Volume 11

This Week at South Vol. 11

Good Afternoon South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Please find the Weekly Bulletin for November 18th to November 22nd (Also Attached)

Part I: The News

The Volleyball Team won three straight matches in the State Volleyball Tournament to eventually face Bartlett High School and win the State Championship. The team also brought home the GPA award, three players were named to the all tournament team, and others were recognized as the best at their respective positions. Here’s the team after their victory at the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday night.

Girls Hockey defeated the Service/East team 6-3 on Friday night with goals from Alex Donald, Nicole Ness (2), and Freshmen Isabel Goolie, Brenna Millar and Hannah Strand. Here is an action shot from Friday’s game.

South Wrestling was at the Lancer Smith Tournament, the largest of the year, and had some notable results. The JV Team finished second overall with Sam Chaput, Jack Debrecht-Mowry, and Loke Iese taking home individual titles. The Varsity finished third overall, with Aedyn Concepcion, Simon Keffalos, Niko Mayo, Theo Cha, and Brandon Deyarmon making the finals. Theo Cha was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. The Varsity Girls finished with one individual champion: Maddison Ellis.

Riflery hosted the South Open this weekend, which provides competition for first and second year shooters. South’s Carson Myren took 1st for the second year shooters, and Kylee Wagendorf took 2nd. Several other shooters had personal bests. More importantly, South shooters were up early on a Saturday helping host other teams while still shooting well. Other shooters were at the last regular season contest at Service. Carson Myren led the charge with a 288/300, and Kylee Wagendorf was one bullseye behind Carson, while Roman Snyder shot 280, and freshman Dane Kersten shot 273. 

South Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent: Grace Fernandez, Hannah Hogensen, and Lily Weimann all signed letters of intent last Wednesday. Here’s a link to Fox Alaska’s coverage of the event. 

Kindness Week in Review: Over 1400 notes of gratitude were written in less than an hour, and each class at South collected a significant number of canned goods to donate to the local food bank. There was also a sense of unity amongst staff and students with the spirit days. Thanks to all those who participated and donated. I want to thank Amy Habberstad and her Peer Mentorship group for planning and supporting last week’s activities. Let’s all commit to carrying out random acts of kindness each week throughout the rest of the school year and beyond.  Here’s a link to a video capturing some of the week’s events. 

South Anchorage Service Club Request: The SA Service Club is participating in the Loving Care Backpack Drive, and is asking for your help in collecting winter clothing items, in particular, warm gloves, to distribute to the less fortunate this winter. Their goal is 200 pairs of gloves. Please see the infographic for more information on how to donate and for contact information. 

Crystal Ball Dance: On December 7th, South will host Crystal Ball. We are offering students guest passes to this dance based on the success of our Homecoming Dance. The first 50 applications for a guest pass will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. If students picked up multiple applications for the same student, only one will be granted. In this case, please return unused applications to Mrs. Kravens. The last date to submit a guest pass will be Wednesday, November 27th.

South Cell Phone Policy Development: A team of teachers, administrators, and support staff are in the process of drafting a cell phone policy with the goal of creating classroom environments that are conducive to learning without undue distraction. On this note, please see the information below on what behaviors and habits of mind underlie successful learning, and how maximizing focus and reflection are a part of that.  

Part II: Big Ideas & Their Application

This week, rather than a big idea, the premise of this section is a big question.  Ideally, the answer to the question helps us identify how we can help support teachers’ classroom practice and student learning.

The big question is: What are the behaviors and habits of mind that underlie effective learning?

It follows that if we know the answer to the above question we can invest time in the key behaviors and habits, and in having done so, expect that our students will be prepared to be successful in the wide array of environments which they will enter upon graduating from South High School. 

As a staff we have been entertaining this question in a variety of ways since the beginning of the school year. What follows is based, in part, on those discussions.

What is a key behavior? A key behavior is the ability to focus on a complex task over a lengthy period of time. This involves both focus and persistence. We routinely introduce complex topics and knowledge to students, ask them to integrate the information into their existing knowledge, and then to recall and apply it. This requires a lot of working memory to accomplish. 

What can we do to help?  Cognitive Load Theory would suggest that we give information to students that is just beyond their current level of understanding, that we reduce unnecessary information and distraction, and that we give them ways of linking new information to their current background knowledge. 

What can students do? To maximize the chance of long term learning, the primary action students can take is to minimize distractions and extraneous cognitive load. This means eliminating background noise, putting phones away, and studying in a setting which is quiet. The same can be said in classrooms, in most cases.

What is a key habit of mind? A key habit of mind is the ability to reflect on past work, and plan for future efforts in order to make improvement more likely. 

What can we do to help? The simplest approach is to ask students to evaluate their own work, and to identify actions they will take to improve upon the parts of the assignment/test/project that did not go as well as they planned. There are multiple strategies on this list of learning habits that can be done in both the classroom and at home to reflect on learning and to make plans for moving forward.

What can students do? Students can look at the process they used to complete the work and at the result of their work, and what they might do differently next time by using the following list of self-reflective questions from Read-Write-Think. They might also choose to use one of the linked strategies from the Make It Stick list linked above.

Have a Great Week South!