Weekly Update: 2/24/2014

Hi everyone! Wow, another beautiful weekend in southern  California….where did the weekend go?! Here’s a short update for this week.


We will focusing on Rainy Day expectations this Monday morning for PBS.  Please take the time to review this as we have rain in our forecast.  I have been observing some of our PBS expectations “in action”.  I want to thank many of you for doing your part to reinforce this behavior.  Walking to and from class still seems to be of issue so please remember to take the time to practice this and “inspect what you expect”.  Walking at the back of your line and watching the line as it goes to class or to the playground can help to ensure proper expectations.  Thank you.


This week we will have 2nd and 3rd grade switching like last week to accommodate some absences.  Cindy will cover library rotation for 3rd grade PLC rotation since Teresa is out on Tuesday for training.  This week library times are for visits to the library for book check out.  If you have a Tuesday time, you will need to reschedule with Teresa.  Sorry.

Math Assessment:

This week you should be administering the district Math assessment.  You should have received information from Amy Illingworth about 2 weeks ago.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Staff Meeting:

We will have a staff meeting/PD this Wednesday around ELD.  After analyzing our recent CELDT preliminary data, Adriana will lead this and has been creating some ideas for us around ELD instruction.  We will meet in Rm. 6 this week.  Next week we will only meet for 30 minutes and you will have the rest of the time to prep in your classroom, make copies, look at resources on line, etc.

Writing PD:

This Wednesday we have grades k-2 writing PD in Rm. 21 from 8-10:50a.m.  Please bring any student work you have as results from your last PD or anything else of which you are proud to share.

Next upper grade PD will be here before we know it! Monday, Mar. 10th in Conf. Room 4 at the D.O. 8-10:45.

Jil at Conferences:

It was not by design but it looks like I am out 3 days this week for different conferences.  On Monday, I will be at the Supt. Task Force that will focus on Common Core for Math.  On Thursday and Friday, I will be at a conference that was highly recommended to me.  I’ve been on a waiting list for 2 years and finally got in!  I apologize that I will not be available for you more this week but please email me with any questions, needs, etc.  Chris will serve as admin. designee for the days I am out.

Quote of the Week:

Every child should have a caring adult in their lives.  And that’s not always a biological parent or family member.  It may be a friend or a neighbor.  Oftentimes it is a teacher.  -Joe Manchin




Weekly Update: 2/17/2014

Hi everyone- I hope that you enjoyed a beautiful 4 day weekend.  Here are the updates for our short and busy week:


This week 3rd grade will meet on Tuesday at 10:35 (normal time) and 2nd grade will meet on Thursday at 10:25 (normal time).  1st and 4th grade will meet at normal time but on Friday due to Monday being a holiday.  Please continue to use this precious time to work on unpacking standards, looking forward to Unit 6, and to work on your PTAs if applicable.  Please remember to save your student work from 2nd PTAs as I will be expected to bring samples to my upcoming Principal data team meeting in early March.

Staff Meeting:

We will not have a staff meeting this week but we will have one next week.  Please use this Wednesday to meet again with your grade level team.  I am doing my best to give you as much time as possible to plan around Common Core, so please take advantage of this and use this time wisely.  Please let me know where you are meeting- thank you for doing this, as most teams did last week.

Writing PD:

This week we will have upper grade (3-6) writing PD here at Emory on Wednesday in Rm. 21 from 8:00-10:50.  You do not need to bring anything besides something with which to write.  I have a short leadership meeting in the morning and hope to arrive around 9:15.  The next primary writing PD is scheduled for Feb. 26th.

Please make sure to read Adriana’s email regarding Imagine Learning and when it will be cancelled.


This week is “tech week” for library times.  Please see Teresa’s email for more info.

PE impact teacher:

At this point, our opening has been posted.  Due to new regulations, it needs to be posted as “someone holding a PE single subject credential”.  I am concerned that there may not be any applicants but we will see.  If this is the case, we may need to look at other subject areas that don’t require single subject credentials.  In the meantime, we have a guest teacher, Taylor Julio, and he will begin on Tuesday with PE.

Missing Book:

As many of you know, I have been reading the book Goodnight IPad to many of the students when I come for their attendance awards.  I seem to have misplaced this book.  If I have come to your classroom in the last month or so, please look around to see if I may have left it there.  Thank you!

