Monday, March 30, 2015

Tech Tuesday Tools!

Hey everyone, it's Christiana again :)

Remember to reserve an ipad cart here!

Training is on Wednesday, April 1, after school from 3:30-4:30. This week we will be discussing Twitter Chats using TweetDeck. Please join if you can!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ENews 03.26.2015



Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • STAAR Writing 4th Grade (Day 1)
  • 3:00pm - Good News Club
Tuesday 
  • STAAR Writing 4th Grade (Day 2)
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today - RtI will continue to meet with students
Thursday
  • Kindergarten Easter Egg Hunt
Friday - No School (Have a restful weekend!)

Important Reminders

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.

Figure 19 Training
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found in Figure 19. They have created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19.
Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate. This workshop does count for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 66% of their goal by next 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 pages 86-90 next 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.
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.

Bad Weather Dates
Two of the bad weather make up days are scheduled for Friday, May 1st & Friday, June 5th

NEW Information

STAAR Next Week - there isn't a lot of information this next week - simply we're having STAAR testing for 4th Grade students. Here's a link to the TEA STAAR Training Modules if you haven't completed those yet.

Failing Grades - A quick reminder about contacting parents of students with failing grade. Also if you have any student you're considering holding the student back in the current grade level, you must schedule a conference with me to discuss that student's progress.

I'm Seventeen (#stuvoice) - Kate Simonds is 17. Take a deep breath, and a quick inventory of what feelings come to mind when you consider a 17 year old. Now watch this talk and prepare to have your thoughts flipped inside out. In the talk, she shares the following statement:
“As students we have no say in what we learn, or how we learn it, yet we are expected to absorb it all, take it all in, and be expected to run the world some day. We are expected to raise our hands to use the restroom, then three months later, be ready to go to college, or have a full time job, support ourselves, and live on our own. It’s not logical.”

Powerful stuff. Are we listening? Even if we are, are we doing anything about it? Watch this video and see if you can connect with these ideas to the student voice in your classrooms.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Tech Tuesday Tools and Trainings! 3/24/2015

Trainings Start this week in my room - byod (bring your own device). I hope to see you there!

Weds 3/25 - Google Drive - Teacher Command Center
Weds 4/1 - Google Hangouts
Weds 4/8 - Multipurpose Apps
Weds 4/15 - Literacy Tools
Weds 4/22 - Google Forms
Weds 4/29 - Twitter Chats (HootSuite, and TweetDeck)
Weds 5/6 -
Weds 5/13 -

Thursday, March 19, 2015

ENews 03.19.2015



Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • 8:00am - ARD (Jacobs, Dietz, Gilliland)
  • 3:00pm - Good News Club
Tuesday 
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 9:30am - Bright to Asst Principal Meeting
  • 6:30pm - All City Choir Concert @ Royse City High School
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 3:30pm - Elementary Curriculum Advisory Meeting @ Admin Building
Thursday
  • 8:55am - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, 3rd Grade Teacher)
Friday
  • 2:30pm - 4th Grade STAAR Writing Pep Rally in Pod

Important Reminders

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.

Figure 19 Training
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found in Figure 19. They have created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19.
Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate. This workshop does count for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 50% of their goal by next 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 pages 81-85 next 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.
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.

Bad Weather Dates
Two of the bad weather make up days are scheduled for Friday, May 1st & Friday, June 5th

NEW Information

#RLChat tonight - Just a reminder that tonight is our #RLChat starting @ 8:00pm. I'm excited to announce that our very own Christiana Finch is moderating tonight's chat. Be sure to participate...



T-TESS - NEW Teacher Evaluation System - Texas is currently piloting a new teacher evaluation system called the T-TESS  (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System). The pilot program began this year with nearly 60 school district. Next school year, nearly 200 school districts with join the pilot program. The new teacher evaluation system will be launched state-wide during the 2016-2017 school year.

Our district is considering joining the refinement phase of this program for this upcoming school year. Currently all Royse City ISD campus principals are learning more about T-TESS and how it differs from PDAS. You can learn more about the new teacher evaluation system yourself here with this link below.
The T-TESS System ... I will continue to share as we learn more about this process.

