Thursday, August 28, 2014

E-News 8.28.2014

Well... the first week of school is coming to a close and I must say it's been a huge success! You guys are doing a great job with the students, getting them to all the right places, being flexible with scheduling, and communicating with parents. Keep up the good work!

Labor Day
This Monday, September 1 is Labor Day which means no school for all students and staff members. Please be sure to communicate this information on your Social Media and Remind accounts with parents and students.

PAWS-itive Behavior
I'm noticing a huge difference in the hallways and during lunch with how students are responding to PBIS. I know it's because of the conversations you guys are having with your students and setting those expectations early. Thank you so much for everything you're doing.

PLC Meetings
We're working on a schedule for a PLC meeting days for this school year and I'm collaborating with the other elementary campus principals and curriculum department in developing a common plan for PLCs. I'm be meeting with our PLC team leads next week to talk about expectations for this coming school year.

Also, you received a two page article about the value of the PLC process in your mailbox yesterday. It's an article from the Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association (TEPSA) on "Why PLCs are more relevant than ever?" Be sure to read this short article. Here were the top six reasons for a great PLC progress:

Why PLCs are more relevant than ever? Dr. Tom Many via TEPSA News, August 2014
#1 - Because we need to prepare our students for the 21st Century
#2 - Because we need a new definition of success
#3 - Because every child deserves a quality education
#4 - Because what we do as teachers does matter
#5 - Because our kids will compete in a global economy
#6 - Because as good as we are, we need to be even better

Education Foundation
The Education Foundation provides our students with money to support our classroom instruction. Jo Nell Mellody shared with us at convocation about the help our employees give to the foundation each year. The Education Foundation Payroll Campaign has begin and The foundation has been given $13,704 for grants written by Scott Elementary teachers. Last year, our campus received FOUR grants from the foundation.

I would like to encourage each of you to join me in support of this organization. Here is the information about the Payroll Campaign for 2014. Employees can contribute as little as $2.00 each month per the Royse City ISD Education Foundation. You can sign up here.

Friday Jeans
Reminder, all staff members have the opportunity to wear jeans on Fridays. Be sure to pay your $1.00 each Friday (or $35.00 for the school year). This money will continue to be used to support the scholarships high school students receive at the end of the school year.

Sunshine Committee
Interested in receiving 20 coupons for Jean Passes?? Then step by Martha's desk and contribute to the Sunshine Committee ($20.00). Your passes can be used on a variety of school days throughout the school year.

Let's share our Bulldog Pride with the T-shirts we received from First Baptist Church this week. Be sure to wear your Bulldog Pride T-shirt tomorrow!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

E-News (1st Day of School Edition)

First Day Procedures
On the first day of school, all staff members will need to be on campus and ready to receive student at 7:00am. Students (and parents) will be encouraged to head to their homeroom classes. Special teachers, Mrs. Green and Mrs. Worley will be greeting students car riders in the front and all others will be in the cafeteria or hallways helping students get to class. We will start normal morning procedures on Tuesday will students starting the day in the cafeteria or gym, then dismissed to classrooms by 7:35am.

The tardy bell will ring at 7:45am and morning announcements will begin. Please ensure all students are quiet and listening to the announcements. Encourage them to participate with pledges and moment of silence in the classrooms and hallways.

Staff Activity Calendar & Campus Website
Recently we added a campus activity calendar to help us plan and organize the school year. All staff members can access the calendar here on the blog by selecting from the menu above. Also, we're working on creating a website our staff can use for communication, curriculum, technology, data, and more. The website address is long and hard to remember: so I shortened it with bitly -

(If you're viewing this with a phone, you're probably seeing the mobile version of the site. There's a dropbox menu with the mobile version of this website. Let me know if you have questions.)

Gmail Migration
I know many of you are interested in moving over to Gmail. If you would complete this form, I will send this over to Theo and he will get you switched over by the end of the week.

Monthly Staff Meeting Schedule
Our monthly staff meetings will be scheduled like last year, once a month on Mondays. Here's the specific dates:
Sept 8
Oct 13
Nov 10
Dec 8
Jan 12
Feb 9
Mar 16
Apr 13
May 11
Since we only meet once a month, please reschedule your after school appointments for other days during the month. The purpose of our staff meetings will be focused on shared learning experiences and best practices. Day-to-day campus operations will be shared through the blog or staff emails.

