David G. Burnet Elementary

Shining Stars Gazette - May 9th, 2016

Excellence Will Lead to Success!

4th Week of the 6th Six Weeks

David G. Burnet Elementary


Providing excellence in the physical, emotional, social and academic growth of every child to ensure all student achieve their maximum potential.


Teachers will create strong classroom cultures, build relationships with students, and implement instructional practices that engage all students.

Notes from the Principal!

With three weeks left, I would like to take this time to thank every staff member, 105 at Burnet, for all you do for our students. It takes all of us to teach our students to be successful in life and this is why teaching is a special calling.

For the last three weeks of school we will be finalizing closing out summatives, conducting spot observations and providing feedback. As we continue with spots ensure that your LO and DOL are aligned to your instruction, students are engaged in the learning, you are checking for understanding throughout the lesson to see if students are mastering the content and you maintain a great classroom culture.

We are Burnet! We are the home of All Stars! Believe it! Lead it! We will Achieve it!


Ms. Loskot, Proud Principal of All Stars!

From Marshall Memo 635

In this report from the American Psychological Association, Joan Lucariello and nine colleagues synthesize key psychological principles and explain their implications for PreK-12 educators. The full report (see link below) has considerable detail on each one.

Principle #1: Students’ beliefs and perceptions about intelligence and ability affect their cognitive functioning and learning. Students with an “incremental” or “growth” mindset tend to focus on learning goals and are willing to take on challenging tasks to expand their intelligence or ability. Students with a “fixed” or “entity” view of intelligence feel the need to continually demonstrate or prove their ability and are hesitant to take on difficult challenges. Teachers can foster a growth mindset by encouraging students to attribute success and failure to effort and strategy and avoiding ability-based praise or criticism.

Principle #2: What students already know affects their learning. Prior knowledge can be “Velcro” for new knowledge, but what students “know” may also be erroneous. Teachers can gain insights on students’ current knowledge – and their misconceptions and knowledge gaps – by giving pre-assessments and putting the data to work in unit and lesson planning. Getting students to change their misconceptions requires especially careful lesson planning.

Principle #3: Students’ cognitive development and learning are not limited to general stages of development. Recent research has debunked earlier stage theories of learning and shown that students are capable of advanced thinking if specific knowledge and skills are in place. Baseline assessments are helpful in guiding how instruction should proceed, and heterogeneous grouping can foster peer learning.

Principle #4: Learning occurs within a specific context (e.g., a classroom, a lab, a textbook) and transferring or generalizing learning will not happen by itself. Teachers need to make real-world connections, teach in multiple contexts, and take the time to develop students’ understanding of deep, underlying concepts that can be applied in new contexts.

Principle #5: Acquiring long-term knowledge and skill is largely dependent on practice. Students experience a plethora of stimuli every day that lodge in short-term or working memory. Moving the most important items into long-term memory takes deliberate practice – attention, rehearsal, practice testing (the retrieval effect), spaced repetition over time, and interleaving material from different subject areas.

Principle #6: Clear, explanatory, and timely feedback to students is important for learning. Specific learning goals are the starting point, followed by feedback on what students have right and wrong that guides them to knowing what to do, becoming self-correctors, and taking ownership for their own learning.

Principle #7: Students’ self-regulation assists learning, and self-regulatory skills can be taught. Students need to learn planning, attention, self-control, and memory strategies.

Principle #8: Creativity can be fostered. Being able to generate ideas that are new and useful in a particular situation is an important 21-century skill, and it’s not a fixed trait that you either have or you don’t. Teachers should allow for a wide range of student approaches to completing tasks or solving problems (create, invent, discover, imagine if, predict), emphasize the value of different approaches, and avoid the tendency to see highly creative students as disruptive.

Principle #9: Students tend to enjoy learning and do better when they are more intrinsically rather than extrinsically motivated. The long-term goal is to get students to the point where they engage in activities for their own sake – where success and mastery are sufficient motivation to work hard and stick with the task.

