Stating Goals

There are many reasons why explicitly stating learning goals is so important for both students and teachers.  During a professional development day, the staff at Iron Ridge Elementary Campus unpacked the idea of “stating goals” not only within the context of Daily 5, but across the curriculum as well.  Below is a link to our google presentation that includes our thoughts, current best practices, and ideas for future implementation focusing on why and how stating goals is essential within the learning process.

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How Did We Do: Strategic Plan 2012.2013

Iron Ridge Elementary Campus

Our Mission

Empowering learners to lead and succeed

Our Vision

I.R.E.C.-A Culture of Excellence

A Community of Learners

A School of Choice

“Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it themselves.”

by Stephen Covey

A Culture of Excellence

  • Creating a collaborative environment
  • focused on student learning
  • based on assessment for learning and instructional design
  • Empowering student for success
  • Creating a safe and caring community through the principles of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey)

A Community of Learners

  • Preparing dependent learners for:
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Collaborating
  • Working in diverse teams
  • Applying technology
  • Leadership
  •  . . . in the 21st Century and for a Changing World (Trilling and Fadel (2009)

A Community of Leaders

  • Be Proactive
  • Begin With the End in Mind
  • First Things First
  • Think Win Win
  • Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
  • Synergize
  • Sharpen the Saw

(Covey 2008)

What We Did-2012-2013

Goal 1: What will be the effect on student achievement if we deepen our understanding of the 12 ELEs within a guided practice structure?

Specific Strategies:

  • Time allotted on PD days to focus on developing and increasing understanding of all 12 ELEs. RAE (Readiness Awareness Exercise-Pre-Assessment) data indicates IREC (Iron Ridge Elementary Campus) has good starting base of all 12 ELEs. Our intention is to draw on the direction provided by the District Transformational  Leader and instruction provided to the Diamond team with respect to exercises, activities or experiences that we can replicate with our staff that will best support growth with respect to all the 12 ELE areas, particularly ELE 1 and ELE 11. We are very aware that differentiated instruction is essential to an excellent learning environment. We want to grow in our ability to apply best practices and strategies (particularly guided practice)  of DI throughout all the 12 ELE components.
  • IREC has created grade level PLTs that have embedded days and time allotted on PD days to focus on developing a deep understanding and ability to apply specific ELE components. All PLTs have been encouraged to include guided practice as part of the lens used to analyze and apply each ELE component. Grade level PLT Action research questions are a follows:
  1. Kindergarten-”Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop a student learning environment that supports guided practice in Language Learning
  2. Grade 1-”Using the lens of ELE #3 Pre-assessemnt, we will develop a strong pre-assessment plan in Math to provide data that supports students’ learning needs and guides instruction.
  3. Grade 2: “Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop effective word work practices that meet students’ varying needs to improve student writing.
  4. Grade 3: “Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop a culture of guided practice in Mathematics.”
  5. Grade 4: “Using the lens of ELE #1 Culture and Expectations, we will develop a structure of activities for student to work independently, while the teacher works with groups of students or 1-on-1. (guided practice).
  6. Educational Assistants: Using the lens on ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will explore and implement strategies to provide diverse learners more independence in a guided practice setting.
  • On PD days we intend to share with the entire staff positive examples related to the 12 ELEs taken from/observed in the classrooms of IREC. Out intent with this is that it is an empowering activity that builds understanding and celebration. Our intent is to review each ELE in context rather that in isolation.

Measureable: Critical Evidence Indicators:

All data gathered during this year of AISI will be used to determine direction for PD in 2013.2014.

  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment-completed in September 2012 and March/April 2013
  • Feedback from specific ELE Self Assessment Tool used by teachers for PLT work completed in February 2012 and June 2013
  • ELE-Teacher Reflection forms-filled in by teachers following each PLT Meeting-used to determine support and direction for the 2013.2013 school year.2012.2013 PAT Data-completed in October/November 2013
  • Accountability Pillar Results for AERR-completed in October 2013
  • CWT cards and reflective conversations
  • Evidence of common language and understanding of ELEs within a guided practice structure
  • Evidence in portfolios, blogs, IEPTs, and in anecdotals


  • Staff apply a fundamental understanding of guided practice to improve instruction for the 21st Century learner.
  • Students gain a grade level benchmark in reading skills
  • Students transfer thinking strategies to other content areas due to the consistency of teaching of common language across the curriculum.


  • Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller, 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times by B.  Trilling & C. Fadel, Strategies that Work:  Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement by S. Harvey & A. Goudvis, Classroom Instruction That Works by R. Marzano
  • Daily CAFÉ on-line resources
  • ELE Resources from Central Office
  • ELE Rubric
  • All pre-assessment material
  • Children’s Literature
  • Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark system
  • Designated time on PD Days and built in PLT time throughout the year

People resources: Diamond Team: Vicky, Karen, Maureen, and Don (SSFs, AISI, and Admin.)

