Color block logo of Deal Alice Deal Weekly Bulletin

January 12, 2009
"Think globally. Listen compassionately. Act inclusively."
Thought for the Week
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bell Schedule
 
Monday - Bell II (School-wide BCR)
Tuesday - Bell T (DC-BAS)
Wednesday - Bell T (DC-BAS)
 Thursday - Bell I
Friday - Bell II (MLK Assembly) 
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ZAP News
Student attendance at ZAP (Zeroes Aren't Permitted) continues to be strong. In most cases, students are using the ZAP period (lunch time) to catch up on work they have missed or need to get in before a deadline. With the end of the 2nd Advisory rapidly approaching, attendance is expected to rise. Teachers are asked to make sure that students are clear about how to prioritize their late assignments: students should know to work on those assignments that will provide the "biggest bang for the buck." Please note that access to computers is severely limited in ZAP at this point, and that students should not expect to be able to complete extensive computer-based assignments during the 45-minute period. As always, committed staff will be there to support every student who walks through the door at ZAP.

International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program

A number of IB activities are underway at Deal this January. Some departments and teams have implemented their first IB MYP units, planning around the IB MYP unit planner and focusing instruction on Areas of Interaction and unit guiding questions. Teachers gathered on December 23, the day before the winter break, and began the arduous but rewarding process of identifying school-wide questions based on the MYP Areas of Interaction.
 
Additionally, learning objectives for each year for the Areas of Interaction were developed and subject-specific skills articulated for Approaches to Learning. What does all this jargon mean? Teachers are continuing the process of articulating what our students need to learn, when they need to learn it, and how we can use the IB to put it all together.

Upcoming Activities!


 Tuesday
Reading DC BAS #2
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Hardy at Deal, 3:30 pm

Wednesday
Math DC BAS #2
IB Class for Teachers, 3:30 pm

Thursday
2nd Semester schedules distributed during Homeroom

Faculty meeting, 3:20pm
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Jefferson at Deal, 3:30 pm

Friday
End of 2nd Advisory
Martin Luther King, Jr. Assembly

January 19th
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

January 20th
Inauguration Day - Holiday

January 21st
Students return to school.

January 22nd

Deal Ski Trip to Ski Liberty
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Oyster-Adams at Deal, 3:30 pm

January 23rd
Student Council Awards Assembly
Record-keeping day,
12:15 dismissal 
6th Grade Transition Meeting at 1:00 pm
 
Janaury 26th
Deal Spelling Bee
 Team Braveheart
Smithsonian Museum of American Art
 
January 27th
Chinese Club trip to Uptown Cathay
School visit with a school team from AZ
 
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Takoma at Takomal, 3:30 pm
 
January 29th
Team Braveheart
 field trip to Smithsonian
"WPG Trio" performance during pd. 6 & 7.
Deal Vision Meeting, 3:30pm
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Francis at Deal, 3:30 pm
 
January 30th
2nd Advisory report cards issued
 
February 2nd
The Student    
Council Pennies for Patients campaign begins
2009 Deal Science Fair Setup

February 3rd
Girls/ Boys Basketball Game vs Hardy at Hardy, 3:30 pm
 
February 4th
2009 Deal Science Fair Judging Day

February 5th
"New to Deal" Teachers Meeting, 3:30 pm
Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Lincoln at Deal, 3:30 pm
 
February 6th
LSRT meeting, 7:30 am

February 9th
 Girls/Boys Basketball
Game vs Takoma at Takoma
 
February 11th
Focus Walk - pd. 4

February 12th
Department Chairperson's Meeting, 3:30 pm, RM 101
 
February 13th
 Valentine's Day Party, 3:30 - 6 pm

February 16th
Presidents' Day Holiday

February 17th
Teachers submit deficiency reports to HR teachers

February 18th
HR teachers submit deficiency reports to the main office

February 19th
Mid-Advisory Reports mailed home
Faculty Meeting, 3:20 pm
 NAEP-2009 for 8th graders
 
February 20th
The Student Council Pennies for Patients campaign ends  
 
February 21st
Deal Auction
  
 April 3rd
Record-keeping day,
12:15 dismissal
Periods: 1, 3, 7, 4, 5

May 26th
Reception at Smithsonian Museum of American Art for Team Braveheart art/writing stories books

June 11
8th grade promotion

June 15
Last day of school for students

June 17
Last day of school for teachers
Message from Principal Kim
Principal KimWe have a busy week ahead of us!