Principle #10: Students persist in the face of challenging tasks and process information more deeply when they adopt mastery rather than performance goals. Mastery goals are about acquiring new skills and improving levels of competence, while performance goals are about showing one’s ability and doing better than others. Teachers should emphasize progress over past performance (versus normative evaluation and comparison to others), deliver feedback privately, get students working in cooperative groups, and encourage students to see mistakes as opportunities to learn versus evidence of low ability.

Principle #11: Teachers’ expectations about their students affect students’ opportunities to learn, their motivation, and their learning outcomes. “These beliefs shape the kinds of instruction delivered to students, the grouping practices that are used, anticipated learning outcomes, and methods of evaluation,” say the authors. “If faulty expectations are communicated to a student (whether verbally or nonverbally), that student may begin to perform in ways that confirm the teacher’s original expectation.” Teachers need to continuously self-check, for example: Where are students sitting the classroom? Are all students participating in discussions? Is written feedback delivered equitably?

Principle #12: Setting goals that are short-term, specific, and moderately challenging enhances motivation more than establishing goals that are long-term, general, and overly challenging. At least until middle adolescence, students aren’t skilled at thinking concretely about the distant future (e.g., succeeding in college). Teachers need to set goals that move students toward high achievement and gradually “stretch” the goals.

Principle #13: Learning is situated within multiple social contexts. These include families, peer groups, neighborhoods, communities, and the larger society. The more teachers know about the different contexts, the better they will do at creating a classroom culture that facilitates learning.

Principle #14: Interpersonal relationships and communication are critical to both the teaching-learning process and the social-emotional development of students. “Given their social nature, classrooms provide a critical context for teaching social skills such as communication and respect for others,” say the authors. “Developing successful relationships with peers and adults is highly dependent on one’s ability to communicate thoughts and feelings through verbal and nonverbal behavior.”

Principle #15: Emotional well-being influences educational performance, learning, and development. Teachers’ choice of vocabulary, effective modeling, and explicit teaching can help students develop a healthy self-concept and self-esteem; self-efficacy and locus of control; happiness, contentment, and calm; a capacity for coping in healthy ways with everyday stresses; understanding, expressing, and controlling one’s own emotions; and perceiving and understanding others’ emotions.

Principle #16: Expectations for classroom conduct and social interaction are learned and can be taught using proven principles of behavior and effective classroom instruction. Teachers need to start at the very beginning of the year and re-teach behavioral expectations throughout the year. Certain well-established programs like PBIS are very helpful.

Principle #17: Effective classroom management is based on structure and support at the classroom and schoolwide level. This means teachers are: (a) setting and communicating high expectations; (b) consistently nurturing positive relationships with a high ratio of positive to negative statements; and (c) providing a high level of student support.

Principle #18: Both formative and summative assessments are important and useful, but require different approaches and interpretations. Formative assessments are on-the-fly and used to improve instruction and learning in real time. Summative assessments measure learning at certain points in the year. Clear learning targets are important to both.

Principle #19: Students’ skills, knowledge, and abilities are best measured with assessments that have well-defined standards for quality and fairness. Some important questions on the validity of formative assessments:

-How much of what you want to measure is actually being measured?

-How much of what you didn’t intend to measure is actually being measured?

-What are the intended and unintended consequences of the assessment?

-What evidence do you have to support your answers to the first three questions?

Reliability is another key criterion of good assessments – are they consistent indicators of students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities?

Principle #20: Making sense of assessment data depends on clear, appropriate, and fair interpretation. This comes back to what the assessment was designed to measure, ensuring that the data are used in ways that improve teaching and learning.

“Top 20 Principles from Psychology for Pre-K-12 Teaching and Learning” by Joan Lucariello, Sandra Graham, Bonnie Nastasi, Carol Dwyer, Russ Skiba, Jonathan Plucker, Mary Pitoniak, Mary Brabeck, Darlene DeMarie, and Steven Pritzker for the American Psychological Association, 2015,

In this article in Education Week, author/consultant Peter DeWitt says that short classroom visits are getting a mixed reception from teachers, perhaps because:

-Principals haven’t worked with their colleagues to clarify what they’re looking for in these visits, leading teachers to be wary of the process.

