Thursday, September 29, 2011

Channel 10-Friday Night Lights Coming to Smithfield 9/30/11

On Friday, September 30th Channel 10 News will be broadcasting from Smithfield High School as part of their Friday Night Lights weekly show.  Sports Director Frank Carpana will be showcasing "What is cool about your school?"  Check out the segments on the 5pm, 6 pm, and 7 pm newscasts and then join us for the football game against North Smithfield.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poem for teachers

Picked this up from The Principal's Principles

“I have come to a frightening conclusion.
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis
will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

Haim Ginot

Friday, September 23, 2011

Resources - 9/26

Celebrate Smithfield this weekend at the Crossings!
Science NECAP scores to be released on Tuesday!

For students:
45 of the weirdest college scholarships
A Student’s View: SAT Subject Tests
College Admissions: How to Get the Most Out of College Fairs
Confessions of a common app reader
Applying to College in the United Kingdom

 President Obama will deliver his third annual Back to School Speech on Wednesday (September 28), at 1:30 p.m., at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C.

In speaking directly to students in past years, the President has encouraged them to study hard and take responsibility for their education, urging them to set goals, to believe in themselves, and to be the authors of their own destinies.
The Back to School speech will be live streamed on so that schools and classrooms across the country may watch the speech.  For more information about watching the speech, please visit:

For Parents:
Secrets from a Financial Aid Officer: Top Mistakes Students and Families Make

A parent FAQ document is now available for your use in communicating with your families regarding changes in the 2011 Secondary Regulations. It is available on our Web site, at:
Seven Surprising Parenting Solutions That Boost Kids’ School Success

For Teachers:

Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking

10 ways to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Interactive Notebooks

Dear students, teachers, and parents,

The SHS administration, in consultation with the school Leadership Team, is implementing a school wide plan to improve student success.    The plan represents the key academic initiatives and focus for Smithfield High School.  The goal is improved academic achievement.  Administration reviewed all pertinent classroom data, achievement data, and regulatory requirements in developing the plan.    It emphasizes well known and effective practices supported by best practice and research that if reinforced consistently and reliably will improve student success.  The plan will also simultaneously meet the goals of any current and future outside agency goals, including the new teacher evaluation system.
            One aspect of this plan is the interactive notebook.  Some students and teachers have questioned the use of the interactive notebook as a strategy for success.   I would like to share some thoughts on the interactive notebook and why it will be used as a school wide strategy this year. 
            Note taking is an extremely important skill that students will utilize in college.  Research demonstrates that:
  •        Students have to analyze information at a deep level in order to decide what information to delete, what to substitute, and what to keep when they are asked to give a summary (Anderson, V., & Hidi, 1988/1989; Hidi & Anderson, 1987).
  • ·         Notes should be in both linguistic and nonlinguistic forms, including idea webs, sketches, informal outlines, and combinations of words and schematics; and, the more notes, the better (Nye, Crooks, Powlie, & Tripp, 1984).
  • ·         When students review and revise their own notes, the notes become more meaningful and useful (Anderson & Armbruster, 1986; Denner, 1986; Einstein, Morris, & Smith, 1985).

The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class.

 Interactive notebooks engage students:
·         Students use both their visual and linguistic intelligences. The left side of the notebook allows visual learners to use their best medium to explore and share ideas, and encourages non-visual learners to become more proficient with graphic approaches in a nonthreatening way. Both types of learners will work with their writing skills.
·         Note taking becomes an active process. These notebooks invite students to become engaged in their learning. Students will spend some time passively recording ideas from a lecture or the board, but most of their time doing something with ideas-putting them into their own words, searching for implication or assumptions, transforming words into visuals, finding the main point of a political cartoon, etc. This is especially true of the left side of the notebook, which is reserved for their active exploration of ideas.
·         Notebooks help students to systematically organize as they learn. With the teacher’s encouragement, students can use their notebooks to record ideas about every activity they engage in during a unit. Student may use a variety of organization techniques-topic headings, colored highlights, and different writing styles-to synthesize concepts and make coherence of what they learn. The notebook permits assignments to be kept together in a regular place and in logical order.
·         Notebooks become a portfolio on individual learning. These personal, creative notebooks become a record of each student’s growth. The teacher, students, and even parents can review a student’s progress in writing, illustrating, recording, thinking, and organization skills.

