Monday, December 29, 2014

ENews 12.29.2014

Happy Christmas Break! I hope you're having a restful break and spending the time with family, friends, watching movies, eating great food, wearing your favorite PJs and not thinking about work.

But then again, you're educators and can't help but think about your students and what you plan to do with them for the new semester. So I've decided to share some resources you could look at ... as you think about NEW beginnings ... New Year Resolutions ... or simply reframe your ideas for great classroom instruction and professional development.


This organization started following me on Twitter recently and looks interesting to me. Brainscape (@Brainscape) is an app teachers can use to create "smart" flashcards for students. The organization has seemed to do it's homework by using recent brain research to describe how this app helps students learn best.

It made me think about our Spelling Words List ... Fry and Dolch Words ... could this app help our students master the words on these lists? 

Try it out and let me know what you think... https://www.brainscape.com/ ... Also here's some information specific for teachers


Here's another great resource to get GREAT ideas about integrating technology into the classroom. It's a podcast created by teachers for teachers called Teachercast. If you've been reading the past ENews postings, I've included a video from Teachercast about using Kidblog with your students. It also includes a section for learning more about Google Apps for Education which Royse City ISD is using this school year.

Teachercast was created by Jeffery Bradbury (@JeffBradbury). It has several other places online you can access the content: iTunesYouTubeGoogle+LiveBinder and more. Be sure to check them out and follow @Teachercast Twitter.


Edutopia was founded by George Lucas ... Don't recognize the name ?!? Perhaps you've heard of Star Wars!! Anyway... George Lucas was a kind of student that was bored in school. Actually he hated school and how it was designed. So he started this foundation so teachers could share some of the best, unique, and out-of-box ideas to improve teaching and learning. 

Edutopia frequently has articles and ideas that push on the educational borders and helps to break down barriers so students to learn effectively. Topics on this site include Project-Based Learning, Technology Integration, Game-Based Learning, Differentiated Instruction, Integrated Studies, Blended Learning and more. Often Edutopia will visit schools and creates a video that highlights the best efforts of public education ... and because it's the George Lucas Foundation, you know the videos are high quality stuff!

Because of focus on improvement this school year... I've been reading/watching the set of videos from Cochrane Collegiate Academy. It features a set of videos of their teachers and staff members and tells their story about what they did to turn their school around. The first 5 teachers that email & can tell me the "advice given to teachers" from the featured video titled "What This School Is Achieving-OutComes" - I will cover their morning duty (gym, cafeteria, outside) during the first week back to school ... given they don't conflict with each other. Regardless, be sure to look at these resources. 

Other great resources to look at ...
The Best Education Parodies of 2014

Finally, I would like to end this session of the ENews with still my #1 favorite resource for all my educational news, resources, ideas, collaboration, support & encouragement... Twitter! I love using this tool for connecting, learning, and sharing. Twitter continues to help me in my professional role and I love to advocate for all educators to be connected! It doesn't have to be Twitter (even though I could make a strong argue for this tool), but being connected has huge benefits that we can't ignore anymore. So I encourage you to use something to connect with other educators online - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogger, Google+ are some tools educators are using to connect ... more I could share about this topic ... perhaps another time. 
Have a wonderful Christmas Break! I can't wait to see each one of you next week... please enjoy your family, friends and the time you have left ... I just got word that we're going to Six Flags so I'll see you all later!

Monday, December 15, 2014

ENews 12.15.2014


Tuesday - Surprise Treat
  • 9:30am-12:30pm - Jacobs to Principal Meeting
  • 3:15pm - Dietz to BAU Meeting
  • 7:00pm - 4th Grade Music Program
Wednesday - Kristen Weichel/Judy Caskey on Campus & 1st Grade Polar Express
  • All Day - PLCs (Planning for January)
  • 8:30am-10:30am - Guided Reading Library Opening
  • 8:30am - 4th Grade Music Program
  • 10:30am-12:30pm - Christmas Pot Luck
  • 3:30pm - STAT Meeting
Thursday - 3rd Grade Field Trip & Kinder Polar Express
  • 7:15am - All Pro Dads
  • 7:50am - ARD (Bright, Dietz, 4th Grade Teacher)
  • 3:15pm - Ornament Exchange
Friday - Christmas Parties 
  • 9:00am - Head Start, PreK, Kindergarten & 1st Grade
  • 10:00am - 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grade 
  • 12:30pm - Early Release (Teachers can leave when kids are picked up!!)
  • See you guys back Monday, January 5th... Enjoy your Christmas Break!!
Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 66% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 25-30 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers in 3rd & 4th Grades. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.

Gradebook Reminders
  • Record Grades Weekly - Grade should be recorded weekly in the grade to afford parents & students the opportunity to view through parent portal. 
  • Late Work – this is accepted within five (5) days of the original due date. Be sure to record grades in a timely manner to allow parents to become aware of missing grades during the five (5) day period. Late work penalties do not apply to make up word from absences. 
  • Minimum number of grades – the district required a minimum of nine (9) grades throughout the six weeks. This includes grades for Science & Studies. You have the option to count assignments twice in the grade book. The same assignment that can be counts for Reading can count in Social Studies too. 
  • Unit Assessments – these will be counted in the grade book. Remember to provide intervention or tutoring before administrating a retest for unit assessments. 
  • Zeros – students have five (5) days to complete an assignment before it becomes a permanent zero in the grade book. We want to support you in motivating students in getting their work turned in on time. We’re working on a Google Doc for you to report students to campus administration with two (2) OR more permanent zeroes in the grade book. Teachers are expected to communicate with parents about the progress of their child and give suggestions to improve their performance BEFORE permanent zeroes are given to students. 
  • Parent Communication – please enter your parent communication into Aware under the Journal tab. This will help us keep track of our efforts with parents. Let us know if you need help with this. 




