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Jacket Buzz

Volume 1, Issue 1

Adams Middle School

Principals
Principles

Michael Wood, Principal

September 2016

Food For
Thought

One of my very favorite educational principles is


summed up nicely in a quote by the famous political
activist Ralph Nader who said, Your best teacher is
your last mistake. If we hope to raise a generation
of young people who will enter the rapidly shifting
landscape of the 21st century as fearless innovators
who can tackle the problems of the modern world,
we must teach them to embrace this concept.

If youve heard anything about the Common Core


Standards or Next Generation Science Standards,
you have heard about a renewed focus on critical
thinking. However, you may have wondered, what
exactly are the critical thinking skills, and how can I
help my daughter to learn them? Students who think
critically can analyze and evaluate information and
support their thinking with detailed explanation.

We must teach our young people that failure is the


flip-side of a single coin, with success on the other
side. Scientists live this truth every day. They often
fail hundreds upon hundreds of times in a laboratory
before they find any measure of success. Yet, each
and every failed experiment is a potential learning
experience that brings them one step closer to the
result they work so hard to achieve.

You can help your student practice this thinking by


asking open-ended questions that use words like
explain, prioritize, compare, contrast, break down,
connect, argue, critique, etc. If they are learning
about Ancient Rome, you might ask, Can you
explain why Rome became so powerful? If they
just saw a movie sequel, you might ask, How
would you compare this one to the original?

If we teach our young people to examine their errors


closely and celebrate and reward the learning that
happens when they do so, we will plant in them a
fearlessness that will make them bold learners.

Asking questions that require them to explain with


evidence that is reliable can teach our students to
form opinions that are fair, accurate, and logical. In
short, good questions develop critical thinkers!

Book Smarts
Students who read regularly tend to do far better on
standardized tests. Encourage your students to read
whatever they like (books, magazines, comics, Web
sites). Reading helps students gain new vocabulary
and increase reading comprehension skill. Both are
important in everyday life and at test time.

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Jacket Buzz
Volume 1, Issue 1

Adams Middle School

Good
Goals

Michael Wood, Principal

September 2016

Nuts
&
Bolts

Jeffrey wants to do much better in school this year.


Dominique also wants to improve but she has also
written down a list of goals for herself. Who is more
likely to succeed? Dominique. Thats because the act
of setting goals gives us something specific to aim
for. It is so important to encourage your student to
set goals for this school year. Equally important is
letting them have ownership of those goals.
You may want your student to get an A in math this
year, but students are much more motivated if they
set their own goals. So, ask your student to describe
what was difficult last year. Scoring well on end-ofunit tests? Keeping a journal? Then, encourage your
student to set goals to address the trouble spots they
identify (study before tests, turn in journal entries on
time).
Then, under each goal, have your student write steps
to take. For example, if she wants better test grades,
she might list, Read textbook chapters and review
class material each night. Make flash cards and quiz
myself every week. Go over corrected quizzes to see
what I got wrong.
Goals should be challenging but also within reach. If
your student aims for top grades in every subject,
she may get discouraged. Instead, she might strive to
improve in several classes. Suggest that she tape her
goals over her desk or in the front of her binder.
Seeing them each day will remind her to work hard.

If you need to pick up your student early, you will


need to do so in person in the front office. First, you
will need to sign your student out at the front desk.
Once we verify that you are a legal guardian for the
student, we will send for them, which can take up to
15 minutes. Please plan accordingly.
If you know in advance that you will need to pick up
your student early, you can send them to school with
a note indicating the time you will be picking them
up. Your student can show that to the teacher during
that period and request to go to the office to wait for
pickup. This can reduce the amount of wait-time for
a parent in the office.

Fresh
Faces
New to our front office this year is Lauren Griggs,
who is serving the Assistant Principal overseeing
campus climate and professional development. Mrs.
Griggs has been a teacher at both Edna Hill and
Adams in the past, but most recently served as an
instructional coach working out of the Curriculum
and Instruction Department at the district office. She
is excited to be joining our team!

Only the educated are free - Epictetus


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