November 2016 Update
1. A section on the teacher lesson plan form includes an area where teachers can input planned WIG activities. This section of the lesson plans is for the purpose of monitoring the frequency of implementing Global Awareness, focus and utilization during the class period.
2. A weekly form entitled- SMS Weekly WIG Classroom Reflection, will be completed by all teachers on Friday. The form consists of a minimum of four required yes/no questions. This form will be strictly used as data collection.
3. WIG implementation will also be noted on administrators’ purpose driven walk-throughs. Once again, this data will be compiled and used when reporting implementation frequency.
Additionally, since we realized the benefits from collaborative writing assignments, and since this experience can be used as a vehicle for Global Awareness learning opportunities, we will continue this interdisciplinary writing activity. Grade level teams will meet and discuss which Language Arts teacher will collaborate with the Social Studies teachers and which Language Arts teacher will collaborate with the Science teachers. A form attached will indicate the writing teams at each grade level.
Through collaborative discussions that began last April, the Somerville Middle School professional community reflected on the one goal that would transcend content specific efforts and support student individual growth academically, socially and emotionally. Our objective was to develop a goal that would benefit our students, not only during their middle school years, but would have a lasting impact in their development well into adulthood.
As such, the Somerville Middle School community has determined that our 2016-2017 SMS WIG is “Somerville Middle School student s will gain Global Awareness through reading, writing, virtual experiences & interdisciplinary activities”. Expanding students’ knowledge and perspectives of the world strengthens the social/ emotional development of each child. When highlighting the real world application associated with the learning done in the classroom the student’s ability to make connections between the academic content areas is enhanced. Through this WIG, the academic progress made by students today will support them in developing the skills that will allow our students to evolve into strong and positive global citizens.
The administrative team of the middle school will gather data to support the development of this goal through purpose driven walkthroughs that are conducted on a monthly basis. During these walkthroughs, data will be gathered that will reflect observable evidence of the WIG implementation.
We are excited about the opportunity to embark on our WIG as we see our students embrace new perspectives about learning and the world through the building of connections.
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the SMS learning community focused on vocabulary development. Research indicates that expanding one’s academic vocabulary strengthens student’s ability to make academic connections, understand academic content and process academic concepts at a higher level of thought. To that end, each grade level team identified 100 content words that were prevalent in their curriculum. The “100 Word Challenge” was the vehicle used to measure the students’ ability to engage with words. Monitoring student academic vocabulary acquisition was also documented through monthly administrative Purpose Driven Walkthroughs, student writing samples and classroom word walls.
When reflecting on the data generated by the various measurement tools, the growth in student vocabulary acquisition schoolwide grew at a steady rate during the school year. Each grade level individually demonstrated steady growth in student academic vocabulary understanding and usage as well.
When the professional community reflected on the manner in which students communicated both verbally and through the written format, they observed the use of higher level vocabulary throughout the school day. They also observed the students’ ability to analyze a word and to develop meaning independently.
As we recognize the importance of attending to academic vocabulary development, we continue to be committed to the skills and strategies that will enhance our students’ academic progress. We are anticipating ongoing progress in this area which will result in our students having a greater ability to express themselves in all areas of academia.
As such, the Somerville Middle School community has determined that our 2015-2016 Wildly Important Goal at Somerville Middle School will focus on Vocabulary Development. Having a rich vocabulary is necessary for an individual to excel in today’s global society. We recognize that communication, whether it is in the written form or verbal is paramount in supporting an individual when realizing his/her potential.
The administrative team of the middle school will gather data to support the development of this goal through purpose driven walkthroughs that are conducted on a monthly basis. During these walkthroughs, data will be gathered that will reflect the introduction or use of new vocabulary during a class lesson. Additionally, each classroom will display a “Word Wall” that will continue to develop as new words are introduced. Data on student growth with respect to their reading levels will also be reviewed. Vocabulary development will contribute to students’ growth in reading level.
A “100 Word Challenge” has been launched at each grade level. The students will be given 100 words that represent each content area (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies and Exploratory) that they will master by the end of the academic year. We will monitor their progress in the “100 Word Challenge” at the beginning, middle and end of the school year.
We are excited about the opportunity to celebrate new words as we expand our students’ vocabulary!
- Students making connections across content disciplines and discussing those connections with their teachers.
- Students recognizing that writing is not a “language arts” activity but a means of communication across content disciplines
- Writing assignments that provide a grading opportunity in more than one content area utilize time on task efficiently
- Collaborative, professional discourse between content area teachers have increased- finding commonality and planning for collaborative activities.
- Discussion on next year’s WIG within the school community basing goals on the outcomes and data generated from the previous two school-wide WIG initiatives.
The professional development component of the WIG, collaboration and discussion, continues to expand and provide the teaching staff with the opportunity to reflect and work in partnership to support academic progress. During individual grade level meetings held with administration, the teacher teams (quarter two-Science and Language Arts) referenced the results of the quarter two writing task and cited student strengths as well as the challenges encountered in the development of their writing skills. The minutes of these meetings were recorded in a Shared Google Document format and disseminated. The entire professional school community now has the opportunity to engage in an on-going online discussion regarding the minutes- finding trends, analyzing the data and identifying needs to support student academic gains. This discussion leads to professional research, as well as the identification, development and coordination of teaching efforts.