MELA celebrates International Women's Day!
Distinctive Schools Celebrated International Women's Day! We are honored to support the work of innovative, dedicated, incredible women every single day. We recognize how profoundly women affect our organization and the work that we do.
Second and third grade students at Minnesota Early Learning Academy discussed how the powerful women in their lives help to run the world! Their amazing teacher, Colin Alsbro, used the presentation below to lead students through a discussion of how women they know and famous female leaders have affected their lives, and continue to inspire them!
Students created the following tree map as part of their discussion Who Runs the World? Girls! They also wrote letters of gratitude to people who inspire them.
Thank you to the women who are part of our Distinctive Schools family, and women everywhere! We appreciate you and thank you for all that you do for our network, students, families and our schools.
Trailblazer teachers and staff hold a vital role in developing school reform, and we are grateful for their dedication to our network! This month we are featuring a Trailblazing Teacher and Mentor Teacher from CICS Bucktown.
This month's trailblazer is someone who works diligently to understand and meet the diverse and individualized needs of his students. He builds and maintains meaningful relationships, and engages his class by connecting learning with their personal interests. Mr. Crowe's classroom is an incredible community, where students post, share and communicate through writing their own blog posts on Otus. Be sure to stop by room 210 the next time you visit CICS Bucktown to see all of their incredible work!
We feel so fortunate to have him at CICS Bucktown, please join us in congratulating a Trailblazing Teacher, Mr. Jeremy Crowe!
Mr. Jeremy Crowe: Featured Trailblazer!
Juggling Two Languages in One Mind
A bilingual brain navigates between two languages without noticing the transition, the learning occurs all over this process and knowledge is built from these interactions in a powerful way. Distinctive Schools is extremely proud of CICS West Belden's Kindergarten Bilingual/EL classroom teachers, and the way they are navigating this on a daily basis!
Ms. Schafman and Ms. Amario navigate so beautifully between two languages, watching them teach is like viewing a beautifully choreographed dance. Their dedication to this class and all the changes in teaching practices this year has been so inspiring.
They seamlessly transition from English to Spanish, while the students are highly engaged, using both languages, and mastering concepts and academic vocabulary. Watch the video below as they lead Spanish calendar, which highlights how engaged the students are, and how strong this team is.
A NEW CURRICULUM FOR A NEW CENTURY
Guest Post by: Frank Cademartori
Who thinks they are musical and who thinks they could be musical? These are questions that grace the entrance tickets my students take at the start our ten-week 21st Century Music Elective. The results are always the same. Very few consider themselves musical and even fewer think they could develop that ability. Yet in just ten weeks the students go from creating a playlist on Spotify, to having their own original music on the site. We enable this growth by empowering students, giving them the tools and skills they need, and allowing them to collaborate with peers by both giving and receiving feedback, until they create what they deem to be a successful product.
This doesn’t happen instantaneously of course, but is accomplished over time using carefully curated materials and activities to build both students’ skills and confidence. Students are given the time and space to explore and create. They also learn the valuable skills of giving and receiving critical feedback. Finally, the work they do is driven by choice and personal interest and always ends in a tangible product they are proud to showcase.
The create>feedback>adjustment loop carries on through another guided project of creating an original music piece using web-based programs that allow students to select and arrange samples, change the tempo, and add effects. The culmination of the course is an open-ended project that allows students to create and collaborate on a personal project that is relevant and meaningful to them.
To read more from Music Teacher, Frank Cademartori, check out his blog: A Sound Mind.