Tampa Day School understands that technology is an integral aspect of educating children. We strive to keep up with the research on technology and learning and incorporate it accordingly. This year we have purchased 37 touch screen laptops and 24 iPads. With this additional technology students will be able to create digital presentations, compile digital portfolios, and learn 21st Century skills.
In addition, we know that students who learn differently benefit when instruction is delivered and reinforced using technology. Technology reduces the demand on writing for kids with dysgraphia and provides opportunities for high interest practice with rote memory skills such as spelling and math facts. It pairs visual and auditory skills to help with working memory and allows kids that have reading weaknesses to access a range of listening materials that they might not otherwise be able to read.
This month TDS honors Beth Golden. Mrs. Golden has been a part of our learning community for over 14 years. She currently teaches Reading and Writing to students in grades 2 and 3. She has a diverse teaching career educating students in grades K-3. Her enthusiasm for education is unparalleled. Mrs. Golden engages students by using music, verses and kinesthetic cues to help kids retain and retrieve foundational information. She has a natural ability to connect with children and encourages them to reach their potential. Her drive to continue developing professionally has enabled her to keep current with the best practices for educating students who learn differently. She uses the Daily Five CAFÉ to improve reading skills, Kagan Structures to keep students actively engaged and she “Teaches Like a Champion” creating a safe and structured learning environment where students thrive versus survive. Mrs. Golden’s proudest moment in the classroom is when a child’s face gleams when he finally learns how to read. Her charismatic approach is infectious. Just ask one of her students!
Enabling students to achieve is a carefully orchestrated process. Tampa Day School uses a variety of data to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students. Multiple times per year TDS uses data from the school-wide NWEA testing process. NWEA is a national assessment that compares students at TDS with a national sample. For example, if a student’s percentile ranking falls at the 73rd percentile for 3rd grade, this would mean that only 27% of students in the national 3rd grade sample performed at or above his level.
NWEA also provides additional data to drive instruction. A RIT measurement indicates where a child lands on a scale in relation to other children in the class, grade, state, and nation. It is used to determine a student’s current grade level in both Reading and Math. The RIT score allows us to group students so that we may offer highly targeted instruction. This practice helps build upon your child’s strengths while addressing areas that are weaker in relation to state curriculum standards and measurable growth expectations.
Tampa Day School has a passion for supporting cancer awareness and helping raise money to “Race for a Cure”. Our very own Patricia Soloski, Director of Learning Solutions, is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer. In true TDS fashion, she will not go through this fight alone. She has the support of her family, Learning Solutions team, administration, faculty, students and parents. The Tampa Day School community decided to donate to wear pink or don a hat in solidarity for Patricia. This event raised approximately $300.00 to help support Patricia and an additional $1,600.00 and counting has been raised for the Breast Cancer walk.
In addition to raising awareness on the school campus, TDS will be making strides against breast cancer by walking in in honor of Patricia on October 18th in Vinoy Park.
Check out our Passion for Pink video on Facebook.
At TDS we understand that the brain gets hungry! Similar to physical exhaustion, kids and adults can experience mental exhaustion. This mental fatigue can make the brain scream for a break. Dr. David Sousa, brain expert, states that brains need oxygen and glucose for food, and when the brain is low on food, it becomes sleepy. Here at TDS we “Feed the Brain” by providing brain breaks throughout the day. Brain breaks are short, 1-2 minute breaks, done when students look fatigued. During breaks, students stand up, move around, and reenergize, and are able to quickly get back to work, much more alert. Some examples of how we “Feed the Brain” are dancing to randomly played music, jumping jacks, and bouncing balloons around. Want to see how it works? Visit our Facebook page to view Balloon Bounce in action.
This month we honor rockin’ Mrs. Claudia Deemer. Teaching Math is her passion, and she works her middle school math magic by creating songs and dances about digits. Connecting songs to academic content aids in the recall and long term storage of information. Check out Mrs. Deemer’s Ratio Rumpshaker video! Mrs. Deemer has been teaching at TDS for eight years, and in her free time she enjoys camping and hiking with her husband and sons Jack and Jeremy. If you would like to see how Mrs. Deemer uses real world content to engage students in a review about ratios. Check out our video on Facebook. Mrs. Deemer uses a Scholastic Math article about countries that take the most selfies. In the video she has the students kinesthetically review ratios and calculate how many selfies are taken per day in the Phillipines.
Can students achieve while they are walking around? At TDS, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” One particular set of strategies teachers use to increase engagement is called Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures. When students are in their Kagan groups, they’re achieving, but don’t expect quiet passive learning at these times! Students may be out of their seats, mixing around the class and engaged in academic discussions. Strategically planned groups and activities ensure that all students are involved in the learning process, and encourages both collaborative problem solving and important listening skills. When cooperative learning is coupled with direct instruction there is a profound impact on student achievement. So, students, keep on talking and moving!
Sharing our passion for philanthropy, 130 buckets later…… The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral. TDS administration accepted the challenge and raised the bar to build awareness. To emphasize that this latest trend is more than just about being doused in ice water, TDS teachers facilitated lessons to help students have a clear understanding of this debilitating disease and the need to raise both awareness and funds. Students and parents were encouraged to “Donate to Dump” buckets of ice on the administrative team, and happily filled buckets with donations the morning preceding the event. The TDS staff, students and families were excited to participate in this phenomenon, in our own unique way! We raised over $800.00 for ALS, and had a great (but very cold for the Admin team!) whole school event- check Facebook to see the results, 130 buckets later!