ISY Elementary School Faculty Blog

Epic Wisdom

Mike Simpson

September 24, 2021

I really enjoy reading The Odyssey to our students in Grades 2 to 5. Every lesson I try to record their wisdom on big topics that come up in this epic. I thought I would share some of that wisdom with you:

On Beauty 

  • ‘Different people think different things are beautiful so that means beauty is an opinion and we can’t judge it.’

On Happiness

  • ‘How do you even know you are happy if you are not sad sometimes?’

On Rules

  • ‘It is hard to write rules for every little thing and it is sometimes hard to say what is right and what is wrong. It would be easier if there was only one rule – care about others.’

On Forgiveness

  • ‘It is silly to punish someone who already knows they did something wrong and have learned not to do it again.’

On Reasoning With Others

  • ‘It is better to help people understand what you are saying than to just tell them that they are wrong.’

In thinking about these really big ideas, students practice critical and creative thinking techniques and develop a belief that everyone’s thinking has value – including their own. These techniques can be applied to any problem or any subject and their ability to apply these techniques is strengthened by their belief that their ideas are valuable. 

If you are interested in incorporating some of this type of philosophical thinking into your classes, please use this link to The P4C Co-operative to make use of our school’s subscription. I think we get access for up to 10 individual teachers as part of the subscription. If you do sign up, please let me know how you are using this resource and whether your students are enjoying it.

We all know we are doing our best…. even when we are not at our best!

Check in. How am I? What do I need? How are they? What do they need from me?

Ask for help and be helpful.

Be present and patient. Take time to fully understand others and allow time for others to understand you. Pausing, Paraphrasing and Posing Questions promotes our common understanding.

Share your ideas and be open to the ideas of others. Once shared, they become our ideas and anything could happen!

ES COLLABORATIVE AGENDA

Please add any questions, items that come to mind to this ES Collaborative Agenda. The idea is that once we have a few things to discuss that can’t be addressed by email, we will meet.

Professional Learning Day: March 4

This is a very early heads up that we will have a professional learning day on March 4. 

We are in the very early stages of planning what this day will look like but it will be an opportunity to share and reflect on how a compassionate focus on technology, inclusion, and diversity meets our students’ needs. We plan to invite educators from other schools to join us. 

An important part of this day will be informal workshops and/or dialogues facilitated by teacher volunteers. We are inviting you to share with us the practices that have worked for you in meeting your students’ needs over this very difficult time. We will use the common language and framework of the ISY Inclusive Practices to help you plan and organize these workshops and/or dialogues. 

Our TIF team of Ian and Lindsey will be helping us put this day together and will be popping into classes from time to time to get ideas and encourage teachers. Please reach out to them if you have an idea you would like some support with – whether you intend to present it or not on March 4.

Student Review Meetings

Goal: To reflect on student progress as a team and seek strategies to support and challenge students.  Focus is on Tier 1 and Tier 2 students.

Meetings will take place approximately every 6 weeks according to this SRM Schedule.  Homeroom teachers will asked to complete a checklist prior to the meeting to identify students they wish to prioritize.  Specialists are encouraged to complete the checklist for concerns they see within their classrooms.  All team members should review the notes before and after the meetings to identify areas in which they may have been assigned a task.

Recording Student Reading Levels

Please use this Elementary Reading Levels 2021-2022 to record the reading levels of your students. It is easiest to use the Reading A-Z assessment tool so use that and record that level – no need to convert it into any different scales. We will reorganize our ISY benchmark reading levels to fit this tool to help you with reporting.

If you are using the DRAs that we have used in the past that is ok too – just put (DRA) next to the number so this is clear. We will record a level for every student in September, January and May. If you do assessments between these times, there are also columns for you to record the levels.

From our TIFs

Here are a curated list of helpful links for students and families as we begin the year. These videos can be helpful as you share information with them. 

From the Library

Lindsey and Christian in the library would be very happy to help get books to you that you might want to read to your class or have your students read. These books can be scanned so they can be used online so let them know if you are looking for something.

 Quarter 1 Progress Reports

Please click on this Q1 Progress Report Organization & Timeline document for instructions on completing this quarter’s Progress Reports.

 Grades 2-5 Google Classroom Set Up

Please use the following heading for each week (Quarter followed by the week…)

 Friday Emails + Offline Learning

We will send out our Grade Level Friday Emails next Friday, October 1.

You will find the email templates in the folders below. Please update these emails in blue by 12pm Thursday MMT.

In these folders you will also find the Offline Learning Activity templates that will be converted to a PDF to be emailed out every Friday. If you need to update these offline learning activities, please do so by 12pm Thursday MMT.

ES Assemblies

There is an assembly this Wednesday from 11:20am MMT.

Assemblies will follow a Story + Student Share + Game format every week. Thank you for signing you and your students up for these activities on this Assembly Sign Up Schedule. There are still a couple of game slots free if you have any ideas.

Quarter 1 Interdisciplinary Units

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