#EdcampAwesome - February 21st
Edcampawesome is back so save the date for February 21 & go register NOW for the BEST professional development experience: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/edcampawesome-tickets-14691690241

I'm looking to give out jean passes to any teacher who registers & attends EdcampAwesome. You have the opportunity to get 5 days of jeans passes... One pass will be given for simply registering and additional Four more passes will be given to individual who actually attend the unconference (stop by the office - show your online registration to get your first jeans pass).

This professional development opportunity is one you don't want to miss! So seriously, go register!!

#SummerLS
Recently my friend Todd Nesloney shared a post to his website about the Summer Learning Series (#SummerLS). Many of you participated in this online professional development with a focus on technology. The #SummerLS is being considered as the Best Open PD/Web Conference/Webinar Series by The Edublog Awards. You can read more about this from Todd's website.

Student Voice (#StuVoice
How are you incorporating student voice in classroom instruction? Perhaps consider using KidBlog!



*** Special Announcement ***
Save the date for August 5-6! Revolutionizing Learning will once again be hosted at Royse City High School. We'll have a special guest speaker coming this year... perhaps you've hear me talk about this guy... Teach Like a Pirate's Dave Burgess!

I'm so very excited about this news and can't wait to hear Dave speak again. You don't want to miss out on this!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tech Top 5

I’ve decided to do a weekly Tech Top 5 that I think would be helpful in the classroom and are easy to implement. Please let me know if you have any suggestions and let me know what works (and what doesn't!)


Tech Top 5:


1. Using different fonts is a great way to customize your documents. Here’s how to add fonts to your google docs: create a new document, click on the font drop-down menu at the top, click on ‘more fonts’ at the bottom of the menu. Here you can select fonts on the left to add fonts to your list on the right. Ta-Da!


2. Yikes! Anyone ever have an crazy ads come up when sharing a YouTube video with your class? Here’s how you get rid of those ads and create a friendly link to share on social media, your blog, remind, symbaloo, or in class: First, copy the link to your YouTube video, then go to www.SafeShare.tv and paste your link in the box about the green button, then click ‘Generate Safe Link’ and then you have a link that will show the video without ads.


3. School Wifi. Did you know you don’t use your data when you’re on a wifi network? You can get on our district wifi by using the password bd20132014 on rcisd network. This will work on all campuses. On iphone - go to settings, select the rcisd network and put in the password. Your phone will automatically connect when you’re on any RCISD campus.


4. Did you know you can have an attendance shortcut on your desktop and phone? For a shortcut on your, go to your attendance login page - and click and drag the small image next to the URL (web address) to your desktop. It will create a shortcut that you can click on that will take you directly to your Attendance Login. For cell phone shortcut, open the Safari App, and go to http://pportal.rcisd.org/txGradebook/Login.aspx then click on the box at the bottom with the arrow coming out of it and click “Add to Home Screen”. Now you have a shortcut to attendance on your phone!


5. An alarm is a great time management tool (and attendance reminder), here’s how you can set an alarm on an iphone: click on the Clock App, then click ‘Alarm’ on the bottom of your screen. then click on the plus sign in the top right and add an alarm, be sure to click on the weekdays as a recurring alarm if it is for school. I set mine for attendance 9:55 so that if I’m in the middle of a lesson, I can snooze it and the alarm will come back on 6 minutes later.


*Resource of the week: a great way to collaborate WITHOUT student logins: Padlet and Lino - these are both ipad and computer friendly - Here's a quick rundown on how they work and how you can easily implement them into the classroom: http://vimeo.com/67512237#

Lastly, Remember that iStation is now on the iPads in the Library! Reserve them here: Library iPad Checkout  (Thanks Julie!)


I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. If you have any questions, or want to share something that works for, please share it in the comments below.
-Christiana

Monday, December 8, 2014

ENews 12.08.2014

Monday - Santa's Workshop All Week!!
  • 8:30am-12:30pm - Worley to PBMAS/System Safeguards Training @ Admin
  • 3:30pm - Staff Meeting (next one schedule Monday, January 12)
  • 7:00pm - School Board Meeting
Tuesday - GT 1st & 2nd Grade Field Trip
  • All Day - Writing Coaches on Campus (Meet in Front Conference Room)
  • 9:30am-12:30pm - Bright to Asst. Principal Meeting
Wednesday - PLCs & Dress Like an Elf Day & Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 3:30pm - STAT Meeting
  • 6:00pm - Kindergarten Gingerbread Night 
Thursday
  • 7:50 - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, 4th Grade Teachers)
  • 8:00 - Finch to Technology Integration Mtg @ Admin
  • 9:30 - Office Staff Appreciation Breakfast @ Admin
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm - Roberts to Dyslexia Meeting @ Admin
  • 7:00pm - Honor Choir Christmas Program
Friday - Canned Food Drive ENDS
  • 8:00am - Jacobs & Green to Bilingual Classroom Instruction Framework @ Admin
#EdcampAwesome - Message from @ZachSnow
I'm really excited to let you know that EdCampAwesome is coming back to RCHS on February 21, 2015. I strongly encourage you to go ahead and register now. We are making 450 tickets available for this year's event. We did sell out of tickets last year. Registration is free and is live as of this morning. We are starting the all out promotion on social media today but I wanted to give you the link in this email. Go register NOW...it's FREE!!!
Here it is: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/edcampawesome-tickets-14691690241
Also, for those of you interested, PD hours will be offered for this incredible day of learning.
Seriously, go register!


