Tiger tOoLs – September 2014

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Good afternoon,
This is the first issue of TIGER TOOLS, the Office of Learning’s communication tool.  In an effort to streamline our communication we have designed a newsletter that will be sent out monthly during the school year.

Our goals for the communication are to:

  • highlight upcoming in-house and regional professional learning opportunities
  • develop a shared understanding of our K-12 areas of focus
  • share relevant and interesting resources that support a deeper understanding of the foundational elements of our programs
  • direct your attention to our Office of Learning website (formerly the Curriculum Office website) for further information and resources

We are excited to extend an invitation to the Office of Learning – Open House on Monday.
Please do stop by for snacks, conversation, and getting to know the office.

We are very excited about the space, our work, and collaborating with you.openhouse invite
This section is dedicated to highlighting both in-house and regional professional learning opportunities.

Opportunities @ AES

Professional Learning Series (PLS) on Leading Groups

The Leadership PLS is designed with the Teacher-Leader in mind.  Its focus is on the tools that teachers need for leading groups.  The series is open to all teachers at AES who are interested in developing a greater understanding of and capacity for designing meetings, matching processes to topics, and facilitation skills.  
Please see the linked syllabus for further details and to sign up.
Book Group Discussions on the topic of MindsetTo offer a differentiated experience, we have two book group options on the topic of Mindset.
The discussions will take place during the first two weeks of October – the specific date(s) will be determined by the participants.
Please use this form to sign up for the discussions.

Regional Opportunities

NESA’s Fall Training Institute on November 7-8 at the American School of Doha, Qatar.
These are two-day institutes, and of special interest for our focus at AES could be:
  • Understanding the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) w/ Eric Brunsnell
  • Key Principles of ELL Education w/ Virginia Rojas
  • Teaching the Process of Meaning Making in Reading (3-8) w/ Vicki Vinton
  • ….and many more
Please also see the continuously updated Regional Professional Learning Calendar on the Office of Learning Website.

Online Opportunities


There are numerous online opportunities available.  Many AES teachers have taken courses from Stanford Online and rave about the content.
These courses are rigorous and demanding, but can be awesome learning experiences.


​This section is dedicated to sharing resources and information that connect with our areas of focus at AES.
English-Language Learners and SIOP
Jill Bromenshenkel will be returning to AES for a two-week visit this September.
We are excited to have her guidance and support as we continue to unpack SIOP and supporting our EAL students in all of the content areas.
Assessment Practices
An excerpt from a post on EduTopia –  Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding

“What strategy doubles student learning? According to 250 empirical studies (linked in the article) the answer is formative assessment, defined by Bill Younglove as ‘the frequent, interactive checking of student progress and understanding in order to identify learning needs and adjust teaching appropriately.” 

This thoughtful article highlights many different types of assessment that may be used formatively, and will give your brain a recharge on a variety of learning activities that can help inform our teaching to positively impact student learning.
We have many resources connected to both of these Areas of Focus in the Office of Learning.  Please stop by and peruse our selection.


This section is dedicated to sharing relevant resources and articles that deepen our foundation and fundamental practices at AES.

Foundational Element – Technology Integration
As our 1-1 programs continue to take root and grow, one topic that surfaces from time to time is the issue of screen time. Of particular concern is often how much is too much and how much are students on screens at AES. Last week UCLA released the results a of limited study that suggested that time on screen may limit a child’s ability to identify emotions. The story was picked up by NPR and other news outlets and then quickly spread via social media. At some point you will probably be having a conversation with someone regarding screen time.

Below are some key points to remember regarding screen time at AES:

  1. There is a key distinction between educational and entertainment screen time.
  2. There is probably a further distinction between educational creation screen-time (making stuff) and educational consumption screen time (watching Khan Academy videos).
  3. We do not promote (or even use in a significant way) computer based instruction (kids sitting in front of devices for long periods of time absorbing content and being quizzed on it).
  4. We do promote the balanced, authentic and intentional use of technology

The bottom line is that technology is used at AES most often for short periods of time and in conjunction with other materials and activities (lab journal, manipulatives, conversations with peers). It drifts in and out of our students’ days as one part of their total educational experience.

We look forward to seeing all of you at the Open House on Monday!
Yours in Learning Together,
Emily, Gary, Jess, Mechum & Robyn