What's "Growing" On @ Cannon?

Staff Information & Updates 01/18/16

From the Principal's Pen...

I hope everyone has enjoyed our 3-day weekend! We are moving into a busy semester and there are several important events coming up quickly that I wanted to make everyone aware of. Please take a moment to read the bulleted reminders below!

* Dr. Ryan will be on campus on Tuesday, January 19th to enjoy lunch with all staff members. He really looks forward to this time to visit with staff and answer any questions you have about things going on in the district...the state... in education! He will be excited to share news about the work of our FIRST Committee's bond planning and potential implications for Cannon!! Please make plans to stop into the teacher's lounge on Tuesday to say hello!

* It's that time of year when we will have several visitors on campus. We have tried to schedule any requested campus visits from other districts all during the same week this spring. Next week, we will have Burleson & Dallas ISD campuses visiting Cannon on Tuesday. On Thursday, Denton ISD is coming for a campus tour. In addition to these visits, Dr. Ryan will be bringing the folks from Leadership Colleyville to Cannon in early February and we will also be hosting parent tours, shortly after the Special Programs Expo on February 16th. We will also need students & staff to help out with this year's Expo, as well as at the FAB Now conference in February. Stay tuned for dates coming soon!

* Next Monday, 1/25, will be our first UCAN session for the spring semester. For this date, we will be having a "block party", in which all staff will briefly visit classrooms in each grade level, in order to see some of the work that has been done across the campus with interactive word walls, since our training with Julie Jackson. So, get those word walls finished and be prepared to share your work with other staff, so that we can learn from each other! We will also be introducing Pineapple Charts and will have staff sign up to share/see best practices being used right here on our very own campus!

Please note that if your bulletin board or student work in the hallway hasn't been changed in awhile & isn't current & fresh, it's time to make a change now! The interactive boards and student work in the hallway are a window into your classrooms and the learning that your scholars are doing everyday!

Hats off to all of YOU for your awesome work to help create a learning environment that is an example of innovative education and that others are anxious to come see and learn from!

Proud to be your principal,

Tona :)

Lisa's Coaching Corner

Reminders about Cornerstone Tasks & Unit Math Assessments

Cornerstone Tasks (All grades)

Upload Cornerstone Tasks Here:

Cornerstone Task Link

Teacher responsible for uploading each task link

Each unit in the Social Studies curriculum has its own cornerstone as an assessment piece. As your students are completing their Cornerstone Tasks, please do not forget to snap a picture of one to upload to the Cornerstone slideshow. Humanities is still working this year to gather samples of the tasks to share across the district as well as update and combine tasks. It's a great way to gather ideas into one location and also to share our practice with others in the district. Next year the Cornerstone Tasks will drive our Humanities curriculum and it will be so great to be able to look at all the samples.

If you have trouble uploading your sample, please let me know and I'll be happy to help you.

Math Unit Assessments (All Grades)

As you are completing the units in Math, don't forget to complete the Unit Assessment. This year all grade levels have Math Unit Assessments for each unit. Unit Assessments can be printed from the following file: DMAC Elementary Test Key List. The results of the assessment are to be scanned into DMAC so I am happy to show you how to print your student bubble sheets and scan them for you when you are done.

Dinosaur George Comes To Cannon This Week!

PTA is providing our scholars a unique opportunity at our school on Friday, January 22nd because "Dinosaur George: Museum in the Classroom" will be here!!

"Dinosaur George: Museum in the Classroom" gives students the unique opportunity to see exhibits of prehistoric life from around the world, with over 150 museum quality exhibit pieces from the earliest life on earth. From giant Texas reptiles, to dinosaurs and Ice Age mammals, students will see firsthand some of the creatures that once roamed Texas. Dinosaur George: Museum in the Classroom provides a fun learning environment in Spanish and English! During the exhibit, staff experts will be on hand to answer questions, and Museum in the Classroom is a self-guided tour so that teachers and students can learn at their own pace. Dinosaur George: Museum in the Classroom is one of the largest traveling school exhibits in the country."