Staff Meeting Today @ 3:30pm
All staff members please make arrangements to attend this meeting. Kenny Kaye Hudson will be sharing some additional information about the Texas Accountability & Interventions System (TAIS) process. We'll also examine the strategies we must focus on this next quarter as a campus. Also, be sure to watch the Homework Assignment Video Kenny Kaye shared with us about implementing and monitoring school improvement plans. Here's is the link from the website.

Safety & Security
Please ensure you are not using rocks to keep our exterior doors open during recess times. This presents a serious security risk to all our staff and students.

Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 50% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal. Jamie Garcia has developed a document that could be easily used by classroom teachers to update parents each week. It will be coming to you this week.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 21-25 this week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development
Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers in 3rd & 4th Grades. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.

Grades
Grades should be recorded weekly in the gradebook to afford parents and students the opportunity to view through the parent portal.

Student Voice (#StuVoice) - How are you incorporating student voice in classroom instruction?

Hour of Code December 8-14
Join the largest learning event in history December 8-14 as millions of students and adults in more than 180 countries take part in a one-hour introduction to computer science. The Hour of Code, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics, can be done any time during the week and includes resources for teachers to use with students in grades K-12.

Want to see some of the amazing resources available?
As a teacher, you don't have to know how to code yourself to participate in the Hour of Code. Just turn the learning over to your students and watch the magic happen!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tech Training update! :)

Hey boys and girls! Join me for tech trainings (these will all be in my room at 3:30 - bring your chromebook or device and any questions you have!) sorry for the short notice on these. I challenge you to come to at least one of these trainings, remember these count toward your hours for our district training incentives!

Wednesday, December 3rd - KAHOOT and Q&A - I'll be available for any questions and help you have, and I'll show you how to single handedly boost student engagement with one app!

Thursday, December 4th and Tuesday, December 9th will both be about Web 2.0 tools and apps. These are our last trainings before break! As always, I'm here if you guys need anything at all!
Christiana :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

ENews 12.01.2014

Monday 
  • 8:30am - Jacobs to Digital Leadership Training
  • 3:30pm - Campus Leadership Team (CLT) Meeting - Jacobs, Bright, Powley, Worley, Green, Taylor, Padgett, Pogue, Jones, Chaney, Garcia
Tuesday
  • 9:30-12:30 - Jacobs to Principal Meeting
Wednesday - Pictures with Santa
  • 8:30 - Bright to iStation Training
  • 3:30pm - Elementary Curriculum Advisory Mtg @ Admin
  • 3:30pm - STAT Meeting
  • 5:00pm - Chickfila Spirit Night 
Thursday - Valerie James on Campus
  • 8:55 - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, 3rd Grade Teachers)
  • 3:15 - 3rd Grade "Meet the Teacher" - Jones, Chaney, Reynolds
Friday - Santa's Workshop Begins Next Week
  • 8:00am - Guided Reading Training -Padgett, Martinez, Jones, Northcutt, Reynolds, Soto, Williams, Green, V. Taylor
  • 8:30am - Powley - Counselor Training
  • 6:00pm - Fate Christmas Tree Lighting - Honor Choir Performing!
Early Reading Resources from TCEA's TechNotes
Research says that to help beginning readers develop a love of reading, it's important to offer a wide variety and number of books that will interest every child. But this can be difficult, especially if you're on a tight budget. Here are a few great free online resources for books for young readers.

Kindergarten teacher Matt B. Gomez has provided a wonderful Symbaloo of 50 free online early readers with audio and has promised to provide 50 more in the future. These also work well on most mobile devices, too.

Storyline Online offers wonderful beginning books read by Screen Actors Guide members. These videos are beautifully done and can be watched over and over again.

Watch children's author and illustrators read their own books in the Storytime Reading Room. There are many books available free. In addition, with payment for individual books or a subscription, students can even record themselves reading a book.

This website is packed full of great audio books for kids.

And don't forget about YouTube. A search for "elementary books read aloud" brings up hundreds of wonderful videos perfect for beginning readers, and all free. If you're worried about the ads and related content that might appear when watching a YouTube video, just paste the URL into ViewPure and it will strip out the ads, comments, and other distractions.





Lead4Ward Video - Word Play
Here's a short video that was shared with me about engaging learners with academic vocabulary. It's also great for ELL learners. Take a look at the video here.

Staff Meeting Next Monday, December 8th @ 3:30pm - All staff members please make arrangements to attend this meeting. Kenny Kaye Hudson will be sharing some additional information about the Texas Accountability & Interventions System (TAIS) process. We'll also examine the strategies we must focus on this next quarter as a campus.

