Lawrence School

A safe, just and caring community

Who We Are


  • Attendance Line: (617) 879-4343


    We Are:

    • a learning community where all members embrace a growth mindset to be the best they can be!
    • a community of 712 students, kindergarten through 8th grade
    • A dynamic staff of over 110
    • Multicultural and multilingual
    • A community developing a Makerspace for students and staff
    • A hub for  after school programs, LEDP and LSA

    A community of teachers, parents/caregivers and students who are working to be our best selves. Come join us!

     

Principal's Corner

  • Could Attention Seeking Be Connection Seeking?

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 11/11/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    Every now and again I share articles that have been recommended to me or I have read and find interesting and useful.  Dr. Kalise Wornum, Director of Race and Equity shared this article by Nadene ven Der Linden.

    Could Attention Seeking Be Connection Seeking?

    By Nadene van der Linden

    The term “attention seeking” generally refers to unwanted and demanding behaviors. Behaviors that are labeled attention seeking include being clingy, calling out in class, doing this so other adults and kids will laugh, and even self-harm.

    In the dictionary, attention is defined as “the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.” All humans seek belonging and worth from other humans. We want and need to feel connected to others. Children try many things as they learn how to connect. In my clinic, I encourage parents and teachers to re-label attention seeking behaviors as connection seeking.

    When children seek attention, they are seeking connection and validation. Connection seeking behaviors can be unwanted or difficult to deal with. When viewed as behaviors that express a child’s need to belong, parents are better equipped to deal with these behaviors positively.

    Planned ignoring is often suggested as a way to manage unwanted connection seeking behaviors. The idea is you starve an unwanted behavior of attention so it while you reward wanted behaviors, making it more likely the behaviors you want are repeated. Unfortunately, outside of a psychology laboratory it often results in a child being ignored rather than a behavior being ignored.

    Planned ignoring can make an emotionally unmet child even more desperate. When we ignore extreme behaviors in the absence of positive attention a child may think “Do I even matter/do I exist?”

    HOW CAN PARENTS POSITIVELY DEAL WITH CONNECTION SEEKING BEHAVIORS?

    Plan to spend time with your children
    Intentionally spend time connecting with your children. Many Western parents spend between 10 and 35 minutes a day with their school-aged children. I include this fact to help explain the possible roots of unwanted connection seeking behaviors, not to make parents feel guilty. Schedule time with your child in your diary, like you would any other commitment. When you are with your children in day to day moments, comment often on the positive behaviors you see.

    Spontaneously give your child lots of attention
    Don’t make them chase you for it. Give it freely and deliberately. Give more than you think they need and see if it reduces problematic connection seeking behaviors. Lots of hugs, pats on heads, high fives, eye contact, invite them to play a game or snuggle with you on the couch.

    Try to hold your child’s perspective. What is the world like for them? Why might they be so desperate for you to notice them? How can you address that need?

    Ignore the behavior but immediately give connection in another form
    Ignore the initial unwanted behavior but give your child positive attention directed at something else in that moment. For example, if a child started throwing toys around the room to get attention, a parent would ignore this behavior and instead invite your child to help with something.

    Later the parent might say, “I know sometimes when Mom is busy you try to get me to notice you by throwing blocks and that can work to get mum to notice you sometimes when Mom shouts but then it also makes us both feel bad afterward. What could work better when you want to connect with Mom?” With a younger child, you may need to provide suggestions such as you could ask me to come and play or help you with something.

    Choose to notice positive behavior over ignoring
    Parents often focus more on what they don’t like such as aggressive behavior and completely ignore their child’s positive behavior. This will likely get you the opposite of what you want. Keep in mind, if children seek connection and they only get noticed when they are doing what we don’t want them to, we will likely get more of that.

    If you choose to ignore behavior, tell your child at the beginning of the ignoring period that you will be ignoring them. “I will not talk back to you until you stop whining. The second you ask me that same thing without whining I will talk to you” is an example of this. You need to explain each time. Children have short memories. Always remember that ignoring the behavior does not mean ignoring your child, which is harmful. Keep ignoring periods short to avoid hurt. Some behaviors cannot be ignored due to safety. In this situation avoid giving negative attention (like reprimanding) to your child as attention of all kinds increases the chance of the behavior repeating.

