With the passing of October, it is clear that the year has ramped up into full swing. Our teachers have spent a good portion of the first two months of school assessing and diagnosing student learning needs as they prepare to teach your child in ways that are effective, relevant and meaningful.
Good teaching always begins and ends with good assessment. Have you ever wondered how teachers assess student learning? How can one teacher really monitor the growth and development of a class full of young learners? Simply put, that is what we do – all the time. From the first day of school, your child’s teacher has been assessing. Teachers use day to day, sometimes moment to moment information from your child to diagnose where he/she is, instructionally, and how best to respond. Teachers are truly amazing in this way. We are constantly in tune with the most informal to the most formal of strategies to assess student learning and to make teaching decisions that affect student progress. In addition to the informal teacher observations conducted nearly continually, teachers use daily classroom work, evidence of understanding as demonstrated in homework, small groups and individual conferences, and classroom based assessments such as unit tests, spelling tests, math tests, etc. and more. In addition, teachers have students build portfolios of work which are most commonly kept in notebooks filled with written responses to reading material, math journals updated each week with math process problems, writers workshop folders showing writing in various stages, or even in a specific portfolio file that is made up of examples of student work. These ‘outcome-based’ assessments are an important piece of a child’s overall performance and are used by teachers to inform instruction as well as to develop a summative report of progress- such as what you’ll experience at conference time.
However, good teaching is not all about academics. Each day, teachers are assessing a child’s social, emotional, and behavioral progress as well. Teachers assist students in developing social awareness including the ability to make and keep relationships. They monitor a child’s emotional responses to challenges and observe how well a child reacts to and deals with conflict, not getting his/her way, or how a child copes with frustrations and disappointments – all common occurrences to be expected anytime we interact in a world (or a school) full of people who are different from ourselves. These social, emotional, and behavioral experiences are also occurring under the watchful and protective eye of the teacher who spends significant time helping students learn healthy and appropriate ways to interact with peers, friends and with authority figures.
It is our privilege and intentional mission to teach your children. Below is our freshly crafted mission statement which expresses our intent and desires for your children while they are at John Hay Elementary. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, thoughts or concerns you may have. And, allow me to warmly wish each family a Happy Thanksgiving!
It is John Hay’s mission to…
Train our children to care for others
Engage learners through effective and innovative teaching
Actively involve and educate our families
Collaborate with others to improve effectiveness, and
Hold our students, teachers and families accountable as we
…develop caring learners who are actively
growing and achieving.
Inside this issue of the John Hay News:
Parent Education Night – Please come.
Coffee Chat – Saturday, November 20
Dress for the Weather & Hay’s Rainy Day Recess Policy