STAAR Training Modules - Here's the link to the training modules Mr. Powley emailed earlier.

Capitol Update - Accountability System
Earlier this week, Mr. Worthy emailed the principals some information about Senate and House Bills that could change our state accountability system and make it less test driven. Click here to read more about the details of the report from the TASA website.

ESL Certification - As you all know, the district is focusing on hiring teachers with an ESL certification and encouraging the rest of our teachers to become certified. Start thinking about getting your ESL certification during the summer. Click on the links above for addition information about ESL Certification. The district will be providing training for ESL certifications at the Administration Building. Summer dates will be coming.

30 Hour GT Training - Region 10 is offering this training completely online. Click this link to see the courses offered. Also Julia Robinson will be offering this training at the Administration Building this summer too. Summer dates will be coming.

Lesson Plans - Reminder to submit your lesson plans to Mrs. Salinas by Monday morning. If you're using Forethought on Eduphoria, I can access your lesson plans for that system so there's no need to "turn in" lesson plans. Eventually I would like to see all teachers using the Forethought system.

Failing Grades - Be sure to contact and meet with parents of any student with failing grades. If you have any student you're considering holding the student back in the current grade level, you must schedule a conference with me to discuss that student's progress.

Early Release Day - May 1st @ 12:00pm - Be sure to communicate with parents this early release day is 30 minutes earlier that usual. All staff members will be meeting at the High School for Staff Appreciation on May 1st @ 1:30pm.

Summer School Dates
Summer School will continue to be at Davis Elementary with Angelee Morales as the Principal. The dates/times for grades 3, 4, 6, 7 will be June 9-11; 15-18; 22-25 from 7:30am until 3:00pm. If you're interested in teaching these grade levels, please contact Angelee Morales directly.

The dates/times for SSI grades 5 and 8 will be June 9-11 Reading, June 15-18 Reading & Math, and a possible review session on June 22 to prepare them for the STAAR on June 24 & 25 from 7:30am until 12:30pm. If you're interested in teaching these grade levels, contact Anglia Carpenter directly.

Living in Beta (#stuvoice) - 
A Google Certified Instructor, Molly Schroeder has spent the last year keynoting and presenting at Google in Education summits all over the world. Most recently, she delivered the keynote address at the Hong Kong Google in Education Conference and was a guest speaker at the Google Developers forum at the ISTE conference. Her presentations often focus on how to integrate Google Apps and other emerging technologies into the classroom.

I love what she says about focusing on thinking skills and improving ideas for students... sounds a lot like Process Standards for us. As she talks, you can easily see how getting students to improve on their own ideas about learning relates to student voice.

Watch this TEDx Talk and see if you could use these ideas to enhance the student voice in your classrooms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tech Tuesday Tools and Tech Trainings 3/17/15

Hey guys and girls! Just a quick update and some great Tech Tuesday Tools! I will be having Tech training in my room (in the Kinder pod) every Wednesday starting next week from 3:15-4:15 (unless there is a staff meeting, etc). I will share different tools each week. Please don’t hesitate to request training on a certain topic or if you need resources or help troubleshooting. I am here to help. Here is a tentative rundown of trainings:

Weds 3/25 - Google Drive - Teacher Command Center
Weds 4/1 - Google Hangouts
Weds 4/8 - Multipurpose Apps
Weds 4/15 - Literacy and Math Tools
Weds 4/22 - Google Forms
Weds 4/29 - Twitter Chats
Weds 5/6 - Coming Soon!
Weds 5/13 - Coming Soon!

and now for…

1. Watch this video for a great FREE app by post-it - a great way to organize and store brainstorming activities. How it Works   See it on iTunes

2. Check out this awesome buzzer for the mimio @ Teacherled - great for sight words, math problems, and more. I’ll be using it to assess sentence types this week.

