September 19, 2016

A Communication Tool for the Seven Hills Staff

Seven Hills Elementary...Great Happens Here!

7x7 Week Two:

Monday marks the beginning of week 2 of our work to complete the 7x7 focusing on developing our professional selves. If you did not begin last week, you need to begin on Monday. As you plan for the start of week 2, you should consider the following:

  • What are your big rocks this week? Do you have a plan for how you will move them?
  • What is empathetic listening? "Listening with empathy means getting to the heart of what matters to the other person, whether we agree or not. When listening empathically, we listen with the intent to understand. We respond by reflecting feelings and words." Find an opportunity this week to practice empathetic listening with a peer, a student, or a parent.
  • What is your plan for checking in with your accountability partner this week?

The Leader in Me Lighthouse Team Updates:

We met with our coach Robin Corzine on September 8th to begin the “Building the Plan” stage of our TLIM journey. Robin helped us focus our ideas and set up our action plans to drive this implementation at 7Hills. Three Action Teams were created: Leadership, Culture, and Events. Each action team will head up the planning and implementation of the action goals.

Leadership Action Team:

Points of Contact – Hayley Sample, LaWanda Henry, Jen Morales

Goal #1: Design and implement 7 Habits in 7 Minutes activities for staff meetings

Culture Action Team:

Points of Contact – Spencer Wolf, Ted Twa, Jo Kiser, Leslie Russell, Melissa Q, Tiffany Howe, Felicia Hall

Goal #1: Design and plan Leadership Rallies (Monthly), Redesign Awards Assemblies

Events Action Team:

Points of Contact – Kim Blackburn, Kim Brister, Barbara Reyes, Aundra Joyce, Hayley Sample, Melissa Q

Goal #1: Design October 18th Leadership Night

Staff input is VITAL in reaching these goals. Please join one of the action teams with the ideas and planning to help our school reach these goals. A sign up list is in the lounge.

ELA Learning Cycle...Reader's Notebooks

Learning Cycles: All NISD elementary schools will be engaging in content specific learning cycles this year. These learning cycles are designed with the intent to help refine our craft. At the beginning of each learning cycle, campus leadership will participate in professional learning with the NISD C&I Department. Throughout the cycle, we will bring important components aligned with the needs of the campus forward to staff in PLCs, staff meetings, Vertical Teams, the S'more, etc. Periodically, we will complete walk throughs focused on the targeted instructional strategy, curriculum component, etc. The cycles are designed to deliver focused professional learning and provide meaningful and relevant feedback to teachers. This is another excellent opportunity for us to grow as a learning organization.


The first learning cycle will focus on reader's notebooks...

The reader's notebook is an integral component of the workshop process. They provide a structure for readers to express their thinking within, beyond and about the text. If set up and used with fidelity, the reader's notebook can be a simple and powerful tool for ongoing assessment, specifically allowing students and teachers to see growth over time. Specifically, the purpose of the reader's notebook is to support students and help:

    • Track their thinking about what they are reading

    • Extend their thinking

    • Practice specific reading skill and strategies (from the mini-lesson)

      • Inferring

      • Summarizing

      • Analyzing

      • Connections

    • Prepare for book club discussions


Students need an exemplar in order to fully develop their ideas in the reader's notebook. It is an NISD C&I expectation that all teachers have a reader's notebook that aligns with the student notebook to use as a tool for modeling.


There are common "Do's" and "Don'ts" for reader's notebooks:

  • Do’s:

    • Give feedback to students- ask questions that move students’ thinking forward.

    • Model different types of responses.

    • Focus some responses based on mini lessons

  • Don’ts:

    • Write grades in the journal- use sticky notes or attach rubrics that can be removed.

    • Edit for grammar and spelling.


The NISD C&I Department has established a standard for reader's notebooks:

  • Students are writing everyday. Some days might be spent finishing a journal from the day before (mostly in grades 2-5).

  • Write about reading day

  • In K-1, sometimes it is more appropriate to tape or glue in a sentence stem than to have the students write it out. The important thing is to get the students to express their thinking about reading. As the year progresses and motor skills develop further, students can create entries from the teacher modeling not the sentence stem.


