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Friday, December 19, 2014

MRVED Business

The MRVED Staff would like to wish all of you a happy and relaxing holiday break.  The next MRVED Update will come Friday, January 9, 2015.  The MRVED offices will be open Monday and Tuesday of next week and will run a limited staff the following week.  If you need any assistance during this time you can try calling the office at 320-269-9297 or reach any of us by email.  Have a great holiday season!



Meeting Updates
DAC Meeting
The District Assessment Coordinators had the opportunity to meet at the MRVED on Monday before the ice storm moved through.  They spent a couple hours during the morning networking and asking questions of each other.  The District Assessment Coordinator in your district works very hard to ensure that all testing is completed and reported correctly.  In this holiday season, let them know how much you appreciate all they do!

FACS Best Practice Meeting
The FACS best practice meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled due to the icy roads and numerous late starts.  They were scheduled to go to Willmar and tour Cashwise Foods and Bakery as well as Mr. B's Chocolates.  The meeting will be rescheduled for the Spring.

TAC Meeting
The Teachers Advisory Council met at the home of Karen and Steve Jacobson on Thursday.  Most of the day was spent learning about how to have a collaborative conversation as an instructional coach.  The group had the opportunity to practice the collaborative conversations.  They also spent some time viewing an actual lesson, scoring the teacher, and conversing as if they were helping that teacher get better.  The TAC also had the opportunity to look at the MELT sessions and provide feedback.  Overall, another great day of learning at the Jacobson farm!


Upcoming Meetings
January 9, 2015  Title III Paraprofessionals
January 16, 2015  Community Ed
January 19, 2015  MELT
January 28, 2015  Superintendents' Council

LAST Day to Register for the 2015 MELT

MELT Registration Open
TODAY is the last day to register for the 2015 MELT.  If you have not registered already, please do it right now!  Registration closes at 3:00 p.m. today (December 19).



MELT Information
Date: January 19, 2015
Time: 8:40-2:00
Location: Lac qui Parle Valley High School

MELT Reminders a la Mary Brown

1.  If you have a student teacher in January, please have them register by December 19, 2014 and select the district where they will be doing their student teaching.  Direct them to the MRVED website (www.mrved.com) and they can click on the MELT Registration article and it will take them to the brochure and the registration link.  If they are unable to do this by December 19, please have them contact me directly at mbrown@mrved.net or 320-269-9297.

2.  If you are presenting at the MELT, please register for your own session.  If you have already registered and haven't done this, no worries, I will register you for your own session.  Do not reregister.

3.  If you have selected to eat the catered meal, please pay your district the $5 by January 10, 2015.

4.  Lastly, if you did not receive a confirmation email at the completion of your registration, it is because you have entered your email incorrectly.  I have had about a half dozen emails come back to me because of that. I have corrected your emails in the registration but I'm not sure the program resends a confirmation.  

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 13

The past 12 weeks we have been focusing on Ken O'Connor's 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.  I highly suggest reading through the whole book, it will change the way you approach grading in your classroom.  It's a very quick read, and well worth the time!

Fixes 1-6: Fixes for practices that distort achievement
Fixes 7-10: Fixes for low-quality or poorly organized evidence
Fixes 11-12: Fixes for Inappropriate Grade Calculation
  1. Don't include student behaviors in grades; include only achievement.
  2. Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner.
  3. Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.
  4. Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.
  5. Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.
  6. Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.
  7. Don't organize information in grading records by assessment methods or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standards/learning goal.
  8. Don't assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations.
  9. Don't assign grades based on student's achievement compared to other students; compare each student's performance to preset standards.
  10. Don't rely on evidence gathered using assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments.
  11. Don't rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment.
  12. Don't include zeros in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, or use "I" for incomplete or insufficient evidence.
The last 3 fixes are fixes to support learning.

Fix 13: Don't use information from formative assessments and practice to determine grades; use only summative evidence.


Formative assessments are assessments for learning.  They are used to gather information about what to do next in the classroom.  FA's primary purpose is to see if and who needs reteaching.  It is not punitive or rewarding for the student, so why would you use them for points?  Formative assessments should never be used to determine grades.  Once a teacher does an assessment of learning (summative) those can be counted towards a grade.  As mentioned in previous weeks though, in a standards-based reporting system, this is a non-issue.  You either exceed, meet, partially meet, or do not meet the standard.

Also a part of this issue is the debate as to what should truly be graded.  There are some teachers that grade everything and there are some teachers that grade very little.  So what is the magic formula?  The answer lies in your philosophy of teaching and learning.  The one piece of advice that has swayed my thinking, and I do not recall who it came from,, "learning is a process and we make mistakes through this process".

This makes me think about what am I grading, the learning, or what has been learned?  Why are we punishing kids for making mistakes along the way to learning something?  Grades do not need to be punitive or rewarding.  They should reflect what students know and are able to do.

Technology Tip - Quotacle

Quotacle
Quotacle is a great website if you are referencing different movies in your classroom.  Quotacle allows the user to search a database of around 200 big name movies and search through for some of the big quotes from the movie.  You could also use this as a starter in your classroom.  Now you don't have to search YouTube for the quote or scour the web for the clip you want.  Hopefully the database can continue to grow!

Example


Friday, December 12, 2014

MELT 2015 Registration

MELT Registration Open
2015 MELT Registration has been open for a week. So far over 250 educators have registered and some sessions will start to close due to large numbers.  Register today to ensure you get into the sessions you want.  Registration will close next Friday, December 19, at 3:00 p.m.



MELT Information
Date: January 19, 2015
Time: 8:40-2:00
Location: Lac qui Parle Valley High School

MELT Reminders a la Mary Brown

1.  If you have a student teacher in January, please have them register by December 19, 2014 and select the district where they will be doing their student teaching.  Direct them to the MRVED website (www.mrved.com) and they can click on the MELT Registration article and it will take them to the brochure and the registration link.  If they are unable to do this by December 19, please have them contact me directly at mbrown@mrved.net or 320-269-9297.

2.  If you are presenting at the MELT, please register for your own session.  If you have already registered and haven't done this, no worries, I will register you for your own session.  Do not reregister.

3.  If you have selected to eat the catered meal, please pay your district the $5 by January 10, 2015.

4.  Lastly, if you did not receive a confirmation email at the completion of your registration, it is because you have entered your email incorrectly.  I have had about a half dozen emails come back to me because of that. I have corrected your emails in the registration but I'm not sure the program resends a confirmation.  

