Color block logo of Deal Alice Deal Weekly Bulletin

April 13, 2009
"Think globally. Listen compassionately. Act inclusively."

Thought for the Week  
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." 
 -- Dr. Seuss

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Bell Schedule
Monday - Holiday
Tuesday- Bell I
Wednesday - Bell II (Bell II activity)
Thursday - Holiday
Friday - Bell I
Register Your Child Now!

Deal families,

You should have received a registration packet in the mail.  Please fill out all of the forms (lunch, residency, after school, etc.) and bring them to Deal between the hours of 9am & 3pm. 

This will be a BIG help to us for planning for next year & you don't have to come in during the summer!

If you have any questions, please see Ms. Baxter.

[email protected]

Upcoming Activities!

School Resumes
PeopleSoft Training during 4th and 5th Periods
Faculty Meeting, 3:20

Deal Staff Meeting with the Chancellor, 4:30
Emancipation Day Holiday

Enrollment Fair/Open House,
 9-12 noon

April 20-24
DC CAS Testing (students are reminded to bring their calculators and #2 pencils!)
April 23
Competition Choir Rehearsal; 3:30 - 4:30
PTA meeting elections, 7 pm
April 30
Competition Choir Rehearsal; 3:30 - 4:30
Mary Cheh hosts a discussion about Education issues for Ward 3 in the Deal cafeteria, 6:30 pm

May 6, 7, & 8
Deal Book Fair
Come meet Deal's new librarian!

May 7
Competition Choir Rehearsal; 3:30 - 4:30 

May 8
Braveheart to Gettysburg

May 15
Parent Teacher Conference (12:00 noon - 7:00), No school for students

May 21
Faculty Meeting, 3:20 pm

May 25
Memorial Day Holiday

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

May 28 & 29
Deal production of "Once Upon a Mattress"

May 29
Final Student Awards Assembly

May 30
Annual Bikes for the World Collection, 10-1pm

June 3
8th grade class trip

June 5
8th grade dance, 7-10 pm

June 11
8th grade promotion, 9:15 am
7th grade trip to King's Dominion

June 15
Last day of school for students

June 17
Last day of school for teachers
Teacher Opportunity
American University will be offering free graduate level summer content courses for DC Public School teachers in the following areas:
Performing Arts
Peace Education
Health Promotion
History and Math
Environmental Studies
For more details visit:
FREE Role Model Workshops for Teens - National Museum of Women in the Arts
Destruction & Creation:  Handmade Paper and Altered Books Role Model Workshop
Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26; 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
This two-day intensive workshop will be led by Washington, D.C.-based artist and teacher Lynn Sures. Participants will learn how the act of destruction can lead to the creation of amazing new art through the hands-on exploration of papermaking and book altering. Sures is a Professor of Fine Arts at Corcoran College of Art and Design and has taught workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad. In addition to being a multitalented paper artist, Sures also curates both handmade paper and artists' book shows and contributes to multiple art publications.

Purls of Wisdom Role Model Workshop
Saturday, May 9; 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Parents and grandparents are invited to join their teens for this special multigenerational Role Model Workshop. Indiana-based textile artist Althea Crome will share her tiny treasures, discuss her life's work, and teach participants how to knit. Crome's micro-knit creations are featured in the major motion picture Coraline and in the traveling exhibition Radical lace and Subversive Knitting, which was organized by and premiered at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City in January 2007.
Dance is Discovery Role Model Workshop
Saturday, June 27; 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Discover your inner dancer during this special workshop with Lauren Stash. Over the last ten years, Stash has performed with The Washington Ballet, The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company and has taught dance to children and teens. Designed to investigate the everyday movements depicted in visual art and translate those into dance, this workshop will encourage participants to explore movement through exercises led by Stash and to learn about the basics of dance history. 
Reservations required. Email [email protected] or call 202-783-7370 
Message from Principal Kim
Principal Kim
Welcome back to school again! 
Although it has brought us some much needed rest,
these many breaks have caused a disruption to our weekly routines.  It has also challenged students' organization skills.  Please make sure to set aside some time to reorganize with the students in classes as well as at home so that they are able to focus with clarity and simplicity.

Parents, you should have received your child's report card last Friday.  8th grade students also brought home a letter detailing needed information for 8th grade promotion events.  Please pay attention to the deadlines for payment.  Also, please review each criteria carefully.  If your child does not successfully promote academically, he or she will not be eligible to participate in any of the promotional celebrations.  With that said, it is not too late for any student at Deal to promote to the next grade -  please find out what your child needs to do to be promoted.

