Parent Connect Parent Connect


Hands-On Session: Visual Literacy

Parent Connect- Visual Literacy

We hadn't attempted a hands-on session for Parent Connect in some time. So we decided to make February's session an opportunity to not just discuss the importance of visual communication, but to explore the tool Canva and use it to have participants create designs of their own. We had two basic learning intentions for this session:

  • to understand the importance of design as a basic literacy skill
  • to experience learning through play, exploration, trial and error

We began with a look at some popular websites: CNN and Smithsonian and the question, "What do you notice?" Check out those links now. What do YOU notice? Communication in the now is heavy on visuals and lighter on text. To be literate in our digitally-connected world, visual design skills are not an option but a necessity. We talked about how some schools, such as Science Leadership Academy, are rethinking content requirements to reflect this by making graphic design a requirement for graduation.

Parent Connect- Visual Literacy (4)

We also talked about the "learner's mindset" to bring when exploring a new tool and creating a design. The above list was brainstormed during a session with 3rd graders learning to use Canva.

Parent Connect- Visual Literacy (1)

Here are the creations of our Parent Connect participants.

Add aChildren little bit of body text Breathe (1) Never stop learning because life never stop teaching-2 attitude is a The most powerful weapon that can be used to change the world! Your_Designs_–_Canva Andrea Emily


Parent Connect: Daily 5 (Choice Literacy)


Choice Literacy Website

Articles from the "Read Around"

Reading for Pleasure Puts Children Ahead in the Classroom

Why Kids Should Choose Their Own Books to Read in School

and another relevant article by a high school teacher with the Daily 5 mindset:

Flip Your Class with Blogs



Parent Connect: Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Back by popular demand, this was our second session on growth mindset. This is such a relevant and popular topic that we shared all new information and resources.  Last year's session on mindset can be found here.

We started with a self-assessment. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements.

We shared an overview of Carol Dweck's research on Mindset, summarized in this chart.

Check out this short, amazing video showing what neurogenesis (creating new neural pathways) looks like in the brain.

Next we watched part of this fascinating TEDx Talk from Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code.

We discussed reframing our language to be more reflective of growth mindset using these prompts.

Resources to Explore:

Teaching Girls to Adopt a Growth Mindset (article and chart)

A List of Books That Promote Growth Mindset

Thank you to Jackie Gerstein for sharing ideas and resources from her growth mindset workshop for educators.


Parent Connect: 21st Century Literacies

Slide 4: Metaliteracy

What Does it Mean to be Literate? (article)

Slide 9: Basic Literacy & Code Switching

Code Switching: Key & Peele (video)

How Code Switching Explains the World (article)

Slide 15: Attention Literacy

Attention Literacy (article)


Parent Connect: Personalized Learning

Slide and Resources from March 31st Parent Connect with Andrea and Karin:

Personalized Learning: Meeting the Needs of Each Individual





Want to learn more?

EdTechworkshop: "Personalized Learning in a 1:1 Classroom: A Tour Through My Inbox"

Star Sackstein: "One Size Never Fits All"

Creative Educator (Tech4Learning): "Creative Personalized Learning"


Parent Connect: Authentic Literacy

Slides and Resources from January 27th Parent Connect with Karin and Andrea:

Authentic Literacy: What is it and why does it matter?

Authentic literacy from Andrea Hernandez

Want to learn more?

Don't Underestimate The Power of Pleasure Reading

Why Students Hate Reading- And Often Aren't Very Good at It

How to Get Students to Love Reading

The Most Important Lesson Schools Can Teach Kids About Reading: It's Fun

How a Reading Promise Can Forge Families and Shape Lives ( reading aloud at home)


Parent Connect: Developing a Growth Mindset

This month's interactive discussion in our series about the evolution of literacy and learning: Learning to Learn: Developing a Growth Mindset

Parent Connect || Learning to Learn: Developing a Growth Mindset from Martin J. Gottlieb Day School


Video: The Power of Belief: Mindset and Success, Eduardo Brinceno at TEDx Manhattan Beach (November 2012)

Book: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (2006)

Related Articles:
Students' View of Intelligence Can Help Grades (NPR Books, Feb. 2007)
Even Geniuses Work Hard by Carol Dweck  (Educational Leadership, Sept. 2010)


What is the Daily 5?- Parent Connect 9/24/12

This year, we are piloting a new literacy program in grades 2, 4 and 5.  This grew out of our summer professional development book groups, which you can read more about here. The program, called the Daily 5, is grounded in the knowledge base of what activities and behaviors are most effective for developing basic literacy. The Daily 5 was written by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, who also maintain the website.