MRVED Business

Best Practice Meeting Updates
Social Studies
The Social Studies teachers convened at the MRVED on Friday, December 5th for their annual best practice meeting.  The day started with Brandon sharing some of his latest finds and providing updates to the group.  Then the group spent the next hour in a live webinar with the Minnesota Historical Society on using primary documents in the classroom.  The webinar was excellent and the teachers came away with something they could use in their classroom.  The conversation over lunch was amazing as usual.  The group then came back and networked and shared a variety of resources and ideas.  The day ended with an activity on identifying academic vocabulary.  Thanks again for a great day!

Upcoming Meetings
December 15, 2014  District Assessment Coordinators (DACs)
December 16, 2014  FACS (off site)
December 17, 2014  Superintendents' Council
December 18, 2014  Teachers' Advisory Council (TAC)
December 19, 2014  Principals' Council

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 12

Fix 12: Don't include zeros in grade determination when evidence is missing or as punishment; use alternatives, such as reassessing to determine real achievement, or use "I" for incomplete or insufficient evidence.

The case for the zero can be a highly debated issue in schools.  We often hear, "the student didn't turn the assignment in, therefore it is a zero".  Or, "putting a zero in the grade book creates a sense of urgency."  The problem with the zero, however, is that research has shown it can actually have counterproductive effects on student motivation and it involves inappropriate mathematics.

For instance, the typical grading scale would be:

  • A=100-90
  • B=89-80
  • C=79-70
  • D=69-60
  • F=59 and below
There are 11 points in the A range, and 10 in the B,C,&D ranges, and 60 points in the F range.  Douglas Reeves points out this exact flaw in grading in his article The Case Against the Zero.  The answer to this flawed system is a 5-point scale instead of the 100 point scale.  This will accurately and evenly weight the zero against all other grades.

Another fix is to not give students a zero for work not turned in, but rather an "I" for incomplete.  The theory is outlined in the book Power of ICU by Danny Hill and Dr. Jayson Nave.  Giving students incomplete grades and making them do the work may be a little more of a hassle, but in the end will more accurately reflect the grade the student has received.

Technology Tip - Unite For Literacy

Unite For Literacy
Unite for Literacy is a neat website that is great for beginning readers.  Unite for Literacy has a variety of easy to read books that the user can read or have read to them.  The books are not "big name" books, but helps new readers hear and see the words.  This website could be a great individual reading station in your classroom.  The kids can put the headphones on and read away!


Friday, December 5, 2014

MRVED Business

Best Practice Meeting Updates
English Language Arts
The English Language Arts educators gathered at the MRVED on Tuesday December 2nd for their annual best practice meeting.  The room was filled with 34 teachers ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade teachers.  The morning started with Brandon sharing some of the latest and greatest web tools for the classroom, which transitioned nicely into a session on the SAMR model.  The group had the opportunity to talk about creating a lesson through the SAMR model.  The morning ended with aligning their standards and curriculum K-12.  After lunch they finished their curriculum work and met in networking groups.  The group did an excellent job of networking, sharing many new resources for the classroom.  The day ended with a grading practice activity.  Overall it was another great day with almost every teacher bringing something new back to the classroom.

World Language
The World Language teachers attended their annual best practice meeting on Thursday, December 4th.  The day started with networking and discussing issues related to World Languages.  After that, the group had the opportunity to spend the rest of the day with their Minnesota Department of Education specialist Ursula Lentz.  The teachers had the opportunity to hear and learn from her.  Ms. Lentz has a wealth of knowledge in the realm of World Languages and it was a great day for everyone.

Best Practice Meetings
December 10, 2014  MRVED Board (7 p.m.)
December 12, 2014   Title III Teachers
December 15, 2014  District Assessment Coordinators (DAC)
December 16, 2014  FACS
December 17, 2014  Superintendents' Council
December 18, 2014  Teachers' Advisory Council (TAC)
December 19, 2014  Principals' Council (starting at 11:30 a.m.)

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 11

The past 10 weeks we have been focusing on Ken O'Connor's 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.  I highly suggest reading through the whole book, it will change the way you approach grading in your classroom.  It's a very quick read, and well worth the time!

Fixes 1-6: Fixes for practices that distort achievement
Fixes 7-10: Fixes for low-quality or poorly organized evidence
  1. Don't include student behaviors in grades; include only achievement.
  2. Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner.
  3. Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.
  4. Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.
  5. Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.
  6. Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.
  7. Don't organize information in grading records by assessment methods or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standards/learning goal.
  8. Don't assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations.
  9. Don't assign grades based on student's achievement compared to other students; compare each student's performance to preset standards.
  10. Don't rely on evidence gathered using assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments.

Fixes 11 & 12 deal with fixes for inappropriate grade calculation

Fix 11: Don't rely only on the mean; consider other measures of central tendency and use professional judgment.


In a truly standards-based reporting environment this fix would be irrelevant.  The student either Exceeds, Meets, Partially Meets, or Does Not Meet the standard.  Unfortunately many teachers are not ready to take the full plunge into the world of standards-based reporting, so we are stuck with giving scores and calculating grades.

Using the mean, or averaging the scores, can be a flawed system.  For example:
A student has the following scores on assignments:
 91, 92, 91, 93, 92, 92, 64, 94, 93, 92
You would probably say this is an "A" student.  They have done "A" work for the majority of the quarter.  However, it averages out to an 89.  Think about if that score of 64 was never turned in and it was a 0.  What would that do to the average?  This is where professional judgement would come into play.  If this student deserves the grade of an "A", then that is what they should get.  You could also drop the lowest and highest score to get a better determinate of the average.

The next time you average out scores, think about how averaging is an inaccurate way to determine grades.


Tech Tip - Twitter for Teachers

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter...we hear this word all over the place.  You see hashtags in the corner of your television when watching your latest show, to hearing the news anchors ask for you to tweet in your responses.  Twitter can be one of the most influential social media tools in your life, if you know who to follow and how it works!  Once you get into Twitter, you will be hooked (as hooked as Pinterest).

Instead of me rambling on as to what Twitter is and how it works, check out Kathy Schrock's guide to Twitter.  The guide is very complete and will answer most of your questions.

How I use Twitter
  • Connect and hear what great minds have to think
  • Become exposed to resources
  • Follow live events
  • Partake in "chats"
  • Follow "important" people
If you are still on the fence about Twitter, talk to someone who is on Twitter and ask them about their experience.  Do not connect Facebook and Twitter into the same thing.  Yes, they are both social media, but each has their own niche in your life.  Give it a try today and give a follow to me :)

@braymo22

Brandon will be tweeting from the TIES conference Monday and Tuesday, so now would be a great time to see the benefits of Twitter.  You can also follow the hashtag #TIES14.


