This blog offers information, and connections to nurture recent graduates. We welcome your participation on this and on our Facebook Page. The NTC continues to be deeply grateful to MEDITECH for its long history of support for this program. Over the years, MEDITECH has made it possible for the New Teacher Community to serve a vital role in helping our graduates to persist in a challenging, yet deeply rewarding profession.
Teachers are often surprised at how emotional
the end of school can be and how hard it is to say good-bye to a class and
their families. Join us for a workshop that focuses on just this---how to
close out the school year in a healthy, organized and productive way for you
and your students.We will cover report
cards and progress reports, end-of-the-year activities and rituals, and saying
good-bye to a class or a group of students and families. etc. We’ve invited
four experienced and enthusiastic teachers to be part of our panel who
represent early and middle elementary schools and Middle/High Schools. There will be examples for you to look at and
you’ll be able to make these happen the very next week in your own classrooms.
Let’s try to make this into a show and tell,
too.Please feel free to bring anything
you’ve put into place or seen in another classroom so that we can all learn
from one another.
By special request we publish again this magnificent posting about the MCAS test and ways to help your students take this all in stride. We know how much pressure is put on them and how much pressure is felt by teachers, too. We hope that you find this posting inspirational and comforting and hope that those of you who want to will change the words and make it work for you and your students.
Last year we posted a popular blog entry and we thought it would be good
to post it again for all of you. It was a letter that teachers wrote
to their students prior to their testing. While this posting is
especially aimed at those of you who have students that will be taking
MCAS, it's certainly useful for any child, though, and yes, even for an
adult who has to take an important test.
From the NTC blog from Spring, 2012:
JoAnne Kazis and Caitlin Florschutz, elementary school teachers who
co-teach together at the Memorial-Spaulding School in Newton shared
something recently which I thought was inspirational and well worth
sharing with the New Teacher Community.
They had taken an EMI course entitled “Understanding Self Efficacy:
Helping Students Do their Best Work and Strategies for Examining and
Addressing the Academic Achievement Gap. “ This
course stressed the significance in making subtle changes in test
environments that can improve standardized test scores among students of
color and girls.
way to reduce "stereotype threat" during testing is to prompt students
to reflect on their talents, beliefs and values. These kinds of
affirmations remind students of what's important to them and can build a
line of defense. One recent study actually showed affirmation
procedures were directly related to a 40% drop in grade disparities
between students in different racial groups.
easy way to do this is by displaying inspiring quotes throughout the
year (and right before testing) but also including the person's image
with the quote (making sure a wide range of races, faces and genders are
JoAnne and Caitlin wrote a letter to their students.Writing a letter like this was inspired by an idea from the 1998 Massachusetts teacher of the year, Mary Ginley.
has graciously allowed me to share her version of the letter that she
and Caitlin read to students right before they took the MCAS this year.She
revises the letter each year with details that relates to the class she
is teaching and notes, “It just serves as a reminder to them that MCAS
just shows one thing, but not everything.”
“Dear Super Star Students of Room 205,
Please remember that the people who will read and score your tests do not know you.They do not know how hard you work every day.They do not know how smart you really are.
They do not know what amazing artists you are,
or how much you know about Harry Potter.
They don't know that you can score a goal in soccer and hockey,
or have a strong serve in tennis.
They don't know that you are a star ice skater, ballroom dancer, swimmer or gymnast.
They don't know that you take care of your little brothers and sisters when they're not feeling well.
Or that you take care of pets at home, write stories about your favorite pets or wish you had a pet.
They don't know you smile and say, "Good Morning" to your teachers, even on rainy Monday mornings.
They don't know that you like clowns, pig dragons and make being "evil" fun.
They don't know that you go to another school to learn a language, or that you speak a different language at home.
They don't know that you have a twin or are 1/3 of triplets.
They don't know that you can balance hours of dance class, sports and play dates and still pass in homework on time.
don't know that you've entered math competitions, spelling bees and
write for the fourth grade newspaper or that you've won trophies,
ribbons and other awards.
They don't know that you can sing and dance, play an instrument or are in a rock band.
They don't know what amazing work partners and group project members you can be or that you are a fantastic fourth grade buddy.
And they certainly don't know all about your kind of mind.
But we know you and we are proud of what you do every day, of who you are and all you will be.MCAS scores will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.There are many ways of being smart.