Congratulations to our very own Sonia Schlesinger who won the city-wide Spelling Bee and now will be advancing to the National Spelling Bee championship representing DC!  Watching her and the other students compete on TV on Saturday was thrilling!  I know that she has put a lot of hard work into preparing herself for the spelling challenge.  Nice work Sonia!!!  All of Deal stand behind you in support!

We have 4 more school days before the DC CAS exam next week!  Please spend the rest of the time wisely.

Principal Kim

Count Down to the DC CAS

DC-CAS Test-Taking Strategies

  • Answer Every question
  • If you don't know the answer, cross out the answer choices you know are definitely wrong. If you're still not sure, TAKE AN EDUCATED GUESS. Pick the one that sounds the most right to you.
  • Even if you think you know the answer, read all of the answer choices carefully before you make a decision.
  • Answer the questions in any order you like.
  • After you have finished, go back and answer any question you left blank.
  • Remember to use the RACE strategy for BCRs.
  • Don't leave blanks!
DC-CAS Schedule

Tuesday, April 21

Reading Session 1 & 2

Bell 1

Test periods 1-3 then students report to periods 4, 5, 6, 7


Wednesday, April 22

Reading Session 3 & 4

Bell 1

Test periods 1-3 then students report to periods 4, 5, 1, 2


Thursday, April 23  

Mathematics Session 1 & 2 (bring your calculator)

Bell 2

Test periods 1-3 then students report to periods 4, 5, 2, 3


Friday, April 24  

Mathematics Session 3 & 4 (bring your calculator)

Bell 2

Test periods 1-3 then students report to periods 4, 5, 3, 1


Monday, April 27

Bell 1

Test 1-3

Science 8

Composition 7

Bell 1
Test periods 1-3 then students report to periods 4, 5, 6, 7 
DC CAS Test Directions
Teachers, to get a preview of the Test Directions and other information on the DC-CAS visit (click on ancillary materials).

Saturday, April 18 - 9:00 am until 12:00 noon

alice Deal buildingAll current and future parents and students are asked to attend our Open House/Enrollment Fair on Saturday, April 18th! 

Bring your questions about our curriculum and co-curricular activities, take a tour of our newly modernized building, and meet faculty and staff. 
To register your child, you will need to:
complete the Annual Student Enrollment Form
show Proof of residency in DC and within the 
  attendance zone
have a signed Immunization and Oral Health Forms
complete the Home Language Survey
complete the Family Application for Breakfast, Lunch,
  and After-School Snacks

Prizes will be available for the first 100 students to register!!! 

Save yourself a trip to the school during the summer and get it done now!  We need the support of every parent to complete this so that we can be better prepared with schedules for next school year!  Thanks for your support and please spread the news!
Staff Information
Congratulations Ms. Mason!  
Ms. Mason was awarded an EarthWatch Fellowship to Study Coastal Ecology of the Bahamas.  She will be traveling to the Bahamas this summer to study the impact of severe hurricanes and storm events on coastal ecology.  The 10 day excursion also allows participants to snorkel, participate in water quality assessment, and observe and classify wildlife.  
Tuesday Morning Meeting to Prepare for Saturday's enrollment fair!
Reminder for all department chairs and teachers who have volunteered to support at enrollment fair to meet in room N101 to finalize details.

Wednesday Morning Meeting for 8th Grade Teachers

Instead of team meetings on Wednesday, all teachers who work with 8th graders should report to Ms. Sweeney's room 105 at 8:10.
PeopleSoft Training
Whitney Miller, DCPS School Staffing Specialist, will be visiting Deal on Tuesday, April 14 to introduce PeopleSoft to staff.  She will be giving brief presentations and answering general questions during 4th period and 5th periods in the teacher's lounge.  Ms. Miller will teach staff how to review their paycheck before payday to catch and correct any errors.

Counselors' New Phone Numbers
Ms. Hernandez     
Cell            202   373.8282
Office         202   939.2013
Ms. McFarland
Office         202   939.2014
Mr. Santiago
Cell            202  373.4435
Office         202  939.2012
Student Information
CAPS -Counselors Adoption for Passable Students
When:  Wednesday's at 3:15 PM
Where: Room 215 
Why:    To assist students with organizational skills, academic achievement, social and personal development 
How:    Just come and meet with the counseling team.  Your participation is needed and we hope to see your face in the place!
Musical Workshops
The Music Department will be sponsoring more workshops in connection with agencies that have partnered up with DCPS.
May 6, 2009 - PM Workshop (7th grade 5th Period and 8th Grade 6th Period)
May 22, 2009 - AM Workshop
May 27, 2009 - Time TBA (Wilson HS Music Department Workshop)
Teachers, you already have a list of students that should be excused for each of these events, thank you.
Cleveland Trip Next Payment Due
As of 2/1/09, everyone should have paid $340. Please forward your payment of $85 as soon as possible. If you have questions or concerns about payment, please see Mr. Frye or Mr. Jackson.
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 [email protected]  

