Color block logo of Deal Alice Deal Weekly Bulletin

November 10, 2008
"Think globally. Listen compassionately. Act inclusively."
Thought for the Week

"The brain is open architecture."
-- Jack McGovern

Bell Schedule
Monday - Bell I
Tuesday - Veterans Day Holiday
Wednesday - Bell I
Thursday - Bell I
Friday - Bell I 
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IB MYP Update:

IB Course for Deal Teachers!

New teachers to Deal participated in a professional development session on the fundamentals of IB MYP last week.

Additionally, we are excited to offer the IB MYP course at Deal this year.  This is a 3-credit graduate level course in the IB offered in-house. This class can hold only 20 students, and it is almost full! Please express your interest in taking this course by writing to Mr. Albright and Ms. Kim.
ZAP! News and Update
Zeroes Aren't Permitted continues to roar along. Students have been taking advantage of the new advisory to try and make sure they are keeping up with class work! A good number of students are self-ZAPping to stay on task. Counselors and Mr. Albright are enjoying the work of providing individualized support for students in a friendly setting!

Upcoming Activities!

Veterans Day (Holiday)
Deal Open House #1

Department chairs meeting
Family Math Night, 6:30 - 8 pm
November 18th
Principal Kim visits Murch @ 6 pm

November 20th

Faculty meeting
PTA Parent Education Workshop, 7 pm
Principal Kim visits Mann @ 6 pm

November 26
Student Council Thanksgiving Assembly

November 27-28

Thanksgiving holiday

December 2nd
Mid-Advisory Progress Reports sent home
Picture make-up day
December 3rd
6th grade transition coffee chat #2 with Ms. Kim, 9-10 am in Rm N101

December 4th
"New to Deal" teachers meeting

December 5th
Geography Bee competition
LSRT meeting, 7:30 am

December 8th
Parent Teacher Conference day
(students not in school)

December 11th
Department chairs meeting
Winter Concert, 7 pm

December 13th
Holiday Greens Sale

December 16th
Deal Open House #2

December 18th
Faculty meeting

December 19th
Student Council Winter Assembly
Last day of school for students (Winter Holiday)

December 22nd & 23rd
Staff development for Deal teachers

January 5th

School resumes after Winter Break!

January 7th
6th grade transition coffee chat #3 with Ms. Kim, 9-10 am in Rm N101

January 9th
LSRT meeting, 7:30 am

January 14th & 15th

January 15th
Faculty meeting

January 16th
End of 2nd Advisory
Martin Luther King, Jr. Assembly

January 19th
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

January 20th
Inauguration Day Holiday

January 22nd
Student Council Awards Assembly

January 23rd
Record Keeping Day,
12:15 dismissal

January 30th
2nd Advisory report cards issued
Message from Principal Kim
Principal Kim
This is the time of the year when we spend a lot of time talking to prospective parents and students about their middle school transition to Deal.  Preparing for next year is especially exciting because it will be our first year as a newly modernized school for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders!

Our teachers and school staff have been tirelessly working for this smooth transition for several year and I know we are ready!  I cannot thank our school staff members enough for their dedication and commitment to creating a world-class middle school!

This Wednesday, we welcome hundreds of visitors for our first Deal Open House of the year.  I cannot wait to show the city just how fantastic our teachers and students are!  Please encourage your friends and neighbors with younger children to come join us this Wednesday!

Additionally, a BIG THANK YOU to all the families who purchased books and other gift items from Politics & Prose this weekend.  I know some of you even encouraged friends to come and support our school as well!  I am so thankful for all the parental and community support Deal students and staff can count on, and I look forward to reading the books!

Principal Kim

Thanks for your patience!

Deal was experiencing technical issues with the homework hotline phone lines.  The phone lines have been repaired and the homework hotline will be ready for use on Sunday, November 16th!
Teachers, please hand in your hotline data forms by close of business on Thursdays.

Weekly News

Thank You!

