Staff Weekly Update

For the Week of January 11th, 2016

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I'll speak only for myself . . . guilty as charged! This past Friday, we discussed this with thoughtful intent and intentions at our Literacy Coach meeting. It really resonated with me. With as fast-paced as our profession is, it can be difficult to stop and to take the time to reflect upon what has been told to us by students, parents, or colleagues. However, I challenge you all to try and take this extra time, even 30 extra seconds, to simply listen & understand versus hear & respond.

Message from Cox Cafe

To avoid confusion on who is to come Wednesday for boys, Thursday for girls, and Friday for overflow seating, there will be a new system in your red folders!

In Tuesday afternoon's red folder you will receive reservation slips with the names of students who will dine in the café on Wednesday. In Wednesday’s afternoon red folder you will get Thursday’s reservations. In Thursday’s afternoon red folder you will get Friday’s reservations.

We will continue this way for a few weeks - and quite possibly for the rest of the year! At this time, I am having to resort to students coming every other week. The café is too small to accommodate big numbers and I have no capital to expand or renovate!

If a student asks about eating at the Cox café, please e-mail the name to me and I will put them on the waiting list to get a reservation slip. Thank you for your understanding and support!

Two-Part Tuesday Takeaway

I'm loving Allison Spillman's Tuesday Takeaways and in case your inbox gets too full at times to really read it over, here is another repeat of this past week's email! Good news - IT'S A 2-4-1 TUESDAY TAKEAWAY! :-) One part for your teacher knowledge and one part for your teacher soul. It is important to nurture both areas of our educator life, so today is a double dose.

Teacher Knowledge- Phonemic Awareness (PA)

PA is a critical skill children must develop in order to be successful readers and writers. While it is an area usually talked about in the primary grades, it is important that all teachers understand what this building block of literacy is, why it is important, and how they can use that information in their literacy instruction.

PA is the ability to distinguish and manipulate phonemes, the smallest unit of sound in speech. There are 44 sounds in the English language. PA is the ability to isolate, blend, and manipulate these sounds. It does not require letters and is not spelling. Repeated research demonstrates the importance of phonemic awareness instruction in the classroom. Several researchers have found that phonemic awareness is one of the strongest predictors of future success in learning to read. (Stanovich, Melby & Lervag, GR Lyon)

There are several skills that demonstrate phonemic awareness. This is a list of some of them, with the approximate age in which they usually appear: Rhyme & Alliteration awareness (ages 3+), Syllable Awareness (ages 3-4), Rhyme Generation (ages 3-4), Identifying, Blending, & Segmenting Phonemes (ages 5-6), Isolating, Deleting, and Substituting Phonemes (ages 6-7).

As you can see, these are early developing reading skills. However, given their importance in the ability of children to be successful readers, all teachers should be aware of these skills. If teachers notice a child who cannot demonstrate these skills, even in the upper grades, some direct instruction would be beneficial to that child to fill in that knowledge gap.

The following website is a treasure trove of knowledge about phonemic and phonological awareness. It gives suggestions for activities that can be easily used in the classroom during reading instruction. Click here for the website! Click here for a more detailed chart that gives ages of average acquisition for phonemic and phonological awareness skills, up to age 9. Also, click here for more information on phonemic awareness by reading this article.

Teacher Soul

I came across this resource over break, and I wanted to share it with you. Please do not let the name of it put you off. It is the 30 Day Happy Teacher Challenge. I loved this because it is an easy way to be intentional about parts of our teacher life that we sometimes find it hard to make time for. It is a 30-day calendar with one simple thing you can do each day to nurture your teacher soul and your relationships at school. Do I think anyone will do all 30 days? Well, if your life is as busy as mine right now, probably not. However, even doing 3 or 4 of the suggestions on the calendar will help you build up your relationships with your colleagues and your students. A copy of the challenge is attached to the email or see the picture below!

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Welcome, Katie Shrack!

Hello Stonegate Staff! My name is Katie Shrack and I am Mrs. Rent's student teacher for this spring semester. I am very excited to be student teaching in the school corporation I grew up in. I'm originally from Zionsville and have four other siblings who have attended Zionsville schools! When I'm not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am currently finishing up my last semester at Purdue University and am looking forward to this learning experience of Student Teaching. I'm excited to learn a lot this semester in hopes that I can one day carry out what I have learned in a classroom of my own. I look forward to getting to know you all!

Next week, we will have an introduction and picture of Emily Clare's student teacher!

Retention Information

Are you considering recommending one of your students be retained for this next school year? If YES, please do the following:

  • Please click here to fill out the 15-16 SGE Retention List.
  • Please email Connie, Martha, and Lisa (yes - all three of us!)
  • Please let us know you have filled this Google form out

The deadline to have this form filled out is Friday, January 22nd, 2016 by 6:00PM.

ZCS 2015-2016 District Priorities

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UPDATE ON 2ND GRADER . . . Bella Long will be returning back to SGE on Monday 1/11!!! We are THRILLED she will be returning so quickly! WOOHOO!

LARGENT OUT MONDAY & TUESDAY . . . I will be out this Monday 1/11 & Tuesday 1/12 for some training with Human Resources. However, I will be back at SGE around 4:15pm. We have THREE house showings on Monday evening and we are kicked-out until about 8:00pm. Kendrick will be coming by and will have both Josie and Emma with him after their day at Zionsville Country Kennel. Come by after school and meet Emma! :-)

3RD GRADE SPECIALTY FAIR . . . It will be this Friday! More information will be coming out soon and I will be sure to keep you all informed! Best of luck, 3rd grade!!!

2015-2016 SGE & PTO CALENDAR

Please refer to the second Smore email right after the Staff Weekly Update has been sent out. This email will soon have our entire 2015-2016 Calendar of Events for SGE & PTO!

Please read the information on the "Smore SGE Calendar" for further details. Thanks!

Here are our beautiful birthday friends for January 2016!

*If you are NEW and we do not have your birthdate, please email Alison so we can recognize you on your special day! Thank you!*

December 19th - Amy Knueven (our apologies that her birthday got left off!)


18 - Nancy Fitzpatrick

22 - Officer Josh Chapman

23 - Katie Coyner

30 - Allison Albright

2015-2016 Lifelines

August - Cooperation

September - Respect

October - Flexibility

November - Gratitude

December - Generosity

January - Responsibility

February - Friendship

March - Perseverance

April - Self-Control

May - Integrity