Weekly Update: 8/26/2013

Here are the latest updates: Enjoy the last week of August – already!!

PLCs begin!: (schedule was sent last week but will be sent to you again Monday morning)

PLCs begin this week.  We have the same times as last year.

Monday: 1st grade 10:15-11:30, 4th grade 1:05-2:20

Tuesday: 2nd grade 10:25-11:40, 5th grade 1:05-2:20

Thursday: 3rd grade 10:35-11:50, 6th grade 1:05-2:20

This week, please use your PLC to continue planning around Unit 2 and bring a few select student work samples and any formative assessments around what you have done so far.  Chris will be there to help and I may drop in to see how I can support you.

We have new staff members helping us with our rotations: Ann Linn (Science teacher, will come to your rooms for the first couple of weeks.  We might consider bringing students to Rm. 4 in the future but will wait and see if this makes more sense or if coming to the room is easier.) Jamie Schoenbrun (Tech teacher, students will continue to come to Rm. 21.  We aim to have 35 operational netbooks in there since some of our grade levels might have more than 33) PE teacher update: I interviewed someone (Suzann Chalfant) over the phone last Friday.  She sounded great (personal trainer background, sports, etc) but she will come down this week to meet me in person.

Staff Meeting:

There will be no staff meeting this week.  Please meet with your grade level team to continue planning around Unit 2, Writing, or Unit 3 if you are ready.   Your team might also choose to set a timer and use 10-20 minutes reading through our blog and checking out what’s been posted in the different tabs, or checking out the district webpage to look at resources for Common Core.  There are many options of how to use this valuable planning time together.  Please have one person on yout team email me to let me know where you are meeting on Wednesday so I know where to come to answer questions or clarify anything.


Thank you for those of you who are trying out some of the ideas that we learned in our PDs.  I am working on scheduling our next PD (we will see if Oct. 7 might work and then we wouldn’t need subs.) Chris and I will continue to visit to see how we can help– just ask, it’s ok to ask questions or for help.  We are willing to jump in and help or co-teach with you.  All I ask is that you plan ahead of time by reading over some of the materials that you received because they are helpful.  Afterwards, if you are still unclear, ask for clarification.  Then give it a go.

Discovery Ed and Activotes/expressions:

Please make sure you have enough activotes/expressions for each of your students and that they are working.  I sent a link last week to help guide you through setting them up.  We will collect the expressions from 6th grade and begin using those to replace non-working ones in other classrooms.  Please also make sure you can access Discovery Ed.  Email Chris if you need help.  Please do not wait until right before the first performance exam to check on these items.

Box Tops/Campbell’s Labels:

Please spend a minute or two explaining to your class about the easy ways they can help us raise money.  Our proceeds from these go back to them.  We have purchased the equipment carts and additional PE equipment with these funds and have received megaphones as well.  Phylis will be by this Friday to collect her first batch of BoxTops.

Question for the Week:

If you were stranded on a desert island and only had one type of food to eat, what would it be? Please respond by using “leave a reply” to respond.

Quote of the Week:

“All children have the right to have their gifts and talents cultivated through the process of education.” – Anthony Muhammad

Weekly Update: 8/19/2013

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weekend.  Here is the weekly update:

PLC and planning time:

My hope is to have PLCs begin next Monday, Aug. 26th.  We are still looking for a PE teacher but I might begin with a sub so we can get going.  I will keep you posted.  Schedules would be the same as last year and I will send that out to you as soon as I can.  Some grade levels are still scheduled to meet to plan out Unit 2 and beyond.  If your grade level has not used the full day that I afforded you, you may still use this, just keep in mind that you don’t want to plan for a day when you have PLC.

Writing PD:

Thank you for your attention during the all-day writing PDs.  I hope you came away with some understanding about how you can make writing come alive in your classroom on a regular basis.  I will be asking you soon when in your day you have scheduled a writing block so that I can visit and support you with writing.  (I have your schedules from last year and will bring those around when I meet with you but know that you might be adjusting those) I know writing may be “scary” for some of you but the only way we can tackle our fears is by trying it out.  Chris and I are willing to come in and co-teach or do demo lessons (that will not be perfect 🙂 but with that comes the understanding that you are involved and try it out the following day.