Friday, November 21, 2014

MRVED Business

Industrial Technology Best Practice Meeting
The Industrial Technology teachers gathered on Thursday, November 20.  The group first met at Lakeview Schools to meet for about an hour before heading to Extreme Panel in Cottonwood for a tour.  Extreme Panel makes insulated paneling for homes.  After our tour of Extreme Panel, the group gathered for lunch and shared stories and ideas.  After a great lunch discussion, the teachers headed to Mid Continent Cabinetry in Cottonwood for a tour.  Overall it was a great day and the instructors had the opportunity to see how a few products are made and talk about their trades.  Thank you to Lakeview schools for allowing us to use a room and Extreme Panel and Mid Continent Cabinetry for opening their doors to us.

MELT Update
TODAY is your last opportunity to sign up to be a networking facilitator.  Check the document link below to see if your group already has a facilitator.  You do not have to be the expert in the room, simply start and end the meeting on time, and move things along.  If you have trouble placing your name in the sheet, please let Brandon know.

Networking Facilitator Sign Up

Registration will be coming out in a few weeks.  You will want to register early as sessions fill up FAST!  Watch the update in the coming weeks for registration information.


Upcoming Meetings

November 26, 2014  Superintendents' Council
December 2, 2014  Language Arts
December 4, 2014  World Languages
December 5, 2014  Social Studies
December 10, 2014  MRVED Board (7 p.m. meeting)

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 10

Fix 10: Don't rely on evidence gathered using assessments that fail to meet standards of quality; rely only on quality assessments.

If your assessments are assessing information and/or standards that are not pertinent to the grade level or class, then why are you assessing?  The assessments need to have:

  • Clear Purpose
    • What's the purpose?
    • Who will use the results?
    • What will they use the results for?
  • Key Targets
    • What are the learning targets?
    • Are they clear?
    • Are they appropriate?
  • Sound Design
    • What method?
    • Quality questions?
    • Sampled how?
    • Avoid bias how?
  • Effective Communication
    • How to manage information?
    • How to report?  To whom?
  • Student Involvement
    • Students are the users
    • Students need to understand the targets
    • Students can track progress and communicate too
When creating an assessment it is important to make sure it:
  • Relates to the learning goal
  • Is at the level the standard calls for
  • Is appropriate
  • Questions are clear
If your assessments do not meet any of the criteria listed above, your data will be inaccurate and results will be skewed.

Technology Tip - CNN Student News

CNN Student News is a great daily program for students to hear national news stories.  In my classroom, we watched CNN student news every Friday and either played a current event game, or discussed the current events.  We would also watch any episode the day after a "big" news story.  CNN Student News would be appropriate for any 7-12 grade, and could possibly be a good option for students as young as 5th grade.  CNN Student News could also be a great filler activity for students who have finished work and have a device in front of them.

Below is an example of a CNN Student News program with captions.


Friday, November 14, 2014

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

November 18, 2014  FACS - MOVED TO DECEMBER 16, 2014
November 20, 2014  Industrial Technology (Meeting will start at Lakeview Schools)
November 21, 2014  Community Ed
November 26, 2014  Superintendents' Council

December 2, 2014  Language Arts
December 4, 2014  World Languages
December 5, 2014  Social Studies

Compound Confusion

Compound pronouns can be confusing.  The choice between "everyone" or "every one" and "anyone" or "any one" can trip up even the most experienced writers.

Remember these rules:  "Anyone" and "everyone" mean "any person" and "all the people," respectively.  The non-compound modified pronouns "any one" or "every one" put greater emphasis on the word "one."  Those phrases mean "any single person or thing" and "every single person or thing," and they're usually followed by a prepositional phrase that begins with the word "of."

Here are some examples:

  • Did anyone hear from the customer? (any person)
  • Did you reply to any one of those concerns? (any single concern)
  • Is everyone ready to begin? (all the people)
  • The boss rejected every one of the ideas. (every single idea)
Adapted from "Anyone and Everyone or Any One and Every One?" Common Mistakes and Tricky Choices, www.englishplus.com

MELT Networking Facilitators Wanted


The MRVED is looking for facilitators of networking groups.  As a facilitator you are not expected to be the expert in the room, but rather move the discussion along.  The goal of a networking group is to share resources and ideas with people who have the same interest.  They are meant to include a give & take.  Bring something to share and take something away that someone else shared.  The only networking groups that will be offered are those that have a willing facilitator.  If a networking group does not have a facilitator, it will not be held.  If you would like to sign up, please click the link below and add your name to the list next to the group you would like to facilitate.  The networking sign up will close at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday November 18.  If you have any questions, please contact Brandon (braymo@mrved.net).


MELT Networking Group Facilitator Sign Up




Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 9



Fix 9: Don't assign grades based on a student's achievement compared to other students; compare each student's performance to preset standards.

When assigning grades to students, a teacher should never or very rarely use a curve.  What this does is unintentionally pits students against each other and the "successful" students will be less likely to help those in need.

Grading should be based upon whether the student knows or does not know the standard.  In theory, all students can achieve in a classroom if this were the case.  It could also be the opposite where none of the students achieve.

"Grading students by comparing their performance to one another distorts individual achievement.  We need clear, criterion-referenced achievement standards- absolute, not relative, standards that describe a limited number of levels: at, below, and above proficiency.  Teachers in a noncompetitive grading system assign grades to each student based only on that student's own achievement in relation to the applicable standards." (O'Connor, 80)

A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O'Connor

Technology Tip - Recite

Recite is a fairly simple website that allows users to input any text into a box and it turns it into a cool looking poster.  It could be a great way to recognize a student or class for their work, or put your own quotes to work.  The templates are all premade, all you have to do is input the words.  Students could also make their own creations with this website.  Give it a try today!



Friday, November 7, 2014

MRVED Business

Physical Education and Health Best Practice Meeting Update
The day started off with Brandon showing the group some of the latest and greatest apps and websites for the Health and/or PE classroom.  After that, the group looked at the SAMR model for technology integration and had time to digest a lot of new information.  An article was read and discussed on competition in the Phy Ed classroom.  It was a very interesting discussion among groups on a somewhat controversial topic in physical education.  The group then split into districts teams and aligned the standards K-12.  Lunch was great as usual.  In the afternoon the group networked and looked at the health standards and had another productive discussion.

MRVED Meetings

November 13, 2014  Social Workers
November 18, 2014  FACS - MTG CHANGED TO DECEMBER 16, 2014
November 20, 2014  Industrial Technology
November 21, 2014  Community Ed
November 26, 2014  Superintendents' Council





MELT Networking Session Facilitator

The MRVED is looking for facilitators of networking groups.  As a facilitator you are not expected to be the expert in the room, but rather move the discussion along.  The goal of a networking group is to share resources and ideas with people who have the same interest.  They are meant to include a give & take.  Bring something to share and take something away that someone else shared.  The only networking groups that will be offered are those that have a willing facilitator.  If a networking group does not have a facilitator, it will not be held.  If you would like to sign up, please click the link below and add your name to the list next to the group you would like to facilitate.  The networking sign up will close at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday November 18.  If you have any questions, please contact Brandon (braymo@mrved.net).




