Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tech Tuesday

Hey guys! Here's this week's Tech Tuesday! There will be a training tomorrow afternooon in my classroom at 3:30 - we will be going over some awesome free resources that are easy to implement into the classroom! Hope to see you there! - Christiana

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ENews 04.23.2015




Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • 10:00am - Jacobs to Principals Mtg @ Admin Building
Tuesday 
  • Costco Visit
  • 1:30pm - Dyslexia Therapists Mtg @ Scott Elementary
  • 7:00pm - 1st Grade Music Program
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
Thursday
  • Valerie James on Campus
Friday
  • Bad Weather Make-up Day - Yes we have school!
  • Ice Cream Party

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.

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 - Think Through Math - Teachers please ensure that all students have been assessed for TTM. 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.

30 Hour GT Training @ Administration Building - This training will be the week of July 13-17 here in Royse City. You can sign up and attend this training OR go to the Region 10 website and complete the online class for this training.

Early Release has been rescheduled - To keep inline with a TEA policy, our early release day has moved from Friday, May 1st to Thursday, June 4th. Elementary/Intermediate campuses will be released @ 12:00pm and secondary campuses @ 1:00pm. Afterwards, we'll meet at the High School by 1:30pm for our annual staff appreciation event.

Staff Workday - All staff members must keep track of their EXTRA hours to comp out for the Staff Workday scheduled for Saturday, June 6th. Each staff member needs a total of Six (6) hours to comp out. Your list dates/hours will need to be submitted to Martha Edward by Monday, June 1st.

Revolutionizing Learning Conference - Our second year for this conference will be August 5th & 6th. As you know, keynoting this year's event is author and nationally sought after speaker, Mr. Dave Burgess of Teach Like a Pirate (perhaps you've heard of him). Also joining us again this year will be Tammy WorcesterJanet and Joan (better known as J-squared), and close friend of Royse City ISD Kasey Bell from Region 10.

Click here and check out the website for Revolutionizing Learning Conference.

Here's the deal, we have reserved 750 tickets for the school districts who are working together to make this the biggest and best learning opportunity in the area. But, those spaces will only be held until April 15thSo, I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and register now! On April 16th we will be opening up the registration through TCEA to anyone and everyone in the state who wants to attend. Registration for the event will be capped at 1,000. We feel there is a strong possibility that we could sell out because we are already having districts contact us about when tickets will be made available. Please register asap!

(BTW - this is a great place to get your Six (6) hour GT update)


NEW Information

Bad Weather Dates
Two of the bad weather make up days are scheduled for Friday, May 1st & Friday, June 5th. Be sure to send out reminders to parents that we'll have school on this day.

Digital Citizenship Presentation for Parents - Tonight Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) from Eanes ISD will be speaking to our parents about digital citizenship and how they can support our students. I've known Mr. Hooker for a few years and he's a very smart guy on technology education. The presentation will begin @ 6:30pm at the High School and a flyer went home via PeachJar & Social Media earlier this week. Please encourage parents to attend this presentation - also it would be a great presentation for teachers to learn about too!

PLC Training - On Friday, August 14th, our teacher new to the school district will be involved in PLC training from Eric Twadell. Some of our team leads have attended this training last summer and I'll be looking to ask other teachers to attend this training too. Participants will receive professional development credit hours.

T-TESS - NEW Teacher Evaluation System - I mentioned this in a previous blog post about new teacher evaluation system called the T-TESS  (Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System). The new teacher evaluation system will be launched state-wide during the 2016-2017 school year. I included the most recent board minutes for you to review:

The State has been developing a new appraisal system, T-TESS for teachers and T-PESS for principals as the staff evaluation tool. The new system is slated to go into effect the 2016-2017 school year. Royse City ISD chose to participate in this pilot program before the full rollout is released.


The new system is designed to help grow our staff as educators, which is a little different twist in what we have done before.


