Tiger tOoLs – October 2014

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Good Afternoon,
The past two weeks have provided numerous opportunities for rich learning on how to support our EAL students in accessing our curriculum and acquiring language.  We sincerely hope that you found your work with Jill Bromenschenkel rewarding and insightful.
Please look for a survey this afternoon related to our continued focus on our English language learners and SIOP.  Your honest reflection and insight are valued.

Opportunities @ AES
Leadership Professional Learning Series (PLS)
We had a wonderful turnout for Thursday’s session on the Intro to Process Planning.  If you missed it, please see this link for details…We are excited for the second session, Matching Your Purpose and Process on Wednesday, October 8th at 3:45 in the Learning Lab.
Please see the link to our syllabus if you need more information.
Just a reminder, we have created an online Facilitators’ Handbook to support you as you create meaningful opportunities for dialogue and discussion with your colleagues.
Drop-in Tech PD
The focus for this month is on Hapara.  Please join the Ed Tech team for the following sessions:
Intro to Hapara on Today, September 30th at 11:50 and 3:45
Using Hapara for Formative Assessment on Wednesday, October 15th at 11:50 and 3:45
Mindsets Book Club
To offer a differentiated experience, we have two book group options on the topic of Mindset.  Book clubs will run during mid-October.  Sign-up Here!
NESA Opportunities
Two upcoming NESA conferences to really start thinking about attending:
Fall Training Institute – many 2-day institutes – in Doha – November 7 – 8, 2014.
We already have a team of 6 teachers going to unpack the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) during this conference.
Winter Training Institute – Dr. Carol Commodore and Assessment – in Bahrain –January 23 – 24, 2015
We will have a team of 12 people (ES, MS, HS, and K-12) for this conference.
Please send Jessica a note if you are interested in participating.
We will be deciding our team in mid-October.


English Language Learners and SIOP
Upon her departure, Jill shared some of the successes we are having with our students, and provided some guidance in our next steps to further support our English Language Learners.
Successes = Teachers are providing:
Purposeful access to language and content.
Purposeful focus on accountability for student language production.
Utilizing technology to increase productive language output for all students and for previewing and the building of background knowledge.
Our Next Steps to for Deepening Support for our EAL students:
Ensuring that every student has the opportunity and expectation of academic language output every day, in every class.
Developing transferrable language acquisition skills (i.e. justifying, clarifying, initiating questions).
All classes have a language objective related to language acquisition.
As students have increased ownership for their learning, their motivation increases.  This short article from the most recent Educational Leadership, 10 Standards for Motivation, is some food for thought for increasing student motivation.
What was very noticeable in their top 10 list was the number of times students were the focus of the assessment and their learning.

Tech Integration

We have the good fortune at AES to be a very resource rich school, especially in terms of technology. We have 1-1 devices in grades 1-12 and in addition have a large variety of other technology to support student learning.  These tools provide opportunity, but none of that means anything without YOU the teacher driving innovation in your classroom and focusing on educational outcomes first.

In the article There is No App for Good Teaching, Laura Moorehead examines this idea well. At AES we promote the use of the TPACK model (created by Punya Mishra) as a way to create deep and meaningful learning experiences with technology. TPACK believes that at the heart of innovative teaching is first defining rich content, next matching it with a supportive pedagogy and then exploring what technology can provide. In these cases where content, pedagogy and tech converge we provide the types of innovative learning experiences that have the largest impact on student learning. Stay tuned for more professional development regarding TPACK coming your way soon.

As always, please stop by the Office of Learning anytime…we love visitors!
Yours in collaboration,
Gary, Emily, Jess, Mechum and Robyn

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