Our first Parent Connect this year was dedicated to sharing information about The Daily 5 and our implementation of it this year. Here is a review for those parents who were not able to join us, as well as anyone else interested in learning more.

Everything we do is grounded in an understanding of what our students need in order to be successful in this connected, high tech world. We believe the Daily 5 helps us help our students to become independent learners.

Our librarian, Karin Hallett, shared some of the research behind this program in the following slides:

If you would like to learn more, here is an excellent article that synthesizes current research and underscores the importance of self-selected independent reading.

We watched a video of Amy Stein teaching her second graders the "I PICK" strategy for learning how to choose "good fit books."

We also watched Stephanie Teitelbaum introducing "Read to Self" to her 4th and 5th graders.

Here are some thoughts from Andrea Hernandez and Jon Mitzmacher:

This final video includes a discussion about The CAFE Book, which is the counterpart to the Daily 5, as well as information about the data collection process.

Stephanie has started a professional blog, Teach, Blog and Tweet, where she will be documenting and reflecting upon the process as it unfolds. Please feel free to follow her there, and add your voice to the discussion.



Parent Connect- September 27th, 2011 8:30 am


What’s New?

Welcome to 21st century learning in the school year 2011-2012! (Since we're so far into the 21st century, maybe we should call it something else....any ideas?)
We have lots of exciting news to share with you.

New Tools

First of all, we have new equipment! We are thrilled to have brand new MacBooks for student use at school.  We are working hard to get the new laptops set up and into the carts. We are also going to be piloting iPads this year. Stay tuned to learn with us as we explore the educational applications of this technological innovation.



New Spaces

As we have all experienced, with the renovation of our office and hallways, spaces really affect how we feel about a place. Learning spaces should reflect our pedagogy. Sam Gliksman, in "Learning Space Designs & Their Impact on Education" writes:

We go to great lengths and expense to provide technology to our schools - hopefully in part because we see it as a means of empowering students to research, explore, experience, collaborate and more. Does your physical learning environment support that vision? How does it impact the process and flow of learning taking place? 

Here, in the room formerly known as the "computer lab," we are giving serious consideration to how the physical environment reflects our beliefs about learning. The ultimate vision for the use of technology in our school is, in the words of Chris Lehmann, for the tools to be "like oxygen: ubiquitous, invisible and necessary."

So, we have dismantled the computer lab and distributed the old desktop computers to the classrooms. No longer will K-5 students have "technology" once a week as a "resource class." We are re-purposing the space as a hub for our new, mobile technologies. Some possible names for the new space are: "cyber cafe," and "learning lab."  We are still playing with ideas- please share yours in the comments!  We have grouped the tables to enable working together and covered them with map tablecloths to inspire thoughts of global connectedness. We will have a green screen for video making. We hope to see teachers and students of all ages working side by side on projects, using the technology tools in pursuit of great learning.

Parent Education

"Parent Coffee Talk" also has a new name for the new year: "Parent Connect."

 If you haven't joined us in the past, please consider checking it out. The discussions are dynamic, and we all learn from each other. We look forward to welcoming you to our newly-designed learning space where we can discuss in detail our visions and dreams for the year ahead. Feel free to bring interested guests and BYOC (Bring Your Own Coffee!).


This last bit of news is certainly not least. MJGDS will be hosting edJEWcon 5772.0 , a participatory learning conference for Jewish schools, in the late spring!  We have dreamed and discussed, planned and envisioned, and now we will have the real opportunity to open our school and invite others to learn with us and from us. Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs of Curriculum 21 will be our keynote speaker. Much more will be shared as the details take shape, but this is an incredibly exciting event!