Monday Memo

February 1, 2016

One Month Down in 2016

31 days ago, we began a new year which usually comes with resolutions to become better in some way. Unfortunately, many of those resolutions tend to be broken, forgotten, or dissolved. I know I have had a hard time sticking with my resolutions, and I am going to refocus these ideas I had at the beginning of January and start implementing them again into my daily routine. This goes from personal choices I make to ways I can improve professionally. I have heard many different ideas in regards to how long it takes to create a habit, this article from 2013 kind of changes the thought process, it's not necessarily 21 days to form a habit, it can be as much as 250 days! With this in mind, I think the only way to achieve a goal is to truly believe in and have the desire to accomplish it.

For the last few NJHS Inductions, my dad has come out and talked to the new inductees and one of his talking points is in regards to setting goals. He discusses a 1979 Harvard Business School study of students and their goals. Of the students who were in the study, 3% of the students said they have goals and write these goals down, 10% said they have goals, but they aren't written down and the other 87% replied that they had no goals in mind. They came back 10 years later and interviewed these students. The 10% who said they had goals generally in mind were earning, on average, twice as much as the 87% with no goals at all. The 3% who had goals and wrote these goals down, were earning, on average, 10 times more than the other 97 percent combined.

This may not relate to the educational field as far as earnings, but I do believe it does apply to our thought process, the way we live our lives, and also our successes. We all make our own happiness and shouldn't let others dictate how we feel or how we act. Our attitudes and actions are our own choice. This mind-frame relates to both our personal and professional lives.

There are many situations in our professional lives that can cause stress and anxiety, but it is the way we choose to act towards these that is the key. This can be from something as big as not enjoying what you do to something as small as choosing to smile and greet your students when they enter your classroom. Every choice you make is what will drive you daily. If you aren't enjoying your job, change it. If you can't relate to a certain student, try to figure out a way to reach him or her. The key is to find ways to better yourself as an educator and this is where those goals come in handy.

I spoke about the idea of instilling wonder in your classroom routine and focusing on how to reach each of your students at the beginning of the school year. I have definitely witnessed examples of excitement and wonder in walk-throughs and observations of the classrooms this year. There have been awesome innovative lessons and risk taking in lesson planning and delivery. I hope you continue to create excitement in your classroom and that this is something you are thinking about when you create your lesson plans or plan with your team.

It is time to look at those resolutions set at the beginning of 2016, or even think back to the beginning of the school year and ask yourself if you are still working on those goals you had prior to the students entering your classroom. Check your progress and continue moving forward to making these goals a habit. If you need new goals, set them, write them down, revisit them often, keep track of your progress, and, most importantly, continue pressing forward in order to make an improvement in your life and/or the life of others.

Contract Renewals

Don't forget to sign your contract renewals that were sent out last week.

If you are planning on leaving at the end of the school year, please let me know. The sooner we know, the sooner we can start recruiting.

Makerspace Fun!

Please stop by the library to check out the new furniture.

Cause Day This Thursday!

Wear your favorite Cause Day shirt with jeans this Thursday!

Grading Practices

I want to thank those of you who have embraced the changes in grading practices we have been working on at Rice. Students are now able to focus on ways to be successful instead of having to climb out of huge holes caused by failing grades. I commend those of you who are allowing students the opportunities to relearn information for the credit they earn while teaching them the best practices of how to prepare and study. The ultimate goal is to ensure our students have the knowledge and understanding to continue to grow into the future.

Technology Implementation Ideas

Sara went to an EdCamp this last Saturday and came back with some great ideas of implementing technology in the classroom. She won a couple of door prizes, one of which is for a site called We looked it over this morning and it looks like a great instructional tool to use when you are showing videos as part of your lesson. You can add captions, questions, pictures, ask for input, etc. while the students are viewing a video.

You can sign up for free, which I recommend you trying. The door prize Sara won is for the Pro version which allows a variety of different options. Take a look at it and let Sara know if you are interested in using the Pro version.

