04-03-12 Sharing Best Instruction: Thurston Middle School SMARTbytes
PRESS RELEASE 11-12-32 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LAGUNA BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT JENNIFER L. SALBERG THURSTON MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL (949) 497-7785
Sharing Best Instruction: Thurston Middle School SMARTbytes
Facilitating an instructional environment where all students are engaged and learning is an ongoing focus for Thurston Middle School faculty and staff. Toward that effort, Principal Jennifer Salberg created a forum, SMARTbytes, at the staff meetings for the team to present innovative ideas to their peers. She explains, "In our continued effort to provide Best First Instruction, we have found our staff to be the best source for inspiration. Our SMARTbytes provide opportunities in a quick, five minute format to share strategies that continue to keep us in the forefront of great instructional practices."
The broad range of SMARTbytes topics helps ensure that each staff member can incorporate ideas to increase effectiveness and efficiency of instruction. Past SMARTbyte topics include Edmodo, Test Preparation Techniques and Strategies, Aeries Grading/Capabilities and Writing Across the Curriculum.
At a recent Thurston staff meeting, math teacher Kelly Skon shared an informal assessment tool which gives her immediate student feedback and helps her gauge student understanding of math problems as she is teaching the concept. Each student uses a whiteboard to calculate a classroom math problem. Upon completion, students raise their white boards for Ms. Skon to check and review their work. Ms. Skon is then able to modify or re-teach math concepts depending on the student responses. Whether with student response systems, white boards, or oral responses, teachers have multiple ways to check for understanding and modify their instruction. She comments, “I can hear students ask questions of each other and thinking aloud. I am able to give immediate feedback to each student as I quickly check each white board. I have found that students are eager to demonstrate what they have learned and appreciate the one-on-one feedback facilitated by using the white boards.”
Teaching math is the fulfillment of Ms. Skon’s third grade ambition and helping her students discover and develop an appreciation for math is an important component of her teaching day. Ms. Skon appreciates the SMARTbytes program opportunities where she learns innovative teaching strategies from her peers and finds ways to adapt them into her instructional plan.