Congratulations to the Boys Baseball Team
The 2009 Deal Viking Baseball Team Members are:
Sean Kelly
Lane Washington-Roque
Joe Greenberg
Max Walker
Vincent Femia
Noah Lipshie
Robert Stone
Noah Bell
Henry Englert
Jordan Howie
Liam Kerwin
Scot Beumel
Liam Fischer
Jesse Lauritsen
Jacob Mallin 

Lost and Found Textbooks 
Donovan Barnes - Science
Safara Bemah - English
Dennis Centeno - English
Ariel Garay-Flores - English
Vanessa Flores - French
Delta Ford - Science
Joseph Green - English, Spanish
Elishua Greenwood - English
Terry Hedgepeth - Science
Karen Herrera - History, Math
Nhat Hoang - English, Chinese
Michael Kusnet - Science (Interactions)
Khyle Link - Science
Ciara Mackey - Math
Sherridan Mitchell - English, Science
Felipe Munoz-Larious - English
Kelli Myrick - Spanish, English
Emma Noel - Spanish, History
Jamal Noland - English
Anna Pomper - English
Jalyn Robinson - Science
Peter Vo, French
Please take better care of your books - they are critical resources for our learning community!
Feeder School Math Placement Test Dates
Tuesday, May 5 @ Eaton ES, 9 AM
Wednesday, May 6 @ Lafayette ES, 9 AM
Wednesday, May 6 @ Shepherd ES, 9 AM
Tuesday May 12 @ Murch ES, 9 AM
Wednesday May 13 @ Janney ES (5th grade), 9 AM
Thursday May 14 @ Janney ES (6th grade), 9 AM
Friday-May 15th (parent Teacher Conference Day) @ Deal MS, 10 AM
Oyster, Key, Mann, and all other non-feeder school students



Before & After School Activities This Week ...
 Tuesday  AM
  • All Instrumental Band Members, 7:45 am
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7-8:30 am
  • Concert Choir, 7:45 am

 Tuesday PM

  • No after-school activities (Faculty Meeting)

Wednesday AM

  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am
  • Concert Choir, 7:45 am

Wednesday PM

  • No after-school activities (Deal Staff Meeting with the Chancellor)

Friday AM

  • Cleveland Band, 7:45 am
As always, students should only be at school with parent permission!
Food for Thought...

Why Real Thinking is Hard - and How to Maximize it in the Classroom

In this thoughtful article in American Educator, University of Virginia psychologist Daniel Willingham presents a theory on why it's so difficult to get all students engaged and happy in the classroom: people enjoy challenging mental work only if they experience success, and orchestrating successful learning experiences for diverse groups of students is really difficult.
            "Your brain serves many purposes," says Willingham, "and thinking is not the one it does best." This is because most of the real estate in the brain is devoted to the more complex tasks of seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, and moving. Willingham illustrates this by posing the following problem:

"You are in an empty room and are given a candle, some matches, and a box of tacks. The challenge: how can you get the lighted candle about five feet off the ground without holding it? You've already tried melting some of the wax and sticking the candle to the wall and that didn't work."

