phil siegel, innovations coach

phil siegel, innovations coach

F&S Dashboard: St. Benedict Prep Faculty & Staff Weekly Newsletter

Innovation and Instruction

Resources on this Page 

  • The Value of Multiple Frames/Multiple Perspectives in Creative, Fun, Engaging Lesson Planning
  • Turning a 4 Point Rubric Into a Traditional Grade 
  • St. Benedict Coaching Innovation Principles
  • The Pope Video Project 
  • Flocabulary  
  • Teacher Trunk Program 
  • Holocaust Museum Resources
  • How to Save Lesson Plans 
  • Momentum Magazine 
  • Catholic Teacher Online Link 

Welcome back to Flocabulary! Your new expiration date is 9/02/201. Please forward this email to all teachers so they can bring the beat to their classrooms. 

Follow these three steps to kick off your new year with Flocab: 

  1. Start out strong with a refresher on how to use Flocabulary 
  2. Set up your classes and student accounts 
  3. Check out our tutorials and webinars to become an expert on all things Flocab

Need access for the first time? Use this activation link to set up your account: 

Be sure to see the attached PDF for a full Flocabulary overview, too.

Common Sense Media

The Archdiocese encourages all schools in the Arch to utilize the services of Common Sense Media in building digital citizenship for students, as well as providing opportunities to demonstrate good digital citizenship tips for parents to use at home.

As part of that encouragement, we want to share with you the following link to free webinars offered by Common Sense Media:  

As per data from Common Sense Media, children spend over 50 hours of screen time every week. 

So thank you for checking out the link above.   The media content our students consume and create has a profound impact on their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.  

And thank you so much for all you do in helping our kids learn how to use media and technology wisely as an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century.

New Resources for Integrating Technology

For Some Suggested APPS for Digital Storytelling (click Here) 

For Suggestions on Student Collaboration Tools from Common Sense Media (click here) 

Power Point about ASPIRE Tests 


Quick Classroom Brain Breaks to Combat Stress

The Advent time can be a time of great stress for our students - families are under stress and they pick up that "home" tension and bring it to school. The weather isn't always as nice so the kids aren't getting as much physical activity throughout the day. There is a lot going your students combat stress as well as sharpen their focus. Using brain breaks is a quick, fun way to "take a break" from learning which actually translates into better learning. Give it a try! These brain breaks and focused-attention practices can help students cope with stress and trauma and focus on their learning.  Click here for a great article with simple ideas from Edutopia.

Writing Strategies for Students With ADHD and Assigning More Writing with Less Grading

I came across this article to help students get started with writing...these aren't just good ideas for students with attention issues, but just good writing practice. Check it out. Click here. 

Do you shy away from giving writing assignment because managing the grading of it is so cumbersome? Read this! Click. 

5 Classroom Tools to Measure Student Learning

Formative assessment is a snap with games and other tools that let you see how students answer questions and review material. Click here...for classes that are one-to-one and not yet...

No More Zeros in Grading - Not Just Rachel G's Crazy Rule...

For those who think the No Zero in the Grade Book campus policy is bogus or lowering our standards, here is an article that helps to explain some of the good reasons why ZEROes should not be allowed in a grade average. CLICK HERE. It's not just is helping us move forward toward a more valid and accurate assessment of student learning. 

Turning a 4 point rubric into a traditional grade - great resource

Using rubrics to assess writing, projects and other forms of authentic assessment is critical for student success and clear, objective assessment. However, 4 point rubrics don't often translate into a traditional grading scale of A, B, C, etc. Erika Mickelburgh passed this great resource on to me just recently, so I am forwarding it to all of you. It helps translate a 3 of 4 (etc.) into a more accurate letter/percentage. If you need me to explain further after reading this, please see me or Erika. We'd be happy to assist.

Take STEM CLASSES at Notre Dame

he Trustey Family STEM Teaching Fellows spans three summers and two school years to form STEM teachers for the middle grades. We focus on the middle grades because this developmental level is key to fostering interest and engagement in STEM, especially for under-represented populations.

The Fellowship is driven by three Summer Institutes in which Fellows participate in three modules: 1) STEM Integration; 2) Core Instructional Practices; and 3) STEM Impact Plan. Themes of equity, access, and leadership are woven throughout the Summer Institutes.

During the school year, Fellows continue to work on their STEM Impact Plan, collect video of their teaching performance, receive feedback from their content coach, and gather in Palo Alto for the RISE Summit in January.

The Value of Multiple Frames/Multiple Perspectives in Creative, Fun, Engaging Lesson Planning

I hope when we discuss lesson planning,  you see the process as creative, fun, and engaging.  When the process is creative, fun, and engaging, lesson plans that are creative, fun, and engaging are sure to follow.

So are we having fun yet?   When thinking of being the "Best Possible You" in your teaching practice, consider the value of multiple frames, which is a fancy way of saying multiple perspectives.  When you are creating your lesson plans, because there is such diversity in the ways each child learns, consider thinking of more diverse ways to present your content. 

"Frame" your content in multiple perspectives for multiple learning styles.  Some perspectives seem clear and straightforward to some students, while to others, the content seems puzzling.  Learning to apply multiple frames to each lesson deepens the appreciation and the understanding level for all your students.  It also makes your classroom a creative, fun place to be, where the engagement level is the highest.

One frame or perspective may be visual.  Another auditory.  Another kinesthetic.  Try including them all in a single lesson and see how it feels -- and see how your students engage.

