MP-News from the Principal's Desk - November 6, 2015

Schools and Libraries

November 12, 2015

From: Madeira City Schools

Teaching and Learning at MMS

Last week I talked with you about the "balance between teacher talk and student talk" in the classroom.  It is important for teachers to be able to move around the room, engage smaller groups of students (or individual students) as well as lead large-group discussions about concepts, processes, and skills being taught in class.

Another positive outcome of listening to student conversations comes in the feedback teachers can give students about the learning process.  As students wrestle with new concepts, discuss different ways to solve problems, set-up labs, or draft a persuasive argument that gets the point across, they are learning how to think through new situations and combine the new learning with what is already in their long-term memories or schemas.  In this process students will make mistakes and sometimes struggle to find the right answer these are learning opportunities!  In Visible Learning for Teachers, author John Hattie says this about errors:

- "Errors invite opportunities.  They should not be seen as embarrassments, signs of failure, or something to be avoided.  They are exciting, because they indicate a tension between what wenow know and what we could know." (Hattie, page 139)

The old adage, "we learn from our mistakes" applies to Hattie's quote.  True, we all learn from our successes, but really learn more from our failures and mistakes.  And, when we make a mistake, process it, and learn from it, the learning usually has more staying power and makes it into our long-term memory.   We are encouraging staff to coach students to figure out things on their own rather than give away the formula or answer too quickly.  At times this means students are confused before clarity occurs and it means we have to continually look for more than a balance of teacher and student talk, but also a balance between struggle and success.  We want to appropriately challenge students and encourage them to succeed in thinking things through.  This is very different from the way you and I were taught, but it also means our students will be stronger at explaining "why" the problem is correct, or what the lab results mean, or how the persuasive argument is spot on target. 

As your son or daughter comes home with some confusion, encourage him or her to ask questions, and look for the solution as directed by the teacher.  And, as you have questions, please email or call the teacher to check on the learning process we want to partner with you.

Other News

- MMS PTO Meeting 9:15 AM

- 2ndQuarter Mid-term November 20th Please continue to check Progress Book!

- Thanksgiving Break November 25-29.

- Empty Bowls dinner December 4th our 7thgrade team's service learning project.

Have a great weekend!