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Issue # 8

Action Items
SEND YOUR STUDENTS MOST RECENT ACHIEVEMENT RESULTS Please send along your students most recent assessment data so I can be looped in about where your kids are and we can use the data to inform next steps in our work together.

Sparking Momentum with Small,Visible Wins


SUE LEHMANN AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING What: Each year, Teach For America recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments and impact of truly exceptional teachers from within our corps with the Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching.Ideal candidates for this award are teachers who have successfully established a culture of achievement in their classrooms and whose students will leave
their classrooms on a path that will lead to expanded life opportunities due to major personal and academic growth. How: If youre interested in nominating yourself for this award, please submit your vision/big goals, updated tracker(s), a unit
plan, a LP from the same unit, and unit assessment along with this nominating form
to When: Deadline for submission is Thursday, March 1st EL HAYNES EXCELLENT SCHOOL VISITS What: E.L. Haynes PCSand TFA have partnered to offer excellent school visits and teacher collaboration! E.L. Haynes is one of the highest performing charters in the city, and has generously opened its doors to host visits every other Tuesday When: Every other Tuesday How: RSVP and check dates here MARCH 26TH PDS What: Last PDS of the year for 2010s/SMath summit for Science and Math CMs When: Saturday, March 26th (cohort start time is still TBD) Where: Gallaudet University

I recently came across a fascinating article on human motivation that I wished I read back when I was in the corps. In The Power of Small Wins, the authors discuss the Progress Principle, which is the idea that the biggest boon to human motivation is the process of helping others see the progress theyre making toward meaningful work.
Although this theory is not rocket science, putting that into practice in a classroom setting was a lot harder and more counterintuitive than I ever imagined. Ironically, in my efforts to motivate students, I was unknowingly demotivating them.
So, what does it look like to follow the Progress Principle? Here are some concrete suggestions:

--Help others set goals for themselves or include them as stakeholders in the goal setting process. --Equip others with the skills they need to persevere and autonomously problem solve their way through challenges --Give others frequent and meaningful feedback on progress that aligns to stated goals

have also taught them the skill of how to problem-solve their way through inevitable hurdles and change course when a strategy they employed didnt work. My students would get excited to see their mastery averages at the end of a unit or assessment period, but this only occurred once every few weeks or months, which was not frequent enough for them to see the tangible rewards for their daily efforts. I would set goals, but then share progress in ways that didnt align to those goals (e.g., more consistently sharing participation score averages when the goals I advertised were mastery based).
So, what are sustainable strategies teachers can employ to put the Progress Principle into practice? Here are some ideas that teachers in our cohort have enjoyed success with: Trade/Grade Exit Slips or Warm-Ups: This gives students a tangible way to see daily progress without you having to ever pull out your red pen. Have students trade exit slips or warmups with each other, grade them, and then record their averages onto an objectives or standards mastery sheet for the unit or assign a kid the role of recording those scores on an objectives mastery tracker on the wall. This helps them see how theyre doing across lessons, and also helps them see a concrete benet for the effort they exerted. It also helps to celebrate achievement by asking kids who met a certain score cut-off to raise their hands, stand/stay standing, do a cheer, etc.

Although I was doing my best to motivate kids, I fell into some pitfalls. Goal setting was often top-down in my classroom and happened infrequently: once a unit, semester, or year. I often set unit goals for kids, but when they didnt reach them, I would tell them to try harder, study more, or come for help after school. This was a good start, but I should

Ironically, in my efforts to motivate students, I was unknowingly demotivating them.


Cendahl Cornelio Alter and her students (featured below) celebrate the reading growth theyve made during a reading party. Kids are called up, given certicates of recognition of concrete behaviors/effort, and handed a celebratory crown to wear.