When Galileo invented the telescope, he discovered that each lens he added contributed to a more accurate image.  Consider creating the images of your lesson planning multi- framed and rich with multiple perspectives.  You just might be the next Galileo!  And even if you're not the next big thing in inventing, you will be the next big thing in teaching.  Your classroom will always be the one that kids look forward to coming to everyday, because yours is the classroom where everybody becomes "the best possible you".  

St. Benedict Innovation Coaching Principles

1. Making Content Meaningful

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discilpine(s) she or he teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.

2.  Child Development and Learning Theory

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of how children learn and develop and can provide learning opportunities that support their intellectual, social, and personal development.

3.  Learning Styles/Diversity

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of how students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.

4.  Instructional Strategies/Problem Solving

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of and use a variety of instructional strategies to encourage student development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

5.  Motivation and Behavior

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

6.  Communication/Knowledge

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers  have mastery of knowledge of effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

7.  Planning for Instruction

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers can plan instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community and curriculum goals.

8.  Assessment

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers have mastery of formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.

9.  Professional Growth/Reflection

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers are reflective practitioners who continually evaluate the effects of her or his choices and actions on others (students, parents, and other professionals in the learning community) and who actively seek out opportunities to grow professionally.

10.  Interpersonal Relationships

Coach and teacher work together so that all St. Benedict teachers foster relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning and well-being.

RenWeb Parent Conference Tool - directions for all PK-12(click)  

The Pope Video Project 


Every month the Pope sends out a prayer video on a timely topic. The images are beautiful. It's certainly a great way to pray, meditate and discuss with children. 


Everyone needs to renew your class sign in for FLOCABULARY - there is something for all ages and subject matter. Use this wonderful resource to bring current events and other subjects into your teaching. It's a great resource for integrating multiple intelligences into your classroom lessons. 

All of your students can also access Flocabulary. You can create classes, and share the class code with your students. Then, you can assign them videos and assessments. The best way to begin is by browsing their songs and videos. You'll find content across the curriculum for grades K-12. Flocabulary is flexible and easy to implement. Learn more about how it works.

 Interesting way to present CURRENT EVENTS to our students plus other subject/content areas. We've paid for a school subscription. Sign up today and explore this great resource for teachers

Helpful Things to Put in Your Sub Lesson Plans - Please Do This if You are Not Already doing So 

I'd like to give a shout out to Emily McGuinn who prepares her subs in important ways. I'm copying the intro to her plans here below. Please prepare something like this for your sub plans. You will just need to adapt to your own class location. Having our sub teachers prepared to act in an emergency may help save lives in the event that we have a real situation. Thanks! Please see below for the example. 

Sub Plan Friday, February 10th, 2017

Thanks for working in my classroom today. I will be out of the building. Please see another third grade teacher if you have any questions.

Please note the following phone extensions:

Heather Perez- School Nurse ex.  2330

Carol Dodovich- Secretary- ex. 1180

My classroom, Room 313 is ex. 3130

Lock down procedure- “Lock down, lock down, lockdown” will be announced on loud speaker. Close locked door. Hide in closet. No talking at this time

Fire exit – exit north stair case to courtyard toward Irving Park to Leavitt

Severe weather- North stairs, building 1 basement

Behavior System: Students can move their clips up on the rainbow chart. They move up if they are following directions, doing what they need to do etc. If they make a poor choice, they can move their clips down. Please remind students that even if they move down, they have the privilege to move their clip back up.

Teaching Trunk Program – Illinois Holocaust Museum

Is your school looking for innovative, age-appropriate ways to teach about the Holocaust, human rights and virtue education? The Teaching Trunk Program, sponsored by the Illinois Holocaust Museum, offers a variety of lessons and resources to address these important topics. Click on this link to learn more about this program and other programs offered by the Illinois Holocaust Museum.

Momentum Magazine:  National Catholic Education Publication 

Want to learn what Catholic schools, administrators, teachers and communities are doing around the nation to improve and grow their schools, please click on this link for the electronic copy of their magazine. 


How Do I Save My Lesson Plans?

Early Childhood and Elementary School teachers:

  • format: Date (Monday of the week)_Subject_grade or preschool: Date_Theme_grade
  • What it looks like: 9_28_15_Math_1  OR 9_28_15_Apples_PS

Secondary School:

  • format: Date (Monday of the week)_class/course name_last name
  • What it looks like: 9_28_15_weighttraining_Hilty

More questions??  See Rachel Waldron

Teacher Resources for All Teachers - at Today's Catholic Teacher Online Subscription 

You’ll find these popular features in each digital edition

  • New teaching strategies in major curriculum areas including reading, math, social studies, and science.
  • New teaching strategies in major curriculum areas including reading, math, social studies, and science.
  • Great Ideas helps you to network and learn about what other Catholic schools are doing in their classrooms.
  • Technology in the Classroom articles bring you up to speed on the latest developments - written in laymen's language!
  • Reproducible Activities (2 per issue) to help reinforce the Catholic faith. Perfect for classroom use!
  • Letters to Parents – in English and Spanish – provide a quick and easy classroom-to-home connection!
  • Reproducible Prayer Services help you celebrate important events and feast days with your students.
  • Month of Sundays provides all you need to prepare students for the Sunday assembly.
  • Plus each issue is filled with new teaching ideas and other resources to help you in your education ministry.

To access the digital edition, go to our website at and click on digital edition.

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St. Benedict Preparatory School | 3900 N Leavitt St. Chicago, IL 60618 | Phone (7