Reader's Notebook Resources and References:

  • NISD ELA Curriculum Documents
  • I follow several teacher blogs. One of my favorite ELA bloggers is Julie Ballew. I had the privilege of working with Julie for a few years, and she is a dynamic ELA teacher. I encourage you to take a look at what she has to say about reader's notebooks: http://www.julieballew.com/A_Literate_Life/Readers_Notebook.html
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Campus and District Announcements and Updates:

  • Positive Parent Contact: One of the items on the BOY Checklist was to make a positive parent phone call home to each of your students. Please do not let the first time parents hear from you be for a concern or at the parent conferences. By reaching out to parents first, you are establishing open and positive lines of communication, and there will be an exponential return on your investment!
  • PTA Reflections Contest: Please take a minute this week to show this video to your students and encourage them to participate in the Reflections Contest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8dpI20guJg
  • Student Goal Setting: We worked on student goal setting some in our Lighthouse Team training last week. Please hold on any formal student goal setting in ELA, Math problem solving and Science until data teams. Please go ahead and move forward with the Origo Math module trackers, as these are time sensitive and based on pre and post test data.
  • NISD Curriculum PLCs: Please refer to the calendar linked below for dates and times of curriculum updates, etc. There should be at least one representative from each team attending these sessions and bringing information back to the team. It is highly encouraged that teachers attend PLCs that directly apply to their instruction.https://docs.google.com/a/nisdtx.org/spreadsheets/d/1SWOOcnQE1WoWfjEDHQQdX1ARivoVzr1wK4dcVIzKw8Y/edit?usp=sharing
  • Don't forget the NISD required training is Due Friday, September 23 : http://northwest.ss10.sharpschool.com/departments/professional_learning/required_online_trainings/
  • The C&I Department is looking for feedback on ENGAGE:

    https://goo.gl/forms/XMN9M4Ut4duvYYWe2

Big Kahuna Fundraising:

Thank you for your help and support of the Big Kahuna fundraising event. Please remember that the money raised will directly support classroom instruction, student incentives, and campus activities. We have set the fundraising goal at $9,000 this year! Meeting, and possibly exceeding, this goal will take effort on everyone’s part, but the return on a little investment will be well worth the effort. If you have not already done so, please determine class incentives and hang your poster in your classrooms. Thank you for your continued flexibility, creativity, enthusiasm, and effort!


  • Campus Incentive: If we reach the campus goal of $9,000 all staff will be able to wear jeans on designated Wednesdays with their 7 Habits at 7 Hills shirts!
  • Grade Level Incentive: The grade level with the highest participation levels will win a giant ball for recess!
  • New This Year...Collectibles: As students sell items, they can turn tickets in to the office for the collectibles. Wear them. Trade them. Put them on your backpacks. Fun for all!
  • Family Fundraising Plan: Arthur announced on Thursday that he is offering a family fundraising incentive! This will actually help our fundraising goals. Please make sure your families know about this. The plan is as follows: For families with more than one child attending SHES, if the family sells a total of 20 items, they are eligible for the party bus!


A flier outlining the fundraising plan will be in teacher boxes on Monday.

Save the Date:

Monday, September 19:

  • Shelter in Place and Fire Drills

Tuesday, September 20:

  • Reverse Evacuation Drill and Drop, Cover, Hold Drill
  • Lighthouse Team Meeting 3:30 - 4:30

Wednesday, September 21:

  • Grade Level PLCs in the PLC Room with the ICLE Coach (NISD and ICLE visitors on campus. No jeans please. Please look at your halls and make sure we look ready for visitors.)


Thursday, September 22:

  • Exterior Lock Down Drill & Hazmat and Seal Drill
  • OLT Meeting 3:30 - 4:30 (this is a change in date)


Friday, September 23:

  • MWC Kick-Off Rally (more details to come)
  • PTA Family Movie Night and WatchD.O.G.S. Kick-Off


Happy Birthday To:

Brenda Hladky 9/20

Amy Davis 9/23

Remember...We are refining our craft and creating a culture of leading and learning this year...It isn't one more thing on the plate...it is the plate!

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