Deal students will be taking our 3rd DC BAS test on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The first BAS test created a benchmark showing where we started.  The second test suggested some academic progress, and we are excited to see just how well we are progressing with this third test.  Please be sure to arrive to school on time so that you will not miss this session.  Students who come to school after 9 am will have to take the test during a make-up session later in the day.

Also, thanks to the students and families for following through with our attendance procedures by coming to school with a note when absent.  It really does make a difference!

Although we just got back from Winter Break, we will part ways again next Monday and Tuesday.  Monday is a holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  On Tuesday, we celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Obama.  When students return to school on Wednesday, we will begin the first day of the second semester.  I want to alert you to the possibility of some traffic issues on Wednesday morning after DC's late-night celebrations on Tuesday.  Please think through your morning plans for your children on Wednesday so that they can get to school safely and on time.

Principal Kim


DC-BAS Exams this Week!
Tuesday from 8:55 to 10:42 Reading
Wednesday from 8:55 to 10:42 Math
 
DC-BAS Schedule - Bell T
 
8:40 am             Warning Bell
8:45 - 8:55 am      Students report to Homeroom
8:55 - 9:00 am      Students report to
                    alternative testing sites
9:05 - 10:20 am     Testing
10:20 - 10:42 am    Return testing material
                    Students who need extended  
                    time - escorted to cafeteria
10:46 - 11:21 am    2nd period
11:25 - 12:00 noon 3rd period
12:04 - 12:39 pm   4th period
12:43 - 1:18 pm    5th period
1:22 - 1:57 pm      6th period
2:01 - 2:36 pm      7th period
2:40 - 3:15 pm      1st period
 
Students enrolled in Algebra I will take a midterm examination on Thursday in the cafeteria. Students are to report to their Homerooms.

Algebra I students in the 8th grade will be called to report to the cafeteria. They will test from 9-10:15 am.

7th grade Algebra I student will be asked to report to the cafeteria at 10:20 am and will test up until 11:35 am.

Students will be permitted to use graphing calculators for the mid-term Algebra I DC-BAS exam.
Weekly News

Thanks!
  • Thanks to the teachers, parents, office staff, and students for doing your part for the new attendance procedures!
  • Thanks to the Deal counselors for doing all that they do to support students academically!  They are busy tutoring students after school, getting 8th grade transcripts together, meeting with teachers & parents for SST, supporting students in the cafeteria and at ZAP, and making attendance plans - just to name a few things!
  • Thanks for using last week's "Food for Thought" article in team discussions and with students.  Please continue that conversation with this week's article.  Students should be aware of these meta-cognitive levers about their learning and development.
Teacher Reminders:
  • Please remember to submit common assessment and projects to Ms. Kim as more are developed.  I am still waiting for some departments to make their first submission.
  • Please remember to have students sign in with you when you meet with them during your lunch period and after school.  This information will be used for your final evaluations.
  • Teachers please be reminded to practice BCRs with students on your designated days. 
  • Please make sure to not use the telephone while students are in class except for extreme emergencies.
  • Please respond to all parent contact within 48 hours.
The Write Stuff
 

As we continue our efforts to improve students' literacy skills, we will begin administering school-wide writing prompts this month.  Teachers will engage in collaborative scoring of all student responses and provide feedback to students.  The first school-wide writing event will take place today.

Congratulations!


Congratulations to Sean Kelly (Team Odyssey) for winning the school wide Geography Bee. Sean will advance to the District Bee on April 3rd.  Good Luck Sean!!  The Deal Community is very proud of you.

Deal conserves water with environmentally friendly toilets!

The new toilets in our bathrooms are water conserving toilets which use a lot less water per flush.  But in order for them to flush properly, the flush handles were designed to be held down a bit longer.  So please take the additional second to hold down the handle a bit longer so that all of the debris gets flushed properly!  Thanks!

Student Council

Student Council Representatives please plan on attending a special meeting on Tuesday after school.  We will have a guest speaker to support our upcoming Pennies for Patients campaign.

Video Exercise Class

Starting Thursday Ms. Simpson-Wayne's video exercise class will resume. Classes will meet every Thursday from 3:30-4:30. 

Attention Knitters!

Deal Knitting Circle, a brand new knitting club, will begin at Deal Middle School this Friday! Knitting is a form of knot-making using yarn and wooden or metal "needles" to create something wearable like scarves, socks, mittens, hats, shirts, vests, hair bands, sweaters.... just about anything!  Knitting is known to reduce stress and increase relaxation, increase coordination, and increase ability to focus!  Remember, knitting IS for everyone so don't be shy, even if you are a beginner! 

