Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014

Small Group Strategy Instruction is a support system that brings learners together to practice a particular skill or strategy in texts that are easily accessible. The objective is to create a supportive context in which strategies are practiced while the teacher coaches and scaffolds for independence. The goal is for students to problem-solve, doing as much of the work themselves as possible, while the teacher coaches and extends understanding. (Lynda Hoyt)
Teachers who already use this strategy know that successful implementation doesn’t happen overnight.

To effectively have small group instruction we have to:

  1. The need to build student stamina to work independently while not working with in a small group.
  2. Routines and procedures are clear so students are engaged while not working in a group.
  3. Formative assessments to monitor to make sure students needs are being met (differentiation)

I will be emailing you to set up an appointment during your conference time to talk about small group instruction. (Or if you are anxious to set up a time and don’t want to wait, email me and I’ll get you on the schedule first!) We have TONS of experts right in our own building and I would love to set up times for you to observe each other or for me to co-teach with you. I look forward to working & learning with you!!​

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

ELPs Update

I appreciate your work (K, 1, 2) this past week in PLCs as we reviewed and discussed our ELPs  (English language proficiency standards) to work with our English language learners (ELLs).  These standards are apart of our TEKS and should be implemented through out all subject areas. This next week 3rd, 4th and 5th will visit this as well. 

As I was preparing for our PLCs, I ran across this "Student friendly ELPs" document.  First of all, you know I LOVE ANYTHING that is in kid-language and then it struck me that these fit perfectly with our current use of "I can..." statements.  I look forward to discussing these with you to determine if DUAL classes can use any of these along with their "I can..." statements or if these can be used with student goal setting. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

One of the great resources I was able to learn about at the CAST convention was the Texas Parks and Wildlife. They are committed to helping teachers and want to help us! The following link will take you to their web page section that provides information on loaner trunks and lesson plans. There are many ideas here!

We often wonder who we can use to be an “expert” for the students to learn from either in person or via Skype-I assure you we can find many within the Park Rangers and Game Wardens, locally or statewide. I will be following up with our Tarrant County Game Wardens, Travis Porter and Michelle Mount, and the Corp of Engineer Park Ranger Sharon Patry. Please take a look at this website and send me any ideas or possible connections you would like to make-including future planning for next year.​

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 17, 2014

Creating DIFFERENTIATED Math Assignments in Front Row

Thank you to Sarah Ganus for sharing this great tip with me, so I can pass it along to the staff! Your desire to share with your colleagues is one reason I LOVE teaching. I am thankful for teachers who value the growth of others, not just students. This reminds me of that saying, "You're only as strong as your weakest link."

The Printable page in Front Row allows teachers to create meaningful math worksheets for every student in his or her class. Front Row gives the option to print both Individualized Practice and Standards-Based Practice, depending upon what you want to accomplish that day.

Individualized Practice
The Individualized Practice sheets are created based on the skill (standard or sub-knowledge) on which each student in a class is currently working. With one click of the mouse, you will have a PDF document with a personalized printable for every student.

Once you select the domain and click on "Generate (Domain Name) PDF" button, a new tab will open that has a different printable for every student!

After your students are finished practicing, you can check their answers using the answer keys that are generated for each student and located at the bottom of the document. Even if two students are both working on the same skill (3.NBT.2-2.0), they receive printables with different problems.

Since the printables are completely individualized, students are able to work at their own level.

If students work on the same skill for a long time and have difficulty moving on, they will constantly receive different printables to practice that one skill. Since the numbers and questions are different each time, each printable will be different than the time before.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

This past week I had the opportunity to observe a 1st grade teacher named Ashley Read, who I had the opportunity to get to know in my Valor class this summer. I was impressed by her intentional use of vocabulary with her students. For example, “What does being present look like?” and “I will wait until everyone is present until I begin.” Obviously, she has taught her students that “present” means being attentive. What a positive, up-beat way to remind students to be on task WITHOUT saying it in a negative way! This made me start thinking, in general, how important it is that EVERY SINGLE WORD we say to ANYONE needs to be intentional, because it IMPACTS our relationship with them.

Likewise, our ACADEMIC vocabulary is even more important. There is a great resource called “lead4ward” that we will be working with in PLC's this year. You will find a comprehensive menu of all grade levels by clicking here. Note that there is an ACADEMIC VOCABULARY section for each subject listed for each grade level. This section provides a list of the academic vocabulary that is included in K-5 grade level TEKS, and which is also used in STAAR assessments. We can help support our students’ success by assuring we are using the correct academic vocabulary that our students will be held accountable for. So often, our students may fully understand the concepts they are being tested on, but academic vocabulary that they are not familiar with can get them off track!