Also, be sure to watch the Homework Assignment Video Kenny Kaye shared with us about implementing and monitoring school improvement plans. Here's is the link from the website.

Reading Instruction
Guided Reading books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 33% of their goal by this Friday. If you notice someone who really needs help, please let me know. We will continue to monitor and encourage students to make weekly targets and a comprehension score of at least 80%. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day.

Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes. Be sure to communicate with parents about their child's AR point goal and their progress toward reaching that goal. Jamie Garcia has developed a document that could be easily used by classroom teachers to update parents each week. It will be coming to you this week.

Mathematics
1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 16-20 this coming week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Texas Early Math Inventory (TEMI) for Grades K-1 - students must be assessed with this instrument BOY, MOY, and EOY. Once students are screened, teachers should implement the recommend lessons from the program.

iStation Math for Grades 2-4 - students must be assessed with this instrument BOY, MOY, and EOY. Once students are screened, teachers should implement the recommend lessons from the program.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Professional Development - Guided Reading training is coming to Royse City on December 5th with Vicki Reynolds. 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grade ELAR teachers needing Guiding Reading training will be attending this day.

Remember Valerie James is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed. Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers in 3rd & 4th Grades. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.

Grades – Please make sure you are updating grades on Parent Portal on a weekly basis. This gives parents and students the opportunity to become aware of a missing assignments.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

ENews 11.17.2014

Thank you
I wanted to say thank you everyone for you words of encouragement, text message, notes, cards, gifts, and visits to the hospital regarding Karoline... it's truly appreciated. Saying thank you doesn't seem to truly express what your support means the last several weeks, but that's all I can do at this point... so thank you. Karoline got home yesterday so the whole family is under the same roof again... I'm very excited!

Remind Update
Those of you using the Remind system to send text messages to your parents... here's a system announcement from the organization. Be sure to view this video if you use this service.



Technology Survey
We have partnered with BrightBytes to provide an online questionnaire to collect anonymous responses from parents, teachers, principals, and students on the current use of technology as it impacts student learning. We desperately want to hear from you on this survey to help us address our current needs as well as plan for the future. Please take 15-minutes to complete the survey by phone, tablet, computer or other web-enabled device.

College Week
As you know, College Week is next week... so here's the link for the activities. You may wear jeans for each day you participate in the College Week theme. Be sure to share with your class the college you attended.

PLC Notes
Here are some notes from our most recent PLC time. Next week we'll work on getting moving forward with the questions/concerns each group had. I'm sharing them with you all so you can see what other groups share about from the various grade levels. You all have great ideas and others could benefit from your ideas.

Guided Reading
Books have been organized in the 4th Grade pod by reading level. Teachers will develop groups based on student's instructional reading level. Reading groups will meet daily. Lower level readers will meet every day while higher level readers will meet at least 2x per week.

Kristen Weichel is working with ELAR teachers in 3rd & 4th Grades. She studies the unit IFDs and Assessments to bring materials and ideas for teachers to use during ELAR instructional time. She will also provide support for Guided Reading and is available to conduct demonstration lessons.

Guided Reading training is coming to Royse City on December 5th with Vicki Reynolds. 2nd, 3rd & 4th Grade ELAR teachers needing Guiding Reading training will be attending this day.

AR Update
I know you're working diligently on utilizing Accelerated Reader to promote independence reading and tracking student reading levels. AR levels have been determined for each student and the goal is to maintain an 85% comprehension level for each kid. Students will work toward their goal with a weekly target as follows:
  • 1st Week - 17%
  • 2nd Week - 33%
  • 3rd Week - 50%
  • 4th Week - 67%
  • 5th Week - 83%
  • 6th Week - 100%
Teachers, be sure to closely monitor those students who are not at grade level. As Julia Robinson has stated to all of us before... the best way to improve reading is to read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and read! Please ensure these kiddos all have books going home with them DAILY. Nita Green is meeting with our targeted 3rd and 4th grade student to ensure they have a book on their reading level each day. Students should be asked to take home a book every night and read for 20 minutes.

Unit Assessments
We just completed our unit assessments in Reading and Math. Data cards been all been copied and will be maintained by homeroom teachers. Also, our grade data charts need to be updated with the most recent unit assessment scores. Homeroom teachers are responsible for adding the scores of the unit assessment and changing the color to reflect growth or meeting standards. Below are the charts (you'll need to have rights to view). Be sure your homeroom data has been entered ASAP.

2nd Grade 
3rd Grade
4th Grade

Mathematics
I have enjoyed seeing everyone work with Valerie James and using many of the strategies in your classrooms. Remember Valerie is available for demonstration lessons so be sure to ask her to visit your classroom for additional support as needed.

Each week, you're working with Valerie to determine words students must know to be successful. These words are colored by strand and should be posted on the word wall. Be sure to review them frequently with your students. Dr. Bright and I will be looking for these during our classroom observations and walkthroughs.

1st & 2nd Grade - Lone Star Daily Rigor is being used with students each week.
3rd & 4th Grade - Math GPS is being used to help students weekly. Teachers should be on week 11-15 this coming week. We must maintain this pace in order to finished by testing time.