Math Coordinator Meetings
Valerie James, our district math coordinator, will be visiting our campus each week. She will be attending PLCs, supporting classroom instruction, and assisting with data analysis. Be sure to visit the Scott Activity Calendar for each of the days she'll be on campus. Currently she'll be at Scott on:
Thursday, August 28
Thursday, September 11
Thursday, September 25

PDAS Refresher
This is the time of the school year to complete the annual review of the PDAS for Teachers. Julia send out the following directions for via email recently:

Welcome to the Professional Development & Appraisal System Annual Review for Teachers online training course. This system requires that a new profile be created every year.
To register and receive a username and password for this course please follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Click this link
*If the link does not take you to the registration page, type in the address in your browser.
Step 2: Enter this registration code in the form: wetsnow1220
*When entering your registration code, it should be entered exactly as it appears.
Step 3: Complete the rest of the form and submit.

Be sure to complete the online refresher and Teacher Self-Report Part I during the first three weeks of school. We'll begin our teacher appraisers earlier this school year for all teachers and we'll let you know who your appraiser will be soon.

New Teacher
I didn't get a chance to mention this before... but we hired a new teacher for the 3rd Grade team. His name is Michael Reynolds and he's coming to us from Garland ISD. I know some of you have welcomed Michael to Scott Elementary and even helped him get moved in. Be sure to stop by his classroom and introduce yourself.

That's all the announcements I have for this first week of school. Have a wonderful first day of school and get lots of rest! See you guys tomorrow!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

#SummerLS Challenge 11 w/ Todd Neslonesy

It's the last challenge for the summer. If you would like to see the original postings for all these challenges, here's a blog created by Todd where he posted each of the challenges.

Remember Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaToddwas recently hired has a school principal for Navasota Intermediate (Grades 4-5). You can find out more information about his vision for the campus here. I know he has hired some great teachers for this school year and they would be AWESOME people to reach out to for ideas and resources. Here's a link for staff members teaching teaching at this campus.

Enjoy your weekend and see you soon!

Well, we've reached the end of our #SummerLS. I can't express enough what an experience this has been from me. From originally planning this for my staff of 36, to now having over 2,000 people from 8 different countries participate.

Thank you each and every one for learning this summer. I DO plan on continuing this once a month throughout the school year (on this same blog), and we'll continue to use the same hashtag :)

This week's final challenge is brought to you! And it's all about Google Hangouts!

You can watch the video challenge HERE.

When you're done with the challenge you can fill out THIS Google Form

(***On a side note: lots of people asked about not having a Google Form to fill out last week. The goal was to have you tweet your Classroom Champions learning. BUT I went ahead and created THIS Google Form for you to fill out from last week's challenge!)

See you online!

***like the video said, if you would like notifications of upcoming challenges, go to our first post and fill out the Google form (if you haven't already; most have)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Staff Development Week

Since you guys are reading Teach like a Pirate, it should be no surprise that our school theme is also related to the book. Last school year our school theme was Passion and we talked about the #YouMatter movement by Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) which included several statements about value that each of YOU add to the success of Scott Elementary...

The book Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (@burgessdave) starts were Angela left off. The "P" in "P.I.R.A.T.E." is Passion and Dave has several interesting, unique ways to engage students in the classroom. Here's a TED talk Dave gave a year ago about this topic:

Our first day back on Monday, we'll be talking about this idea of teaching like pirates and what it means for Scott Elementary... And if your summer was anything like mine, you probably haven't had a chance a open the book :) So do two things for me before next week:

1. Watch Dave's TED talk on  Teach like a Pirate (see the video above)

2. Read the section about "The First Three Days of School" (pp. 22-32) from the book. As you read this section, please keep in mind the guy is a high school teacher and he's crazy. (As crazy as you think I am --- dressing like a turkey --- this guy is even crazier!)

Our campus theme this year is "TECH Like a Pirate". Not only are we going to engage our students in unique ways this year, but we are moving forward with our technology integration plans.

