Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Welcome Back!!!!!!

Hello Dear Colleagues,

WoW! What a start to the 2009-10 school year! Lots of changes, concerns, and controversy! Nevertheless, students return to the classrooms, and parents expect teachers to provide the same high level of education they always have. As I visited schools that first week before students returned, I was thrilled to see how many great teachers remained with Jordan School District. Knowing that, I feel confident that the expected level education will not only be maintained, it will be surpassed.

With that said, I want to welcome you all back! Regardless of the warm weather, September is here and cooler temperatures can't be too far behind, can they? (Did you notice the blog's new motif? More fallish, don't you think?)

Today, I have reprinted the latest information about MY Access and the online Direct Writing Assignment (DWA) that is rolling out this school year. The following statements summarizes Jordan School District's status with this online writing program. Hopefully, this message will answer some of your questions:

  • MY Access subscriptions are available and recommended for 9th and 10th grades.
  • Based upon the number of licenses our district purchased in 2008, your school has been allotted the same number as last year - with the exception of high schools.
  • I will set up classes for your school again this year. Please let me know if you want this completed before last year's subscriptions expire on October 14, 2009.
  • As last year's subscriptions will expire on October 14, 2009, I will need to deactivate any classes I create under the OLD licenses and reactivate them under THIS YEAR'S licenses.
As many of you know, the state legislature enacted a law that requires 5th and 8th graders to take the Direct Writing Assessment (DWA) online. This is what we know at this time:

  • The USOE's committee of members from the assessment and curriculum departments awarded an online writing formative and summative assessment program to Measurement, Inc. Click HERE to learn more about "Writing Practice Program," the formative assessment tool, and be sure to watch the video.
  • This means the state office will finance Measurement Inc. subscriptions for 5th and 8th graders in districts throughout the state.
  • On September 18th a presentation to assessment directors will be held in Nebo District.
  • The writing assessment will be a persuasive essay this year.
  • Teacher training for Measurement, Inc. will be delivered online.
  • So that we can collect data on this year's 9th graders, Jordan School District will set up a benchmark assessment using MY Access.
Authentic writing opportunity: You may have noticed the widget next to this posting. Yes, I did contribute an essay, a memoir of sorts, to the National Gallery of Writing AND it was accepted!!! (Yes, I am thrilled and most humbled.) BUT, that isn't why I pasted the classy widget on Link2Literacy. It's there because I want you, YES, YOU teachers, to contribute something as well. AND I also want you to invite your students to submit an essay, memoir, blog posting, etc. You must hurry as these will be published on October 20th ~ The National Day on Writing. Dr. Debbie Dean and I are trying to establish a local gallery, and I can't think of anything better to encourage young authors about the importance AND the thrill of publishing your own work. PLEASE check out the links and consider making this part of your writing curriculum!

Professional Book Reviews: Another change this year is my goal to summarize professional books and/or articles I read that I think will interest you. The first featured author will be Kelly Gallagher's works: Reading Reasons and Readacide, his latest book. I am not a speed reader, but I'll try to zip through some of these "best sellers" and tell you all about them. In addition, I hope to include any learning activities associated with the publications.

Upcoming Events:

  • September 14th is the first Jordan Council of International Reading Association (JCIRA) meeting. I pledged to bring in more secondary presenters/topics, and I think I have succeeded. So please join us at JSD's new professional development center at 4:30 P.M. to hear about the latest in YA and adolescent literature, as well as picture books, non-fiction, etc.
  • October 23rd is the Utah Council of Teachers of English Fall Conference. Presenters include Debbie Dean, Tom Romano, AND award-winning author, Gary Soto! Please circle the date and beg your principal to send you to this conference!
I look forward to chatting with you again via Link2Literacy. Please take a minute to comment and tell me how I can make this a better place to learn.

Take care, Friends,