    Parenting is a journey of connection with your child that will last throughout your life. Connection seeking behaviors, wanted and unwanted, is part of parenting. Let’s manage it in a peaceful and positive way, without punishment.


    Nadene van der Linden is a clinical psychologist in private practice. Nadene is the author of the much loved Tales from the Parenting Trenches: a clinical psychologist vs motherhood. Join the Unshakeable Calm facebook group today. Science based tips for calm and confident living.

    Comments (-1)
  • Brookline Education Foundation

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 10/28/2019 8:00:00 AM

    BROOKLINE EDUCATION FOUNDATION

    Lawrence School Grants 2019-2020

     

    I am so excited to share this year's recipients of the BEF Teacher, Collaborative and IDEA grants at Lawrence!

    Sincerely,

    Monica

     

    TEACHER GRANTS

    Gabrielle Mahesh (Special Education Teacher, Grades 3-5)

    Travel to India

    Ms. Mahesh spent two months volunteer teaching in Bangalore, India during the summer of

    2019. During this time, she developed a deeper understanding of the impact of global education,

    expand her knowledge of students from diverse backgrounds and bring home skills to engage in

    conversations around cultural competency within Brookline schools. Now that she is home, Ms.

    Manesh will establish a letter-writing project between students at the Lawrence School and

    students attending Shanti Bhavan for the school year.

     

    Dianne Arico-Muendel (Literacy Coach, Grades 3-8)

    Writing Workshop for Writing Teachers

    Ms. Arico-Muendel reflected on and honed her own writing by attending Bard College Institute for

    Writing and Thinking. A former Metzger Fellow, she has seen the power of personal writing in

    strengthening one’s teaching and coaching. She will bring back techniques learned at the

    workshop to share with colleagues so they may strengthen the writing curriculum for their

    students.

    Chris Lee-Rodriguez (Instrument and Music production)

    Brazilian Guitar Techniques as a Skill development and Cultural Lens

    Mr. Lee-Rodriguez attended the California Brazilian Camp for a week-long, full immersion

    educational music program with world-class master musicians from Brazil. He seeks to deepen his

    personal understanding and development of Brazilian guitar techniques, songs and culture. He

    will share his new knowledge with other colleagues in the performing arts department so that all

    Brookline students studying guitar and ukulele will benefit from the experience.

    COLLABORATIVE GRANTS

    NCTM Boston Regional Conference—A group of 42 math teachers and specialists from every

    Brookline school  will attend the National Council of Teachers of Math Regional Conference in

    Boston in the fall. In addition to networking, exchanging ideas, and learning about innovations in

    the field, this grant will allow math teachers across the District to collaborate with the goals of

    making the transition from middle school math to high school math more seamless.

    Lawrence Participants: Laura Koplow (Lawrence, Math Specialist), Gigi Luckett (Lawrence, Math

    Teacher), Katy McGraw (Lawrence, Math Specialist), Julieta Roz (Lawrence/Pierce Math Specialist),

    Lora Smid (Lawrence, Math Teacher)

    Collaborative Grant for the 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association Annual

    Conference—The entire Occupational Development Department of the Public Schools of

    Brookline will attend the annual AOTA conference, which conveniently takes place in Boston. This

    is a rare opportunity for the entire department to participate in professional development that is

    specifically for their field, and allows the therapists to stay up to date on the latest clinical and

    educational practices, and evidence-based treatment and evaluation techniques.

    Lawrence Participant: Deborah Caruso

    Middle and High School Book Clubs—A group of Middle School and High School English

    teachers will attend the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Institute on Book Clubs, to

    explore and plan for powerful book club instruction. By having teachers from both the Middle

    Schools and the High Schools, this will allow for a better transition for students in English, and will

    improve the level of instruction in this increasingly popular method of teaching close reading and

    analysis.

