Volume 1 | Issue 5: Teachers Makes the Difference

A Message from Kathie Nielsen

Dear Elementary Teachers,

We are nearing the finish line of another incredible year! So much has been accomplished and as we begin the testing season, I wanted to focus each of you on what I consider the most essential components of an effective teacher and that is the relationship you build with your students. Teachers who are willing to extend themselves to students and recognize them for who they are will produce excited, grateful learners. You do this as you take the time to listen and confer and also as you inquire and challenge. If you ask most adults what made the difference for them in school, most will tell you that it was another adult taking an interest in and encouraging them. So much of your incredible work is not easily measured, but it is valued for a lifetime. Thank you for what you give to these children! You really are responsible for the change we all wish to see in the world!

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For the Heroes: A Pep Talk From Kid President

Teacher Appreciation Week Deals/Discounts

  • Chick-fil-A ----> FREE chicken biscuit or Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, May 3 ONLY (breakfast/lunch/dinner, participating locations)

Year Round Teacher Discounts:

  • Barnes & Noble ----> 20% off (25% off during Teacher Appreciation Days)
  • Michael's Craft Store ----> 15% off
  • JoAnn Fabric & Craft Store ----> 15% off
  • FedEx ----> 15% off
  • J.Crew ----> 15% off
  • Madewell ----> 15% off
  • LOFT ----> 15% off
  • The Limited ----> 15% off
  • Banana Republic ----> 15% off
  • West Elm ----> 15% off
  • Talbots ----> 15% off
  • SeaWorld ----> Teacher Fun Card (free yearlong admission)
  • LegoLand ----> May 7 - 15 FREE admission (family & friends, $52)

180 Days of Awesome

There's so much AWESOMENESS in TUSD! #TUSDawesome

Are you on Facebook?

If so, join the private group, 180 Days of Awesome!

This group is dedicated to posting all the amazing things that happen in Tustin Unified everyday. Give a shout out to a colleague, show something you accomplished in your position, or share inspirational quotes. This is a fountain page, not a drain page.

Created by Robin Chillingworth

First Grade Teacher, Arroyo Elementary

April 27, 2016 | Session Recap

There were 273 teachers who attended sessions on April 27th! WOW! Thank you for dedicating your time to strengthening your practice.

Thank you to our facilitators for developing meaningful learning experiences. As our Learning Manifesto states, "We are partners in learning."

Thoughts/Comments from TUSD Teachers:

"This [PD session] was very helpful! I'm so glad I came, it was a great use of my time! I appreciate the quick pace of the workshop, and everything the presenters shared. Their support for fellow TUSD teachers is obvious - thank you!"

"I enjoy reading the comments from other teachers [via online PD session] about which of these assessment tools they use and how they are useful day in and day out."

"Excellent PD today. I received some valuable resources to take back to the classroom. My time was well spent!"

"Thanks for giving us time to ask questions and walk us through how to set up SeeSaw app for my students."

We greatly appreciate your feedback from the sessions.

Please click HERE to complete the Reflection & Evaluation form.

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CGI Institute Recap

CGI Institute wrapped up for the year at the end of April with the final monthly virtual meeting! This final meeting focused on mistakes growing the brain and the idea of 'productive struggle' in math. CGI Institute not only covered the basic tenets of Cognitively Guided Instruction such as Problem Types, data analysis, and Counting Collections, but also delved into deeper topics surrounding mathematics instruction. These topics often included the work of Jo Boaler, mathematics professor and researcher from Stanford University and founder of youcubed.org. Boaler recently wrote a bestselling book, "Mathematical Mindsets", which focuses on getting students (and teachers!) to have a Growth Mindset when approaching math.

Thoughts/ Comments about CGI Institute from Teachers:

"I didn't know what to expect and it has completely changed the way I think about word problems"

"Our district has a wealth of knowledge within its staff- everyone has so much to share!"

"I LOVED that this course offered a book study AND that it was supported with articles, videos, and tons of fantastic resources to use in my classroom everyday"

"Wow!! I thought this institute was amazing! I loved this style of learning and got so much out of the articles, videos and discussions"

As a reminder, the CGI Institute meetings are continually open, so feel free to go on Haiku and check them out if you haven't already participated! THANK YOU to the amazing teachers and administrators who joined us to make CGI Institute Year 1 a huge success!