Hopefully, you have taken the time to look at the lessons provided (in English and Spanish) to see how you can enrich this great learning opportunity. The lessons are in science, math and language arts.

Dinosaur George Website

TEKS Connections to Dinosaur George (scroll down to middle of page)

Free Dinosaur George Curriculum

Dates to Remember

1/18 No School - Student Holiday!

1/19 Lunch with Dr. Ryan - during staff lunches in lounge

1/19 Shelter in Place drill

1/19 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30

1/20 PLC Week B - Kindergarten 2:00-3:30

1/21 PLC Week B - 2nd grade 2:00-3:30


1/22 Dinosaur George Exhibit - during Specials in gym

1/23 FLL Qualifier - Good Luck Mission Impossibots!

1/25 U.CAN 3:00-3:45

1/26 Burleson ISD tours Cannon's STEM program a.m.

1/26 Dallas ISD tours Cannon's STEM program p.m.

1/26 PLC Week A -5th grade 2:00-3:30

1/27 PLC Week A - 4th grade 2:00-3:30

1/27 Dual Language meeting TES 3:30-5:00

1/28 Denton ISD tours Cannon's STEM program a.m.

1/28 PLC Week A - 3rd grade 2:00-3:30

1/29 Jump Rope For Heart

1/29 Puberty films - 4th & 5th grade

Expectations For Quality Web Presence

BLOGS, WEBSITES, & SOCIAL MEDIA - All of these serve as a method of maintaining a web presence for our parents, scholars, local & global community, etc...

As we gear up for a super successful and productive 2nd semester, we will experience increased web traffic, due to parents who are exploring the possibility of applying through the lottery to send their child to Cannon next year. Please make it a personal & professional goal to update your blogs/websites/social media sites on a regular basis. Several parents have commented that some teachers seem to do this on a more regular basis than others and have requested more frequent updates, in order to keep them informed. Updating blogs and social media sites at least 1-2 times per week is a good rule of thumb and most staff members do a great job of doing this! However, there are some campus blogs that have had only 1-2 updates all year long so far, thus leaving room for some improvement in this area. Thank you in advance for making it a goal to maintain a quality web presence in 2016!

Why should teachers maintain a web presence?

  • To inform parents.
  • To inform scholars.
  • To inform local & global community members.
  • To provide a place to share daily learning experiences and resources.
  • To share weekly goals, objectives, and assignments with all stakeholders.
  • To create a place for teachers/scholars to publish to an authentic audience, engage with learning/content anytime, anywhere.
  • To fulfill the technology goals & objectives for a 1:1 campus initiative.
  • To extend learning beyond the classroom boundaries.

What should a teacher publish on a web presence?

  • Post daily or weekly about classroom activities. Link to or embed a project created by scholars to illustrate classroom activities.
  • Pictures of class and scholar activities.
  • Assignments and due dates
  • Information about upcoming events
  • Additional resources that will reinforce learning. Examples: teacher-created videos that explain a process, show examples, or display a sample product.


  • JANUARY IS BOARD APPRECIATION MONTH! GCISD School Board Trustees will be recognized at the monthly school board meeting during the January 28th board meeting. All schools are asked to ―shower the school board members with special recognition by providing student-created posters, cards, letters or other objects of appreciation. All grade levels need to participate in this effort. Scholar work should be dropped off in my office by the end of the day on Tuesday, January 26rd. This year's theme is Superheroes for SchoolsI. Please refer to the following link to read short bios on all GCISD trustees. Thank you!

  • EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES ON EARLY RELEASE DATES February 17th & 18th are early release dates and on these dates, all teachers are expected to hold student-led parent conferences. As in the past, some grade levels that are departmentalized may choose to hold multiple conferences simultaneously, by reserving the library in advance. Additionally, for parents that are unable to come in on these dates/times, some classes have previously created a video conference that is student-led, that a student can share at home with their parent. There are lots of creative ways to arrange student-led conferences! Please start planning now for how you will provide this opportunity for your students to lead & participate in their parent conferences. As you are planning, please check out these sample resources that can be used to provide a framework for the conference, sample agendas & parent/student scripts, and even invitations & thank you letters for parents! We will continue to add to these resources as ideas are shared! Click here to see some sample agendas/scripts/parent invitations/conference framework.

  • GET INVOLVED - STUDENT VOICE PROJECT One of the Superintendent's goals for this school year is all about student voice: "Create and implement a plan to systemically pilot “student voice” as a mechanism for feedback over the next three years. In order to start working towards this goal, a group of GCISD teachers got involved at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year as part of a pilot group to implement a Student Voice Project. The district is now at the mid-point in this Student Voice Project pilot, and teachers are seeing real changes in their students' behaviors/learning driven mainly by the increased trust that student voice builds. If you would like to participate during the second half of the year, it's not too late!! There is an informational session planned on January 14th from 4:15-5:15 in Mustang at PDEC. Come and learn how the project started, what it's about, and how you can jump into the group. Essentially, participating involves teachers doing just three simple things:

1. Asking students what they think.

2. Reading students' responses and using this info to improve the classroom.

3. Meeting with a campus administrator at least once during the year to share what they are learning from students' voices and how that is impacting their classroom

Let me know if you have any questions, and please email Suzanne Newell to let her know you're planning to attend! Click here to watch a great video about the POWER of Student Voice! As a superintendent's goal, participating in Student Voice will be an expectation in upcoming school years...so why not get involved now and be part of the ground-breaking efforts for this transformational work?

  • MINI-CAST CONFERENCE IS IN FEBRUARY -Mini-CAST is a mini-version of the CAST conference which takes place during the course of one day. This year, the conference is being held in Frisco on Saturday, February 20th. Presentations are related to STEM education and is attended by teachers, administrators, supervisors, and vendors. Dr. Julie Jackson will be the keynote speaker at Mini-CAST and she asked me to encourage all of you to come & stop by to say hello if you attend! Click here to read more about this year's Mini-CAST conference! In order to register TWO forms must be completed online: Form to request payment from GCISD and Form to register with event organizers - Select the $25 option and then pay with check option. BOTH forms must be completed by the end of the day, Friday January 29th in order to have time to process a check and payment by the registration deadline. Please let Tona know if you are planning to attend!


World Read-Aloud Day 2016 is on February 24th! Every year World Read Aloud Day calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories! This year we will be connecting globally with classrooms from all over the world to help spread the love of sharing stories with scholars! Click here to sign up to participate in our Read Aloud Day efforts at Cannon!

January Book Of The Month & Design Challenge We are kicking off 2016 with a fantastic book selection for our January Book of the Month, Snowflake Bentley. Your scholars will love this biography about the world's expert on snowflakes!! They will also LOVE this month's design challenge...designing catapults to launch snowflakes across the library?? What student would LOVE that? Click here to read more about this month's Book of the Month and the Design Challenge. Don't forget that the final competition for this design challenge will air live on the KCAN2Go Channel at 2 pm on Tuesday, January 26th!


  • Set a timer and complete daily attendance ON TIME!
  • Review curriculum connections for Dinosaur George museum exhibits.
  • Review Lisa's reminders about Cornerstone Tasks & Math Unit Assessments.
  • Talk with your teams about School Board appreciation plans.
  • Work on your websites, blogs, and social media accounts to get them updated. Ask Ben for help!
  • Review student-led conference sample materials & start planning for 2/17 & 2/18.
  • Consider joining the Student Voice Project team! Let Tona & Dr. Newell know if interested in being part of this.
  • Make plans to attend Mini-CAST - register today!
  • Sign up to participate in World Read Aloud Day 2016!
  • Tweet & blog about all of the great things you are doing in your classroom/grade!