The new program includes three (3) measures; 70% is observation, 10% is a teacher self-assessment piece in which staff look at categories and rate themselves, and the final piece is student growth which won’t be impacted the first year. Student growth may be evaluated through one or more of four models; STAAR, EOC, or district pre-imposed testing, of which the district could choose which grade model and portfolios. This program was designed to meet the new teacher standards which has four dimensions; the first is planning, which Ms. Robinson said she is thrilled to see, instruction, learning environment, and professional practice and responsibilities.


The differences of T-TESS are that it focusses on the whole picture of teaching. “We must gage by how the student responds” said Ms. Robinson “and check student performance data all along the way. That is what the meetings between teachers and principals will be about.


The first year, teachers will map out progress. At the year end, teachers and appraisers will determine what they are doing well and what they can do to improve. Development will be an ongoing process. “It is our job to help teachers find the professional development they need to attain their goals” said Robinson. Summer months will continue to be used to plan and provide professional development opportunities.


There will be two evaluations; one announced and one unannounced. “Very specific steps must take place before the evaluation takes place” she said. One unusual aspect is the “summative” piece will take place in August, at which time data will be reviewed to see how students performed on the assessment Trustee Christina Carrion asked if high performing staff will have the option of choosing whether they are evaluated each year or once every three years as PDAS allowed. Ms. Robinson replied “that will be a board decision, but this first year everyone will participate.”

Our district is will be moving to the T-TESS 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.

THIS Will Revolutionize Education (#stuvoice) - 
Derek Muller (@Veritasium) is an Australian-Canadian science communicator, filmmaker and television presenter. He is best known for creating the YouTube channel Veritasium.

He believes that many technologies have promised to revolutionize education, but so far none has. With that in mind, what could revolutionize education? Watch this video and see if you can connect with these ideas to the student voice in your classrooms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tech Tools and Training 4/14

Tech Tuesday Tools! Tomorrow, we will talk about Google Forms at 3:30 in Room 102! Hope to see you there! This funny video is too cute not to share. Does anyone else ever feel like an alien? Free App of the Week: Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion is part story, part game, and part online safety lesson. When Garfield's friend receives an "F" on his report about goats for using opinions instead of facts, Professor Garfield steps in to explain the differences between a fact and an opinion (particularly with regard to the Internet), how to read with a questioning mind, and how a fact can be verified. Developed by the Virginia Department of Education. Tip of the week! If you'd like to make your gmail signature awesome - check out these steps! It even shows you how to set up links to your profile. You could add your twitter handle or your donors choose project!
Lastly, here's a great blog post on How to get your Donor's Choose Project Funded.
Hope this was good info! Let me know if you need any help! Christiana

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ENews 04.09.2015




Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • 3:00pm - Good News Club
  • 3:30pm - Staff Meeting
Tuesday 
  • Head Start & PreK Field Trip
  • 9:30am - Bright to Asst Principal Mtg @ Admin Building
  • 3:15pm - BAU Meeting @ Middle School
  • 3:30pm - Tutoring (3rd/4th Grade)
  • 7:00pm - Kindergarten Music Program
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
  • Writing Coaching w/ Jayne Knighton (Afternoon Only)
Thursday
  • 7:15am - All Pro Dads
  • 7:50am - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, 4th Grade Teacher)
  • 12:50am - ARD (Jacobs, Worley, Kindergarten)
Friday
  • End of the 5th Six Weeks
  • Diffendoofer Day!!!

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 83% 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. 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

Diffendoofer Day on Friday, April 17th - Our Hershey's chocolate theme day is beginning to come together. I sent out a shared folder with a variety of activities for you all to select from and do with students via email. You can click here to access those activities again. Be sure to meet with your teams this week and discuss what activities you plan to do with your students. If you haven't already, decide what you're team is planning and visit with Martha Edwards so we have list of chocolate items to purchase by TOMORROW @ 12:00pm. Of course we want this to be instructional AND fun at the same time - there's a lot of engaging activities students can do when chocolate is the theme!