3. Are your kiddos blogging? Check out these awesome Avatar Maker Apps:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cute-avatar-creator-make-funny/id643113993?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/avatar-creator-you-can-make/id599399498?mt=8
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imadeface/id582560267?mt=8

4. Make your own Jeopardy (or borrow an already made one :) @ JEOPARDY LABS

5. Check out NEWSELA and DOGO NEWS for kid-friendly current events and news!

If you have time, tweet me @christianafinch with a photo of your students using any these tools, I’d love to see what’s going on in  your classrooms. Thanks!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

ENews 03.05.2015



Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • TELPAS Testing window opens
  • 3:30pm - Staff Meeting in Library
Tuesday 
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 9:30am - Jacobs to Principal Meeting
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 8:00am - Jacobs to HUMANeX Training
  • 8:30am - ARD (Bright, Dietz, Williams)
Thursday
  • Valerie James on Campus
  • 7:15am - All Pro Dads
Friday
  • Enjoy the Weekend!

Important Reminders

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.

Figure 19 Training
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found in Figure 19. They have created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19.
Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate. This workshop does count for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 33% of their goal by next 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 pages 76-70 next 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.
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.


NEW Information

Congratulations to our Teacher of the Month

Stacey Montgomery,
 4th Grade Teacher

Art Fair/Open House/Math Night/Music Program Night - This was a HUGH success for our parents and students. The turn out for this night was amazing. It was thrilling to see so many families enjoying themselves and seeing the work our students have been doing over the last several months. Thanks again everyone for making Tuesday night a sensational evening!



Teacher/Support Staff of the Year - Click here for the directions on casting your vote for our Teacher of the Year & Support Staff of the Year!

Meet with Valerie James - Just a reminder that she will be on campus and teachers will be meeting with her in the conference room.

TELPAS Window Opens Next Week - Nita Green will be using the computer lab in the 2nd Grade pod to complete student testing for TELPAS. Those specific dates/times will be sent out via email. It will be important for all students to remain quiet around that area and in the hallways to ensure a good testing environment for those students.

Bad Weather Dates - Two of the bad weather make up days are scheduled for Friday, May 1st and Friday, June 5th. The staff work day is now scheduled for Saturday June 6th. However, we will develop a plan for all staff members to comp out of the June 6th day, similar to what we did last year.  Employees will be asked to document accrued time during the month of May in order comp out of the Saturday work day. At this time - no plans have been made about missing school for today. However we'll keep you posted.

Student Voice Interview (#stuvoice) - Below is a short video interview with Zak Malamed (@zakmal)... I was just introduced to this individual recently. He's works for the organization called Student Voice. I like this video for several reasons...  But I especially like how the educators in the room made a point to connect with Zak and create an opportunity for the students to speak with him directly. It was a great way to engage the students!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teacher & Support Staff of the Year



It's that time to cast your vote for Teacher of the Year and Support Staff of the Year! The criteria for Teacher of the Year are as follows:

  1. Have at least TWO years of experience with the District.
  2. Be a dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled teacher.
  3. Have a concern for students and the capability to inspire students of all backgrounds.
  4. Have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues.
  5. Play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school and,
  6. Be poised, articulate and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.
  7. Once a teacher is voted as campus teacher of the year, the candidate is ineligible for nomination for THREE years.
Please click here to cast your vote for Teacher of the Year!

Also, the individual for Campus Support Staff of the Year should:

  1. Must have completed TWO years at Royse City ISD.
  2. Have good rapport with staff and students.
  3. Have good attendance and dependability
  4. Take Pride in their job and good attitude
  5. Be Neat in their appearance
  6. Go above and beyond their duties
  7. Follow campus/district policies

Sunday, March 1, 2015

E-News 03.02.2015



Weekly Schedule

Monday - TX Public School Week
  • Zooniversity In the Gym
    • PreK/HS/Kinder & 1st Grade - 1:00pm-1:45pm
    • 2nd/3rd/4th Grade - 2:00pm-2:45pm
Tuesday 
  • Last Day to Collect TELPAS Writing Samples
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 9:00am-3:00pm GT Training for Administrators (Jacobs & Bright)
  • 6:00pm-8:00pm - Art Fair
  • 6:00pm-7:00pm - Open House/Math Family Night
  • 7:00pm-8:00pm - 3rd Grade Music Program
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
  • Kristen Weichel on Campus
  • 1:00pm - Finch - Technology Integration Coach Mtg
  • 1:45pm - ARD (Bright, Dietz)
Thursday
  • 5:00pm-7:30pm - Chickfila Spirit Night
  • 7:00pm-8:00pm - All City Choir Concert @ Royse City High School
Friday
  • Last Day before SPRING BREAK (You've Earned It!)