Christiana Finch (@christianafinch) will be serving as our local Technology Integration Coach. This means she will encourage, train, and support your efforts to use technology with students. I will let her talk more about what that will look like for us next week...  I'm also excited to announce we have another set of iPads coming to Scott Elementary! That will give us about 3 sets of iPads on the campus that Julie Jones (@Julie_Jones27) will help you check out of the library.

Schedule for Staff Development
Here's our CURRENT schedule for our district staff development week. Please note this schedule is subject to change, but there's the highlights...

Positive Behavior Interventions & Support (PBIS)
I'm very excited this program is coming to Scott Elementary! Our PBIS team members have been very busy planning, organizing, and developing this program to make it the Scott Elementary way to do things. PBIS helps our campus promote a positive campus culture with our students. It also reinforces the idea that school is the best place to be.... that we want students to run to school AND drag themselves home.

During the summer, we had several key individuals from our campus trained in leading PLCs. This will help move our campus forward with the challenges that we face this school year. So Monday afternoon, our PLC team leads will be working with Julia Robinson (@CurriculumDiva) and planning the beginning of the school year.

District Curriculum Day
Julia Robinson has planned some great activities for us on Wednesday. We'll all be in different places for this day (Fort Elementary, Royse City High School, or Administration Building). Be sure to look at the schedule for your specific location.

New Google Drive
During the summer months, Google updated the look and feel of their Google Drive product. You may have noticed a difference if you logged into the system recently. I have embedded a short video by Amy Mayer (@friedtechnology) who can help you understand some of the major differences to this program.

We have some exciting things plan for this school year and I can't wait to see you guys next week! Pick something fun to do with your family this weekend and we'll see you soon.

Friday, August 8, 2014

#SummerLS Challenge 10 w/ Todd Nesloney

From the feedback I've heard this past week, I believe ya'll enjoyed the Revolutionizing Learning Conference (#RLRC14). I had a wonderful time myself but loved seeing so many of you guys excited about the tools, tips, and tricks to engage students. Here are all the tweets from the #RLRC14 conference--check it out!

Many found the challenges in the #SummerLS helped to better understand many of the tools shared during the conference. Be sure to send @TechNinjaTodd a thanks for organizing this summer challenge for us.

We are in our second to last #SummerLS Challenge! Thank you everyone for following and learning with us.

This week's challenge is one that is very near and dear to my heart. Almost 2 years ago I connected with an organization called Classroom Champions. This is an organization that I continue to work with to this day because of what they seek to do. You can read several of my blog posts that talk about things my class was able to do by being a part of Classroom Champions. You can read one HERE. And if you read THIS post you can see how our athlete, Paralympic Gold Medalist Joshua Sweeney, changed an entire campus.

My good friend, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Steve Mesler, co-found Classroom Champions with his sister Leigh.

And this week's challenge comes straight from Steve Mesler himself. You can watch his video challenge HERE.

How do you complete this challenge? Exactly what the video says, you watch his TED Talk, watch a Goal Setting video by one of two olympic athletes, and then TWEET him and Classroom Champions about your learning using the #SummerLS hashtag.

Also, make sure you add Classroom Champions to your circle on Google+ to follow the journey of Paralympic Medalist Lex Gillette as he uses Google Glass this year to teach even more kids!

I can't wait to see the ideas you guys come up with!

Happy Learning!

Monday, August 4, 2014

E-News 09.04.2014

Can you believe the start of the school year is already here!?! It's been a crazy summer vacation and I know many of you and ready to start the school year! I'm so ready to get this school year started too - besides I miss seeing you guys and having kids in the hallways.

So here's a couple of things for you to think about before we start off the next school year. Please don't hesitate to ask questions, call, text, email, tweet, or vox me (Yes, some staff members using Voxer now - very exciting).

Revolutionizing Learning (#RLRC14)
This week is our RCISD Conference held at the High School. It's call Revolutionizing Learning featuring several amazing educators. Below are link's all the sessions for this event:
Our very own Christiana Finch (@christianafinch) and Bethany Bennell (@BethanyBunnell1) will be speaking at this event on Wednesday @ 10:00am (I will be in that session to learn more about tech tools in early childhood). ALSO, Lisa Pogue (@poguel) will presenting on flipped instruction on Thursday @ 12:45pm & 2:15pm. AND Julie Jones (@Julie_Jones27) is also presenting with some Digital Divas in the first session on Wednesday @ 8:30am on using digital resources with students.