            Some students have commented that interactive notebooks work well in social studies and English but do not work for other subjects.  I disagree.  Let’s take a look a science for example. 
Science Interactive Notebooks are important for many reasons.  The first is that writing is an integral part of the process of learning science.  By using notebooks, students model one of the most vital and enduring functions of scientists in all disciplines – recording information, figures, and data.  Scientists across the world record their observations, data, and conclusions, as well as comments on their research, readings and reflections.  They rely on their notes, figures and diagrams when sharing their findings with colleagues and when preparing papers to share their work with the scientific community.  The notebooks of famous scientists such as Galileo and Einstein have become part of the world’s cultural heritage.
            A second reason for maintaining a Science Interactive Notebook is that it provides the student with a ready reference for each unit as well as a resource to consult when reviewing materials at the end of the unit.  The notebook is also a means of communicating with the teacher and parents/guardians. 
Keeping a notebook enhances students’ writing skills.  It gives them practice in organizing material and in expressing themselves clearly.  At the same time, notebook writing can encourage students to connect science with other areas of the curriculum.  A Science Interactive Notebook also encourages creativity.  Extensions in the notebook can include any of the following; Venn diagrams; flow charts; t-charts; bar graphs; drawings; stories; songs; and notes from research on any given topic.
            Another advantage of the notebook is that they get students more involved in science.  Students assume ownership of their notebooks.  Students are required to bring their notebooks with them to science class daily, to add work and review their notes.  With each new entry, their sense of pride in what they have accomplished grows.  Their confidence in science learning, as well as in their overall knowledge and skills, also grows.  They are becoming life-long learners.
            Lastly, the science notebook offers the teacher a unique means of assessing student progress in the classroom.  The notebook, beginning with the first lesson of the unit and continuing to its conclusion, is a tool that can be used to assess the growth in students’ understanding of science as well as in their ability to summarize and express their thoughts and feelings.
            One last idea in regards to note taking in science comes from Doug Reeves (2008) book Reframing Teacher Leadership to Improve Your School.   In schools where writing and note taking were rarely implemented in science classes, approximately 25 percent of students scored proficient or higher in state assessments.  But in schools where writing and note taking were consistently implemented by science teachers, 79 percent scored at proficient level. 
            In the end, this interactive notebook strategy puts together aspects of what students and teachers are supposed to be doing already.
1.  Utilizing an essential question daily
2.  Ensuring students copy down important notes and listen critically to peers
3.  Processing in writing that they understand the objective for the day
4.  Filtering the information through their own lens and making it their own
5.  Providing closure to a lesson
6.  Checking for Understanding

The administrative team looks forward to working with students and teachers to implement this strategy.  We will continue to provide any support necessary to ensure this strategy is put into our daily practice. 

Focus – Mike Schmoker


Juniors and sophomores planning on taking the PSAT’s at 7 am on Saturday, October 15 at SHS must register by September 22 in the guidance office. To register, students must bring in a check made out to Smithfield High School for $20 or cash to Mrs. Papa, guidance secretary.

Friday, September 16, 2011

This weeks resources!

"If I were teaching you how to play golf, I would not determine whether you had met my standards by giving you a multiple-choice test.  I would put you out  on the golf course to "construct your own responses" in the face of real-world challenges.  Similarly, in school we are ultimately less interested in how much information students can acquire than how well they can use it."  Jon Mueller

For Students:
Excellent Anti-Bullying Video - Love is Louder
Top 10 Study Abroad Programs 
US News Top Colleges
What not to do when applying for college

College Reviews from Recent Alumni: Why They Matter

For Parents:
Safe PlaceSafe Place provides access to immediate help and safety for all young people in crisis. A network of thousands of businesses and other public locations across the country extend the doors of local youth serving agencies by displaying Safe Place's recognizable yellow and black diamond-shaped logo. 
12 most important things to know about kids today
Enjoy college without spiraling debt

For Teachers:
Keep moving forward
Strategies to build student vocabularies
5 simple steps to get students to work
20 strategies for teaching text structure
Chasing Homework

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Random info for students, parents, & teachers

For students:

  • Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Cal Berkeley and UVA will be at the Providence Marriott on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 pm.
  • CCRI is offering an SAT prep course this fall for high school students. $129 total, including the book. for details.
  • SHS Seniors: Remember to register for SAT/ACT/Subject tests this fall. Watch your deadlines!
  • Extra help sessions begin this week.  If you are on academic probation be sure to complete your two sessions with a CONTENT teacher. 

For parents:

  • Open House this week.
  • Parent Council meeting this week. 
  • If you are not on the Parent Portal, stop by the main office and sign up.  Extremely easy way to track your child's progress with academics, behavior, and attendance.  

For teachers:

What Great Teachers Do Differently

Re-Engaging the Disengaged: 5 Strategies

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

My little experiment, and the remarkable data it produced 

Open House - September 15th

On Thursday, September 15th, SHS will be hosting Open House for all parents from 6-8 pm.  Parents will have the opportunity to follow their child’s schedule and meet the teachers.  All parents are asked to report to their child’s advisory to receive the schedule at 6 pm.  At the end of the evening, we ask that you stop by the cafeteria to sign up for the parent portal if you have not done so.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AM Traffic - MUST READ!

If you are a student driver or a parent who drops off your child at the high school in the morning please click the link below.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HS Picture Day

All students will have their photograph taken on Wednesday, September 7th.  Each student received a picture card in the mail from Mare Studios.  Please bring this card with you for pictures.  Thank you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011