School Insurance Sign-ups - The First Financial Group of American will be at Scott Elementary on TOMORROW. Every employee must stop by to see these guys to verify your plans for insurance for next school year.

Staff Meeting - We'll have our next staff meeting next Monday, April 13th @ 3:30pm. Please make arrangements to be present.

Early Release has been rescheduled - To keep inline with a TEA policy, our early release day has moved from Friday, May 1st to Thursday, June 4th. Elementary/Intermediate campuses will be released @ 12:00pm and secondary campuses @ 1:00pm. Afterwards, we'll meet at the High School by 1:30pm for our annual staff appreciation event.

Staff Workday - Just a reminder... staff members are being asked to keep track of their EXTRA hours to comp out for the Staff Workday scheduled for Saturday, June 6th. Each staff member needs a total of Six (6) hours to comp out. Your list dates/hours will need to be submitted to Martha Edward by Monday, June 1st.

PBIS Survey - Teachers please take a few minutes to complete the end of year survey for PBIS. It is short and shouldn’t take very long. Everyone’s input is essential. To complete the survey click on the link here: http://tinyurl.com/Scott-Teachers. Also the students need to complete their survey too - here's the link for students to complete: http://tinyurl.com/Scott-Students

PDAS Teacher Self-Report II & III Due - Teacher summative conferences are around the corner. Be sure to complete your Teacher Self Report Parts II & III by Monday, April 20th. This report will be used to help us complete your summative evaluation for the end of the year.

iPads Coming to Scott - I'm please to announce that the Education Foundation will be committing to purchasing 30 additional iPads for our campuses for the next THREE years! I would like to brag especially on Christiana Finch who did a presentation for this group a few weeks ago and demonstrated several tech tools she's using with her students. This investment will help a lot to reach our goal of 1:2 iPads to students at the elementary level.

STAAR Testing UPDATE - Just a reminder our 3rd/4th grade students will be taking the STAAR test soon. STAAR Math - April 21st & STAAR Reading - April 22nd. Teachers were very encouraging during the STAAR Writing. Let's be sure to share some encourage words with the students and teachers over the next several days too.

I visited with most of the grade level teams yesterday about the news from TEA:
For 2015 accountability, due to the changes in the state assessment program this school year, a campus or district must meet the target on either Index 1 OR Index 2 plus meet the target on Index 3 and Index 4.
We had some excellent news and I've very excited - however let's continue to be focused on our target students for the remaining instructional days. You all are making great progress with our student... keep up the excellent work!! You can read more about the official announcement from TEA with this link.

Digital Citizenship Presentation for Parents - Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) from Eanes ISD will be speaking to our parents about digital citizenship and how they can support our students. I've known Mr. Hooker for a few years and he's a very smart guy on technology education. The presentation will be on Thursday, April 23rd and a flyer will be going home via PeachJar. Please encourage parents to attend this presentation - also it would be a great presentation for teachers to learn about too!

Writing Wrap-Up - Jayne Knighton is helping our elementary campuses regarding writing and will be meeting with various grade level representatives to successfully close this school year and start plans for next year. The meeting will be on Monday, May 18th for half the day at the Administration Building. Please select ONE representative from your grade level (Grades 1st-4th) to attend the meeting and let Martha Edwards know so she can get you a sub.

30 Hour GT Training @ Administration Building - This training will be the week of June 13-17 here in Royse City. You can sign up and attend this training OR go to the Region 10 website and complete the online class for this training.

Revolutionizing Learning Conference - Our second year for this conference will be August 5th & 6th. As you know, keynoting this year's event is author and nationally sought after speaker, Mr. Dave Burgess of Teach Like a Pirate (perhaps you've heard of him). Also joining us again this year will be Tammy Worcester, Janet and Joan (better known as J-squared), and close friend of Royse City ISD Kasey Bell from Region 10.

Click here and check out the website for Revolutionizing Learning Conference.