Texas Early Math Inventory (TEMI) for Grades K-1 - students must be assessed with this instrument BOY, MOY, and EOY. Once students are screened, teachers should implement the recommend lessons from the program.

iStation Math for Grades 2-4 - students must be assessed with this instrument BOY, MOY, and EOY. Once students are screened, teachers should implement the recommend lessons from the program.

Think Through Math (TTM) for Grade 3-4 - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. Letters have been sent home during the first report card to parents. Remember that there's an app for TTM and it can be used on the iPad.

Gobble Gobble Update
A special message from Mrs. Ortega:
1st Jenkins with $ 78.00
2nd Garcia with $ 52.50
3rd McElroy with $32.00
4th Tayor (3rd) with $30.50

It looks like 2nd Grade is very thankful this year. 4 more days for the Turkey Contest. We have raised $411.00 so far. Only 589 to go for Mr. Jacobs to dress as a turkey.

Teachers - Here's a link to the Google spreadsheet that has been shared with you if you would to check your numbers.


Video Homework from Kenny Kaye Hudson
At our last meeting, Kenny Kaye shared with us a video implementing and monitoring school improvement plans. Here's is the link from the website... be sure to watch this video before the next staff meeting on Monday, December 8th @ 3:30pm.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

5 second survey and training!

Hey friends, lots of people have been asking about getting more Google Drive training. I learned several cool new things at training last week, and I can't wait to pass these tools along! So please join me this Wednesday (November 5th) after school in the library to learn about some cool Google Drive features! We'll meet at 3:30 and should wrap up around 4. No worries if you can't stay the whole time. Bring your questions and your chromebook :)

Also, please take 5 seconds to fill out this (fun) tech survey. It will help guide our tech trainings for the remainder of this semester: 5 second survey!

Also, don't hesitate to let me know if you need any help or have any questions! 

christiana

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ENews 10.16.2014

I would like to start this ENews off and say how please I am with the progress you guys are making this school year. I know our start to the school year wasn't the smoothest rides.  We're also getting some additional attention due to our accountability rating. However, I believe it's beginning to come together.

Now that we have a campus plan targeted to help us improve, we know what to do to move us forward. The plan we have will be finalized and posted in all our workrooms, the teacher's lounge, and by the mailboxes. This will help us be focused and drive our conversations around school improvement.

Please let me know how we can BEST support your teaching and learning practices with your kiddos. You guys are doing a great job and I love seeing the Teamwork we have this school year.


School Board Recognitions 
Our very own Robin Gowen (@RobinGowen) was recognized at the School Board Meeting this month and received the "21st Century Teacher Award" by Zach Snow (@zachsnow).  I'm so proud of her efforts to move our students forward and encourage 21st Century Skills in kids.

Also all our 4th Grade teachers were recognized for their efforts to collaborate across the district. I'm so please with these teachers to contact each other from other campuses and plan the 2nd Six Weeks on their own. Laura Martinez (@LGarciaclass) represented our 4th Grade group at the Board Meeting on Monday.

Student Gmail Accounts
Just a reminder... Zach Snow has setup student gmail accounts for our students to use for classroom instruction for 3rd and 4th Grades. Here's the letter we'll be posting to Peachjar and Social Media. Students now have the ability to email their teachers about class assignments and can send messages to each other. However, they cannot send message outside our domain (rcbulldogs.net & rcisd.org only). Nor can the receive messages from outside the domain.

This gives students the ability to have access to Google Drive which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and other services connected with Google including YouTube. We'll be working with Mr. Snow and Mrs. Finch (@ChristianaFinch) to provide training for teachers and give support of instructional integration. Please let us know how we can support you.

Also, here's some informational video about the Gmail Student Accounts:

Parent Info Video: http://youtu.be/Iz5QQKCyEKo
Elementary Video: http://youtu.be/gMMPXMjP7rE

Staff Gmail
We're still encouraging all our staff members to start moving toward Gmail and away from Outlook. This migration will occur next school year for all staff members but it would be great to start playing with it now especially since we have student Gmail accounts for 3rd and 4th grade.

Complete the form below if you would like to be added to our list of teachers moving from Outlook to Gmail now and I'll send it to Theo McDonald:


Parent Portal
It's a new Six Weeks grading period and parent/teacher conferences are underway. Be sure to remind parents to check student grades in parent portal. Also, grades should be recorded weekly in the gradebook to afford parents and students the opportunity to view through the parent portal.

Tutoring
It's official... we'll start tutoring on Tuesday, Oct 28 and go through Thursday, Nov 20th. I would like all staff members to be prepared to help support 3rd and 4th grade students. You may to asked to take a small group on Tuesdays or Thursdays for you to teach. Currently, the 3rd/4th grade teachers are working on identifying students who need additional support. Once that's complete, we'll start asking for help with specific students. 

Reading Family Night
Next Tuesday is our Reading Family Night & Book Fair. The times for the Book Fair are 5:30pm-7:30pm. Cassie Padgett, Connie Jones, and other teachers are working together to develop activities and ideas for teachers to do with our students and parents. The goal for this event is to give parents specific strategies they can do to support reading home. Also, parents can stop by the book fair and purchase some books to go along with the reading strategies.

HumanEx Survey
Last year our campus took a survey from this organization called HUMANeX Ventures (@HUMANeX). You can see the earlier post here. Our campus identified some areas we would like continue in our top areas and some other targets for growth.

