Mr. Ackerman's Blog


December 3, 2014 · No Comments

As I have mentioned before, all students at Lane will be taking the PARCC test instead of MCAS this Spring. The PARCC will test ELA and Math.  Throughout the upcoming months, I will update you on what we expect the test will be like. But keep in mind, this is the first year of the test, thus there are still many unknowns. One thing we do know for sure is that our students are taking the pencil/paper version of the test (many schools in Massachusetts, including JGMS, are taking the online version). For this post, I want to focus on one of most challenging ELA Learning Expectations for Gr 3:

Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic”(ELA Standard Gr 3).

What might this look like for grade 3? See the two links below which show two reading passages. After reading the passages, look at the question below in red.  Your reaction may be “wow this is difficult” or “this seems reasonable.”  Either way, we are working hard to make sure our students can demonstrate proficiency for this high-level skill. Let me know what you think.
Here is one of the questions our students would need to answer:

You have read two texts about famous people in American history who solved a problem by working to make a change.

Write an article for your school newspaper describing how Eliza and Carver faced challenges to change something in America.

•     In your article, be sure to describe in detail why some solutions they tried worked and others did not work.

•     Tell how the challenges each one faced were the same and how they were different

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November 21, 2014 · No Comments

As many of you know, one of the goals of the Bedford School District is to develop ways to embrace and celebrate the diversity in our schools. Over the past month, Mrs Smith, our guidance counselor, has been leading a Friday activity with six classrooms from different grades. The activity has our students forming a large circle and stepping into the circle when the answer is “yes” to Mrs Smith’s statement. This is a great way to have our students think about differences in a quiet and non-threatening environment.

Students are asked:

You have a brother.
You have a sister.
You love pancakes.
People often mispronounce your first or last name.

Mrs Smith then asks the students to self-reflect on what they are seeing and feeling.

More questions are then posed:
You live with both of your parents.
You live with one of your parents.
Some of your family members live in another country.
You speak a different language at home.

Students are again asked to stop and reflect on what they observe and feel.

Mrs Smith then asks the students to listen to another set of questions, including…
You have seen someone be mean to another.
You or someone you know have been teased because of your accent, color of skin, or religious background.

At the end of the activity, the students are asked to think about how we are different? how are we alike? what did it feel like stepping into the circle? was there anything that surprised you?

Mrs Smith wrapped up the lesson with  a poignant message about the importance of diversity and how it strengthens our school.

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10 Photos in 10 Minutes

October 31, 2014 · 2 Comments

Here’s a quick video I put together this morning. I want parents to know all the amazing things our students are doing at Lane.

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PARCC Math Example

October 19, 2014 · No Comments

This year, students in grades 3-5 will be taking the PARCC exam instead of MCAS.  Although there are some unknowns about the test, there are a few things we are confident will appear on the Math part of the PARCC in the Spring. One of the characteristics of the PARCC will be questions which ask the students to transfer their math knowledge to demonstrate understanding. In simple terms, this mean there will not be a lot of straight computation, like this:

Instead, students will need to use the skill of adding or multiplying numbers in combination with their mathematical knowledge to solve a multi-step problem. Why multi-step? Because most problems in life require more than just one step to solve. Our goal at Lane is to prepare students for their future. This means making sure they are equipped with the skills, habits and understanding to solve “real life” math problems. This is a short video I put together to give you a better sense of what to expect.

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MCAS Video

October 2, 2014 · No Comments

This is a short video to help you understand your child’s MCAS scores.

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2013 MCAS

October 1, 2014 · No Comments

MCAS scores will be arriving in the mail this week.  Please view the video below if you need help understanding the scores you receive. Grade 4 and 5 do have growth scores, whereas Grade 3 does not since it is their first year taking the state test.

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September 18, 2014 · No Comments

A few weeks ago I invited Dr Rob Evans to speak to the Grade 3 parents at Back to School Night.  I received lots of positive feedback afterwards. We are fortunate to bring you a recording of Dr Evan’s presentation for those who may have talked to parents in the audience or who simply may be interested in the topic.  His wisdom and advice is relevant, timely, and very  important for all of us. If you get a free moment, take some time and watch his talk.  Let me know what you think.

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Lots of ways to connect with Lane

August 29, 2014 · No Comments

There are several different ways to receive news coming from Lane.  All parents should sign up for the e-newsletter (sign up can be found at bottom of district website)

For those of you who like to receive more updates, such as shared photos, glimpses into daily life at Lane, and other more “minor” updates, please “like” us on Facebook.

We also have a Twitter account (@Lanebedford) which sends out links for all Facebook updates.  Lots to choose from.

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Interview with Ms Herman

July 24, 2014 · No Comments

For our continued series on new staff, here is a short interview with Ms Herman, one of two new grade 4 teachers.

1. What makes you excited about coming to the Lane School?

I’ve been so impressed by far by the faculty I’ve met at Lane. It seems like a dedicated and passionate community that I cannot wait to become a part of. I’m excited to be working in this incredible part of Massachusetts and to learn more about the town and the community.

2. What is your favorite memory from when you were in grade 4 as a kid?

I went to elementary school in New Jersey, and just like in Massachusetts, we spent the year studying national and local geography in social studies. For an end of year project I got to make a sheet cake shaped like New Jersey!
3. What made you want to be a teacher?

I was a kid who always said I wanted to be a teacher growing up. In college I studied education from many different perspectives; I came out of these experiences knowing that my passion lay within the classroom. It’s an amazing profession in that every day is unique. The excitement that comes from working and learning with children is something I value deeply.

4.  Tell us one thing we would be surprised to know about you?
I spent my summer teaching kids to rock climb and taking them on adventure courses!
5.  What have you been reading this summer?
In terms of children’s books I recently read Kate DiCamillo’s book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane for the first time and love it. In terms of adult literature, I just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides.

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Interview with Ms Chadzutko

July 17, 2014 · 1 Comment

Ms Chadzutko is one of two new Grade 4 classroom teachers starting in September. Since many people are always curious about the “new teacher,” I thought I would continue or annual informal interview with new hires so the community can begin to get to know them.

1.  What makes you excited about coming to the Lane School?

I am excited about coming to the Lane School because I already feel welcome as a part of the school community. Everyone I met has been willing and happy to answer all of my questions and help me in any way they can. It will be great to be a part of such a friendly teaching staff!

2.  What is your favorite memory from when you were in grade 4 as a kid?

When I was in the 4th grade, we had a class mascot which was a Beanie Baby named Curlie. Everyone in the class got to take him home for a weekend and we would see what adventures he would go on. He got to go to so many interesting places!

3.  What made you want to be a teacher?

I didn’t think about being a teacher until I was nearing the end of high school. I had always loved reading and English but I had an awesome teacher who made the work we did challenging and exciting. I decided that I wanted to be someone who could make learning fun and exciting too.

4.  Tell us one thing we would be surprised to know about you?

I love to travel to different parts of the United States and go hiking and kayaking. I have been to 31 states so far and hope to travel to all 50 someday.

5.  What have you been reading this summer?

I have been trying to catch up on all of the books I wanted to read during the school year. I just finished “I am Malala” and am starting some of the classics this week.

6.  What is the highlight of your summer so far?

I haven’t done anything too exciting yet  but in two weeks I will be going to Maine and hiking Mt. Katahdin which is the tallest mountain in Maine. Some parts of the trail to the summit are only 3 feet wide!!!

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