Weekly Update: 3/17/2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and here’s to a much needed Spring Break right around the corner!  Here’s a brief weekly update:


Please review Hallway Expectations on Monday morning for our PBS block.  As I walk around the campus, this is one area that requires us adults to be clear and consistent with our expectations.  I see lines that have students who are walking quietly with hands to their sides or arms crossed with teachers at the back of the line monitoring their students and lines that are noisy and chaotic.  I know lines are a constant battle but please do your best to reinforce this.


We have one change again this week.  Tuesday, 3rd grade will have PLC and Thursday, 2nd grade will have PLC.  Please continue to work on unpacking standards, scoring PTA’s (if applicable), planning, or working on report cards.

Golden Eagle Assemblies:

These will take place this week.  Please make sure you notify parents with at least a few days advanced notice if their child is earning an award.

Report Cards:

Report cards are due to be entered by this Wednesday, Mar. 19th at the end of the day.  They are to be sent home this Friday, Mar. 21 which is a MINIMUM DAY.

Prep Day:

We have another Professional Development Day/prep day scheduled for Monday, April 7th.  We will learn more about Common Core math for part of the day and then the rest of the day will be available to you to prep and/or plan with your grade level.

PLNU Art Students return:

This Tuesday, March 18th, our PLNU partnership will resume and we will have Art students visiting to plan with you for a few brief minutes after school.  This semester due to calendar conflicts, they will be working with Gr. 2-4 teachers.  There are 12 students so one teacher will have 2 student teachers co-teaching.  I will send you the names of your student teachers for the Art lessons on Monday.  Dr. Sangren from PLNU, their professor, has been out of town and forgot to send them to me earlier.  The actual art lessons are scheduled for after Spring Break.  Please let me know if there is a conflict with Tuesday after school ahead of time so I can alert Dr. Sangren.

Writing Lessons:

Thank you to those of you who have signed up for us to observe a writing lesson.  It is really exciting to see everyone jumping into something you have learned through our time with SDAWP.  Trial and error is what it’s all about.  Chris and I are seeing some exciting lessons, keep it up and keep inviting us to see what you are working on.

Question of the week:

What are your plans for Spring Break?

Quote of the week:

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Weekly Update: 3/10/2014

Good morning everyone.  Sorry for the delay.  I was out of town this weekend and came down with a stomach bug.  This weekly update is a little lengthy because we will not meet together as a staff until after Spring Break so this is the primary avenue for communication for the next couple of weeks.  2 weeks left- hang in there!


This week our focus will be Guest Teacher expectations.  Appropriate seeing as we have several guest teachers this week for various reasons.  If you were at Writing PD Monday morning, please feel free to review this upon your return.


Please continue to work on unpacking Unit 6 and Unit 7 standards.  (4th grade might also be working on scoring of PTA from last week-due Mar. 21).  ILT members, please be committed to leading the unpacking as specifically and thoroughly and we did in our recent ILT meeting.  This process takes longer in the beginning but it is vital to fully understanding the standards and will ultimately help teachers and STUDENTS in the long run.

Ana Reyes will be visiting 2nd and 5th grade PLC on Tuesday.  Please feel free to ask her questions — she is here to help!

Staff Meeting/Report Cards:

There will be no staff meetings for the next two weeks.  This week, please meet with your team and work on report cards together.  There is merit in bouncing ideas off of one another with respect to report cards.  One of the challenges we face is when report cards from one teacher to another are inconsistent in nature.  Also remember to include student strengths in the comments portion of report cards.  Simply put, if you can’t find a student strength, this is not the right profession for you.  Every parent should believe and feel that their child’s teacher can find the positives in their child.  If you need help in writing comments about a student, asking your team might help.

Report Card info must be inputted by end of the day on Wednesday, March 21.  You will have next Wednesday after school to finish this up.  Please do NOT print our report cards prior to this date as attendance needs to be populated at last minute.  Please make sure to read email from Barb Montfort sent on 3/3/14 for further details and changes on report card.

Placement Cards:

Placement Cards need to be passed out today, Monday.  Please follow directions that Martha has provided.

Impact teacher:

Welcome Gaby, our new Art teacher!!  Gaby begins today, Monday.  If you have PE on our schedule, please make sure to remind students that it will now be Art.  Gaby will come to your room to teach Art.

Release for planning:

We have enough funds for each grade level to take one more 1/2 day release for unpacking and planning of your last “Units of Study”.  When needing guest teachers, PLEASE HAVE SOMEONE FROM YOUR GRADE LEVEL complete a p-30 (found in copy room).  If your team wants to request a specific guest teacher or you have pre-arranged someone, please put this on the p-30.  Eunice should not be completing these as it interrupts her many other office duties.  Eunice will send out another email with High Impact Days so you can avoid scheduling a release day on those days.  If you have add’l questions, feel free to email Eunice.