Here's the deal, we have reserved 750 tickets for the school districts who are working together to make this the biggest and best learning opportunity in the area. But, those spaces will only be held until April 15th. So, I would strongly encourage you to go ahead and register now! On April 16th we will be opening up the registration through TCEA to anyone and everyone in the state who wants to attend. Registration for the event will be capped at 1,000. We feel there is a strong possibility that we could sell out because we are already having districts contact us about when tickets will be made available. Please register asap!

(BTW - this is a great place to get your Six (6) hour GT update)


PLC Training - On Friday, August 14th, our teacher new to the school district will be involved in PLC training from Eric Twadell. Some of our team leads have attended this training last summer and I'll be looking to ask other teachers to attend this training too. Participants will receive professional development credit hours.

Kristen Bell on Ellen - So I've been posting lots of videos about using student voice (#stuvoice) to enhance classroom instruction these last few months. And I've decided to take a short break to give you something funny - just because we all need to laugh.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tech Tuesday Tools 4/7/15 - Christiana Finch

I'll be sharing some awesome multipurpose apps in my classroom after school on Wednesday at 3:45! I hope to see you there! ---christiana

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ENews 04.02.2015




Next Week's Schedule

Monday
  • Jacobs/Bright to Quarterly Report Meeting @ Admin Building (All Day)
Tuesday 
  • 9:30am - Jacobs to Principal Mtg @ Davis Elementary
Wednesday
  • PLC Meetings Today
  • 1:00pm - Technology Integration Coach Mtg @ Admin Building
Thursday
  • Jacobs to Strategic Planning @ Admin Building (AM Only)
  • Valerie James on Campus
  • 5:30pm-7:00pm - Head Start/PreK/Kindergarten Roundup
Friday
  • School Insurance Sign-Ups

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 75% 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 91-95 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



Congratulations to our Teacher and Support Staff of the Year!



School Insurance Sign-ups - The First Financial Group of American will be at Scott Elementary on Friday, April 10th. Every employee must stop by to see these guys to verify your plans for insurance for next school year.


Valerie James Visiting - Recently, Valerie sent reminders to each grade level for math planning next week. Be sure have your IFDs printed with questions prepared and resources to share. The great thing about having Valerie on Thursday... She's already been to the other campuses and collected some of their resources to share with us.

Staff Meeting - We'll have our next staff meeting on Monday, April 13th @ 3:30pm. Please make arrangements to be present.

Diffendoofer Day - Save the date for Friday, April 17th... What is this special day? Well it's a day of learning like no other. One of the PBIS teams with the help of Julia Robinson are planning a variety of learning activities for Diffendoofer Day. The theme for each activity is about chocolate... so the team is currently organizing learning activities for math, reading, writing, art, and more for the students to do.

Books like the "Chocolate Touch, Hershey math games, and bibliographies about Milton Hershey are being planned for this day. The PBIS team members will share the specific activities with their grade levels so teachers pick and choose items from Diffendoofer Day. Tell the students we have something fun planned for that day... but don't share any details. We want to create interest in the day for the students without knowing the specifics.

Kristen Weichel and Valerie James are also planning to bring some additional activities so teachers have some fun things to do with students ... more information will be next week.

Science Camp for 3rd/4th Grade Students - Lori Jackson will be hosting a Science Camp this summer. Mrs. Jackson is offering summer session on June 15-19 & July 6-10 for the morning/afternoon. Each session is $100, which includes all supplies. The Science Camp Flyer will be sent home via PeachJar to all 3rd & 4th Grade parents. Any money for this event, please send it to the front office and we'll have Mrs. Jackson come and pick it up. Click here to view the flyer.




Huge Thank You - To all Scott Staff members and students for your words of encouragement, posters, snacks, treats, and more this last week in support for our 4th Grade STAAR testing. Those students & teachers appreciate all of the support... so thank you Scott Family!
A photo posted by Scott Elementary (@scottelementary) on