  • Deal Night 2008 was a success.  Thank you to the following staff members for attending Deal Night:
    Mr. McDowell, Ms. Mostoller, Ms. Kinzer, Mr. Geremia, Mr. Hughes, Ms. McFarland, Ms. Hernandez, Ms. Overby, Mr. Albright, Ms. Neal, and Mr. Dacoba.  It was great to have teachers with us to greet future families!
  • The Counseling Department would like to give a huge thank you to all of our wonderful parents and friends of Deal who presented their expertise for Career Day.  The students enjoyed hearing about the diverse careers options.  Special thanks to Ms. Ernst and Ms. DeSantis for providing a lovely reception for our speakers.  Also, thanks to Mr. Simmons and his video production crew for setting up all the video equipment for the presentations.  We could not have done it without you!
  • Ms. Brown accompanied 14 students and their parents to the National Archives on Saturday.  The workship focus was an Introduction to Research for NHD Projects.  Thanks to all the students and their parents.  What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning learning and sharing. Thanks, Ms. Brown!
  • Many thanks to all the music students, as well as Mr. Frye, who worked at the bake sale this past Saturday at Politics and Prose.  The Music Department also wishes to thank Ms. Seline for helping to organize this event and all the parent volunteers who either worked or donated baked goods to help us raise money for the Cleveland trip. Our parental involvement and student enthusiasm is outstanding at Deal!
Teacher Reminders
  • All teachers have received ELL referral forms and a list of ELL teaching strategies to use in the general ed classroom.  Teams have been asked to put these items on their agendas for discussion.  The ELL teachers will take action to support you upon receipt of referrals.  Teachers and team leaders are asked to keep a clean master copy of the referral form for future duplication.  Please contact Jihong or Mark if you have any questions.
  • If you have not signed up to support the Math department on family math night, please do so today!
  • The supply room will be open this morning from 8:10 am until 8:40 am.
  • There will be a Department Chairpersons Meeting on Thursday in room N101 at 3:30 pm.
  • Please begin work with grade distribution data & DC BAS data.
  • Team leaders are meeting this Wednesday.
Student Council Sponsored Mix It Up Day Thursday
  • On Thursday, Deal students will have an opportunity to make new friends as they participate in Mix It Up Day during lunch.  More details to follow!

Family Math Night This Thursday

  • Family Math Night will be Thursday, 6:30-8 pm.  It's free, and it's math fun for the entire family.  Come visit one of our numerous math "booths," get tickets for excellent door prizes, and learn some useful or crazy math that you didn't know before!  Students will receive extra credit points from math teachers!  Win door prizes including gift cards and a graphing calculator!

Vision Screening

  • On Friday, the Lions Club Volunteers will continue vision screening for all eighth grade students.  Students are asked to test with their eyeglasses on.  Please do not leave your glasses in your lockers or at home on these screening days.  Parents will be informed if students need further testing or referrals for glasses. For any concerns or questions, call the school nurse at 282-0252.

Capital City Jazz Project

  • Alice Deal Middle School was selected to participate as only one of four DCPS schools in The Capitol Jazz Project.  The Capitol Jazz Project is a partnership between Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) and DCPS in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center.  This collaboration supports the study of music through jazz instruction, drawn from the new DC Music Standards and a jazz curriculum created by Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center.  During this school year, WPAS will provide the following:
    • 16 classroom sessions rotating between Jazz Update and the WPG Trio.
    • One back-to-back performance for the entire school hosted by these WPAS Jazz Artist ensembles.
    • One performance for the entire school by WPAS Jazz Artist ensembles and The Capitol Jazz Project music students.
    • Master classes with the WPAS Jazz Artist ensembles.
    • Professional development training for the principals, teachers and teaching artists, using JALC curriculum to complement DCPS music standards.
    • Tickets and transportation for teachers, students to attend a concert by Wynton Marsalis on March 16th.
    • The Capitol Jazz Project Summer Institute, which is open to students participating in the Capitol Jazz Project, tuition free!

The dates for the workshops are this Thursday, Nov. 19, Dec. 3, Jan. 13 & 27, and Feb. 12.  The other dates will be posted as they are finalized. There will be two workshops on each day, the first during 5th period and the second during 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.  We are excited to partner with professional jazz musicians!

 Cleveland Deposit Overdue
  • Please be advised that the next deposit in the amount of $100 is now past due.  The deadline was last Friday.  Please get it in to Mr. Jackson or Mr. Frye!

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 to . 

Student Council Non-Perishable Food Drive

  • The Student Council begins its annual non-perishable food drive this week.  Please remember to bring non-perishable food items to your homeroom for collection.  We can all help make a difference in our community. 

Afterschool Tutoring and Homework Program

  • The afterschool tutoring and homework program sponsored by Ms. Brown and Ms. Bruce has started.  This program operates from 3:30 - 4:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.  There is still room for other participants.  Please see Ms. Brown or Ms. Bruce in RM CG03 for permission slips.   

The Girls Volleyball Team

  • The Girls Volleyball team has been named the West Division Champions for 2008 finishing the regular season undefeated!  This week begins the play-offs for the City Championship, and the Lady Vikings need your support.  Deal will host games on Wednesday and Friday and we hope to see the stands packed with burgundy and gold.
    • Wednesday -  Volleyball playoffs, Hart vs. Johnson - 4:30 pm.  Deal's game will be against the winner of the Jefferson/Lincoln game.
    • Friday - Volleyball Championships
                Consolation Game - 4:30 pm
                Championship - 5:30 pm
      Please plan to join us as we plan to win the title of DCIAA Middle School Volleyball City Champions!

Cheerleading Practice

  • Cheerleading practice will resume on Monday, November 17.  All cheerleaders please continue to work on cheers, motions, and jumps until practice resumes. 