If you are interested in joining this elite group of knitters, please sign-up right outside of room 201 (Ms. Wells) in the West Wing any day this week.  Space is limited so sign up fast!! Deal Knitting Circle will meet on Fridays from 3:30-4:30 pm.  Students will need a permission slip filled out by a parent to participate in this afterschool activity.

The Deal Knitting Circle will also be a Bell II activity.  Interested students should see Ms. Neal.

National History Day Help!  Help!  Help!

Students who need help with their National History Day projects are invited to come after school on Mondays from 3:30-4:30 pm for individualized advice and assistance from Ms. Mostoller.  She can help you edit your annotated bibliography, write your outline, develop a successful thesis,  or just provide advice about where to look for useful sources.  Be sure your parents know you are staying after school, and bring all your notes and questions in writing so that we can maximize the benefits of your time.

Spelling Bee
 
Teachers should submit the names of two students who will represent their homeroom in the Spelling Bee to Ms. Hovancsek by Friday, Jan. 16th.  The Deal Spelling Bee will be held on Monday, Jan. 26th at 3:30 pm.

Awards Assembly

Please update your calendar.  The Awards Assembly will now be held on Friday, January 23rd.  We will let you know the class schedule for that Friday soon.  

Capital City Jazz Project Continues

The dates for the workshops are Jan. 13th  & 27th , and Feb. 12th (the rest of the dates will be determined and posted).  There will be two workshops on each day, the first during 5th period and the second at 6th. Students have been instructed to get their work completed early.  Teachers, please keep the list of students that was placed in your mailbox for all Jazz project-related events.

"WPG Trio" Jazz Group Performs at Deal

The "WPG Trio" will perform at Deal in the Cafeteria on Jan. 29th. There will be two performances, 7th grade during 6th period and 8th grade during 7th.  All classes are invited to attend.  Students who participate in the Jazz Workshops should be excused from class if the teacher is not bringing down their class, thank you.

Joe Corbi's at Deal

The Music Department is selling Joe Corbi's in order to raise money for their trip to Cleveland, Ohio.  Please support us by purchasing an item from any music student.  The last day to place an order is Jan. 21st. All items can be picked up on Feb. 11th. Thank you for your support! 

Department of Music Listserv

The Music Department uses a listserv in order to communicate information to its students and parents.  All students involved with the Department of Music should sign up to be a member of this listserv.  To become a member send an email mail to . 

Indoor Track Forms

Any students interested in joining the Deal Boys and Girls Indoor Track Teams need to submit their forms as soon as possible.  Forms should be delivered to Mr. Geremia.  Any questions, please see Mr. McDowell.

Chinese New Year Field Trip 

Mrs. Wang and 36 of her students will celebrate the Chinese New Year by having lunch at the Chinese restaurant, Uptown Cathay, on Tuesday, January 27.

Building An IB Middle Years Program Class at Deal

This Wednesday at 3:30 pm will be the second meeting of the "Building an IB Middle Years Program" class, a 10-week graduate level course being offered by our IB Coordinator. This week's class will be focused on "Using the Subject Guide to Deepen Your Instruction - How to fit the MYP pieces together?"  The class will be exploring the role of the subject guide, how to use it to advantage, and evaluating instructional practices detailed in the guide.  Last week teachers started the class series off with learning some basic information about the MYP, looking at some current research on the IB, and exploring the IB Programme Standards and Practices.

Lost and FOUND Textbooks

Jordan Blagburn - Spanish
Diona Boler - Science
Antonio Dawes - English
Vanessa Flores - French
Karen Herrera - History
Terrence Jones - English
Michael Kusnet - Science (Interactions)
Yannick Mafame - English
Marvin Mata - Spanish
Kali Murphy - Literature
Mai Nicholson - Spanish
Travon Parker - French
Jose Reyes - Science
Camille Titzell - French

Please take better care of your books - they are critical resources for our learning community!

Vision Meeting

Committee members:  This meeting is now scheduled for Thursday, January 29th @ 3:30.  See you there! 

The LEGO SmartTM Creativity Contest

Now through August 2009, LEGO® Education is hosting an activity challenge for educators of all grades and subject areas!   The LEGO SmartTM Creativity Contest begins with your imagination and ends with one Grand Prize and eight monthly winners, online recognition, and the chance to share your activity with thousands of students across the nation!