Weekly, Student-Driven Goal Setting and Reection: In one Math classroom, students complete weekly grade reections, which force kids to tally up and then reect on their performance in a number of domains. They also break off into goal groups (download intro lesson here) for 10 minutes each Friday to discuss whether they met the goals they set for the prior week with other peers, why they think they did/didnt, and set new goals for the upcoming week. The teacher keeps this weekly goal top of mind by placing a question in each warm-up that pushes kids to reect on what they plan to do that day to make progress toward their weekly goal. Teaching the Skill of Persevering: In another middle school classroom, the teacher shows kids the skill of setting goals and then problem solving/changing course when she doesnt meet them with this template. As she lls in this template each Friday, she thinks aloud through her goal setting process and also how/why she changes strategies when she realizes the

Maria Roths students earn a petal every time they master a Math concept. They reference their ower petals during each transition to Math centers and then choose to go to centers that will help them practice unmastered topics so they can earn more petals

strategies shes employing are not working. Helping Kids Set Meaningful Goals: In one ECE classroom, a teacher is scheduling 1:1 conversations in which shell share each students progress toward socio-emotional and academic goals. Shell then share what each student will be learning in the coming weeks (e.g., numbers), and then guide students to

setting feasible goals in those domains. For example, if she shares that theyll be learning numbers and they then say they want to learn all of them up to 100 in 2 weeks, shell check their thinking by sharing how many numbers theyve already learned, and whether thats a feasible goal to reach in 2 weeks time. Including kids in the process of goal setting helps eliminate the sense of arbitrariness and builds them up as key classroom decision-makers.


Maria Roth: for sharing her positivity mailbox. My kids really loved starting the positivity mailbox and are writing each other using the precise praise model.
Nicole Spoelma

Carolyn and Meredith: for being the best Eminem and Whitney Houston singers ever! And mainly for just always making me have the best weekends :)
Kelly Gleischman

Chelsea Kirk: for sharing her use of precise praise at PDS. It has really made my classroom a better and more positive place!

Anamika Dwivedi: for constantly engaging me in thought-provoking conversations around education. You are the best!!

Nicole Spoelma

Anne Marie Norgren

Most Viewed Videos of the Month

an online whiteboard where students can leave notes and post ideas. She said she used it for her science fair and that kids thought it was a fun and and interactive way to share ideas.

1. Julias Best Work

Party (ECE/Elem)

2. 1st Graders Take Over

with Anne Marie (Elem +)


A great site for history teachers (as well as those of many other subject areas), which can be used to make online displays for any topic. Students can also browse the displays created by other students to get ideas.

Math Meeting (ECE/Elem)

3. Student-Led Activities 4. Strong Voice (PreK-12) 5. Joshs Parent Data Night


CM-Recommended Resources


Check out this folder of secondary goodies, which includes everything from strategies to scaffold collegestyle note-taking, to fun guided practice games like quiz-quiz pass.


A site that allows you to browse videos, documents, and slideshows and then leave text or audio comments.

6.Book Clubs with Ms.

Sadowsky (ECE/Elem)

7. Student-Led Routines

w/ Ms. Gleischman (Upper Elementary and Up)


Gillon recommends this iPad app, which allows you to make Khan Academy-style videos in just minutes, which makes teaching students content fun and easy.


A great article that Abby Wihl shared which provides educators of young children with concrete ideas for promoting and acknowledging the necessity of struggle in learning.

8. Joy Factor w/ Ms. Cruz

(Upper Elem and Up)

9. Student-Led Physics
Lesson (Secondary)

10. Rebecca Snyder


Cendhal recommends the U.S. Department of Educations online database of research-based best practices for teachers from all content areas and teaching contexts.


Molly recommends a great Web site on socio-emotional learning. It includes scripted stories and a number of learning modules for teachers and parents.

Teaching Sample (ECE/ Elem)

Jordan recommends this online notice board maker. Its similar to

New Corps Member Virtual Visits

Looking to add joyful routines, develop authentic goal investment, and/or build students up as leaders of their own community?Watch in this video as Maria Roths 1st graders take over Math meeting and celebrate the collective progress they're making toward their academic and socioemotional goals


Watch this mini-case study spotlighting students in Kelly Gleischman's class as they lead various routines and procedures. Ive included subtext to highlight the different strategies so you can track what is happening and how!


Eager to partner with parents to boost his students reading and math achievement, Josh shares students progress with parents along with concrete strategies that they can use at home to reinforce learning. Check out the PowerPoint he used to facilitate this evening parent night here!