    Participants: Eric Colburn (BHS), Evan Mousseau (BHS), Rachel Hayashi (Middle School Literacy

    Coach, Runkle and Heath), Dianne Muendel (Middle School Literacy Coach, Lawrence), Jennifer

    Redburn (Middle School Literacy Coach, Driscoll), Jennifer Sanders (Middle School Literacy Coach,

    CCS)

    Vice Principals ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership—The District’s Vice Principals

    will attend the premiere educational leadership conference in the country. This grant will allow

    the Vice Principals to have concentrated time to gain needed professional development, and have

    time to work together and collaborate in a way that they have rarely had the opportunity to do.

    They will attend workshops on subjects relating to wellness, student conduct, discipline, and

    social/emotional learning, and will bring this learning back to directly help students at Brookline

    schools.

    Participants: Donna Finnegan (Runkle), Joshua Howe (Baker), Isabel Gunter (Lincoln), Kirtan Patel

    (Heath), David Youkilis (Driscoll), Saeed Ola (CCS), Steve Simolaris (CCS), Peter Cipparone

    (Lawrence), John Badger (Pierce), Jim Stoddard (Pierce), Jamie Yadoff (Pierce)

    Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Coaching Institute, 3rd Year—In its third and

    final year, the District’s remaining literacy coaches will attend the Teachers College Reading and

    Writing Project’s “Units of Study” for writing and reading workshop, which has proven to be

    extremely valuable and immediately useful for literacy coaches in Brookline. Brookline’s adoption

    of this curriculum has required additional training, and the literacy coaches will now be fully

    knowledgeable and qualified to coach other teachers and students in this curriculum.

    Particpants: Caitlin Paget (CCS), Alyssa Rubenstein (Runkle), Christin Wheeler (Heath), Sarah

    Maxwell (Lincoln), Dianne Muendel (Lawrence), Jennifer Sanders (CCS), Jennifer Redburn (Driscoll)

    IDEA LAB GRANTS

    Jillian Coggeshall (Grade 2)

    Created STEM kits for all 2nd grade classrooms, and another kit for morning breakfast students.

    Leslie Fagen (Enrichment and Challenge Support)

    Purchased Spheros robots to teach coding and collaboration to 6th graders at Lawrence.

    John Ferguson (Instrumental Music)

    With this grant, Mr. Ferguson will commission a former Brookline and current Berkeley College of

    Music student to compose a musical piece for the Orchestra students to perform.

    Comments (-1)
  • Math at Lawrence and Across the District

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 10/14/2019 7:00:00 AM

     

    Guest Blogger:  Kathleen Hubbard:  K-8 Math Coordinator for Brookline Public Schools

    Math at Lawrence and Across the District.

    Grades 6-8

    As a result of a grade 6-8 math curriculum materials review that took place during the 17-18 school year, last year we had a large scale, thoughtful and successful pilot of Illustrative Mathematics in grades 6-8. After gathering feedback from our pilot teachers throughout the year, we are moving forward to implement this new curriculum during the 2019-2020 school year. Illustrative Math is a problem-based curriculum that supports teachers in making meaningful mathematics accessible to all learners through the development of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and application in real-world contexts. You can read more about Illustrative Mathematics 6-8 here. Over the course of the past two summers and during the 18-19 school year teachers in grades 6-8 have participated in collaborative professional development to prepare for the use of this new curricular resource.

    Pilot of K-5

    As a result of a curriculum materials review that took place during the 18-19 school year, PSB teachers will be piloting two different mathematics curricula in some of our PSB K-5 classrooms during the 2019-2020 school year. The two programs are Investigations 3 and Illustrative Mathematics K-5. Click here to see at which grade levels/schools these resources are being used this year. Using input from our teachers and information collected during this pilot, we will select one of these options as our primary curriculum resource to be implemented K-5 beginning during the 2020-21 school year. Our roll out plan will begin with the implementation of new curriculum in grades 3-5 during the 2020-2021 school year, and following with grades K-2 during the 2021-2022 school year.