The task is simple.  Create an activity using only the bricks included in a LEGO Smart Kit.  Join the challenge! Log on to www.LEGOeducation.com/CreativityContest to request your free LEGO Smart Kit and submit your activity today!

Apple Demo of New Software and Hardware
 
On January 23rd at 2:00 pm Apple will have a demonstration of parallels and bootcamp.  Apple will demonstrate the uses and interface with our Grade Book program and other programs Deal uses.  Expected at this meeting/Demo:  Mr. Dacoba, Mr. Mbayu, Mr. Simmons, Ms. Lerum, Ms. Wells, Ms. Mostoller, Mr. Mungai, Ms. Hovancseck and Mr. Jackson.
 
The demonstration will take place in Mr. Simmon's Room - Room # C-163.  If others are interested, please contact Mr. Dacoba.
 

 

Before & After School Activities This Week ...
 
 Monday
  • Concert Band,  7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am

Monday PM

  • Indoor Track Practice, 3 - 5 pm
  • Debate Team, 3:20 - 4:30 pm
  • Rugby, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Cheerleading practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Boys/Girls' Basketball practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Student Council officers meeting, 3:20 - 4 pm
  • Tutoring with Ms. Mason, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, RM 211
  • Science tutoring with Ms. Hampton, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • LAYC tutoring 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • MathCounts, 3:25 - 4:45 pm, RM 105
  • Tutoring with Ms. Brown & Ms. Bruce, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Jazz Combo - Mon & Thurs, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
  • NHD support with Ms. Mostoller, 3:30 - 4:30 pm

Tuesday AM

  • Jazz Band, 7:45 am
  • Concert Choir, 7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7-8:30 am
 
Tuesday PM
  • Student Government meeting, 3:20 pm, RM 207
  • Human Rights Club meeting, 3:15 pm, RM N101
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 -4:30 pm
  • Drumline, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • International Cooking Club, 3:15 - 4:30 pm
  • Art Club, 3:20-4:20 pm, Ms. Washington's classroom
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • Boys/Girls' Basketball Game vs Hardy at Deal, 3:30 pm
  • Cheerleading practice
Wednesday AM
  • Concert Choir, 7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am

Wednesday PM

  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • Boys/Girls' Basketball practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Cheerleading practice
  • Show Choir, 3:30 pm - 4:15 pm
  • Mathcounts, 3:25 - 4:45 pm, RM 105
  • Cleveland Band 7:45 am
  • Show Choir, 7:45 am

Thursday PM

  • Rugby, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Ms. Simpson-Wayne's Video Exercise Class, 3:30 -4:30 pm
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • Girls/Boys Basketball Game vs Jefferson at Deal, 3:30 pm
  • Jazz Combo

Friday AM

  • Rock Choir, 8 am
  • Flute and Clarinet Ensembles, 8 am

Friday PM

  • Field Games with Mr. Brecher
  • Tutoring with Ms. Brown & Ms. Bruce, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Knitting with Ms. Wells, 3:30 -4:30 pm

As always, students should only be at school with parent permission!
Food for thought...

What Helps Develop Students' Self-Efficacy Beliefs?
         
