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Posted on Feb 27, 2014

February In-Service Day Keeps Gillispie Educators Educated

A prospective family recently asked me about how Gillispie keeps its “educators educated,” and I am sharing with you how I described our faculty’s participation in a day of deep learning during the February 14 in-service day.

To augment what elementary teachers learned while attending workshops in Las Vegas and Concord, California, Gillispie invited to campus consultant Cassandra Turner, who advises schools adopting the Singapore Math approach. To continue preparing our teachers for the transition to a new math program next year, Kindergarten through Grade 6 math teachers learned a variety of Singapore instructional techniques, including the incorporation of math games that increase logical reasoning, number sense, and operational automaticity. Because she does not represent a particular textbook publisher, Ms. Turner has researched numerous math resources and was able to offer implementation strategies and make recommendations about effective materials. Kim Haas, along with Margie Edwards, who will oversee the first year of implementation, appreciated the teachers’ openness to, in Ms. Haas’s words, the “Singapore curriculum that allows students to go deeper into fewer topics per chapter with the goal of moving students from concrete understanding (using manipulatives) to representational models to abstract computation.”

Early childhood teachers worked with expert Mary Courtney on strategies for the creation of meaningful documentation using the Reggio Emilia approach. Post workshop, Mrs. Guy and Ms. Thompson shared this with their Room 3 families: “Documentation displays the growth of a curriculum idea and the evolution of thinking. Documentation that is well done tells the story of what children are doing; what drew them to that particular activity; and what was done to help the children dig deeper. Moving beyond the story, there is an interpretation, which explains what the children were curious about; what skills were used or learned; and why the activity or play is worthwhile. In early childhood education, when we document we make the deliberate choice to observe and record what happens in our environment in order to reflect and communicate the surprising discoveries in children’s everyday lives and the extraordinary events and happenings in places where children are cared for.”

On February 14, our teachers showed their passion for their own learning in ways that will inform and infuse their students’ education.

Alison Fleming
Head of School

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