    Collaborative Grant

    On September 26 and 27 many grade 6-8 math teachers and math specialists will attend the NCTM Regional Conference in Boston made possible by a BEF collaborative grant.

    Enriching Mathematical Thinking

    To prepare our teachers for successful implementation of K-5 curriculum, K-5 teachers will participate in math professional development over the next few years. This will include participation in Developing Mathematical Ideas seminars beginning with teachers in grades 3-5 during the 2019-2020 school year. Thanks to a generous grant from the Brookline Education Foundation, these seminars will be led by PSB educators who have been trained as facilitators in collaboration with Mt. Holyoke University’s Math Leadership Programs. Developing Mathematical Ideas seminars are designed to bring teachers together to explore the major ideas of elementary and middle school mathematics and examine how students develop those ideas. You can read more about Developing Mathematical Ideas professional development here.

    Katheleen Hubbard

    Comments (-1)
  • Vaping Presentation/Middle School Open House

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 9/30/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Vaping
    The Brookline Public Health Department cautions the Brookline community about the dangers associated with vaping. The attached advisory has additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    Given the importance of this public health matter to our community, the Public Schools of Brookline has scheduled a parent presentation about vaping for late October. We invite all parents and guardians to join us, and we especially hope that those who have middle school and high school students will attend. Here are the details:

    The Truth About Vaping
    Monday, October 28
    7:00-8:30pm
    Brookline High School Auditorium

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Learning at the Start of School

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 9/16/2019 7:00:00 AM

    K-5 Open House

    Thursday, September 26th

    6:00pm-7:15pm

     

    6-6:35pm

    3-5 families visit classrooms

    K-2 families visit specialists in large gym

     

    6:40-7:15pm

    3-5 families visit specialists in large gym

    K-2 families visit classrooms.

     

    Vaping
    The Brookline Public Health Department cautions the Brookline community about the dangers associated with vaping. The attached advisory has additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    Given the importance of this public health matter to our community, the Public Schools of Brookline has scheduled a parent presentation about vaping for late October. We invite all parents and guardians to join us, and we especially hope that those who have middle school and high school students will attend. Here are the details:

    The Truth About Vaping
    Monday, October 28
    7:00-8:30pm
    Brookline High School Auditorium

     

    Learning at the Start of School

    The first weeks of school are important as educators are teaching ways of being by using positive teacher language to set students up for a year of engaged and productive learning.  Laura Horst (administrator for grades 3-5), Peter Cipparone (administrator for grades K-2) and I (administrator for grades 6-8) have been visiting classrooms. We have seen students excited about their learning and engaged in their academics.  We would like to share some of our observations.

     

    Kindergarten-Students have been going on school tours to get to know the school while meeting members of the Lawrence community who they can ask for help if needed.  They have also been building class structures, organizing camp trips, listening to read alouds and meeting new friends.

     

    Grade 1-Students were engaged in math learning while estimating how many Legos were on the center of the rug and then estimating by color.  Students also made individual puzzle pieces to later connect to make a class community puzzle. They have begun learning about communities and the special people who are a part of their communities.

     

    Grade 2-Students were introduced to their class libraries, and all the books that are available for them to read.  Many books are about science and social studies topics, which students were looking forward to read. Other visits saw students exploring pattern blocks and creating pattern designs.

     

    Grade 3-Students were  learning about how their brains make connections; everyone’s brain sees visuals differently. They were practicing thinking flexibly, taking responsible risks, and sharing their thinking and reasoning as they encountered different visuals in mathematics. 

     

    Grade 4-Students have been thinking about, sharing, and writing about their hopes and dreams for 4th grade. They are also setting up routines for Reader’s Workshop and sharing ways that they choose independent reading books.

     

    Grade 5-Students have been sharing favorite independent reading books and making recommendations for peers. They had their first conservatory class and are ready to make music!

     

    Grade 6-Students have been building community during advisory and brainstorming together how they can support each other to be the best student they can be with so many new teachers and responsibilities.  

