I know it is cliche and I say it every year, BUT...
I can't believe that the school year is almost over!!!
I can't believe that June starts next week!!!
How does time go so fast???
With the end of the school year coming so quickly, I want to take time to celebrate the amazing things we accomplished this year. We talk a lot about "world-class talent" and "world-class students" at LME and in Round Rock. Well, how does LME create world-class talent? I think there are many answers to that question (amazing teachers, involved parents, awesome students, supportive community, trusting administration, creative solutions...).
But I do believe that the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) plays a HUGE role is making our students and school "world-class". We have a community of learners like no other. Our teachers know our kids beyond the academics and textbooks. They know our students' talents and interests and give them opportunities during the school day to develop those interests and talents. As you walk through our halls, you see our students engaging in learning, exploring, questioning, getting their hands dirty, communicating, being problem solvers, collaborating with their peers, being leaders, caring, creating, and all of this leads to learning. And not just any learning, world-class learning that creates world-class talent.
I am so proud of our school and our students. And I am proud to share our SEM accomplishments from the year, along with the things that we have not accomplished YET. There is next year to work on those goals. It is good thing to look forward and think ahead. But, let's use the summer to relax and recharge. There is nothing wrong with a little downtime before starting the next experience that is waiting. Enjoy and see you in August!
SEM's Continued Successes at Laurel Mountain:
Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS): Mrs. Levitan taught the Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) lessons in grades 1st, 2nd grade, 3rd grade and in some 4th grade grade classes. Ms. Ferriola taught the PETS lessons to our kindergarten students. These lessons taught students about the different types of thinking (convergent, divergent, visual and evaluative) that people use to solve problems.
Independent Investigative Method (IIM): The Independent Investigative Method (IIM) of research continued in all grade levels K-5. We focused on increasing the level of questioning in the students’ research questions by focusing on Bloom’s Taxonomy and Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity Model. This was evident at the IIM Showcase that occurred in April.
Total Talent Portfolio (TTP): We will continue to utilize each child's Total Talent Portfolio (TTP). Our goal is to communicate contents with parents and students during conferences and throughout the year.
Enrichment Clusters: In grades K-5, students participated in Enrichment Clusters for 6-8 weeks. We offered a wide variety of topics based on student’s interests. The enrichment clusters are becoming more student driven, guaranteeing that each enrichment cluster round is different. Furthermore, we worked on developing more student-driven authentic products and services by focusing on what would the enrichment cluster look like in the “real world”.
Enrichment Cluster Tours: Enrichment Cluster Tours were offered on a variety of dates. These are for parents and interested community members. The tours allow our parents and guests to witness enrichment clusters in action.
Enrichment Cluster Showcases: Students continued to be the docents for the displays from their enrichment cluster showcases. They shred what they accomplished and learned during their enrichment cluster. This provided a more authentic experience for the parents and guests. But most importantly, it provides an authentic experience for our students.
Parent and/or Community Experts: We utilize parent and/or community experts to assist with enrichment, enrichment clusters and/or Enrichment slots (E-slots) taking place in the classroom.
Communication: We communicated with parents and community through the LME website, E-news, SEM blog, Twitter, emails and Parent University classes.
Collaboration and Resource: Mrs. Levitan collaborated with teachers in a variety of areas, such as IIM, service learning, enrichment clusters, enrichment slot activities, differentiation, PETS lessons and more. This helped LME to reach all of our diverse learners.
Differentiation in the Classroom: Mrs. Levitan worked in 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms during math to provide differentiation support. She worked alongside the classroom teacher to help differentiate math instruction and work with small groups of students. Based on the academic needs, she enriched or provided more support within the math curriculum.
Enrichment Team (now called the PEP Team): The PEP Team is comprised of our support staff, including our TAG teachers, interventionists, counselor, librarian, IT specialist, principal, assistant principal and enrichment coordinator. The purpose of this team is to provide resources and support to classroom teachers to help facilitate differentiation for all students in the classroom. Members of this team will worked one-on-one with students who needed extra support and guidance in the classroom.
SEM's New Successes at LME:
Type IIIs: Type III’s are for students who demonstrate a sincere interest in a particular topic or problem and who show a willingness to pursue these topics at advanced levels of involvement. Mrs. Levitan will worked with two groups of students this year. A group of fourth graders were able to write and publish three editions of "The Lion's Roar", Laurel Mountain's very own home-grown newspaper. A group of fifth graders wrote, directed and produced a play that was performed on Friday, May 29th to our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.
E-slot Workshops: This year, six of our 2nd grade classes and two of our 3rd grade classes tried something new in the spring when their enrichment clusters were finished. The workshops occurred during the E-slot time and provided the students another opportunity to explore an area of interest. Eight workshops based on the top interest areas in the grade levels were offered to students. They had three weeks to explore, engage and learn more about that topic. The students had a chance to participate in two rounds of these workshops, each lasting three weeks.
Not YET, but will work on next year:
Brown Bag Seminars: Brown Bag Seminars are alternatives to the children’s traditional lunch or recess period. We find out what our students are interested in and invite guest speakers who talents and expertise that match to speak to those children. Since this will be a new addition to Schoolwide Enrichment Model, Mrs. Levtian will pilot this by hosting at least two Brown Bag Seminars this year for our 5th graders. Her goal to expand these seminars across the grade levels over time.
Procedure for Type IIIs: Mrs. Levitan will work with teachers and students to create a process to help facilitate Type III projects so the students can assume the role of a first-hand inquirer, where the student is thinking, feeling and acting like a practicing professional.
New and Improved Total Talent Portfolios (TTPs): According to Dr. Renzulli, the major purposes of the Total Talent Portfolios are:
- To collect several different types of information that portray a student's strength areas, and to regularly update this information.
- To periodically review and analyze the information in order to make purposeful decisions about providing opportunities for enrichment experiences in the regular curriculum, the enrichment clusters, and the continuum of special services.
- To use the information as a vehicle for educational, personal, and career counseling and for communicating with parents about the school's talent development opportunities and their child's involvement in them.