-Principals focus superficially on curriculum coverage and the pacing calendar.

-Principals look for teacher compliance with specific instructional practices versus whether students are learning.

-Teachers don’t get meaningful feedback afterward.

“Unfortunately,” says DeWitt, “walkthroughs have not been done in the spirit for which they were inspired, so teachers don’t feel that they can trust the process.” All too often, the visits are not engendering “deep learning on the part of students, teachers, and the leaders who are doing them.”

DeWitt believes walkthroughs will be less superficial if principals and others pay attention to seven classroom phenomena:

Cooperative learning versus cooperative seating – About 80 percent of the time, DeWitt estimates, students sitting in groups are working on individual activities. This is not cooperative learning in the true sense of the word.

Real engagement versus compliant pretending – “Just because students are following the speaker or answering a question,” says DeWitt, “doesn’t mean they are actively and authentically engaged.”

Surface level versus deep-level questioning – Are teachers probing for understanding or just querying students on things they already know with questions that can be answered with one or two words?

Teacher talk versus student talk – One Australian researcher found that teachers ask about 200 questions a day and students ask two questions a week.

Teacher-student relationshipsVisible Learning author John Hattie found that the quality of adult-child relationships can have an effect size of .72 and should be a major focus during classroom visits.

Mindset – Some schools say they are promoting a growth mindset, but on a day-to-day basis, they’re treating students as if their intelligence and talents are fixed.

How computers are used – Students may have good access to powerful tablets or laptops, but are they using them merely to fill out worksheets?

[A major problem with walkthroughs is that the term is used to describe at least four different ways of handling short classroom visits: (a) “Learning walks” or “instructional rounds” as espoused by Lauren Resnick and Richard Elmore et al. – A team of educators visits classrooms and makes recommendations focused on the school’s self-identified “problem of practice;” (b) The Instructional Practices Inventory as promoted by Jerry Valentine – Administrators visit classrooms gathering data on specific checklist items and report to the faculty; (c) Building tour – Administrators cruise through all classrooms once or twice a day to “show the flag,” perhaps giving quick feedback to a few teachers on effective or less-than-effective practices; and (d) Mini-observations – Administrators systematically visit two or three classrooms a day, have face-to-face feedback conversations afterwards with each teacher, and send a brief written summary electronically. We need research comparing the impact of these quite different approaches so administrators can use their precious time in ways most likely to improve teaching and learning. K.M.]

“The Myth of Walkthroughs: 8 Unobserved Practices in Classrooms” by Peter DeWitt in Education Week, April 19, 2016,

Key Action 1: Promote a positive climate and culture that ensures student achievement by establishing a common vision. (Philosophy)

Key Action 2: Strengthen the instructional program and data system by providing differentiated professional development. (Process)

Key Action 3: Promote student achievement by implementing and monitoring a system of data and feedback on instruction. (Implementation)

One School, One Vision, Together We Are On A Mission

Week At-A-Glance

Monday, May 9th, 2016

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 158)
  • 3rd & 4th STAAR Math and 5th STAAR Math Re-test
  • No Specials or Recess
  • No Faculty Meeting

  • No Tutoring or Afterschool Club

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 159)
  • 3rd & 4th STAAR Reading and 5th STAAR Reading Re-test
  • No Specials or Recess
  • Lunch by parents
  • No Tutoring or Afterschool Club
  • TEI Roster Verification (TRV) open

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 160)
  • 5th STAAR Science
  • Lunch by parents
  • National Public School Paraprofessional Day
  • No Tutoring or Afterschool Club
  • Soccer - Burnet vs. Calliett @ 4:30

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 161)
  • Make up for STAAR testing
  • 3rd Week Progress Reports Go Home

  • Thursday Folder goes home

  • No Tutoring or Afterschool Club

  • Remind K-5 students to wear college t-shirts tomorrow

Friday, May 13th, 2016

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 162)
  • No Tutoring or Afterschool Club
  • Please send kudos to Ms. Loskot by 2:00

Quote of the Week

Think BIG

Keep Calm and Shine On!

Action Items

Action Items