students learn best when they are engaged and supported intellectually and invested
emotionally. Not all students learn
the same way. At the middle school
level, learning best occurs when tasks are appropriately challenging; students
engage in structured conversations, work collaboratively, have models to
follow, understand assessment criteria and expectations, can be leaders in
the assessment/feedback process, and have choices in how they demonstrate
their learning. We believe our students learn best when they are supported both at home and in school.
Our Classroom Practices –
We build on our core beliefs through a system that includes our
instructional focus, curriculum work, and collaborative efforts around
instruction, assessment, and professional learning. Our classroom reflects our beliefs, our vision, and our mission:
students, including English learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities (SWD), engage in discussions about content,
guided by protocols and supports they are familiar with (i.e., discussion
prompts/stems that are visible and easily referred to by all students in the
classroom (on the wall, on the desk, etc.).
including ELLs and SWD, answer higher level, open-ended questions that
make them think (teachers utilize the DOK wheel/chart as a planning resource).
are grouped purposefully based on teacher's data (i.e., exit slips, baseline
data, quizzes, their observations).
ü Teachers actively work with small groups of students based on their knowledge
of them (i.e., exit slips, baseline data, quizzes, observations), even in our honors-level classes.
including ELLs and SWD are supported by scaffolds based on the teacher's
knowledge and data; groups of students may be working on different tasks
(i.e., the highest performers are matched with appropriately challenging
including ELLs and SWD, engage in self-reflection/assessment and/or peer
assessment/feedback using checklists, graphic organizers, and rubrics.
often have choices built into classroom and homework tasks.
can speak to the assessment criteria and expectations of the lesson
as well as the routines and rituals of the classroom (Students refer to teacher
models of product, process, and thinking). They can answer questions
such as: “What are you working on? What are you learning? How
will you know you have learned it? What do you do if you need help?
What do you enjoy most about this class?”
ü Teachers articulate their rationale for grouping and supports for
students (i.e. ELLs, SWD, higher level learners, struggling learners).
Teachers can speak about their students in terms of their own assessment data
and use of resources, including technology (i.e., Smartboard, iPads, laptops,
Plickers, video, or platforms such as MyON, Castle Learning, and
ü Classrooms are student-centered with plentiful student work displayed and
reflects the current unit of study. Rooms organized with supportive resources and references around the room.