            Given twenty minutes, most people cannot solve this problem. But once they hear the answer, they realize that it's not particularly tricky: dump the tacks out of the box, tack the box to the wall five feet off the ground, and use it as a platform for the candle.
            This problem demonstrates three things about thinking through an unfamiliar problem, says Willingham. First, thinking is slow (as contrasted with our instant visual "take" on a new room we've entered). Second, thinking is effortful; it takes concentration and a lack of distractions. Third, thinking is uncertain; trying to solve the candle problem, our brains go up a number of blind alleys and might not even get us close to the solution.
            If we're so bad at thinking through problems, asks Willingham, how do people hold down a job or manage their money? How do teachers make the hundreds of decisions they have to make every day? The answer is that we rely on memory. "Most of the problems you face are ones you've solved before," he says, "so you just do what you've done in the past." This is why the candle problem would be a cinch once you've heard the solution. "Most people think that they have a terrible memory, and it's true that your memory is not as reliable as your visual or movement systems," says Willingham, "but your memory system is much more reliable than your thinking system, and provides answers quickly and with little effort." All of us have myriad procedural memories - how to drive, for example, or how to solve a standard dispute between two students on the playground - which we use every day without having to "think" at all.
            But what about real thinking - solving challenging, novel problems? Willingham says it can be intensely rewarding and pleasurable (brain scans confirm this) and people are drawn to this kind of thinking, but the conditions have to be just right. The pleasure and satisfaction come from successfully solving a thinking problem. "Working on a problem with no sense that you're making progress is not pleasurable," he says. "In fact, it's frustrating. And there's no great pleasure in simply knowing the answer either." If you didn't solve the candle problem yourself, there was little satisfaction in being told the answer, just as there's less satisfaction in having a joke explained to you than if you "got it" yourself. There's also minimal satisfaction in solving a problem (or getting a joke) that's too easy.
            So the key is hitting the "sweet spot" - not too easy and not too hard. "Working on problems that are at the right level of difficulty is rewarding," says Willingham, "but working on problems that are too easy or too difficult is unpleasant... If the student routinely gets work that is a bit too difficult, it's little wonder that he doesn't care much for school."
Willingham devotes the rest of the article to a number of suggestions on how to make thinking easier - thereby helping students have more success and enjoyment in school.

Orchestrate four key factors.
He suggests that successful problem-solving depends on four things:
*  Sufficient information from the teacher or other sources;
*  Helpful information in the student's long-term memory; facts really matter to thinking;
*  Helpful procedural memories learned previously;
*  Sufficient space in the student's working memory to process the problem in real time.

These factors matter whether we are solving a problem as simple as 18 x 7 or as challenging as the candle problem (what makes the latter so difficult is that most people have nothing in long-term memory to help them).

Give students appropriately challenging think-work every day.
Too many lesson plans consist of a string of teacher explanations, says Willingham. If students are going to get better at thinking, they need to do real cognitive work. He urges teachers to make sure their lesson plans contain a good mix of challenging problems and tweak them so most students can solve them successfully.

Take into account what students know.
Imagine that a fifth-grade teacher began a lesson with this question: "You've all heard of the Boston Tea Party; why do you suppose the colonists dressed as Indians and dumped tea in the Boston Harbor?" If students didn't have the necessary background knowledge - the relationship of the colonies to Great Britain in 1773, the social and economic significance of tea, alternative courses of action for the colonists - they would very likely brand this question as "boring." What they mean, says Willingham, is that it's not a well-timed question; the teacher needs to do some teaching first!

Take into account limits in students' working memory.
"Remember that people can only keep so much information in mind at once," says Willingham. "Overloads to working memory are caused by things like multi-step instructions, lists of unconnected facts, chains of logic more than two or three steps long, and the application of a just-learned concept to new material (unless the concept is quite simple)." The solution: slowing the pace and using visual aids so students can hold the necessary information in working memory and solve problems in real time.

Pose interesting questions that will draw students into the subject matter.
"Sometimes I think that we, as teachers, are so eager to get to the answers that we do not devote sufficient time to developing the question," says Willingham. "But it's the question that piques people's interest. Being told an answer doesn't do anything for you." He urges teachers to start with the end in mind - the information and understandings we want students to have at the end of a lesson or unit - and then frame interesting questions at the right level of difficulty so students are hooked.

Avoid baffling puzzlers.
Provocative "essential questions" are a good way to engage students, but some teachers overreach, says Willingham. For example, a classic science demonstration is putting a burning piece of paper inside a milk bottle, putting a peeled hard-boiled egg over the opening, and, after the paper burns out, watching the egg get sucked into the bottle. Students ooh and ah, but unless they have the background knowledge to understand what's going on, this is like a magic trick and no real learning takes place. Willingham suggests that the demonstration would have more impact after students have learned a little about how cooling air contracts, forming a partial vacuum.

All children can learn, but it's nave to believe that all students have the same level of preparation and background knowledge, says Willingham. He urges teachers to differentiate assignments and give extra support to students who lack certain skills and background knowledge.

Regularly shift gears.
"When you change topics, start a new activity, or in some other way show that you are shifting gears, virtually every student's attention comes back to you," says Willingham. It's smart to plan these events to maximize student engagement.

Keep a diary.
In the extremely busy life of a classroom, it's easy for teachers to forget successful - and unsuccessful - lessons, says Willingham. He urges teachers to jot down how different lesson elements went for future reference.
"Why Don't Students Like School? Because the Mind is Not Designed for Thinking" by Daniel Willingham in American Educator, Spring 2009 (Vol. 33, #1, p. 4-13);
This article is excerpted from Willingham's new book, Why Don't Students Like School? (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

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