A Love Letter to OUR TEACHERS...

posted May 1, 2015 via Teacher's Notebook Blog

There you stand. One against many.

Covered in chalk dust, you wonder, “Did it work?” “Is it in there?” “Do you understand me?”

And your mind goes back to Sunday night as you stare at the well-worn notebook that contains your copious notes, full of graphite marks and inked circles. The hours of painstaking review stack up like a house of cards, ready to fall at a moment’s notice. You shift papers and rearrange quizzes to ensure they will not be mixed in together because, heaven help you if you have to do it again.

And then you snap back to reality when a student says, “I don’t get it.” It hits like a bucket of cold water in the face. Your eyes go to another face, hoping, praying that maybe... to READ MORE click HERE

-Mark Malafarina

If I Knew Then: A Letter to Me on My First Day Teaching
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Play is SERIOUS Business!

Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky was a proponent of the idea that children learn best when we build on their strengths, but accomplishing this can sometimes feel a bit frustrating. As we struggle mightily to develop kids’ stamina to ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes of reading and writing, we watch these same children deeply engaged in play during recess and choice time for long, extended periods. So while we firmly believe in building on children’s strengths, it can be frustrating when we find ourselves limiting the time we give kids to do what we know they do best: play.

Perhaps, we need to look at play from a different perspective; if the feeling of active movement toward a goal is what we call work, then play is the work of children. In fact, it is the work and the art of childhood: the essence of learning, discovery, and creating. In play, learners are developing ideas, taking on and assigning roles, collaborating, crafting the environment and deciding when to change it, developing and negotiating rules, and being active listeners. If play is the work of children, then to build on kids’ strengths, we need to ask, “How can we infuse an abundance of play and the crafting the environment and deciding when to change it, developing and negotiating rules, and being active listeners. If play is the work of children, then to build on kids’ strengths, we need to ask, “How can we infuse an abundance of play and the principles of play across the curriculum?”

-Heinemann Publishing

Recommended Text on Play ----> Purposeful Play: A Teacher’s Guide to Igniting Deep and Joyful Learning Across the Day by Kristine Mraz, Alison Porcelli & Cheryl Tyler

ELA Instructional Phase 5: 4/27 - 6/17

The purpose of Phase 5: Personal Study as Readers & Writers is to support deeper comprehension through inquiry based study. Children have developed a variety of strategies throughout the year, therefore this phase provides a chance for exploration in a creative way, that is student-centered. Teachers will want to think about how to structure units that encourage individual and diverse interests, while providing time for ongoing practice of learned strategies.

Possible units within this phase could entail reading and writing across the content areas, where students are comparing and contrasting texts of the same topic, analyzing information, developing new knowledge, and sharing on a selected topic. Reflection is a critical component of this phase, as it will be important to celebrate the learning that has occurred over the course of the year. Children might engage in evaluating their growth and setting personal goals for continued development as readers and writers beyond their current grade.

Text Type: Narrative, Nonfiction, and/or Opinion

Interested in Possible Teachers College Units of Study for this Phase? ----> Click HERE to access TUSD ELA Instructional Phases | Alignment to TC Units document

Using Teachers College Units of Study? Need support in unpacking the units and projecting mini-lessons? ----> Contact Amanda Heineman - aheineman@tustin.k12.ca.us

Mentor Texts

What are your favorite mentor texts that you use with your students? Please share your mentor texts by submitting a Mentor Text Recommendation. Click HERE to submit a recommendation.

Supporting EL Students: Strategies & Tools for Supporting Language & Literacy Development

TCRWP classrooms as mentioned, are structured in ways that are predictable and this is especially supportive for students who are developing English—emergent bilinguals. With clear, predictable structures, children become more comfortable participating. The predictability of the workshop provides reassurance to a child who is just learning English, and this is amplified if workshop structures repeat themselves across subjects. In addition, workshops are characterized by a consistent instructional language, making it easier for a child who is just learning English to grasp the unique content that is being taught that day. The workshop gives language learners not only a space for language learning but a place to practice. Each day, where a child is advanced her knowledge of the English language or a beginning speaker (or else on the progression of language learning), that child will have the opportunity to... to READ MORE click HERE


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--> Assessment Reminders & Tips | Trimester 3

  • "AA" has been added as an option for running record input. Please select "AA" to indicate that a child is below Level A

--> Running Records | Tips for Meeting the Needs of ELLs
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