I'm so proud that we have so many teachers sharing during the Revolutionizing Learning Conference this week. We have some amazing teachers at Scott Elementary!!

Below are some sessions I would highly recommend for you guys:
  • Formative Assessment Using Technology - Janet Corder/Joan Gore - Wednesday @ 12:45pm - these ladies are some of the smartest people in the edtech business - Formative Assessments will help our campus move forward. Check them out!
  • Discovery Ed - Kristy Vincent - another smarty in the edtech world! There's so much more to Discovery Education than simply videos. Discovery Ed has lessons that go along with our TEKS and are easy for classroom teachers to use. It's a great resource! Go learn more about this resource.
  • iPads in Education & Google A-Z - Monica Martinez - iPads and Google Apps for Education are being supported by Royse City ISD as we teach digital literacy to our students. These sessions will help you get familiar with these tools... besides Monica is also amazing!!
  • Tammy Worcester - I met this lady a few years ago couldn't get enough. I learned so much during her sessions at TCEA - and I attended them all!
These are my personal picks from the Revolutionizing Learning schedule, but you can't go wrong with attending any of the sessions. You will learn a lot during this next week.  Julia and the iAct team did a wonderful job bringing these speakers together and creating this event for Royse City. Be sure to thank her and the team for all their hard work during the event!

Compliance Training via Region 10
Just a reminder about the compliance training's the link to the original blog post and list of videos that must be completed before school starts.

Edcamp Scott Elementary
Edcamps are my favorite way of learning and I want to bring that experience to Scott Elementary during the week of staff development. The way our Edcamp will operate is by having you guys lead conversations around the topics that interest the teachers on this campus. It's an opportunity for us to learn together and share some knowledge.

But first, I would like to know TWO things from you... what you would like to learn & what you would like to facilitate a session about? Give me your feedback on this Google Form and I will create a schedule based on your feedback. Remember the #YouMatter talks from last year ... "you are a genius and the world needs your contribution" ... therefore you have something to share that we can all learn and benefit from your genius. So please be brave and share with us!

Summer LS Update
Here's an update on the Summer Learning Series by Todd Nesloney. Some teachers are catching up - and it's not too late the start! And here's a list of all the #SummerLS Challenges for you to start.

That's all for now... Later I will post some additional information regarding the Schedule for Staff Development Week, Meet the Teacher Information, and other Beginning of the School Year stuff.

#SummerLS Challenge 9 w/ Todd Nesloney

As I'm sending this out, I received a message from Todd last night that he's in the area speaking to a group of teachers. So if you know someone from Commerce ISD, ask them about Todd Nesloney because his sharing his great TechNinja skills with others locally.


We're at week 9! And also, August 1! Man the time has flown by! It looks like we only have 2 more weeks of the #SummerLS left. But don't fret. My plan is to continue doing challenges, once a month, throughout the school year.

First of all, if you missed Erin Klein's Classroom Design webinar last week, you can watch it HERE.

Here's this week's challenges...

Part 1:

This week's first challenge comes from Amber Teamann in Texas. Her video challenge is about Smore. A great free tool that allows you to make some cool online newsletters and such. You can watch her video HERE.

Her next part covers how she has used Twitter on her campus as an administrator and the neat little function called "Fast Follow". You'll definitely want to read THIS post to learn more!

Your challenge this week is to create your own Smore, and then to read Amber's blog post (and leave a comment). Once completed you can fill out THIS Google Form.

Part 2:
I come across many great resources, but one of my favorite is Sophia. Sophia is an online platform that I use for flipping my classroom. They have over 40,000 videos already made by other educators. Plus Bill Nye (the Science Guy) is a Sophia partner and has exclusive content on their site!

The best part? Sophia has partnered with Capella University to offer FREE certifications. You can get Flipped Classroom Certified, iPad Certified, Chrome Classroom Certified, or Virtual Classroom Certified....ALL FOR FREE!!! And you get a nifty little certificate and t-shirt out of it! Go HERE to see the certifications.

What is your challenge this week? Create a Sophia account, play around on the website, and choose 1 (or more) of the certifications to complete. Once you've completed your certification take a picture with your certificate and tweet it to the #SummerLS hashtag. Then fill out THIS Google Form.