Email alert:

If you have created contact groups that include Erin, please make sure that you have now selected “Erin Major” and de-select “Erin Ecclefield”.  I do not think she will receive emails any longer if you use “Erin Ecclefield” as I saw an alert pop up last week when someone used that name.  Now I just need to remember to call her “Mrs. Major” when I enter her classroom!!

Writing Observations:

Thank you for those of you who have already signed up for us to visit during your writing time.  We are so excited to see what you are “trying on” and appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable.  More so, we appreciate that you are making efforts to bring writing alive for your students.  It’s fun to see students who see themselves as “writers” regardless of their insecurities or academic levels.  Please keep in mind, this shouldn’t be a “special” observation or writing time– this should be what you are doing regularly during your writing time.

My worry is that many of us are still not planning or teaching writing regularly and this may be why you are reluctant to sign up for a time.  If you reluctant to jump in, the students in your class will reflect that as well.  Please remember that it is OK to spend more than one day, lesson, etc. on “building background knowledge” or immersing them in the content/genre/text type before they jump into writing.  All of our mentors from SDAWP have discussed the importance of using mentor texts to help build understanding and also the use of oral language practice before writing.  We learn how to talk well before we learn how to write–there’s a reason for this.  Let your students talk about “what they notice” over and over again.  They will be more confident in their writing if they feel like they can talk about the subject/topic with ease.

Campus Expectations:

It has come to our attention that our students have not been responsible with their “clean up” during lunch time.  We will be asking Noon-time to enforce trash clean up before each grade level can walk to the playground.  Feel free to reinforce/remind this in your classroom or before you drop them off to lunch.

Similarly, we adults need to remember to clean up the teacher lounge after using dishes, microwave, etc.  Please see my email with pictures as “evidence”.

Question of the Week:

As we move into Math Common Core where we will focus much, much more on conceptual knowledge, what area of Math do you want to learn more about as an adult with respect to “conceptual knowledge”?

Quote of the Week:

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

-Mary Anne Radmacher

Weekly Update: 3/3/2014

Wow, it’s March already!! I know we are eager for Spring Break, hang in there, it will be here before you know it.  Until then, we have 3 weeks of opportunity to keep giving our students the best instruction possible.  Here’s what we have planned for this week:

Read Across America Week:

Thank you to Roseann and Karina for your help with this exciting week.  Please remind your students about the exciting spirit days as well as encouraging them to take part in reading, writing, speaking or drawing about…..READING!!


This week our PBS Monday will be shortened by a few minutes as we kick of “Read Across America Week”.  Supt. McNamara and Trustee Ellsworth will lead us in the Reader’s Oath and we will also have our regular flag salute.  When you return to your classrooms, please show the short powerpoint for our Cheesecake Fundraiser since our assembly was cancelled last Friday.  Additionally, Chris will be sending you a PBS review lesson.  If you do not have time in the morning to do all of this, please find a few add’l minutes later in the day to do so.

SST Day:

Monday, March 3 is SST days for grades 3-5.  Thank you Tracy who has created a sign up sheet that allows everyone to have a full hour to review your most concerning yellow folders.  We will schedule another one shortly after Spring Break to support grades K-2.  If you haven’t signed up, please do.  If you haven’t signed up, (with the exception of maybe GATE teachers) I will be inquiring as to why since I find it highly unlikely that you don’t have students who are struggling either academically or behaviorally.  Please keep in mind that I too often hear, “I’m not sure why the previous teacher/s didn’t begin a yellow folder”, so please do your part with yellow folders for your struggling students.


This week will be our last week of PE for Impact rotations.  Additionally, Ana Reyes will be visiting our PLCs on Monday and Thursday to help with your planning, scoring PTA’s, and to answer any questions you have.  She plans to attend the following Tuesday to support 2nd and 5th grade.  Please feel free to bring student work samples from your PTAs to clarify any questions or to share concerns.  We have heard that not too many teachers have completed the Units of Study surveys.  If you have concerns or feedback or just want to say “I like it”, then this is the place to have your voice heard.  Feel free to take 5-10 minutes to complete it during your PLC time.

Staff Meeting:

We will have a short informational staff meeting regarding the testing that is coming up after Spring Break.  Even if your grade level is not testing, I would like you to attend because we might be sampling the test and it would be great for you to attend and see what the future holds for your students.  The meeting will take place in Rm. 22.  Please bring your laptops.

Writing PD:

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for a time that we can visit to see Writer’s Workshop.  (see sign up in lounge) We do not want to see the proverbial dog and pony show.  Instead, we want to see what you are trying on and we don’t expect perfection.

Reminder: Next upper grade writing PD takes place on Monday, Mar. 10th in Rm. 4 at the district office from 8-10:45a.m.

Resources of the Week:

As I mentioned in a previous post, Stanford University offers free online courses.  There are a few new ones that are designed specifically around the Common Core.  Feel free to check them out here.

If you are interested in previewing the field test for Common Core assessments coming our way, check out: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sa/

Question of the Week:

What has been something that you liked from the last Writing PD? Something that you are willing to “try out”?

Quote of the Week:

“They may forget what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel”. -Carl Beuchner