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New Teacher Corner

Five Simple Truth’s for First Year Teaching

Number 5: Planning is the key to survival in your classroom.

Number 4: You have to allow your students to explore the world, even if it means bringing it to them one step at a time.

Number 3: The greatest gift you can give your students is to teach them to become independent thinkers.

Number 2: You are laying the groundwork for how your students will view education for the rest of their lives.

Number 1: Remember that teaching is a privilege, not a right.

Why teachers should always Close the lesson (every lesson)

  • Provides all students the opportunity to communicate in their own words the key understandings or take away from the lesson.

  • Ensures that the students have extracted the actual instructional intent from the lesson.

  • The most powerful retention strategy available to teachers.

An example of teachers that consistently Close the lesson properly follow a simple two step plan:

  1. Pre-plan and post the Closing question (usually a quick write or quick talk) for the lesson. Every lesson.

  2. Use a timer (The timer is set to chime five minutes prior to the end of the period. When the timer goes off, the teacher has the students address/answer the Closing question). Every period.

Remember, closing the lesson is all about “proof of learning”.

Power Hour/Power Block

Change is always difficult but we have to give kudos to the many teachers who have embraced Power Hour/Power Block and are working diligently in established great lessons to help our students become great readers! We would like to highlight Mrs. Amaris Martinez-Salinas, 3rd grade teacher at NHE, who received recognition from Renee Romstadt, iLit consultant. Mrs. Romstadt stated that Mrs. Martinez-Salinas had the best delivery of an iLit lesson she has ever observed in ALL the districts she has observed.

If you need further assistance with Power Hour/Power Block or questions you may contact the following C&I Staff:

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Advanced Academics and Gifted & Talented


The District is fortunate to have 12 Sul Ross Rio Grande College student teachers this semester. They are paired with experienced teachers who are showing them the ropes. We are always pleased to have these young, enthusiastic college students learning to teach our students.


The Elementary Science Fair will be in early February and all elementary campuses will soon start talking to their students about what type of project they will be researching this year.

The Secondary students are already proposing science fair projects to be reviewed by the Science Fair Pre-Approval Committee, since their Campus Science Fairs will be held in November. The winners from those fairs go on the Regional Science Fair in San Antonio in February. (http://www.arase.org/)


The elementary G/T teachers now have their own tile on Planning Protocol Dashboard for their curriculum, and because of Power Hour, they now get to see their G/T students every day. 1st graders are studying “Family Affair”, 2nd graders “Who’s Who: A Study of Biography”, 3rd graders “Mathematics in Nature”, 4th graders “Enigmas”, and 5th graders “Designing Spaces”.

-Patty Brown, P.D., Advanced Academics, and UIL Curriculum Coordinator

Training at C&I

  • Exemplar Lessons for teachers K-12
  • GT Updates
  • Time to work on Exemplar Lessons 3rd Thursday of the month, except Dec.
  • iLit-Classroom modeling
  • Technology in the Classroom training-monthly
  • Master Reading Teacher workshops

The Coordinators are available to train at campuses and in Planning Protocol sessions as needed. If you and/or your department find an area or topic that you would like to see more training for, let your principal know and they can call or email C&I. We can come to your school or set up a training here. As long as we are working towards Student Academic Achievement we can find a way to help the classroom educator.

Need Help with completing your Exemplar Lesson or Lesson Video, we are ready to help you during your conference period or afterschool.

Check the GoSignMeUp calendar for scheduled trainings.

Important Dates


    • Elections October 28th – November 3rd

    • 1st committee meeting on November 17th

  • G/T Online Courses

    • 5th (and last) course starts October 31st and ends November 11th

  • TAGT Online G/T courses

    • Required 6-hours for yearly update

    • Counts toward February 20th compensatory day

  • Elementary UIL Ready Writing Event

    • November 30th @ Lamar Cafeteria

  • Student Teachers

    • Last day is November 30th

  • 5th grade Science Collaborative, November 3rd @ Lonnie Green

  • 3rd-5th Reading Collaborative, November 15th @Lonnie Green
  • 3rd-5th Writing Collaborative, November 14th @ Lonnie Green
  • 3-5th Math Collaborative: November 29th @ Calderon

  • Abydos Refresher Courses: 3:30-4:30: November 2nd-Lamar and November 8th- Lonnie Green

  • Bill MacDonald-“May the Fours Be With You: November 2 & 3, 4th grade writing teachers only @ Lamar Elementary

  • ESL Strategist:November 8th @C&I Computer Lab 1 3:15-4:15
  • Leadership Collaborative: November 15th 3:30-4:30, Location TBD

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

  • Aidee Garcia, Chief Instructional Officer for Elementary Education
  • Aida Gomez, Chief Instructional Officer for Secondary Education
  • Patricia Brown, Professional Development, Adv Academics, UIL Coordinator
  • Maria Correa, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator
  • Libana Milender, Instructional Technology Coordinator
  • Jose Rodriguez, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator
  • Cynthia Sahagun, Early Literacy Coordinator