JMQ Flash

December 7 - 11, 2015

Notices and Highlighted Events

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Here's the Scoop for the PTA Christmas Store!

  • When: Dec. 7-11 from 8:00 - 2:00 daily
  • Where: Room 232
  • How: Call the room (*232, non-Cisco phone - PTA will provide escort if requested/needed)

Choir News

The spirit of this festive season in the air! You are invited to an evening of song! The Honors Choir and Signing Choir will present a Christmas Concert on Tuesday, December 8th, at 6:00 p.m. Please help us advertise this joyful event to all our families!

The Honors Choir and Signing Choir will perform at the ESC and around town on Friday, December 11th, to share songs of Christmas with others in our community. Thank you Kristi Grimes, Amanda Dunnavant, Whitney Reardon, and our fabulous interpreters for your leadership!

Can you smell popcorn in the air? I haven't bought my bags yet, but I have already been approached, and I have committed. I can't think of a better way to support our students, our music programs, and my craving for a good snack with just a few dollars!

Refrigerators and Microwaves

I received a directive on Wednesday at my Principal Monitoring Review. Mr. Lynn Marshall has instructed that there shall be no refrigerators or microwaves in classrooms. Life Skills and a few other rooms, such as the Science Labs have refrigerators, and we can establish need for those. If you have questions about this directive, please contact me.

SpEd Common Assessments and 3-Week Tests

SpEd Assessments are missing in DMAC, and I was asked at the Principal Monitoring Review the reason for their absence. Dara is contacting those of you with scores that are missing. They need to be posted as soon as possible so that the data can be evaluated. This is a high priority item for you and for me, so please get it done!

Professional Development

To Help You Prioritize

It's a busy season. Although I would love it if you and I had the time to "close read" every item that is ever sent to us in print, the truth is that each of us is spread thinly, especially at this time of year. To help you prioritize Professional Development items this week, I have placed an asterisk next to items that require your action. Not every PD item I include targets all grades nor all subject areas. My hope is that when you have time later in the week, you will peruse each of the links to see if any might help you. I wanted to focus on literacy this week, and implement a new technology tool that is new to me and may be new to you. is a user-friendly tool! Try it...I think you'll like it!
The ForeSight Report

This is free! (Yes, I am a learning nerd and proud of it!) If you find such a resource useful, consider signing up to receive the weekly newsletter. The Foresight Report curates resources for teachers and teacher-leaders.

30 Universal Strategies For Learning

I stumbled on the "teachthought" blog because of the title. As we teach children to think, any support we can get is useful! There are good links to other topics here as well.

*The Perfect Classroom Gift

This article is such a cool idea, and I could see it being adapted in a lot of ways - for students and for faculty. What gift of words might we give to one another? Read some of my favorite words from children's books below.

* Inspiring Literacy Connections and Conversations

I seldom have an original thought, but my gift has always been in the synthesis of others' original ideas. Many teachers are very creative while others are more like me; they curate content and synthesize all sorts of resources to create something new for a targeted audience, but the seeds of the content are unearthed from anywhere and everywhere.

Most of our 21st Century students require motivation and inspiration to read books. Gone are the days when one purposely slows the pace of reading a good book in order to lengthen the pleasurable experience. Were you one that never wanted certain books to end? I sure was!

When I introduced beets to my eldest son when he was a baby, he returned a projectile of the bright red vegetable with force and accurate aim. It's a moment I've never forgotten. Similarly, some students push back forcefully when we try to make them read. We have to cajole, tempt, and woo many students to engage with a text that can be navigated independently only as fast as their decoding and comprehension skills will allow. It requires them to be fairly sedentary to boot! How can a book compete with a video game and the immediate gratification it offers?

First, we have to know our students and know their interests. We try to present books we think will interest them. I love the way Donalyn Miller makes that happen (See the button link to her blog below.). How we inspire literacy and all that it entails varies from teacher to teacher and reader to reader, but it certainly helps us to learn from those who have created successful literacy models in their classrooms.

What would happen if you offered your favorite quotes from books to students? Could you start a "favorite quote" anchor chart from shared read alouds? Could students find words/phrases they love in a book because they connect with those words? Might they share those favorite book quotations on post-its,, or on a Google Classroom blog? Once your children begin to "own words and phrases" from books, they will be ready to make them "gifts" to share with you and others. I challenge you to think of ways we as a staff can inspire our students to read and get excited about reading.

We have a plan to establish a green room in the library to help take our JMQ Live announcements to the next level and to enable students to create video projects. Both Allison Glenn and Mesha Harris, a former television reporter, are helping Dara and me to accomplish this. I see our students becoming the ones who inspire their peers to read a book through some pretty cool book talk videos that they create using an iPad, a green screen, and some imagination.

Below I share with you some of my favorite words from children's books along with a few reflections.

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Donalyn Miller's Blog

Donalyn Miller's blog targets middle school and upper intermediate ELA teachers.

*Click here, please, to share and reflect on Padlet

I have used a free site,, that might be new to some of you. I have added the first post. Just double click and type! Very simple!