     

    Grade 7-Students were using observations and inferences to write claims, evidences and reasonings. They were also engaged in writer’s workshop while writing about summer moments.

     

    Grade 8-Students were sharing their ideas on how to estimate the angle of a rotation with a pair of quadrilaterals.  Later in the day they were grappling with how one identifies, how others’ identify and the implications of stereotypes.

     

    We have our first full week behind us and 173 learning filled days ahead!

     

    Sincerely,

    Laura, Peter and Monica

    Comments (-1)
  • Welcome Back

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 9/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    I write to share that the first two days were so happy and productive.  In every space I visited, I saw students and staff reconnecting, establishing new relationships, learning together and having fun!  It was a joy to see.  I am so excited we are off to a strong start. 

    Sincerely,

    Monica

     

    School Hours:

    Monday-Thursday: 8:00am-2:30pm

    Fridays: 8:00am-1:40pm

     

     
     
     
    Comments (-1)
  • Summer!

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 7/1/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Summer

     

    2019-2020 School Year

    Thursday, September 5, 2019-8:00am-2:30pm-First Day of School for students in grades 1-8 at Lawrence

    Kindergarten has a phased-in-start to the 2019-2020 school year:

     

    PLEASE NOTE:

     

    • Thursday, September 5 – First Day for Last Name A-L
      • Special Hours:  8am-12:40pm (includes a lunch period)
    • Friday, September 6 – First Day for Last Name M-Z
      • Special Hours:  8am-12:40pm (includes a lunch period)
    • Tuesday, September 9 – All Lawrence students grades K-8 attend.

     

     

     

    School Hours:

    Monday-Thursday: 8:00am-2:30pm

    Fridays: 8:00am-1:40pm

     

    I wish every student and family a most relaxing, fun and joyful summer break!

     

    Monica

    Comments (-1)
  • Last Week of School

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 6/17/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Last Day of School for all is on Friday, June 21st.  Dismissal for all is at noon!

     

    Dear Lawrence Families,

    Welcome to the last full week of school.  I am posting (below) the "Family Communication, End of Year" letter I shared with all of you via email last week.

    Important Dates:

    Spring Picnic will be today on Monday, June 17th.

    Grade 8 Graduation is on Thursday, June 20th at 4pm.

    Last Day of School for all is on Friday, June 21st.  Dismissal for all is at noon!

     

    Dear Lawrence Families,                                                                                                          June, 2019

    I am always surprised at how quickly the school year goes by. However, this year has felt incredibly fast. I started as an interim, and am now the permanent principal. I have thoroughly enjoyed rejoining the Lawrence School community and look forward to next year with some great work underway and areas identified that we can grow in the years ahead. Please continue to read about exciting updates and plans for next year.

    Staffing: 

    Vice Principals

    Laura Horst will be returning next year as vice principal at Lawrence.  Laura and I have met and will continue to do so in the coming months to plan for her transition back to Lawrence. Laura is excited to return, and Peter and I look forward to working with her next year and beyond.

    Peter Cipparone will also be back next year as vice principal, and he is looking forward to returning especially now that he knows the students, families, staff and the building!

    Finally, Maisha Rounds will be leaving our learning community to move into a principal position in Boston. She has learned a great deal while at Lawrence, and we have learned so much from her as well.  Please join me in wishing her well and welcoming our new VP team!

     

    “Hello Lawrence Families,

    This year has been full of excitement, learning, and new opportunities for our students... and for me. One new opportunity was offered to me a short time ago, and I recently accepted a principal position of the Michael J. Perkins School in South Boston, which will begin in the fall of 2019. While I am excited for this new opportunity, it is bittersweet because I will have to say goodbye to you and your sweet children. This year, your kids have taught me so much, and I appreciate you welcoming me into the Lawrence community with open arms. Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude to those who shared positive words of encouragement along the way. I will forever cherish those moments.

    I am excited for Lawrence as it moves into a new chapter next year and wish you well as I, too, embark on a new journey. Thank you all for everything!