Important Reminders

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.

Figure 19 Training
Region 10 has placed in the "Online Learning Center" to help teachers with supporting the skills found in Figure 19. They have created a 75 to 90 minute online course about the skills in Figure 19.
Click this link & you'll find illustrated directions on how to sign up for the online course through Region 10. When you finished, you would take the brief quiz and receive your certificate. This workshop does count for PD credit. Just list the course in your portfolio, along with the certificate.

Accelerated Reader (AR) Update - Students should be at 17% of their goal by next 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 71-75 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.
ESL Certification
Royse City ISD is pushing to have 100% of the teaching staff to be ESL Certification. The district will pay for teachers to take the test AND have the ESL Certification place on your teaching certificate. Below are a list of links that are helpful to those interesting in this process:
They can afford to reimburse you now - who know when they will no longer continue to this offer. Be sure to take up the district with this offer to reimburse you for this certification.


NEW Information

Campus Dismissal Last Friday - I want to echo my appreciation to each of you again for your efforts last week. All our student were able to get some quickly and safely. Thanks for being flexible with us during the afternoon and helping us communicate how each child was getting home. Excellent work Scott Elementary Staff!

Tutoring - Also one of the Team Leaders wanted me say thank you to our teachers who are stepping up to help with tutoring 3rd and 4th Grade students. Especially to Christin Propst, Bethany Bunnell, Heather Todish, Jamie Garcia, Kristen Ortega, Lisa Pogue, Nita Green, and Vicki Taylor. Thanks for your support.

Zooniversity (@zooniversity) - This is the first time we've had this group visit Scott Elementary. Our PTO has provided this program for our students that will have lot of LIVE animals for them to view. This seems like an exciting experiences for the kids. Here's a link to their website - http://www.zooniversity.org/

Art Fair @ 6:00pm-8:00pm - this is the first time we've hosted an Art Fair like this at Scott so I'm very excited to see our student create art in frames! These will be displayed in the cafeteria so encourage our parents to stop by and purchase some artwork.

Math Family Night @ 6:00pm-7:00pm -  will have BINGO card students will keep with them throughout the event. Teachers will mark each BINGO card for the activity they responsible for facilitating. Be sure to encourage students to visit other pods in the building to score higher points. At the end of the night, students will turn in their BINGO cards to their homeroom teachers for classroom prizes (homework passes, treasure box items, etc).

3rd Grade Music Program @ 7:00pm-8:00pm - Will be in the Gym while the Art Fair is going on in the Cafeteria. This will be a busy night for Scott Elementary!

Staff Meeting Next Monday, March 16th @ 3:30pm - This will be the official state testing meeting. Be sure to make arrangements for this meeting.

Valerie James Dates Revised
 - Due to our weather days, we're revising our meeting dates for Valerie James for March only. We will NOT meeting on March 5th OR March 26th. Be sure to save the date for Thursday, March 19th and reschedule parent conferences, grade-level meetings, and other around this date.

Teacher of the Month - Click here to cast your vote for March's Teacher of the Month.

Teacher of the Year - I will be sending out a Ballot for our Teacher of the Year sometime on Wednesday. Keep on the look out for that posting.

EdCampAwesome - Thank you for everyone who could make it to the event. I'm pleased to announce that Christiana Finch (@christianafinch) and Heather Todish (@KinderIsAHoot) lead a conversation during EdCamp. It was a great turn out with about 400 participates. We had some visitors from the Waco, Texas area too.

Here's a recap video that was shot and edited by Albert Thomas (@albertthomas79), an instructional technologist from the Dallas area. He did a great job capturing the essence of the EdCamp experience: