Blue Haze Bulletin

Week Five (9/28-10/2)

Walk Throughs and Great Learning!

Teachers, we are so excited to see the learning going on in your classrooms. You all have demonstrated a GROWTH MINDSET which is so important as a continuous learner. It is clear that each staff member wants to do what is best for our students! I appreciate everyone's positive attitude as we are getting into the school year, and please know that the administrative team is here to support you in any way we can!

We have finished up beginning of year assessments, so the focus is shifting into small groups during the workshops. As we continue to improve workshop model instruction, we are focusing on the following:

Workshop Model Framework:

Opening: 10-15 min

  • Every lesson should include EXPLICIT MODELING of target skill/strategy...students need to see teachers working through the problem/thinking aloud instead of the end product already created and displayed.

Work Period: 30-45 min (Teacher should now be pulling small groups and taking progress monitoring notes while class works independently/pairs/groups.)

  • Guided reading/small group instruction should begin no later than Monday, Oct 5th. Teachers should have a guided reading binder to store daily small group lesson forms, running records and anecdotal notes for each small group.

Closing: 7-10 min (HOW/WHY!)

  • The closing is a great time for students to demonstrate understanding through a critical writing piece in their notebooks. A piece of critical writing can be a connection to the lesson, text, or reflection on their learning. Students do not need to write much for an authentic quick write. To conserve paper, always ask students to write front/back! All opportunities for critical writing should be pre-planned during lesson planning meetings to support consistency across grade level.

Reflective Questions for Workshop Model:

  • Does the lesson have a clear focus, and is it communicated during the opening?
  • Is prior knowledge activated?
  • Does the teacher explicitly model the activity/learning, using visuals/manipulatives?
  • Is there emphasis on FSGPT?
  • Are students able to work on the task independently? Are the tasks rigorous?
  • Are students sharing their thinking during closing?
  • Are students making connections?
  • Are the key points of the lesson summarized?

The correlation between a student's enthusiasm about learning and a teacher's enthusiasm about teaching is high...very high. :)

Notebooks and Critical Writing

Some teachers have asked about notebook expectations. As our district instructional focus states, students should have daily experiences writing in notebooks. Does this mean each student needs to demonstrate critical writing, everyday, in every subject? No...but we do need to provide as many intentional opportunities for student reflection as we can. This includes evidence of various stages of the writing process (brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, Writer's Workshop), responding to reading, reflecting on learning, making connections to self/text/world, and writing out thinking for math strategies or science concepts.

Grade levels could have two entries a week for a reading response, and two entries a week for explaining thinking in math or science. Closings are a great time to support this critical writing/connection piece. These high level questions/critical quick writes would all be discussed and pre-planned during lesson planning meetings.

Writing Workshop notebooks are slightly different, as writing IS the content. Students should be writing (authentically) everyday during the Writing Workshop, and teachers should be modeling the target skill during each writing workshop lesson. If students are not able to write yet, detailed illustrations, dictating to teachers and labeling the illustration are emergent steps before taking the first sound of each word to the lines.

Examples of Critical Writing:

  • Reading: Text2Text/Text2World/Text2Self Connections, favorite part/WHY, character traits/WHY, cause/effect/WHY, make an inference, predicting, justifying, etc...always the WHY
  • Math: explaining the reasons WHY they chose a strategy, WHY was one strategy easier than another, WHY did they solve the problem this way
  • Science: prediction/WHY, reflecting on experiments, what did I learn, what could we have done differently/WHY

*Emergent writers would use illustrations and labels for their entries, progressing towards beginning sounds and so on.

Our professional mandate is to keep students engaged...not to keep them busy. :)

Upcoming Dates!

If you do not know how to locate our shared campus calendar, please see one of the administrators. Ms. Ball sent an email in August sharing the calendar with everyone on staff. In outlook, when you look on the bottom left side of the window, there is a "calendar" button. Click on that button, and you should see drop down options for "my calendar" and "shared calendars". That is where you can open/see the BHE Calendar. :)

September 29th- BHE Math Vertical Alignment Team Meeting

September 30th- Staff Meeting, Yearbook Picture Day

October 1st- BHE ELA Vertical Alignment Team Meeting

October 5th- WSISD Mad Scientist Night 6-7:30

October 6th- Interventionist Team Meeting, Cookie Dough Concludes

October 7th- Staff Meeting, Pink Out & Jeans

October 12th- Holiday

October 13th- Staff Development/ No School for Students (Parent Conferences)

October 15th- PTA $1 Dress Day- Free Dress

October 29th- Trunk or Treat, 5:00-6:00

October 26th-30th- Red Ribbon Week

  • Monday: Mustache Monday/”I Mustache You Not to Do Drugs”: wear a mustache to school
  • Tuesday: “Cowboy and Cowgirl Up to Drugs”: wear western clothes to school (be sure to bring tennis shoes for PE)
  • Wednesday: “My Future Is Too Bright to Do Drugs!”: wear your favorite college shirt and sunglasses
  • Thursday: “Lei Off Drugs!”: wear Hawaiian clothes to school
  • Friday: “Let’s Show Good Character and Book Character By Being Drug-Free!”: dress as your favorite storybook character

the quality of feedback we give students reflects the quantity of support we commit to them toward their growth. :)


Have you tried out the SEESAW app yet?

This is an easy, awesome app teachers are using now to keep a digital portfolio of student work! You can create your class, invite parents to have access if you'd like, leave comments, and more! I'm using this app to organize photos for student work from each grade level. Soon I will "invite" teachers to their grade level portfolio so you can see the work that we're seeing in walk-throughs! This is a great way to organize student work photos, share with parents, provide feedback to students and use for easy documentation on student progress! It's free...check it out!

Welcome Ms. Burke!

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Stephanie Burke to our Blue Haze family! She is our newest addition to the kindergarten team, and you may have seen her around campus today as she is spending some time observing in classrooms today and tomorrow. Wednesday is Ms. Burke's first official day in the classroom. Ms. Burke previously taught a PreK/Kdg classroom in a Montessori school in Flower Mound, and we feel she will be a great fit for our kindergarten team and students. Please reach out to her and welcome her to BHE! :)

Have a wonderful week, and thank you so much for all that you do everyday for our students! :)