Best Practices

I am always appreciative of staff members sharing best practices during our staff meetings. We have had some great ideas shared during this school year. Not only, is it great to have people share their ideas, it is great to see other teachers implementing these ideas in the classroom. There are many examples, but one in particular is teachers using Nearpod after Nicole's presentation. I've been invited to several classrooms of teacher who have taken the leap to give it a try. Thanks to those of you who have implemented these new ideas.

As always, please let us know when you are trying new ideas out in the classroom and I am always looking to share any Best Practices with the rest of the staff.

Thanks to all of you for being awesome!

Academic Conferences

8th grade Academic Conferences are set for Feb. 9th through March 1st. The Learning Lab will relocate to the health room, 517, during this time.

1st Annual Rice "Soup-er" Bowl

We are having our first Soup-er Bowl Lunch on Friday, February 5th.

If you would like to bring a favorite soup, please sign up here. Even if you don't have a favorite food, you can still bring a side item and enjoy the soups provided.

This is a potluck of sorts for everyone to participate and provide.

AMC10A Test Tomorrow

Please refer to Margareta's email in regards to the list of students who will be testing in the cafeteria.

Soccer Club Sponsors NEEDED!!

I have heard from Beth Schwartz about an interest in co-sponsoring the soccer club. Please consider helping out, email Kendyl and Sara if you are able to help out.

Wednesday School

Don't forget to utilize Wednesday School to help students catch up with missing work. See Jan for details.

PLC with Catie Inge

This is a great way to gain the required professional development hours. This is schedule for tomorrow at 3:45 in Catie's classroom.

Teacher Work Days

Begin documenting your professional development hours for the June 6, 2016 work day. Refer to the memo below for more information.
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Wednesday WICORs In One Place!

Great informational resources for you to apply in the classroom. This is updated weekly with Craig McKinney's latest and greatest ideas.

Rice's Bragging and Reflection Form

Thanks again for those of you who have joined and added some comments on the Google Classroom I created. Please use this to showcase yourself or another teacher in the building.

There are four "announcements" placed in the classroom which is to be used to brag on yourself, a teacher, or even a student. If you include something about someone, please let them know, so they can see the information. Something to try out as far as giving props and recognition to those who deserve it. The class code is: k37hjt

Sara McCutchen-February 1:

A huge #RMSShoutOut to Ms. Nipper for volunteering to run during Athletics with one of her students who is struggling to make the required runs! That is what you call doing whatever it takes!!

Sara McCutchen-January 27:

A huge #RMSShoutOut to Mrs. Coveney for sharing a timer with the BSC in a pinch!! Thank you so much!

Happy Birthday!!!

February 7:

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Events for the Week

8th Grade Girls Basketball Vs. Robinson

Monday, Feb. 1st, 6pm

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

8th Grade Boys Basketball @ Robinson

Monday, Feb. 1st, 6pm

6701 Preston Meadow Drive

Plano, TX

AMC10A Test

Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, 8:30am

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

PLC with Catie Inge

Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, 3:30pm

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

iLEAD Meeting-Kendyl, Sara, and I are out-HELP MONITOR IN THE FRONT, PLEASE!

Wednesday, Feb. 3rd, 8:30am

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

Please help monitor while we are out.

Leadership Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 4th, 3:45pm

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

7th Grade Girls Basketball vs. Robinson

Thursday, Feb. 4th, 6pm

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

7th Grade Boys Basketball @ Robinson

Thursday, Feb. 4th, 6pm

6701 Preston Meadow Drive

Plano, TX

Wear Red Today-Heart Health Awareness

Monday, Feb. 1st, 8am

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

"Soup-er" Bowl & Sides Day

Friday, Feb. 5th, 11:15am

8500 Gifford Drive

Plano, TX

8 Things to Look for In Today's Classroom

A great visual description of what we should be providing students in the classroom.