Question of the Week:

If you were given all expenses paid vacation, where would you go?

Quote of the Week:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”.

-Ann Frank






Weekly Update: 2/10/14

Here are the updates for our 4-day week:

Flag Salute:

We will announce January attendance winners on Monday morning.  I do not have a lot of time for popcorn and reading this week- Thursday is most open for this week.  Please email me to arrange for popcorn reading.  I still have a couple of teachers who did not arrange for reading with me for the month of December but it’s up to you to email me.


PLC’s are on normal schedules this week.  You will have 2 opportunities this week to plan with your grade level- PLC and Wednesday in lieu of staff meeting.  Please use this time wisely.  I expect you all to continue unpacking standards at the level of depth that we have practiced in staff meetings.  The “steps” are listed in Rm. 28.  If we all want to deepen our understanding, then I highly encourage each member to begin by writing your own thoughts and understandings around each standard.  Just as we are asking our students to do more independent and criticial thinking, we need to do so as well.  Some teams might also choose to score PTAs while other teams may want to review upcoming PTAs.

Staff Meeting:

There will be no staff meeting this week.  Please email me with the location of your planning session.   I did not hear from all grade levels last week.

Math Performance Tasks:

Last week Amy Illingworth sent every grade level info regarding the upcoming Math performance tasks.  I know it is difficult to not want to “teach to the test” but this will not give you accurate assessment of your students’ abilities if you do this.  It is certainly ok to look it over and see what your students will be expected to do but if you haven’t been doing this all semester long, it will not be authentic to suddenly begin this type of assessment with your students.  If you want to give similar assessments beforehand, then just be careful not to scaffold or “give” them the answers beforehand.  It will be more beneficial to see how they do and plan your future instruction from that data.

SDAWP March Conference:

Remember, this Wednesday is the deadline to register for the SDAWP conference on Mar. 1.  Please let Eunice know if you are interested so she can do one, and only one, purchase order for the group of Emory teachers who are planning to attend.

Visits last week:

Thank you to those teachers who hosted a group of visitors.  Liz, from West Ed, along with Shelley Burgess and Amy Illingworth were all very positive in their feedback and encouraged to see every teacher attempting to grapple with the Common Core expecatations.  I enjoyed learning from Liz, one of the “gurus” of Common Core ELA as she pushed our thinking around “essential questions” of each lesson.  We will discuss this more in our next staff meeting PD but in the meantime, please continue to consider what your essential question to your students is for each lesson.  I know this is not easy and will take time, but ask yourself while planning, “What do I want to ask students at the beginning of each lesson that I hope they can answer by the end?”  This will really help you stay focused as a teacher and focuses more on the “inquiry process”.  In many cases, the students can also drive this “inquiry process” if you allow them to tell you what they want to learn.

For example:

Students are doing research reports on animals.  Typically, we might have them do reseach on Habitat, Food, Predators, etc.  Instead, we can push the “inquiry process” and ask in one lesson, “Why is where they live, their habitat, important to their survival?”  It moves from simply reading about the habitat and recalling that info into written form, to asking students to think about “why?”.

Classroom Visits:

Chris and I hope to get back into a busy routine of visiting classrooms.  We will be visiting classrooms beginning with ELD and throughout the day, also hoping to visit many of you during your writing block.  Please remember that your objectives should change daily, based on the focus standard for which you are addressing.  You may be addressing the same focus standard for more than one day, but typically, the daily objective will change based on the details within that focus standard.  At this point, we should expect to see objectives that are aligned with Unit 5.

Please ask for support if you are still struggling with writing daily objectives.  We are here to help you.  The Common Core is new to us all and we don’t expect anyone to “conquer” it overnight.  I appreciate you all jumping in and giving it a try, that’s the only way we will learn.

Resource for the Week:

Smarter Balance, the company that will be creating our new performance exams for many of the states that have adopted the CC, has released some more practice tests, etc.  You can find them  here under the heading: Practice Tests, Training Tests, and Sample Items.  Looking at these and/or taking them yourself might be another agenda item for your PLC or planning session on Wednesday.  Looking at these will give you a better idea about what our students will be seeing in the near future.

Quote of the Week:

“Two men look through the same bars; one sees the mud, ane one see the stars.”

-Frederick Langbridge