MELT Networking Group Facilitator Sign Up

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 8

Fix 8: Don't assign grades using inappropriate or unclear performance standards; provide clear descriptions of achievement expectations.

The first thing that needs to be done to create a high-quality and organized grading system is to set clear learning objectives.  These can have many different names; learning targets, objectives, goals, power standards, etc...  Regardless of their name, these should be established by a team of teachers.  By going through the process of establishing the essential learning, teachers have the opportunity to work with the standards and get to know exactly what it is that students need to know.

The second thing that needs to happen is for the team of teachers to develop indicators of performance.  Whether it be something as simple as proficient or not proficient, or a 4 points scale of exceeds, meets, partially meets, does not meet.  But, it is vital these indicators are discussed and agreed upon with clear definitions.

Rubrics create a clear roadmap of what needs to be accomplished to reach certain performance standards.  The use of rubrics is key into developing a standards-based report card system.  Creating them does take a little work, but once created the teacher can clearly communicate particular marks given.

Tech Tip - Google Classroom

If you are looking for a free learning management system for your classroom, give Google Classroom a try.  A learning management system is a tool used to effectively conduct an online class.  Google Classroom works very well with schools that have Google Apps for their students.


If you are looking for a place to teach a class either fully online, or in a blended environment, teachers of the MRVED also have access to Moodle.  Other options include Schoology or Edmodo.

Friday, October 31, 2014

MRVED Business

LAST DAY! MELT Call for Presentation
The MRVED is once again looking for people to present at the annual MELT conference in January.  The 2015 installment of the MELT will be held at Lac Qui Parle Valley High School on January 19.  This is a great day to showcase some of the great things you are doing in your classrooms.  Presenters will be paid a small stipend for their efforts.  If you are interested in providing a session, please click on the link below and fill out the form.  Filling out the form does not guarantee or bind you to providing a session.  If you don't want to present, but have great ideas for possible sessions, email Brandon at braymo@mrved.net.

If you are willing to present and provide a session click HERE


Title I Best Practice Update
The Title I teachers came to the MRVED for their meeting on Thursday, October 30.  The morning was spent looking at high impact vocabulary words as well as researching, finding, and sharing intervention resources.  Lunch was great as usual.  The group then had the opportunity to network with a group of their peers.  The day ended with an activity on motivation.  Overall, it was a great day of learning.


Upcoming Meetings

November 4, 2014 - Guidance Counselors
November 5, 2014 - Phy Ed/Health
November 13, 2014 - Social Workers
November 18, 2014 - FACS CANCELED - RESCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 16, 2014
November 20, 2014 - Industrial Tech


Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 7

The information for this series comes from Ken O'Connor's book A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades.  During this series you will get a "taste" of each fix, but I highly recommend investing in this quick read.  O'Connor offers very practical fixes to the grading system.  If all else, he will get you to think about how you currently are grading your students.

The first 6 fixes were fixes that were focused on fixing practices that distort achievement:

  1. Don't include student behaviors in grades; include only achievement.
  2. Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner.
  3. Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.
  4. Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.
  5. Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.
  6. Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.
Fixes 7-10 focus on fixes for low-quality or poorly organized evidence.  The first of these fixes is:

Fix 7: Don't organize information in grading records by assessment methods or simply summarize into a single grade; organize and report evidence by standards/learning goals.

In simple terms this means creating a standards-based report card.  I dread the day my daughter comes home with a "B" in math, because what does that really mean?  Does it mean she knows all her standards, but lacks in some behavior?  Did she really earn a "C" and then do extra credit to get a "B"?  As a parent, I want to know what she does and does not know.  I loved her kindergarten report card.  It listed all the math concepts, letter sounds, and star words she needed to know.  The teacher was then able to assess those standards and report if she did or did not know it.  As a former high school social studies teacher, I thought to myself, what do the letter grades I give my students really mean?  A parent would get the report card and it would say "Johnny" got a "D" in social studies.  As Johnny's teacher I would then get an email from mom and dad asking what he was "missing".  In a standards-based report card world, the discussion is no longer what is he "missing", but rather what does he not know.

In the elementary classroom the standards-based report cards make sense and seems to be a much easier sell than the high school classroom.  When switching to a standards-based report card in the high school many questions arise, such as:
  • What about GPA and colleges?
  • Elementary has 30 kids, high school teachers can see up to 150
I think these are questions that can be worked out.  A formula can be developed to translate into a GPA and a system can be established where 150 standards-based report cards are not insurmountable.  In the end, we are here for the students and to see what they know and are able to do.

Tech Tip - Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum

The Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum is a grassroots initiative to promote the creation of open digital curriculum. The goal is to leverage the power of collaboration and digital resources to launch teachers and students into new learning frontiers. The goal is to create course work in a digital format in the four core subject areas for grades 3-12. At the conclusion of the development project, all materials will be shared publicly under a creative common license.

Check out the website for more information and to see a list of courses that are already created and/or are currently in the works.

If you would like more information, Brandon can point you in the correct direction.



Friday, October 24, 2014

TEACHERS WANTED!!

MELT Call for Presentation
The MRVED is once again looking for people to present at the annual MELT conference in January.  The 2015 installment of the MELT will be held at Lac Qui Parle Valley High School on January 19.  This is a great day to showcase some of the great things you are doing in your classrooms.  Presenters will be paid a small stipend for their efforts.  If you are interested in providing a session, please click on the link below and fill out the form.  Filling out the form does not guarantee or bind you to providing a session.  If you don't want to present, but have great ideas for possible sessions, email Brandon at braymo@mrved.net.

If you are willing to present and provide a session click HERE

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 6

Fix 6: Don't include group scores in grades; use only individual achievement evidence.

Cooperative learning is a great teaching strategy and research has proven that through cooperative learning student learning can dramatically increase.  However, O'Connor suggests that cooperative learning should be used as a form of formative assessment and not be graded.  After the cooperative learning activity, students can then individually be assessed for a better determination of learning.

Group scoring can be unfair and not accurately reflect what a student knows and is able to do.  For example, there are four members of a group.  Their task is to cooperatively create a presentation, three of the four members could work very hard and complete the task and receive an "A".  Does the fourth member deserve the "A"?  Therefore, group grading is unfair and not all students are accountable for the learning.

MRVED Business

Meeting Updates

Art Best Practice Meeting
The Art teachers met at the Ben Lecy farm in rural Belview, MN for their annual best practice meeting.  Dean Baldry and Ben Lecy (YME) planned the day and it was spent learning about smudging, fire pitting, talking sticks, dream catchers, local history, and many other outdoor art activities.  Ben treated us to a traditional soup as well as a fresh vegetable soup straight from his garden.  After lunch Ben gave us a tour of his beautiful place in rural Belview.  It was a great day of learning for our local art teachers and we are very fortunate to have someone like Ben Lecy in our area.  See the slideshow of pictures by clicking HERE.