    Sincerely,

    Maisha Rounds, Vice Principal”

    Classroom Teachers

    Keryn Gannon Steckloff (2GS) will be taking a year leave of absence and Lily Chase Lubitz (2CL) will take her position during the 2019-2020 school year.

    Marie Leman (3L) is retiring and Deb Azarzar (3A) will be returning to grade three.

    Molly Centore will be a permanent grade four educator in 4MC.

    Adreina Luckett (Grade 7 math/science) will be pursuing other opportunities. We have Christine Moodie who is thrilled to join our learning community.

    Ryan Keser (Grade 7/8 science) will be taking a year leave of absence. We are in the process of filling this position.

    Susan Gardner (6-8 Special Education) will be pursuing other opportunities. We have hired Evelyn Mulcahey who has a strong special education and math background.

    Ben Giso (Middle Scholl Spanish) will be teaching in a new district. We are in the process of filling this position.

     

    School Council

    I want to thank Chris Deister, Florrie Ives, Carolyn Mansfield and Nira Pollack for serving on this year’s school council. Along with staff members Sharon Kiernan, Laura Koplow, Rhodinne Wang we were able to draft three important goals for the School Improvement Plan, start our review of the Student Handbook, create a survey to ask families about arrival and dismissal procedures and facilitate a robust inclusion of the DICE (Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity) committee.

    I want to thank Nira Pollack for her membership the last two years, and welcome parent, Ken Yamada, to school council for the 2019-2020 school year.

     

    Placement

    As I described to you in March, a great deal of care and thought goes into creating classes.  Support staff and I met with the teams of sending teachers and developed these classes together.  Special education staff and other student service providers (Literacy, Math, ELL, ECS) all contributed and reviewed draft lists. We also considered any written parental input we received. We work to create balanced and equitable classes that provide the optimal learning environment for both the individual child and the group of children as a whole.  

    We tweaked the process this year by solely focusing on students during the first round. It was wonderful to have so many staff share with me after the first round how rich and robust their conversations were about the students.

    We strive to create groupings that will enable classroom teachers to more effectively address the strengths and needs of all students. Please remember it is not possible to honor requests for specific teachers. We hope that you will help your child understand if she, he or they did not get a particular teacher.   All of our teachers will welcome your children and work to provide an engaging learning environment. Placement lists will be mailed to families during the first week of July.

     

    All Staff Professional Development for the 2019-202 School Year.

    Our amazing PTO will support this learning on our behalf!

    I am excited to share that I have secured approximately 9 hours of professional development for all staff over the next two years, so Lawrence can become a Trauma Sensitive School.  After meeting individually with over 75 staff last spring, summer and fall, many shared the need for training to learn how to better support students who have experienced trauma or present similarly. Additionally, now being here almost 10 full months, I also believe that all of us can grow our ability to support students with this training.

    I have been working with experts at Riverside Community to identify goals and outcomes for the training.  I learned about Riverside Community from Dr. Sevelius, the principal at Heath who has been partnering with them on a smaller scale. 

    My hope is to start with an all staff presentation/overview on one of the first two days of school, so paraprofessionals can attend as well. Coming together as a whole staff and sharing a common experience can be a powerful and empowering experience to sharpen our focus to support every student at the start of school, during the year and beyond.

    More to follow...

    Last Day of School: Friday, June 21 at 12:00pm. Lunch is not served on the last day.

    First Day of School for grades 1-9 for the 2019-2020 School Year:

    Thursday, September 5th.

    Kindergarten has a phased-in-start to the 2019-202 school year:

    Thursday, September 5th-First Day for Last Name-A-L

    Friday, September 6th- First Day for Last Name-M-Z

    School Hours:

    Monday-Thursday: 8:00am-2:30pm

    Fridays: 8:00am-1:40pm

     

    I wish every student and family a most relaxing, fun and joyful summer break!