Staff Meeting/Planning:

This Wednesday, you will have the first part of the time to meet with your grade level to plan.  (1:45-2:30)  Afterwards, please come to Rm. 14 to learn more about our ELD plans and groups.  (ELD will begin Tuesday, Aug. 27, 8:15-8:55)


Our first PBS school-wide lesson will begin Monday, Aug. 26th. (8:15-8:45) Chris will send you the powerpoint and add’l resources this Friday.  If you really want to do this right for our students and school, please review this information before teaching the lesson on Monday morning.  You have the power and permission to spice it up, turn this time into “circle time”, class meetings, etc.  The more you invest in this time with passion and enthusiasm, the more powerful the effect.

Library Schedule:

Teresa documented what is working and what needs adjustment with regards to the library schedule as she finished her first week.  We will be meeting soon to discuss what changes, if any, need to be made.  I will send out an email with any changes soon.  Your times should not be drastically affected, if at all. but we might make slight adjustments to the p.m. time slots.

CyberSmarts Week:

Next week is CyberSmarts week.  Please see the email sent out to all sbusd users on 8/7/13 for details.  Here is one link with more info but I advise you to read the email from 8/7/13.  http://tinyurl.com/becybersmart


Please check your activevotes/expressions to make sure you have them operational before we are asked to use them for our first performance task/assessment.  If you need help with repairs or setting them up, please put in a work order asap.

Imagine Learning:

Imagine Learning in Rm. 21 began today, Monday.  Please read the email that Adriana sent out on Sunday, Aug. 18th.  She has given info regarding the current students and future plans.  If parents ask you about signing up their child, please let them know that we are selecting students with specific criteria in mind and direct them to Rm. 16 for more information.

Classroom visits:

I’m sure you are well aware that there have been many visits already from our district office personnel.  This has been done with the intention of learning where we are in implementation of Common Core expectations so that they can better support us.  Shelley Burgess visits this Wednesday and this is what she wrote to me:  “I have no expectation people will be perfect as we are all new learners of this work!”  We do expect that you be “trying it on” so we can see where and how to support you.

Supt. McNamara visit:

When Dr. Mc came to visit, I asked her if she wanted me to introduce her to every staff member.  She responded that she did not want to interrupt instruction and instead, she really wanted to get a sense of what the objective and purpose of the lesson was, and to see if students could talk about it and to see if the lesson was heading in the direction of fulfilling that objective.  After spending on avg. 5 minutes in our primary classrooms, I asked her if it was still her goal to get into every classroom and when she replied, “Yes”, she realized we needed to speed up the visits which is why most of our 3rd-6th grade teachers received very brief stop-in-and-say-hi visits.  We did not discuss the instruction we saw in each classroom but rather spoke about the strengths of the school.  She asked me for the name of each teacher she met, and she took brief notes about what she saw so that she can tie names to faces and classrooms.  I was very pleased with the time we spent together and I feel very confident about our future with her at the wheel.  She said she plans to visit schools as often as her schedule permits.

Quote of the Week:

“All children have the right to have their gifts and talents cultivated through the process of education.” – Anthony Muhammad

Weekly Update: 8/12/2013

As we head into week 3 of the school year, here are the updates:

PLC and planning meetings:

We will continue this week with more grade level planning meetings.  Chris has been updating the PLC calendar so please check it out on blog for important dates.  We will hopefully find new impact teachers this week and be able to begin PLC rotations within a week or two.  Until then, if you haven’t already done so, please use one full day or two half day releases to help you plan upcoming “chapters” from your Units of Study.

Writing PD:

We will have our first writing PDs from SDAWP coming soon.  They will both take place at Emory in Rm. 21 for the first round.  Please bring something to write with and on.  The first training will be a full day with an overview of writing process and how to plan a writing unit step by step.  This hopefully will help you with an understanding of how a writing block in your schedule can be utilized.

K-2: Friday, Aug. 16th 8:00-2:30       3-6: Thursday, Aug. 22nd 8:00-2:30

Staff Meeting:

We will have a staff meeting this week in Rm. 21.  We will be discussing PBS, ELD, and view a video regarding Writing.  Please bring your writing composition book.