Math Best Practice Meeting
The Math teachers assembled at the MRVED on Tuesday, October 21, for their annual best practice meeting.  The day started off with a presentation from Chris Sieling and Eric Schwankl, math teachers from Lakeview.  Their topic of presentation was revamping grading practices in the math classroom.  Both teachers shared practical advice that can be applied to the classroom.  The next activity the group did was provide feedback to the state on the math standards.  The Math standards are set to be under review in the coming year, and part of the state mandate is soliciting feedback from the public.  This feedback piece is built directly into the curriculum review and development cycle.  Lunch was fabulous as always.  The afternoon was spent networking and sharing ideas and a short presentation on SAMR by Brandon.  Overall another great day of learning!

MRVED Meetings

October 29, 2014  Superintendents'  Council
October 30, 2014  Title I Teachers
November 4, 2014  Guidance Counselors
November 5, 2014  Phy Ed/Health
November 13, 2014  Social Workers

Tech Tip - Halloween Resources

With Halloween almost upon us, check out some of the resources below as to ways to teach about the holiday.

Share your own Halloween ideas HERE.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MN Math Leaders Networking

The MN Math Leaders networking meetings are designed for leaders to give and receive support. The Networking time includes:
  • opportunities to share and celebrate what is working well.
  • structures to work in role-a-like and/or grade band groups regarding previously selected topics.
  • time for participants to provide their expertise.
  • "hot topics" identified by the participants at the beginning of each meeting.
There will also be open time following each meeting for continued work in self-identified groups. The goals of these networking meetings include:
  • Share ideas and collaborate with other MN Math Leaders
  • Receive updates about mathematics education policy
  • Learn about resources available to support your work
This event is open to anyone who is in a department, school, or district leadership position. Administrators and teacher leaders who are passionate about leading change in mathematics education for all students are encouraged to attend! All meetings will be held at the Minnesota Department of Education, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Check below links for conference room details.

It is recommended that participants purchase the book, "NCTM Principles to Actions," available at http://www.nctm.org/ as an e-book for $4.99 ($3.99 for NCTM members). One of the topics for each of the networking meetings will use readings and resources from this book.
  • October 23, 2014 – Topic: Achievement Gap, Equity, and Mindset. Register Online.
  • December 11, 2014 – Topic: Technology and Differentiation. Register Online.
  • February 12, 2015 – Topic: Assessments and Interventions. Register Online.
  • May 14, 2015 – Topic: Coaching, Cognitively Guided Instruction, and Problem Solving. Register Online.
For assistance with questions, contact Terry Alvarado (terry.alvarado@state.mn.us).MN

Friday, October 10, 2014

2015 MELT Call for Presentations

MELT Call for Presentation
The MRVED is once again looking for people to present at the annual MELT conference in January.  The 2015 installment of the MELT will be held at Lac Qui Parle Valley High School on January 19.  This is a great day to showcase some of the great things you are doing in your classrooms.  Presenters will be paid a small stipend for their efforts.  If you are interested in providing a session, please click on the link below and fill out the form.  Filling out the form does not guarantee or bind you to providing a session.  If you don't want to present, but have great ideas for possible sessions, email Brandon at braymo@mrved.net.

If you are willing to present and provide a session click HERE

MRVED Business

Best Practice Meeting Updates
Science
The Science teachers gathered at the MRVED this past Tuesday for their best practice meeting.  The day started with an activity to help reflect on differentiation in the classroom.  The activity produced some great discussion centered around how can educators effectively differentiate in the classroom. Then the group spent the rest of the morning in data analysis and really diving into their assessment data.  Everyone was filled after a great lunch at Pizza Ranch.  In the afternoon, the group had the opportunity to network and hear from Patrick Moore of PBS.

Upcoming Meetings
October 15, 2014  MRVED Professional Development Day
October 21, 2014  Math Best Practices
October 23, 2014  Business Best Practices
October 24, 2014  Community Ed
October 29, 2014  Superintendents' Council
October 30, 2014  Title I Teachers

There will be no MRVED update next week due to the Education Minnesota break.

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 5

Fix 5: Don't consider attendance in grade determination; report absences separately.

Again, fix 5 is a subset of fix 1 (achievement grades and behavior grades are separate).  "Standards-based learning is not about seat time." (O'Connor, 47)  I think we all agree that being in school is a good thing and will lead to greater achievement.  However, if a student can prove to a teacher they know the standard being taught at the time, why does that student need to be in a attendance?  Grades on achievement should reflect what the student knows and is able to do.

Attendance is important, but if we are deducting points from their achievement grade based upon their attendance, our grade then becomes distorted.  If the student can prove they know the material, do they really need the seat time, or can we do something different to challenge that student?  If the student is not in attendance, and cannot prove they know the material, what will we do about it? Does deducting points really make sense if our grades are truly about achievement?

O'Connor gives a great example in his book from Forrest Gathercoal:
"I was confronted at a workshop by a teacher who asked "are you telling me that if a student has been ill and another has been skipping, that they both should be able to make up that work missed?"  My response was that both needed an educator when they returned, perhaps the one who skipped more than the other.  Regardless of the reason for student absences, make up work and late assignments should be accepted to ensure those students equal educational opportunity."  (Gathercoal, 2004, p.163; quoted in O'Connor, 2011, p.49)

 

Tech Tip - Webcam QR Code Reader

QR Codes can be a quick way for a teacher to get students where they need to go on the web.  QR codes can be links or documents you want your students to access.  They work really well for classroom sets of mobile devices, like iPads, but have not been a great tool for classrooms with Chromebooks or laptops.  Until now!  Try this webcam QR code reader for your classroom!

https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/scan

Now any device with a webcam attached can scan QR codes.  You can also generate the QR codes on the same website.

https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Kathy Schrock as a great guide to using QR codes in the classroom if you are looking for ideas.


Friday, October 3, 2014

MRVED Business

Best Practice Meeting Updates
Agriculture
The Agriculture teachers kicked off the 2014-2015 best practices meetings on September 30 with a tour of Ralco Agnition in Balaton and ADM in Marshall. Agnition develops cutting-edge technologies that improve the quality of soil and the health of crops. The Agnition tour was amazing with the day starting with an overview of the company and then a tour of building. The business is located in the old school in Balaton. They modernized the building and gave it more of a business feel. It was neat to see how an old abandon school could still be utilized in a small community. In the afternoon we stopped by ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) in Marshall on our way home. This company converts corn, oilseeds, wheat, and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. Again, another amazing experience to see what actually happens in that place and to see the volume of corn products that pass through every day.