In this 45-page article in the Review of Educational Research, professors Ellen Usher and Frank Pajares examine the literature on students' self-efficacy beliefs. In particular, they analyze the theory propounded by Albert Bandura (1977, 1986) and confirmed by others that people's beliefs about their own capabilities powerfully affect the way they behave, including:
-         Their level of optimism;
-         How they attribute causation;
-         Their achievement goal orientation;
-         The choices they make;
-         The effort they put forth;
-         The persistence and perseverance they display in the face of difficulties;
-         How well they monitor and assess the quality of their work time;
-         How readily they correct their errors;
-         How efficiently they solve problems;
-         How willing they are to seek academic help;
-         The degree of anxiety or serenity they feel as they tackle life's challenges;
-         Their self-concept and sense of worth;
-         Their academic achievement across all areas and levels;
-         Their college major and career choices.
Clearly self-efficacy beliefs are a key factor in students' success. But where do these positive or negative beliefs come from?
            Usher and Pajares say the research points to four sources, and the rest of their article is an analysis of how these sources operate and how they stack up.
            · Mastery experiences - Students' own past successes and failures are one source of their sense of competence or incompetence. Self-efficacy develops when students successfully learn new material, say the authors. "Although failure may occur periodically, when students notice a gradual improvement in skills over time, they typically experience a boost in their self-efficacy. Mastery experiences prove particularly powerful when individuals overcome obstacles or succeed on challenging tasks." What's important, though, are students' perceptions of their achievement. For example, if a student is accustomed to getting As, works hard for a test, and gets a B, self-efficacy suffers. But if a student is accustomed to getting Ds, works equally hard, and gets a B, self-efficacy improves.
            · Comparing oneself to others - A second source of self-efficacy comes from students' comparisons of their performance with that of other students. For example, let's take a high-school student who gets 8 right out of 20 questions on a physics test. If she finds out that the rest of the class scored below 8, she would feel pretty good about her competence; if she finds out everyone else scored better than 8, she would feel stupid. Usher and Pajares say that adolescents are more susceptible to measuring themselves against peers than elementary-school students.
            · Encouragement from others - Supportive messages from trusted parents, teachers and peers are a third source of self-efficacy, particularly, say Usher and Pajares, "when accompanied by conditions and instruction that help bring about success," and also when feedback encourages students to measure success in terms of personal growth, not in comparison to others. But spoken and unspoken messages from others can also undermine confidence and effort. The authors quote the poet Stanley Kunitz, who wrote, "We learn, as the thread plays out, that we belong less to what flatters us than to what scars" (2000).
            · Emotional and physiological states - Students can interpret their level of anxiety, stress, and fatigue as a sign of personal competence or incompetence. "Students who experience a feeling of dread when going to a particular class likely interpret their apprehension as evidence of lack of skill in that area," say the authors. Previous success or failure can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy as students approach new challenges; if they did poorly in the past, they are more likely to be anxious - and to tell themselves they're no good at the subject because they feel anxious.
            Usher and Pajares analyzed thirty years of research to find out which of these was the most important to students' self-efficacy beliefs. They found that the first, mastery experiences, was by far the most influential across all studies, all domains, and all types of student (the median correlation was .58). Why was experiencing mastery so important? Because, say the authors, "this experience contains the most authentic evidence as to whether students can master subsequent tasks in related domains." Evidence on the other three sources was much less compelling, often because of methodological problems with the studies.
            Studies also found links among the four sources of self-efficacy. This is not surprising, say the authors. A student who writes an excellent essay, for example, will probably compare favorably to classmates, receive praise from teachers and parents (and perhaps from peers), and have positive feelings going into the next writing assignment.
            The authors looked to see if there were gender and racial differences. Mastery experiences were the number one source of self-efficacy for both males and females and all racial/ethnic groups. However, girls' self-efficacy was somewhat more likely to be affected by the opinions of significant others, whereas boys were more likely to be influenced by their objective accomplishments. Adolescent girls were also more likely to have lower self-efficacy beliefs in subjects that are seen as "masculine" - e.g., math and science. Usher and Pajares say this is probably caused by cultural beliefs; parents, in particular, often portray math and science as male domains.
            As for racial differences, Usher and Pajares report the research on "stereotype threat", wherein African-American students underperform in a manner consistent with negative stereotypes when attention is drawn to their race and to the idea of innate ability. The authors also speculate that African-American students' relatively high self-efficacy beliefs (as compared with their academic achievement) may be explained by their "disidentification" with the academic realm - avoiding working hard to safeguard against being seen as inferior. They cite the work of Claude Steele (1999) on the need for schools to take a "culturally attentive approach" to boost identification with academic work and self-efficacy beliefs linked to high achievement.
            The authors conclude by speculating about the impact that transformative experiences can have on "a child's theory of who he is and what he is worth" - perhaps a teacher who comes along at just the right moment, perhaps the way educators and parents talk about intelligence and effort. Usher and Pajares bemoan the way some students get locked into negative beliefs about their abilities, believing they are fixed and unchangeable. "There are few things sadder to a teacher or parent," they say, "than being faced with capable young people who, as a result of previous demoralizing experiences, self-imposed mind-sets, or mind-sets imposed before birth, have come to believe that they cannot succeed at a task or activity when all objective indications show that they can." The authors hope that future research will help educators find the most powerful levers for influencing what students believe about their intelligence and abilities so they can "make the best of the efficacy-relevant information that comes their way, to help them become agents of their own psychological health."
 
"Sources of Self-Efficacy in School: Critical Review of the Literature and Future Directions" by Ellen Usher and Frank Pajares in Review of Educational Research, December 2008 (Vol. 78, #4, p. 751-796), no e-link available

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Alice Deal Middle School | 3815 Fort Drive, NW | Washington | DC | 20016