Our Top 3 areas were:
  • I feel great pride in the work I do.
  • I have at least one close friend at work.
  • I am continuously seeking ways to improve my overall productivity.
Our Top 2 areas for grow were:
  • I feel "in on things" that are happening at Royse City ISD
  • I have received meaningful recognition in the past 10 days.
Here's the Brainstorming Activity the staff completed with the HUMANeX representatives. I'll be posting our Top 2 areas for growth on the bulletin board by our mailboxes to us to review. Please let us know how we can support you guys this school year.

PDAS Observations will begin soon for all staff members. We'll be letting you know how we'll be completing your 45-minute observation. More information coming.

AR Goals
On of the strategies we're doing for our Target Improvement Plan is based on AR and supporting students with reading. Our goal is to move students forward with reading and helping them read on grade level. AR is one program we can use to help us monitor students in this way.

33% is the target goal for this last week for our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students. Next week (Oct 20) the target goal will be 50% of goal. Be sure to monitor students who are not on grade level. You can support this strategy by ensuring our students are reading something on their level and taking a book home to read each day.

I plan to visit each classroom next week to talk about the importance of reading and how AR will be using to track their progress.

Dates to Remember
Elementary Curriculum Advisory Meeting - October 22nd @ 3:30pm
Early Release Planning Day - November 7th - Please bring your 2nd Six Weeks Writing Samples


Friday, October 10, 2014

ENews 10.10.2014

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Laura Martinez,
 4th Grade Teacher


Staff Meeting Next Monday
Monday, October 13th @ 3:30pm is our next whole staff meeting. We'll be sharing our Targeted Improvement Plan with the staff. I've been so very pleased with the progress with this group of teachers who served on this team: Dianna Bright, Stuart Powley, Vickie Taylor, Nita Green, Suzette Worley, Lisa Pogue, Cassie Padgett, Connie Jones, Jennifer Chaney, and Jamie Garcia. Julia Robinson will be visiting with us again to help share the plan and gather ideas from the group.

Family Reading Night & Book Fair
Cassie Padgett and Connie Jones have stepped up to help plan and organize our Family Reading Night for Tuesday, October 21. Each grade will be helping parents learn strategies they can do to support Reading instruction at home. The Book Fair is also scheduled for the same night to help encourage kids and parents to buy books and use the reading strategies they learned at home.

Student Gmail Accounts
Zach Snow has setup student gmail accounts for our students to use for classroom instruction. This is a great step moving forward toward 21st Century Learning. Here's the letter we'll be sending home to parents. Also, here's some informational video about the Gmail Student Accounts:

Parent Info Video: http://youtu.be/Iz5QQKCyEKo
Elementary Video: http://youtu.be/gMMPXMjP7rE
Secondary Video: http://youtu.be/MMOmMaZOvl8

Digital Citizenship Week
October 20-24 is digital citizenship week and we'll have a few activities on campus to give some attention to this topic for our students. Currently Robin Gowen will be planning some activities during computer focused on this topic and Stuart Powley will be reading some information about digital citizenship during morning announcements. If you would like to participate, be sure to visit the Common Sense Education website for some free resources and have your students join in the conversation. 

Parent/Teacher Conferences & Tutoring
Just a reminder: Parent/Teacher Conferences should be scheduled during the weeks of October 13-24. We have two evenings scheduled on both Thursdays (October 16 & 23) for the last conference @ 7:00pm. Be sure to you focusing on those students who need additional support at home. These kids could be below grade level in reading, low students on the ISIP iStation report, struggling in mathematics, etc. Also, I would like each teacher to document your conference with parents in Aware under the Journal tab (let me know if you need help with this). This documentation will serve has a great record for the STAT team.

Just to clarify, you are not required to stay late for conferences on the Thursday nights listed in the blog. There will be administrators present and air conditioning both nights, however you do not need to stay late if your conferences can be completed earlier.

We're still finalizing the tutoring schedule for this 1st Semester. Tentative, the dates for tutoring are be Tuesday, October 28th - Thursday, November 20th. Please mark your calendars but WAIT on communicating this out with parents for now. We'll send out an email about communication with parents. We'll be targeting students in 3rd and 4th Grade and I would like each person to help with small group tutoring this year... more details will be coming.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Instructional Technology Trainings and more!

Hey guys! Please read the info below.

Upcoming trainings:

  • Tuesday, October 7th - Gmail 1 (for beginners)
  • Wednesday, October 8th - Gmail 2 (more advanced)
  • Wednesday, November 5th - Google Drive

Bring your chromebooks! :)

Working toward that jean pass and t-shirt?! Come to trainings at school, they're brief, relevant, and we are all so fun :)

iStation is on most of the iPads! Thanks Julie - 2 class sets are ready for use!

Follow our district Pinterest page! Feel free to send pins to this account to help us grow our boards! If you interested in pinning to a specific board, let me know. www.pinterest.com/roysecityisd

Also, watch for a tech survey coming soon. :)

Let me know if I can help you in any way. It's why I'm here, and I'm happy to help!

Thanks!
Christiana

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ENews 09.28.2014

It's crazy to believe that the end of the 1st six weeks is here! You guys are doing a great job supporting each other and helping with kids... Keep up the good work!!

Technology Resources
Here's a few technology resources that were shared with me this past week... and I wanted to share them with you.