Music
The music teachers came to the MRVED on Thursday, October 2 for their annual best practice meeting. The day was filled with visiting and idea gathering. The day started with an activity about parent and community involvement and groups brainstormed possible ways in which they can include both into their classrooms. Before lunch the group spent some time looking at the new National Common Core Arts Standards. Pizza Ranch was filled with more stories and laughter. After lunch the group had the opportunity to network and create a plan for the MELT. The group was energetic as always and it was a great meeting for all.


Upcoming Meetings
October 7, 2014 Science
October 10, 2014 Art (Ben Lecy Farm, Echo) NEW DATE
October 10, 2014 Title III Paraprofessionals
October 15, 2014 MRVED Professional Development Day
October 21, 2014 Math
October 22, 2014 Community Ed
October 23, 2014 Business









Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 4

Fix 4: Don't punish academic dishonesty with reduced grades; apply other consequences and reassess to determine actual level of achievement.

Fix 4 is another subset of fix 1 (don't lump behavior grade with academic grade).  By giving a zero on assignments for cheating, it distorts the academic grade and does not accurately show what the student knows and is able to do.  Having a clear policy in place to deal with academic dishonesty is key.  The biggest part to the policy is how you punish the behavior.

"Effective policies first and foremost recognize that academic dishonesty is very serious inappropriate behavior equivalent to theft, and as such requires primarily behavioral consequences." (O'Connor, 40)  The important words in the previous sentence is "requires primarily behavioral consequences."  The appropriate academic consequence, O'Connor would argue, is to allow the student to redo the work with honesty and integrity.  This will give a true measure of what the student knows and is able to do.

Our first reaction is to give a student a zero and punish behaviorally as well.  By giving a zero, you are distorting the grade that reflects what that student knows.  This again, could be added into a separate behavior grade.

If I pay for my electrical bill with counterfeit money, I will get in trouble for my behavior, but I will still have to pay my bill.  Don't punish the student, give them a zero, and move on.  See what they actually know.

MCIS Workshop Offered at the ALC

MCIS Workshop



When: October 15, 2014

Time: 8:00-3:30

Location: Minnesota Valley Area Learning Center

Cost: Free

Lunch: On Your Own

What: Minnesota Career Information System website training.
The Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) is an Internet-based system that combines a wealth of career, educational and labor market information into one comprehensive, easy-to-use exploration tool. With MCIS, students and clients can:

  • Learn about over 520 occupations
  • Develop a personal portfolio
  • Research colleges, universities, and career schools
  • Find scholarships and financial aid
  • Improve job search skills and create a resume

Registration Link

Questions can be directed to:

Deb Parkos
Phone: 651/582-8321 or 800/599-6247
debbie.parkos@state.mn.us

Tech Tip - TodaysMeet

I have highlighted TodaysMeet before, but wanted to share some of the recent updates from the summer that make this a great classroom tool.  TodaysMeet is a website that allows you to setup a chat room.  The chat room can be used as a place for students to share thoughts and/or talk about a movie while it's playing.  I use it when I present as a way for attendees to talk and share ideas while I present.

Summer Updates
Moderate the rooms - before this update TodaysMeet chat rooms were unmoderated.  Meaning the creator of the room had no control over things that were said.  Now the creator can delete unwanted posts.

Log In Feature - You now have the ability to log in to an account and save rooms.  

Opportunity

If you are interested in pursuing a Masters of Education in Teaching and Learning or K-12 Administrative Licensure prep, there is an opportunity coming to Marshall this Fall.  St. Mary's University will be starting classes this fall in Marshall and it runs for 18 months.  If you would like more information, contact Stacy Hinz at shinz@smumn.edu or 507-828-7421.

Friday, September 26, 2014

MRVED Business

MRVED Meetings

September 30, 2014 - Agriculture (off site tour)

October 2, 2014 - Music
October 7, 2014 - Science
October 10, 2014 - Art (Ben Lecy farm) PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A NEW DATE
October 10, 2014 - Title III Paraprofessionals
October 15, 2014 - MRVED Professional Development Day
October 21, 2014 - Math
October 22, 2014 - Community Ed
October 23, 2014 - Business
October 29, 2014 - Superintendents'  Council
October 30, 2014 - Title I Teachers

Communication Briefings
I don't know about you but I always struggle with the words into and the phrase in to.  I came across a very easy test to determine which of these words to use.  Basically, if you can remove the word in, and the sentence still makes sense, use in to.  Example:  "It is time to go (in) to the meeting."  However, if you took the word in out of this sentence, it would not read correctly, "Your hard work turned this project into a successful venture."

I hope that clears up some of the confusion on these two words.

US History Cohort



The Minnesota Historical Society is hosting a teacher cohort for the 2014-15 school year. Build relationships with your fellow U.S. history teachers from around the state throughout the 2014-2015 school year in a series of professional development opportunities, created to provide resources and a unique learning environment. The U.S. History Teacher Cohort for 2014-2015 includes four required elements:
  • an in-person workshop 
  • an online webinar 
  • a two-day summer experience 
  • online communication throughout the school year
The theme of the cohort is "American Pop Culture: A Window to U.S. History." All experiences will focus on various aspects of pop culture and will include content and instruction from various organizations, and resources and materials for the classroom. The cohort will provide a small group of U.S. history teachers the opportunity to build networks of colleagues outside of their schools, and share resources throughout the school year and beyond.

All cohort participants will be expected to attend all three opportunities and be active in online discussions throughout the year with fellow cohort members and MNHS educators. Program cost is $200.

Cohort members will receive books and resources related to each of the workshop topics, Continuing Education Credits, meals and parking during the in-person experiences, and an individual Minnesota Historical Society membership. Some subsidy funds are available to defray the costs of sub fees and travel.

Workshop topics, dates, and locations:
  • Wed., Dec. 10, 2014. 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: "Baseball as America: Sports and U.S. History" Target Field, Minneapolis
  • April webinar, weekday afternoon/evening (date to be decided by cohort group): "Teaching with Art"
  • June 24-25, 2015: "American Pop Culture: A Window to U.S. History" Minnesota History Center, St. Paul and other metro cultural institutions. This two-day experience will focus on other aspects of pop culture, such as music, film, fashion, literature, etc.

This experience is intended for U.S. history teachers in Minnesota, teaching in grade 7 or in high school. Applications are due Mon., Nov. 3. Successful applicants will be notified by Mon., Nov. 10. Space is limited for this exciting opportunity! Apply online.