     

    Most sincerely,

    Monica

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Collaborating to Strengthen Literacy Instruction

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 6/3/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Collaborating to Strengthen Literacy Instruction in grades K-2

    Guest Blogger:  Literacy Coach, Jill Dempsey

    During the month of May, teachers in Kindergarten through Grade 2 participated in writing professional development “mini lab site” sessions. Each grade level came together and planned one writing lesson from the Lucy Calking Opinion Writing Unit.  The lesson structure consists of three parts: a mini lesson (what you want students to learn about a specific aspect of writing); independent work time (individual writing conferences and/or small group instruction that moves student writing forward); and a lesson wrap up (reinforces or expands on what was taught in the mini lesson).  After planning together, teachers went into one classroom, at their grade level, to deliver the instruction. Each teacher volunteered to teach part of the lesson and received on-the-spot coaching from the K-2 Literacy coach.  During the independent work time, teachers worked in pairs to conference with one student to improve his or her writing, but also to refine teachers’ practice by giving one another advice and feedback. They were able to experiment with new teaching moves such as using “tool kits”.  Overall, this was an extremely powerful model for teachers---as it is a rare opportunity for colleagues to be able to go into one another’s classroom, see one another teach, and focus on craft. Here’s what the participants had to say about the experience.

    Kindergarten

    "I liked having other teachers along side of me as I was teaching and conferencing with whom to reflect and share ideas. I saw strengths and needs in my students that I might have otherwise missed. " 

     -Liz Exton

    (Host classroom/Taught a small group)

    "Two things that stood out to me were having a "tool kit"  (copies of charts, my own sample pieces of writing, rubrics, etc.) of resources that I could share with students.  I am also thinking about working with students in small groups and how I can reach more students this way.

    -Nora Carpenter

    (Taught mini lesson/Conducted conferences)

    "I appreciated seeing students use the writing tools (word walls, reference sheets) in their folders and around the room. It was a great experience conducting my first conference with a kindergarten too!" 

    -Peter Chipperone

    (Conducted conferences)

    "I was struck by the power of reinforcing again and again the statement about what is be learned during the mini lesson helps make the learning clear for students." 

    --Dominique Ferdinand

    (Taught a small group/Conducted Conferences)

    "Something I was impressed with was how students really used the tools in the classroom. I also noticed how a thoughtful, strategic classroom environment could be very supportive to student writers.  It will be important to think about tools for students--which ones and how many would be helpful in the classroom. "

    -Meigan Risse

    (Taught the Wrap Up/Conducted Conferences)

    "I was incredibly impressed with the way this group learned together--sharing ideas and insights with one another, out growing old ideas and growing into new ones.  Several days later I also witness teacher's learning in action! Small group instruction was happening and teacher created tools were being shared to support student and teacher learning " 

                                                                             -Jill Demsey 

    (Facilitator) 

    Grade 1

    "It was exciting to hear students using all the language from previous writing lessons when being taught by other teachers. It was also exciting to step back and see the writing moves they were implementing during conferences. " 

     -Joanna Lieberman

    (Host classroom/Taught a small group)

    "The demonstration of small group instruction was so eye-opening. It was clear and direct. Students knew exactly what they were working on.   It was also powerful to watch the kids listen in on individual writing conferences that were happening at their tables and see how they used what they had over heard.  

    -Suzanne Currle

    (Taught mini lesson/Conducted conferences)

    "It was wonderful to see different teaching styles and approaches as support for reflection on our own practice.”

    -Jonathan Norwood

    (Conducted conferences)

    "It was powerful to have time working with students I did not know so that I could focus on what teaching moves would lift students writing.  It was also enlightening to see that complex ideas (mini lessons) CAN be concise and taught in about ten minutes. Finally, the power of reiterating the teaching point through out the ten minutes of teaching had a significant impact on students’ learning." 