Before & After School Activities This Week ...
Monday AM
  • Jazz Combo, 8 am
  •  Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 7 - 8:30 am

Monday PM

  • Cross Country practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Debate team, 3:20 - 4:30 pm
  • Rugby, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Girls' Soccer practice
  • Yoga, 3:30-4:30 pm, RM G3
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Volleyball, 3:30 - 5 pm 
  • Student Council officers meeting,  3:20 - 4 pm, RM 207
  • 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, Room 105
  • Tutoring with Ms. Brown & Ms. Bruce, 3:30 - 4:30pm

Tuesday AM

  • Veterans Day Holiday

Tuesday PM

  • Veterans Day Holiday

Wednesday AM

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

Wednesday PM

  • Show Choir, 3:30 - 4:15 pm 
  • Girls' Soccer Practice
  • Fencing Club, 3:20 - 5 pm
  • Cross Country Practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Volleyball playoff game, 5:30 pm
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
MathCounts, 3:25 - 4:45 pm, Room 105

Thursday AM

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

Thursday PM

  • Fencing Club, 3:20 - 5 pm, RM 215
  • Rugby, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Ms. Stanley's Reading Group, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
  • Boys' Soccer Practice
  • Cross Country Practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • LAYC tutoring, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
  • Volleyball Practice
  • Drumline 3:30 - 4:20 pm

Friday AM

  • Rock Choir, 7:45 am 

Friday PM

  • Boys' Soccer Game, 4 pm, Deal vs. Friendship Edison 
  • Field Games with Mr. Brecher
  • Cross Country Practice, 3:30 - 5 pm
  • Volleyball Championship game, 5:30 pm
  • Tutoring with Ms. Brown & Ms. Bruce, 3:30 - 4:30pm
As always, students should only be at school with parent permission!
Food for thought...

Students Who Pretend to Understand When They Don't

            In this thoughtful article in Essential Teacher, Massachusetts ELL teacher Patricia Martin confesses that when she travels in Latin America with her limited Spanish, "I'm duplicitous; I'm an unmitigated bluffer." More than once, she says, she's boarded the wrong bus rather than keep the people in line behind her waiting while she haltingly asks the driver where the bus is going. On these trips abroad, she says, "I can say with humble certainty that at least half my daily energy was devoted to various modes of faking comprehension."

In her intensive Spanish classes in school, Martin also frequently pretended to understand when she didn't. "Comprendes, Patricia?" her patient teacher would ask. "Ready to move on?" "Oh, yes," she'd reply, telling herself the textbook would help her figure it out later. As a result, Martin still hasn't mastered Spanish imperatives.

Why is bluffing so common? Mark Twain said it best: "Each man is afraid of his neighbor's disapproval - a thing which, to the general run of the human race, is more dreaded than wolves and death."

Martin's experiences have helped her empathize with her ELL students, for whom, she believes, "bluffing is a permanent part of their lifestyle, in and out of the classroom.  In mainstream classrooms throughout the United States, nodding, smiling, American-accented ESL students are bluffing their way through the school day." Teachers confidently say, "Oh, she's fine. She's getting everything I say" and huge gaps in knowledge go undetected and only show up on high-stakes state tests.

Once Martin taught a unit on the War of the Worlds hoax by H.G. Wells. Students read news accounts about the phony radio program, the story of a family that was almost fooled into abandoning their home, and Wells' own reactions to the panic he caused. But two weeks into the unit, Martin realized that one girl was utterly convinced that giant Martians had laid waste to parts of northern New Jersey sometime before she was born. Reminded of all the material they'd read making it clear that the whole thing was a hoax, the girl said, "Oh, is that what all that means?"

This is also true outside school, where shopkeepers and others have little patience. English learners, says Martin, try to "fly under the radar, eager to avoid the humiliation of being the center of irritated attention, fearful of sounding like a tyro in front of strangers. This determination not to humiliate yourself in front of native speakers calls for full-time vigilance and a straight-face-and-nervous-gut approach to the world." Many students are also put in the role of interpreting for their entire families. "Imagine the confusion," says Martin, "when someone who only half-understands the terminology explains complicated medical matters to family members, who understand much less. Their collective comprehension must frequently spin out of control."

For teachers, student bluffing and faking is a major instructional challenge. Teachers who check for understanding by asking, "Are you with me?" or asking their students to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down signal are not going to get an accurate sense of what's being learned. Martin has formulated the Rule of 50% Bluffing - kids are nodding and pretending to understand about half of the time. But it's hard to tell who's bluffing and when, because many ELLs have good verbal language and social skills and sound so plausible.

These insights have led Martin to check for classroom understanding in a much more systematic way. She stops after each instructional point and asks students to rephrase what she's just explained. In every class, she calls for some written demonstration of mastery, either on erasable whiteboards or in students' notebooks. Because students know they will be held accountable for they understand, Martin says they're less likely to bluff. "They may as well admit their confusion," she says, "since they know it will soon be revealed." Constant checking for understanding also keeps Martin from kidding herself about how well things are going. "A teacher can't clarify and do comprehension checks too often, alas," she concludes.

The Ubiquitous Art of Bluffing" by Patricia Martin in Essential Teacher, September 2007 (Vol. 4, #3, p. 17-19), no e-link available

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