Fall Conference Dates

Fall Conferences
Art Educators of Minnesota - November 7 & 8 in Rochester
Minnesota Business Educators - November 6 & 7 in Bloomington
Minnesota Association of Health/PE - November 3 & 4 in Wayzata
Minnesota Council of Teachers of English - Fall Workshop October 27 in Brooklyn Park
Education Minnesota - October 16 & 17 in St. Paul

Tech Tip - ClassTools.net

Classtools.net offers some great tools to be used in the classroom.  If you want your students to create Facebook pages for historical figures and/or characters in a book.  You can also create fake tweets and fake text messages from people as well.  Aside from those things, students can do much more with the many different tools on the site.  The best part, it's FREE!



Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 3

Fix 3: Don't give points for extra credit or use bonus points; seek only evidence that more work has resulted in a higher level of achievement.

Much like deducting points for being late, adding in bonus points distorts grades as well, especially if the bonus points are given for tasks that demonstrate no educational achievement.  Examples include; cleaning the whiteboard, bringing in Kleenex, dress like a _______, etc...  Ken O'Connor even states that giving bonus points on quizzes or exams should be avoided as well.  Many times the extra credit questions are high order thinking questions that all students should be required to show they know or do not know, it shouldn't be a choice.
Extra credit inflates grades and does not accurately reflect student learning.  Ask yourself, "Does this grade accurately reflect what the student knows and is able to do?"  It's a hard thing to throw out of your classroom especially if it has been a past practice.  Avoid providing extra credit for menial tasks that are not related to student learning.

Friday, September 19, 2014

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

September 24, 2014  Superintendents' Council
September 25, 2014  Teachers' Advisory Council (TAC)
September 26, 2014  Community Ed (Sanford Education Center)
September 26, 2014  Principals' Council (9 a.m. start)
September 30, 2014  Agriculture

October 2, 2014         Music
October 7, 2014         Science
October 9, 2014         Art

Communication Briefings - Can or may?

Many people use them interchangeably; others favor "can" over "may" in an effort to sound less stilted or formal.  But do "can" and "may" really mean the same thing?  No.

"Can" means physically able to.  Example:  "Can you lift 20 pounds?"  In contrast, "may" means permitted to.  Example:  "May I stop by your office?"

Repair Kit for Grading - Fix 2

Fix 2 is a subset of fix 1.  Fix 1 was to not include student behaviors in grades.  Fix 2 is; "Don't reduce marks on "work" submitted late; provide support for the learner".

Fix 2 might be a tough one to swallow for some.  This fix requires a change in thinking for the teacher.  Many times grades are used as extrinsic motivation.  Some recent research on extrinsic motivation by Daniel Pink shows that extrinsic motivation may not necessarily lead to better results.  It may, in fact, have the opposite affect on the desired behavior.  Again, by adding or subtracting points on assignments for being late or on-time the teacher distorts the grade on achievement.

The flip-side of this argument is that when an adult is late on a bill, they are normally penalized.  This is true, but are we replicating the real world, or trying to prepare our students for the real world?  There are some things in life that you can turn in late without penalty, and there are some things you will get penalized for being late on.  If we are preparing our students for the real world, we should teach them how responsible adults deal with being late.  If I am going to be late on a bill, the responsible thing to do would be to call the person you owe and negotiate a new reasonable date.
A teacher could also include timeliness as part of the behavior grade mentioned in fix 1.  As teachers, we should also be helping our students develop the skills needed for life after school.  By continually punishing for being late, we are doing nothing but punishing the student.  We should be setting up supports for the student.  Just like if a person cannot continually pay a bill on time, there usually are supports there to assist the person in paying the bill.  The old adage, "if I don't pay my electricity bill, the power company flips the switch".  This is true, but they don't flip the switch after one day of being late.  If asked, they will work with the person who is struggling to pay.  Treat students the same way, support them, don't punish them!

Overall, punishing distorts the achievement grade.  Always ask yourself, "Does this grade accurately show what the student knows and is able to do?


MCIS Workshop Offered at the MRVED

MCIS Workshop



When: October 15, 2014

Time: 8:00-3:30

Location: Minnesota Valley Area Learning Center

Cost: Free

Lunch: On Your Own

What: Minnesota Career Information System website training.
The Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) is an Internet-based system that combines a wealth of career, educational and labor market information into one comprehensive, easy-to-use exploration tool. With MCIS, students and clients can:

  • Learn about over 520 occupations
  • Develop a personal portfolio
  • Research colleges, universities, and career schools
  • Find scholarships and financial aid
  • Improve job search skills and create a resume

Registration Link

Questions can be directed to:

Deb Parkos
Phone: 651/582-8321 or 800/599-6247
debbie.parkos@state.mn.us

Tech Tip - ThingLink

thinglink has become one of my favorite tech tools.  It has so many applications in and out of the classroom!  thinglink is a website and an app.  thinglink allows users to create interactive images.  There are so many different ways you can use this in the classroom.



Check out the 73+ Interesting Ways to Use ThingLink in the Classroom from Web 2.0 Teaching Tools

Check out my example!

Friday, September 12, 2014

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

September 19  Title III Teachers
September 24  Superintendents' Council
September 25  Teachers' Advisory Council (TAC)
September 26  Community Ed (9-11 a.m.)
September 26  Principals' Council (11:30 a.m. start)
September 30  Agriculture

NOTE:  FACS meeting originally scheduled for November 18 has been rescheduled to December 16.


Communication Briefings

Don't embarrass yourself with poorly written emails and texts

In the day of autocorrect mishaps and the overuse of Reply All, it's important to consider your electronic messages and their recipients carefully. Consider these items before sending a message:

Emails
  • Write, then edit. Did you carefully review the content to make sure your points are clear? 
  • Check professionalism. Is your email as professional as a paper memo you would write? 
  • Use Cc's appropriately. Is your email addressed to the proper people, and do the Cc'ed people need to be included? 
  • Assess your confidence. Is your email written well enough that you would let anyone read it? 
Texts
  • Know your recipient. Is your relationship casual enough for texting? 
  • Check for clarity. Is your message short and clear? 
  • Beware of autocorrect. Have you ensured that autocorrect didn't inappropriately change your words? 
  • Consider the topic. Is your subject matter light enough for a text? 
— Adapted from "Strong Guidelines for Electronic Communication to Reduce Risk," Patrick Tamburrino,www.bizjournals.com.


Repair Kit for Grading Series - Fix 1

The first 15 weeks of the MRVED update is going to feature a series on the book A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O'Connor.  This is an excellent and quick read for any teacher.  O'Connor really makes one think about what you are grading and how you are grading your students.  The best part of the whole book is he offers practical ideas that can be implemented into the classroom tomorrow.  These posts will only be an overview of the fix.  I highly suggest this book, and it would make for a great PLC book study.