Resources Needed:

  • Direction (lessons, activities, exemplars) for the Diamond team with respect to how to lead and support our staff in deepening the understanding of ELEs that have been identified district wide as being components requiring attend and growth.

Who was involved in setting the strategy:

  • The diamond team established the strategies. The staff of IREC determined the need to focus more intently in the area of guided practice and the 12 ELEs through their grade level team SMART goals
  • RAE instrument
  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment

All data gathered during this year of AISI will be used to determine direction for PD in 2013.2014.

  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment-completed in September 2012 and March/April 2013
  • 2012.2013 PAT Data-completed in October/November 2013
  • Accountability  Pillar Results for AERR-completed in October 2013
  • IREC Parent/Student/Staff Surveys 2012.2013
  • Feedback from specific ELE Self Assessment Tool used by teachers for PLT work completed in February 2012 and June 2013
  • ELE-Teacher Reflection forms-filled in by teachers following each PLT Meeting-used to determine support and direction for the 2013.2014 school year.

Divisional and School Goal


Students Using Devices

In 2s students are encouraged to bring their own devices on a daily basis. We are enjoying using iPods, minis and iPads for many different activities. As a school, we have made a suggested app list for consistency amongst all students. This allows the students in 2s to discuss and work together. As well, they have been teaching each other how to use their devices. We also use the devices for reviewing basic skills and differentiation. Finally, we are now sharing our work using airserver. Devices are a welcome tool.

Student Blogs for Student Engagement

Student blogging is one of IREC’s next steps into the digital world. All of the students in my class (and many others in our school) have created their own blogs as a way to showcase their work, share their writing, and explore their communication skills. Though we are using different blog platforms, such as KidBlog and Weebly, the final product is the same: personalized and thoughtful student blogs. Please click on the links below for a sneak peek into some of the blogs currently under construction in our school.

Student blogs are an important way to connect parents to their child’s learning. Parents can see their child’s work, comment on their progress, and have meaningful conversations at home about new accomplishments and challenges that their child is encountering at school.

iPads have become an important learning tool at school, and many applications allow students to showcase their learning by creating picture files of their app-based work. Students are also creating videos and slideshows to share their experiences, to demonstrate a new skill, or to extend their learning.  These can often be inserted into blog posts and shared instantly and meaningfully with parents.

The most important reason for students to create and maintain a blog is to provide regular opportunities for authentic writing. Students are adding posts at school and from home, and are able to connect with their peers and the world on a daily basis through writing. Students can provide feeback to each other, revise and edit their own work, and share their views on many different topics. Blogs also provide excellent lessons on digital citizenship as our yooung writers constantly revisit what is appropriate information to share on the internet.

If your child has a studnet blog, please take the time to visit it often. You can stay informed and involved in daily learning, and your comments and responses mean the world to your child!

IREC’s Excellent Learning Environments Journey

photoAs a school division our  (AISI) Alberta Initiative for School Improvement initiative is to create Excellent Learning Environment for all learners. We are in the first year of a three year cycle for this goal. In year one, our goal is to obtain a working knowledge of the 12 ELEs. This means that we can have a conversations around the ELEs, understand the vocabulary and be able to visualize what each component would look like in a classroom. In year two and three, we will dive even deeper into further creating Excellent Learning Environments in our classrooms.


Excellent Learning Environments (ELEs) are:


Where are we at?

As a school we felt we have a good working knowledge of the 12 ELEs. This is due, in part, to the past 4 AISI cycles providing us  knowledge and understanding around many of the 12 components one at a  time. Therefore, each Professional Learning Team (PLT) has  chosen  one ELE   to work on deepening their understanding, building their skill set and exploring their new knowledge. Each teams goals are posted in the previous post  IREC Education Plan 2012-2013 Goal 2.


As a school we have chosen to research and implement new knowledge around ELE #1 – Culture and Expectations.

As well as, gain new knowledge and a better working understanding in ELE #4 – Planning; Utilizing a Backwards Design Framework.

Culture and Expectations:AISI 6

When we discuss culture and expectations we don’t only mean are the students happy and safe (which we truly know is important).  We are  also discussing is the classroom and the school set up in a way that allows teachers the time to work with students individually or in a small group setting. Do the other children have meaningful learning activities to take part in? Have they worked together with their class to build their independence and their excellent work habits? Is their differentiated learning opportunities for all learning needs?


As the AISI Leader I am fortunate to attend monthly AISI meetings where we have the opportunity to do in depth learning and hands on activities to build my understanding of each ELE. This allows me to bring the knowledge that our leadership team identifies as a need for us back to our staff. I work very closely with the other members of our leadership team to plan and carry out professional learning opportunities for our staff. We meet on a regular basis to plan and discuss how we are doing within our own school setting.