Google for Education - http://www.google.com/edu/
Resources and programs teachers can use with students and where can participate. Here you can find Connected Classrooms and go on virtual field trips or collaborate with others on a project. Or Education on Air to learn from experts about Math, Science, or Socials Studies. Or used it connect with authors on the books your reading with the students.

Matt Gomezhttp://mattbgomez.com/
He's a good friend of mine and teaches Kindergarten in Plano ISD. He also works with Region 10 to support classroom teachers to integrate technology in their instruction. Here's a web series called Hanging Out with Matt Gomez. Be sure to check it out!

Student Council Elections
Mrs. Ortega has done a great job organizing our Student Council elections. It's great to see so many students take an interest in this process and get excited about these positions. All the kids have done any excellent job with their posters. I love seeing student work displayed in the cafeteria... can't wait to see the results!

AIE Conference
Some of our Scott Family attended the Advancing Improvement in Education (AIE) Conference this year with Kenny Kaye Hudson and Julia Robinson. I was please to have Mrs. Padgett, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Garcia, and Mrs. Worley attend this conference with us. This group is working diligently by developing some exciting ideas to help us enhance our instructional program. 

On October 9th, our Campus Leadership Team (CLT) will be meeting again to develop a TARGETED plan for our campus. Based on several of the conversations I've had with these individuals, a focus on Reading will be a part of the plan. These teachers have some great ideas for us. One thing I will be committing to this year is sharing and communicating the implementation of our plan. So I've asked Julia Robinson to speak at our next staff meeting on Monday, October 13th,  to discuss our targeted plan and how we can implement it this year.

Tutoring
We're working on a tutoring schedule for this 1st Semester. Tentative, the dates for tutoring will be Tuesday, October 28th - Thursday, November 20th. Please mark your calendars but WAIT on communicating this out with parents for now.

Also, we're examining the processes we have in place for tutoring including HOW we select students for tutoring, WHAT we do with the students during tutoring, and WHO will be responsible for tutoring at this time. ALL staff members will need to be prepared to support our after-school tutoring efforts. More details will be coming in the next several weeks.

AR Reading Plans
Since Reading will be a focus of our campus, I've asked Mrs. Jones to help organize a new direction for our AR program. We've using many of the ideas Julia Robinson has shared with us and I believe this will be a great way to help increase the number of readers for Scott Elementary. Here's part of the original message Mrs. Jones sent us this last week about the AR program:

As a reminder, we want to emphasize meeting their goal each week by having students make it to certain steps as follows:

1st week students should be at 17%
2nd week is 33%
3rd week 50%
4th week 67%
5th week 84%
6th week 100%

Each week, I will run off your AR goal reports that have been highlighted with students that are not at the appropriate step. We will need to conference with these students and ensure that they are testing to achieve their goal. Therefore, please make sure to enter your AR goals next week as well.

In the meantime, please STAR test your students, set up your students' goals, and create their AR folders with their AR reading level and goal. I sent you an AR guide sheet in an earlier email showing how to do this. 

Communication with Parents
The next TWO Fridays will be unique and communication with parents will be critical. On Friday, October 3rd, there will be NO school. This is one of flex days we did during the Summer. The following Friday, October 10th, we will be an early release for all students @ 12:00pm. It's a significant change from our normal early release days - be sure to communicate with parents now about these two Fridays so they can make arrangements. Send reminders via Newsletters, Social Media, or Remind.

Homecoming Float
Yes! We have a float... thanks to Mrs. Gilliland Scott Elementary has a float entered in the Homecoming Parade. I would like to see 100% participation from our Scott Family participating in this event. The plan for our float will be focused around our PAWS-itive Behavior at Scott Elementary. We'll have two groups of teachers for riders and walkers. Our riders will hold two banners (one either of side) with our PAWS-itive message... while our walkers will be on the side of the float handing out candy. 

So apparently someone realized what life is like in the Jacobs household... because they decided to shoot this video. However, we all know this video is "based on a true story" and they decided to change the names to "protect the innocent". So here's a reenactment of a day in the Jacobs Family!



Friday, September 12, 2014

ENews 09.12.2014

Lead4ward - www.lead4ward.com

This organization has some great resources for you has you plan your lessons. For example, lead4ward has created a 2014-2015 School Year Update which has a document about our phase-in levels. TEA recently updated the Level II Phase-In Performance Standards. We are still in Level II Phase-In 1. Next school year we will move to Level II Phase-In 2 for 3 years, then Level II Phase-In 3 for 3 years, and Level II Phase-In Final Recommend afterwards. The Final Recommended level will now start in the school year of 2021-2022... you can see additional details about the accountability system here.

And here's a pic of Julia Robinson's favorite smart guy (after her husband)...


PDAS Walkthroughs
Next week, Dr. Bright and I will begin with classroom walkthroughs. You will see us more frequently in classrooms in the hope to give you more instructional feedback. Now the whole district will be using the same walkthrough form for each teacher (you can see it HERE). Here's a short video about this form...




Homecoming
This year Homecoming is the week of October 7-10. Mr. Worthy is encouraging all schools to participate in the Royse City Homecoming parade with a float or some other participation such as walking together. If you have any suggestions how our campus can participate, please let us know in the office. 

Also, our early release day is Friday, October 10 and we're getting out of school at 12:00pm on this day... and there's no curriculum meeting either! Be sure to share the early release time with parents via social media, text messages, and classroom newsletters.