Emory Eagle Blog:

Our tech dept. is still working on the filters that are not allowing some of you to view the nicer version of the blog from our school site.  In the meantime, I still encourage you to check out the different tabs.  “Shout Outs” allows you to read about others or give praise or notice to someone or something that you want to celebrate or recognize.  You can do this through the “comments” box.  Under “Professional Development” tab, you can check out the latest of “Number Talks”, a quick read on ideas that you can use with your students around numbers and number sense.

Classroom Visits:

We have two visitors this week coming to Emory.  Ana Reyes will arrive on Wednesday to visit classrooms with me.  On Thursday, our new Superintendent, Dr. McNamara will be here from 12:30-2:25 and she hopes to visit every classroom for a few minutes in order to get  a sense of how we are incorporating expectations of Common Core into every lesson.  (opportunities for more student reading, speaking, writing….criticial thinking)


Thank you SO much for taking attendance on time every day.  Martha has commented that it has been better than ever before!! It really helps her to run her report and send out connect ed for absent students in a timely manner.  Most of you were able to access Synergy after following the step by step directions and for those that still had issues, I submitted a work order last Friday.  If you are one of those people, please email or call Martha will your absentees.

Quote of the Week:

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities – brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems” – John Gardner






Weekly Update: 8/5/2013

Congratulations on completing your first week of school!  Thank you to all of you for providing a welcoming environment for students and families.

Here are the updates:

Planning time:

Please check in with your grade level team to see if you would like to take a half day or full day of planning/chaptering for upcoming Units of Study.  Check with Eunice to make sure your chosen day is available so we can complete a p-30 to request substitutes.


I antipate that we will begin PLC the week of August 26th.  If we can expedite hiring impact teachers and paperwork sooner, then we might be able to begin the week before but I am not hopeful about this because we first need to hire some new impact teachers. (Iliasha will not be returning and Aryn will be taking on Iliasha’s former roll and Coach West is not sure if he will be returning and will let us know next week so we will need to hire some new PLC impact teachers.)

School Site Council:

Thank you to Angela and Erika (and Maria) for your interest in serving on our School Site Council.  To all teachers: Please return any forms you receive on the “interest finder” letter we sent home tp parents Thursday regarding School Site Council.  We will use these to determine our ballot for parent/community member positions on our School Site Council.


You will find a libary schedule in your boxes.  You will see the open 30-minute time slots on this.  Please put your name in three spots with your first, second, and third choice of times.  (you can put 1, 2, 3 next to your name to indicate first choice, etc.) See sample on white board if this is not clear.  When you have done this, please give to Eunice.  I know Teresa had begun to elicit choices as she went to different classrooms but I want everyone to have the same selection process.  Keep in mind this is only one day a week but it will require you to adjust your schedule and this means that you may have library time during one of your “core” subject areas.  Library time, if used appropriately, can absolutely support your “core” subject learning block.  I’m sure there will be kinks to work out so thank you ahead of time for your flexibility and patience.

PLC Calendar and Bulletin:

Please access the PLC calendar and bulletin on our blog for important dates and staff meeting info.

Classroom Visits:

We will begin to visit more classrooms beginning next week.  Please feel free to ask us for support around something that might be challenging to you.  Since we will not be meeting with every grade level right away, please make sure to chat with your grade level members and select a “focus area” for which you would like coaching/feedback with as a grade level team.  Chris will be asking you soon what your team has selected so we can begin to support you more directly around that particular focus.  Your grade level has 3 choices: What We Teach or How We Teach or Authentic Literacy.

Mark your calendars: Supt. McNamara will be visiting our school on August 15th from 12:30-2:30 and hopes to visit every classroom to observe instruction.  Asst. Supt. Burgess will be visiting on August 21st for an hour 11a.m.-Noon to observe Common Core language arts instruction.

Back to School Nights:

I sent out a connect-ed on Thursday evening to all families regarding next week’s parent nights.  A connect-ed will go to just 6th grade families tonight, Friday, regarding a special 6th grade camp meeting.

Attendance trophies:

If you have an attendance trophy in your room, please send it to the office so we have all of them for our first attendance announcement on Sept. 2.

Quote of the Week:

“This detour you have taken may very well become your path.”

-Theresa Ledener