The book is broken into chapters:
  • Chapter 1: Fixes for Practices That Distort Achievement (Fixes 1-6)
  • Chapter 2: Fixes for Low-Quality or Poorly Organized Evidence (Fixes 7-10)
  • Chapter 3: Fixes for Inappropriate Grade Calculation (Fixes 11-12)
  • Chapter 4: Fixes to Support Learning (Fixes 13-15)
Before diving into the fixes, we must first come to agreement on the purpose of a grade.  As defined by Ken O'Connor as to the purpose of grades, he states "I Believe that primary purpose to be communication about achievement, with achievement being defined as a performance measured against accepted published standards and learning outcomes." (O'Connor, 7)

Fix 1: Don't include student behavior in grades; include only achievement

This fix is the first one for a reason.  It is one of the biggest problems with grades today.  If a grade is used to communicate what a student knows and is able to do based upon a certain standard or benchmark, then the grade should accurately reflect that.  Adding or subtracting points based upon behavior severely distorts the grade, thus not showing exactly what the student knows and is able to do.

Behavior can go both ways; a teacher could have a student that knows everything, but misbehaves in class, therefore reflecting in a lower grade.  Or, a teacher could have a student that might not know everything, but tries hard, thus reflecting in a higher grade.

O'Connor is clear in that he is not saying that certain behaviors are not important to learning.  Many students who exhibit desirable behavior will achieve and many students who do not exhibit the desirable behaviors do not achieve.  But the grade for achievement should not reflect these behaviors.

In a truly standards-based environment, this fix is easy, (the student either knows it, partially knows it, or does not know it at all).  The easiest way to fix this is to have a separate grade for behavior.  I encourage you to try this quick grading fix for a quarter.

MCIS Workshop Offered at the MRVED

MCIS Workshop



When: October 15, 2014

Time: 8:00-3:30

Location: Minnesota Valley Area Learning Center

Cost: Free

Lunch: On Your Own

What: Minnesota Career Information System website training.
The Minnesota Career Information System (MCIS) is an Internet-based system that combines a wealth of career, educational and labor market information into one comprehensive, easy-to-use exploration tool. With MCIS, students and clients can:

  • Learn about over 520 occupations
  • Develop a personal portfolio
  • Research colleges, universities, and career schools
  • Find scholarships and financial aid
  • Improve job search skills and create a resume

Registration Link

Questions can be directed to:

Deb Parkos
Phone: 651/582-8321 or 800/599-6247
debbie.parkos@state.mn.us

Carl Perkins Program Approval Deadline



Carl Perkins Program Approval Deadline
For those who receive Carl Perkins funds, the program approval deadline is December 1, 2014.  If you need help with your application or have any questions please let Brandon at MRVED (braymo@mrved.net) or Gail (gail.polejewski@swsc.org) at SW/WC Service Cooperative know.

Program approval forms can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education website.  Other Carl Perkins information can be found on the SW/WC Service Cooperative website.

Tech Tip - Kahoot

Kahoot
If you are looking for a way to do fun review in your classroom, pull in a set of devices and play Kahoot with your kids.  Kahoot is a great tool for all ages.  It is a game-based way to assess. Teachers can either create their own questions, or select a quiz from the many quizzes already created in the public gallery.  Kahoot requires no student signup, so playing a game in your class takes very little time.  Give it a try during the first couple weeks of school.


Kahoot Tutorial Video

Friday, September 5, 2014

Welcome Back

Welcome Back
The MRVED staff would like to welcome all teachers to the 2014-15 school year.  We hope your summer was relaxing, rejuvenating, and enjoyable.  If you are new to the MRVED, or are a returning veteran, please note that the MRVED is here to support you.  We can assist you with anything from curriculum alignment, to grant writing, to technology integration, and anything in between.  Do not hesitate to call and ask if we can be of service to you.  We are in the office M-F from 7:15-4:00.  If you are still curious as to what we do at the MRVED, please check out this MRVED Services Chart.

MRVED Best Practice Meeting Schedule

Meeting Schedule
The MRVED Best Practice meeting schedule can be found on our website by going to the MRVED website.  We look forward to seeing many of you come through our door this coming school year.  For each meeting you are a member of, an agenda will be sent to you a week in advance.  If you are unsure if you are the person who is supposed to attend the meeting, please talk with your building principal.






MRVED Meetings:

September 9, 2014 - MRVED Online Teachers (3:15 p.m. via codec)
September 10, 2014 - MRVED Board (7:00 p.m.)
September 19, 2014 - Title III Teachers
September 24, 2014 - Superintendents' Council
September 25, 2014 - Teachers' Advisory Council (TAC)
September 26, 2014 - Community Ed (9-11:00 a.m.)
September 26, 2014 - Principals' Council (11:30 a.m. start)
September 30, 2014 - Agriculture

Tech Tip: Plickers

Plickers
Clickers in the classroom without devices!  If you are like many teachers and only have one or two devices in your classroom, Plickers is the tool for you.  Plickers is an app you need to see to believe.


Each student has a piece of paper with a shape on it.  Each side of the shape corresponds with a letter (A,B,C,D).  The teacher can ask a question, the students hold their pieces of paper up, with the correct letter on the bottom, and the teacher scans the room with his/her iPad.  Plickers will calculate who has the correct answers and you will be able to see each students answers in augmented reality.  It really is as easy as the video shows.  Go to Plickers today, set your class up, and "plick" away!

Friday, May 23, 2014

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings
May 28, 2014  Superintendents' Council
June 4, 2014    MRVED Board (7 p.m.)
June 25, 2014  Superintendents' Council

Communication Briefings
Numbers know-how
When you are writing numerals, you should spell out the numerals from one to nine and use digits to represent numbers 10 and above.  Here's an exception to that rule:  If you use more than one number in a sentence, use digits for both - but only if they both refer to the same kind of thing.

Examples:  "When we totaled the four teams, we counted more than 200 participants."  In that case, "four teams" is a different kind of thing than the "200 participants," so it is ok to use different styles.  "The power came back on for 1 hour and then stayed off for 24 hours."  In that case, both numbers refer to time, so you should use digits in both cases.


Last Update

This is the last update of the 2013-2014 school year!  We hope you have all grown a little in your educational journey as a results of many of the different aspects of the update!  As you go throughout your summer, the MRVED wishes you a relaxing and rejuvenating summer!  Take some time to relax, you have all earned it.  Don't turn your brain totally off.  Take the summer to do something you love, but also spend some time thinking about your own educational philosophy and how you can grow as an educator over the next school year.

As every summer, do not be a stranger if you are in the Montevideo area.  Mary always has the candy dish full and will greet you with a smile (if she's not at her lake place or rooting on the Twins).  There is usually one person in the office all summer (besides around the 4th of July).  The MRVED office hours stay the same, 7:30-4:00 M-F if you need anything!

Have a great summer!

MRVED Staff