I hope you will take the time to review the academic vocabulary for the content areas you teach in all grades, K-5. When we intentionally teach the vocabulary to our students and then hold high expectations for them to learn and utilize the correct vocabulary themselves, we are working together as a campus team to ensure success for ALL students!

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

In my opinion, Cannon is above the district learning curve when it comes to using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to communicate about your classrooms! The use of social media creates an atmosphere of transparency that helps to build relationships. I love to share with other liaisons the use of your weekly blogs - you set the standards high. I am impressed!!

Speaking of blogs, I am in the process of creating my own blog. As part of my blog, I will be uploading my section of the Cannon News FLASH called Coaching Corner. I will notify you asap when my blog is ready, so that you will know how to access and subscribe to it, so that you can be notified of when I post things to my Learning Liaison site that might be helpful. (I like the blog format because you can find things easier through the “labels/tags”.) I will be mindful of the titles, so you do not waste time reading something that does not apply to you.

I will be participating for the first time as a co-host with the GCISD Twitter chat on Thursday. Join us on 11/6 @ 8:30-9:30 pm for Learning Outside the Classroom with @sushi155@angiebakke & @Lisa_BrownGCISD #gcisdchat

Twitter shortcuts I am learning to use:
  • Ts = teachers
  • Ss = students
  • w/ = with
  • B4 = before
  • b/c = because
  • BTW = by the way
  • DM = Direct Message
  • Thx = thanks
  • RT = Re-Tweet
  • TIL = Today I Learned​
  • IMO = In my opinion

Below are some of the Twitter names that I used to inspire my instruction last year:

ELA: @MrSchuReads, @literacydocent, @IRAToday, @ProfessorNana @AmyRass, @colbysharp, @nerdybookclub, @pennykittle

Authors: @barbaraoconnor, @PatriciaPolacco,

Technology: @SkypeClassroom, @TeacherApps, @AuntyTech @mattbgomez, @TechNinjaTodd

I would love to know more about your favorites in the areas of motivation, STEM, math and using technology in the classroom. We will be sharing these in our next round of PLCs. ​

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

team·work noun \ˈtēm-wərk\- the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.

During extended planning, the fourth grade team was wanting to find something that truly highlighted the integration of science, math and social studies for their Family STEM Night focus. That conversation lead to "soil elements, capacity and clay making" that served a purpose for Native Americans. At a spur of the moment request, we asked Deborah to come into their planning meeting during her conference time. She DELAYED her team meeting to help out fourth grade and is now planning to co-teach pottery to accommodate their idea. She has art TEKS she is able to incorporate, as well as supporting 4th grade TEKS. 

Kudos to Deborah Highfill for being a flexible, excited team player who was thinking outside of her "plans" to meet the needs of our scholars! Our Specials teachers are eager to support STEM learning in all grades, don't forget to consider how they can support your content(s) as you are designing learning!

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014


Instead of meeting the needs of the students that come to ME in MY classroom this year, I am going to your classrooms, the PLC room, and the PDEC to carryout my new expectations as a liaison. My role is to foster and support growth among the staff.

In my classroom, I created hundreds of anchor charts with my students to foster growth. Bottom line… I miss having anchor charts!! The transition to using my computer or personal calendar/interactive notebook has not been flawless and I STILL MISS MY ANCHOR CHARTS! Thankfully, Tona asked each grade level to make an interactive bulletin board. Now I have an excuse to put one my office without looking foolish! :-) I am in the process of making TWO- one for me personally and one for the PLC room. Both of my interactive bulletin boards will “give meaning and focus” in my new role and help me achieve my goals-with an anchor chart & moving pieces. I can’t wait to share them with you.

This is from Jon Gordon:
My friends Dan Britton and Jimmy Page believe that one word can change our life. Dan and Jimmy are the co-authors of Wisdom Walks, and they share a powerful concept in their chapter “Just One Word.” Every year for 15 years before New Year ’s Day, they come up with their word for the year that will give meaning and focus to their life. They said they don’t randomly pick a word, but rather through reflection, prayer and listening to their heart the word comes to them.

My word for this school year is INTENTIONAL! Why did I choose this word? I chose this word because I must be intentional so I change and grow. I am curious to know what your word is AND what are you being intentional about?

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014

Professional Growth

Please take a few minutes to view the video below on professional is powerful. I realize that some days we are exhausted and just not motivated. But we became teachers because we have a passion for learning-not just for our students but for ourselves.
Invite me to be a part of your growth :)