Gym Morning Duty
Please make sure that if you have morning duty in the gym, that the kids aren't eating or drinking in here. We've had several open wrappers left and liquids spilled on the gym floor. Also, some students had slipped and fallen. Let the students know they must eat their breakfast in the cafeteria first thing in the morning.
Also, we're working on a way for students to have books in the gym so all students can read first thing in the morning. Encourage all your students to bring their library their books to the gym and read as they wait to be dismissed to the classrooms.

Other Reminders
Thank you so much for getting your money into Martha for Jeans Days and Sunshine Committee... you guys are awesome!

Snowball Express will be coming soon... be sure Martha has your most recent contact information.

Google Training with Christiana Finch will be next Wednesday, October 17th in the Library. Prizes will be given to teachers who participate!

Picture Day is next week - Please be sure to have your picture taken next Thursday, September 18th for the yearbook.

Reminder... please participate in the Payroll Contribution w/ Education Foundation. Here's a video from the Ed Foundation they shared with us last month... it's way too funny!!


So do you guys like having our activity calendar embedding on the blog OR would like me to list our upcoming dates for you?? I don't know how you read this information (on a mobile device or computer) but I want you to have the information you need. Let me know...but for now here's the Scott Activity Calendar embedded for you to view...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teacher of the Month

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Suzette Worley,
 Special Education Teacher


Thursday, September 4, 2014

E-News 9.04.2014

Call for Education Grants
From JoNell Melody: This is a Call for Innovative Grants from the Education Foundation. The grant deadline is October 3rd - midnight. The grant application must be submitted from Eduphoria by midnight on October 3rd, the principals will need to approve by end of day the followingTuesday, 10/7. The grant application is available on the RCISD website intranet - Eduphoria - FormSpace - submit new - Education Foundation. Please complete the form and submit by the deadline if you have an idea for a grant.

For anyone new to Grant writing we will hold Grant Writing Workshops on
September 10th at 3:45 PM & September 24th at 4:15 PM The workshops last about 45 minutes and will be in the Epps ESC - admin building, 810 Old Greenville Road.

Reminders
Payroll Contribution for Education Foundation sign ups need to be turned in September 17th for a September 25th start date. If you miss the deadline - no problem the contributions will just begin in October. Payroll contributions must be monthly, a one-time donation can be cash, check or through our website at www.RCISDFoundation.org - donate.

Also, be sure to pay your $1.00 for Jeans on Fridays to Martha... and if you want 20 Jean Passes for the school year, be sure to contribute $20.00 to the campus Sunshine Committee... See Martha for details.

Fun Resources
Great open-ended question stems you can use with your small groups of students
Staar4ward Pinterest Board - great ideas for using the Staar4ward information

Faculty Meeting
Just a reminder of our staff meeting Monday, September 8th @ 3:30pm in the library. All staff members will be present since Mr. Worthy will be here to share some information with us. Be sure to clear your schedule until 5:00pm that day.

PDAS & Teacher-Self Reports
The Teacher-Self Report will be due Friday, September 12th. Be sure to include your focus readiness/processing TEKS for this school year (here's directions if you need them). We'll be focusing on Reading/Writing/Math TEKS for all grade levels, content areas, and PDAS teachers. If you need help identifying these TEKS, please let me know (specials teachers...come visit with me during conference time and we'll talk about this). 

Also, the state of Texas does not allow waivers for PDAS Evaluations for campuses in "Improvement Required". Dr. Bright and I will be determining appraisers for this school year by next week and we'll be scheduling 45-minute observations earlier this school year... more details coming soon.

Improvement Planning
Our campus is moving into another phase of the improvement planning process with the state this year. This phase requires us to develop a Reconstitution Plan and give considerations to 10 areas about the instructional program for Scott Elementary. Here's a link our plan for this school year. These are only the BIG ideas we'll be engaging into this school year and we'll be including other pieces to the plan at the year continues. 

We must address each of the areas in this Reconstitution Plan during the school year. A school improvement "data day" has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 17th where we'll review our progress this past year and determine measurement goals for this year. Also four teachers will be attending the Advancing Improvement in Education (AIE) Conference with Julie, Kenny Kaye, and myself. One of the many goals this year is to keep everyone informed about the information being shared in this process. So you will see me post more information this year about our improvement efforts. 

Ladies and Gentlemen... Please know that I believe we can do this! We can meet state expectations and regain the trust of this community. We can do this work and do it well.  But it's going to require everyone to join together, divide up the work, and take on NEW challenges head-on. So let's help each other...support one another... if you must, call on others to help us... if you don't know what else you can do, come on over and look for solutions together. ALL hands must be in this together. 

Sandy Hook Letter
Judy Caskey (our campus PSP) sent me this letter: it was posted by a mother of a Sandy Hook victim ( a six year old child)! It is actually addressed to all teachers and school people. I thought it was so very meaningful, and I wanted to share it with you. Remember, you are doing a very special job, preparing students for their life's future! Therefore, you are VERY SPECIAL people! Sandy Hook Letter

(finally...if you are viewing this on your phone or mobile device... you may not be able to see the calendar I have listed below this message... it's from our Scott Activity Calendar. Be sure to view this section from a computer or Chromebook to see... Thanks)