCE for our students.  Conditions?  Allow room for mistakes, time for practice, feedback for improvement, and LOVE and LAUGH with them when they try, until they MAKE IT. 
  • Define PURPOSE- "Why are we doing this?" The rationale behind the task is just as important!  When we ask students to play with a specific tempo or tone, we remind them that this creates a mood, a feeling..  When we teach sculpture technique, we identify where this skill is applied in daily life in the objects around us.. When we design compositions, we emphasize specific focal points in the visual information.. this is how we are drawn into advertisements as consumers. 
Caught Being ARTSY:
Durfee Art Teacher, Ms. Pereira's Instagram is on FIRE this week!  Check out these collaborative sculptures!

The Durfee Performing Arts Department accepted a donation from the Michael Troy Foundation this week.. $5,500 will help us to purchase new percussion instruments for Durfee student musicians!

 Something Old, Something New?  Our new Fashion Class at Durfee has students creating using recycled garments as they design, drape and construct something new...

  • All City Band and Orchestra Practices will begin next week at Durfee for grades 5-12.  Students in these programs will have information given to them by their band/orchestra teachers, and have the option to get this additional practice time in with their teachers/Durfee mentors.
  • All City Concert Dates:
    • 3/24 Band
    • 3/25 Orchestra
Planning AHEAD:
  • DHS Department Meeting- Wednesday January 22
  • End of Term 2- Friday January 24
  • Monthly K-5 Department Meeting- Friday, January 31 after PD
  • The Half Time PD Event!  Friday, January 31- The day will start promptly at 8AM in the Durfee Auditorium- get here early if you want to get a good parking spot!  The Fine and Performing Arts offerings are:

Title Session
10:30- 12:00
FlipGrid- An Assessment Tool for ALL!
In this course, we will run through the set up, tools and how to’s for teachers- Everything you need to know to use FlipGrid to engage, excite and assess students.  This tool can be used for speaking, feedback, accountable talk, performance and other tasks.  
K-5 Music
Fine Arts
Rebecca Jontos
10:30- 12:00
Frida’s Frame- Synthesis Lesson Planning 
Using Google Arts and Culture site, we will synthesize the style of Frida Kahlo as we create a sample work to be used in class across K-8 art rooms.  From historical background, significance of the art to the actual creation of a sample model, we will then develop a Blendspace/lesson plan using Google Arts and Culture to drive a synthesis of style that is grounded in Kahlo’s work.
K-8 Fine Arts 
Jacqueline Francisco
In this group-time, we will discuss organizing and preparing student work for the show, and get situated with the bifolds and Kraft paper for the event.  Teachers Steph Pereira and Kerin McGillicuddy will share some pointers on how to do this work efficiently.
K-8 Fine Arts
Steph Pereira/Kerin McGillicuddy
Virtually THERE! Museum Lesson Planning Using Google Arts and Culture
In this course, teachers will collaborate to develop a common grade level lesson that is grounded in the use of Google Arts and Culture site to do a virtual field trip.  This demo plus planning time course will break down the “how-to’s” in terms of using Google Museums to engage and inspire students, and then allow for a work period- teachers will use this time to build a shared lesson using this online tool.  
Fine/Perf Arts
Jacqueline Francisco/Nicole Medeiros/Beth Lewis
Fall River’s 5th- Programming
Teachers will use this time to work with Toby Monte and the team to plan for the June city wide event.
K-5 Music 
Toby Monte, Rebecca Jontos
10:30 -12:00
FRPS Solo-Fest 
Solo Fest- Planning, ordering music, awards, sharing rubric, creating spreadsheet of judges.
Nicole Laprise/Jay Treloar
1:00- 2:30 All City Band and Orchestra Programming
This course will provide teachers with collaborative work time to build the plan for the district wide event.  
Nicole Laprise/Jay Treloar
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Week Ending 1/10/20

Happy Friday, Arts Fam!

  Here are some pictures of our students and examples of art and music tasks ACROSS the DISTRICT in K-5 Classrooms!

It was so enriching for me to see really solid examples of planned tasks in these rooms.  Our kids were engaged in building, drawing, watching art videos, painting, dancing, moving to the beat, drumming, drawing from observation, audiating, signing, collaborating... great work!

I have a few classes to visit to wrap up the Learning Walk for K-5 next week, and then will send the report out to you all- thank you for having me in your classrooms!

There were also several specific content vocabulary words being used by teachers and students- keep at it!  They will be talking like an artist/musician before you know it!

Calendar Items:
  • 1/14 Faculty Meeting- DHS
  • 1/20 No School- MLK Day
  • 1/22 Dept Meeting DHS
  • 1/24 End of Term 2
  • 1/31 PD Day- Halftime Event @DHS
  • 1/31- Monthly Dept Meeting K-5 (after PD Day)
Weekly Reminders:

  • Lesson Plans are due on Monday morning.
  • Emergency Sub Plans need to be prepared and left on your desks (Durfee has a specific folder) in case you are absent.
  • Workshop Model aspects should be present (in your room and in your planning):
    • Posted Agenda
    • Warm Up (up to 5 min)
    • Opening (10-15 min)
    • Work Period (30-40 min)Closing (5-10 min)
Thank you, and have a great weekend!