A monthly eblast highlighting school-based successful practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning.
January 2018

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Homework! What are middle school (grades 5-8) students’ perceptions about homework?  That is the question. Not only is it the question, but according to the authors, Kathleen G. Burriss and Donald Snead, of Middle School Students' Perceptions Regarding the Motivation and Effectiveness of Homework, it is a critical factor in the value these students place on homework.

“When considering homework, in spite of the most sincere efforts of parents to help children at home and the thoughtful planning of teachers to meet academic objectives, it is ultimately students’ attitudes regarding their commitment toward homework that may make the critical difference toward ensuring positive learning outcomes.” (Burriss & Snead, p. 194, SCJ)

This article raises profound questions about the impact of “planning, implementation, and evaluation” of homework on students’ perceptions and, ultimately, the effectiveness of homework. Read the entire article starting on page 193 of the Fall/Winter 2017 issue and visit the School Community Journal to explore one of the many resources of the School Community Network.
One of the suggestions in the Journal article about homework is to provide some level of differentiation based on the type and purpose of the assignment and on students’ preferences for working alone or with peers. Using Google Drive provides students the opportunity to collaborate on an assignment or to work independently. In addition, it provides the teacher a place to store and organize folders and individual files.
Google Drive is free up to 15GB. Open the Google Drive screenshot above to view an excellent tutorial about how to use this valuable tool.
For a listing of many other tech tools organized by topic, visit edshelf, another CIL support for school improvement.
Collaboration is also essential for effective adult professional practice in schools. This is particularly true for the Leadership Team (LT). This team operates at peak performance when every member contributes and decisions are made by considering all viewpoints.
Your Leadership Team sets the tone for how the entire school functions. The way in which your LT members openly and honestly share their views and make decisions with every member actively engaged becomes a model for how everyone else in the school interacts. Featured in IndistarConnect, this article, 5 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement in Meetings ... and Why it Matters, provides a rationale and specific suggestions for maximizing participation in meetings. It may be as simple as asking what a person thinks!

Indicators in Action® provides video support for Instruction, Leadership, and School Community. The following clip illustrates how a school encourages engagement of the whole staff to inform the work of the Leadership Team. Read the entire procedure before clicking on the picture below

  • When the picture opens, use the menu on the left
  • Scroll down to #23 and select “Staff Input”

OK? Now click on the picture.

Indistar® is loaded with tools to help you successfully navigate the system and develop and implement effective school improvement plans. A new feature is the Success Cycle Video, available on the Indistar® homepage. In a brief 2 minutes and 12 seconds, you’ll receive an overview of the key components of the Success Cycle, including how to easily access the Assess, Create, and Monitor page where the Leadership Team does its work, the use of filters and reports, and helpful resources, including Wise Ways® and Indicators in Action®. Just open the “What’s New” button and then open the “View Now” button for the Success Cycle Video.
Other helpful features are the light bulb and camera icons located on many pages. The light bulb opens to provide written help.
The camera icon opens to provide a video tutorial.
Our expectation is that these help features will make your Indistar® experience a success.
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