    --Kris Frye

    (Taught a small group/Conducted Conferences)

     

    "I loved seeing 1L hard at work on the last lesson of the unit. Their effort and learning was excellent. Second grade teachers will be so impressed with what they are able to do. Suzanne did a great job with a concise, engaging mini lesson.  "

    -Pam Tully

    (Taught the Wrap Up/Conducted Conferences)

     

    "It was wonderful watching colleges support on another during individual conferences, providing different ways to move writer’s.  It was also impressive how reflective this group of teachers were on their practice and what they will work to implement in their classrooms tomorrow! " 

                                                                             -Jill Demsey 

    (Facilitator) 

    Grade 2

    "Usually, it is hard to think about pulling small groups, but this helped show me that it is not only doable, but an amazing tool to use so that student can share what they are learning with others" 

     -Elizabeth Fowler 

    (Host Classroom/Conducted Conferences)

    "I was nervous thinking about teaching someone else's class, but it was actually very helpful because I wasn't worried about how they were behaving, I was more focused on the teaching."  

     -Lauren Azzollini 

    (Taught mini lesson/Conducted Conferences)

    "The teachers! Their willingness to take safe learning risks (hosting, teaching a mini lesson in front of colleagues, conference with students they are unfamiliar with and run a small group) and model for our students--teachers are always learning." 

    -Monica Crowley 

    (Conducted Conferences)

    "The power of small groups and moving on! This is often where I get stuck, and this feels manageable. Also, thinking about the idea of what will push their writing forward the most was an important shift in my thinking." 

    -Jillian Starr 

    (Taught a small group/Conducted Conferences)

    "The mini lab helped me see the power of explicit teaching and how that can shift students as writers. This was especially evident when the teaching is threaded from the mini lesson through the independent work time and revisited during the share. The anchor charts also it was made it easier to know what you could go back and conference with students on." 

    -Lily Chase 

    (Taught the Wrap Up/Conducted Conferences)

    "By creating this type of learning lab our conversations were focused on our practice and elevating our teaching.   It was incredibly powerful to see teachers collaborating with one another around student work and making teaching decisions in the moment." 

                                                                             -Jill Demsey (Facilitator) 

    Comments (-1)
  • Being Smart with Technology

    Posted by Monica Crowley on 5/20/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Keeping Up With Our Kids & Technology

    I have acknowledged the challenges related to keeping up with the latest social media and communication tools that our children and young adolescents are using.  The Internet and social media sites are not going away. Children and adults use them every day and they can be useful tools. They can also be abused and waste a lot of time for people. I would like to share some advice from the Olweus Program as to how a student (any person) should react if he/she is the receiver of bullying like comments or cyber bullying. (Taken from Cyber Bullying: A Prevention Curriculum)

    DO FIRST

    DO FIRST is an acronym where the first letters represent a step one can take to address cyber bullying like behaviors and/or cyber bullying. Reviewing these steps with your child will be useful in providing them with tools to address negative comments on the internet.

    Do not retaliate-When people find out that something mean or nasty or untrue is being said about them, they often want to get back at whomever did it. Not only will that make the things worse, but you will be giving the person who is cyber bullying what he or she wants-a reaction from you.

    Off your friends list-If you have been bullied or attacked on any social network site like Facebook, Twitter, Ask.fm or others, take that person off you list so the person will not bother you any more. You also need to make sure that your pages are set to private so you can control who views your information.

    Figure out who it is-If you receive unkind information through your phone, trace the number. Do not respond, but tell an adult and determine next steps when you are calm.

    If you are receiving threatening email messages or texts or posts, tell an adult right away. Police should be contacted.

    Ignore it-Sometimes just ignoring it makes people stop, because their actions are not having the effect they’re hoping for.

    Respond after you think about it carefully- A response is different than a retaliation. You might be hurt or angry or upset, but you don’t want to give the people who are unkind to you the satisfaction of knowing it. So if you choose to respond, make it clear and simple.

    Save the evidence! This is very important! Save anything that is harmful-even the messages you decide to ignore-in case you receive more of them later. IF the bullying like behavior continues, you will need to have evidence before steps can be taken to make it stop. You can save evidence by printing it, copying and saving it, or just not erasing.

    Tell an adult! If you receive or are aware of disturbing, unkind or threatening messages, it is important to ell an adult immediately. This could be an adult at home or school. Here at school we will take all reports of cyber attacks very seriously.

     

    Sincerely,

    Monica

     

     

    Comments (-1)

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