ACE Newsletter

December 2018

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Dear ACE Family,

Happy December! Please accept our deepest gratitude for the outstanding work you are doing each day for our students. This fourth year of ACE has been the smoothest yet! Your willingness to attend PD, participate in planning PLCs and data meetings, as well as embrace coaching and feedback has helped us accelerate stronger than ever.

As we become experts with our new strategies of aggressive monitoring and show call --- let's also increase student engagement. There is much excitement during the holiday season. Using strategic engagement techniques will help us keep focused and maximize learning within joyful classrooms.

Best Holiday Wishes,

Jolee Healey

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Instructional Focus: Engagement

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What kind of engagement are you seeing in your classroom?

Engagement is vitally important in terms of student achievement. There is educational research that supports the fact that the more times a student spends engaged in instruction, the more they learn (Getting & Ball 2007).

Levels of engagement in the classroom can vary from student to student and from one class period to the next. Phillip Schlechty has done research discussing the five levels of engagement: authentic, ritual, passive, retreatism and rebellion. Our goal at all ACE schools is to always strive and create an environment that fosters authentic engagement.

In this edition of the Mini PD Newsletter our focus will be on simple tools and techniques that can assist you with creating an instructional environment that fosters willing and participatory students that are actively and authentically engaged instruction.



With Call and Response you ask your class to answer questions in unison.

When this technique is used appropriately it can help to engage your students and make your lessons energetic.

Call and Response can accomplish the following:

  • Academic review and reinforcement
  • High-energy fun
  • Behavioral reinforcement

5 Types of Call and Response:

  1. Repeat: Students repeat what their teacher has said or complete a familiar phrase
  2. Report: Students who complete problems or answers questions on their own are asked to report back
  3. Reinforce: Students repeat a key term
  4. Review: Students answer multiple questions that pertain to a body of previously learned and mastered information
  5. Solve: Teacher asks students to solve a problem and call out the answer in unison


Call and Response should be universal, which means that all students should respond. In order to make this happen there should be a specific signal, verbal or nonverbal cue.

More information on Call and Response can be found in the TLAC book, page 262.

Things to take away from the video:

1. How is Call and Response similar to Cold Call?

2. What are some risks to Call and Response? How do you manage these risks as the teacher?


You can use the technique Pepper as a fast-paced, vocal review to build energy and actively engage your class.

Pepper is great for:

  • A warm up activity

3 Variations of Pepper include:

  1. Pick Sticks: popsicle sticks labeled with students’ names and selected at random
  2. Head-to-Head: two students called on to stand up to answer; the first to answer correctly remains standing to compete against new challenger
  3. Sit Down: all students stand, and they earn their seats by answering correctly or vice versa

More information on Pepper can be found in the TLAC book, page 274.


A few things to listen for while watching this quick video:

1. How is Pepper similar from the Cold Call technique?

2. How is Pepper different from the Cold Call technique?
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Science STAAR Mini Labs

Check out the great Science Mini Labs our district has provided to teachers!

They include resources by TEKS that provide guiding questions, background information, key academic vocabulary, instructions for the lab, assessment options, and student materials.

These are excellent resources to take your science instruction to the next level with student activities that promote high interest and engagement for students with rigorous tasks that lead to conceptual understanding.

3-5 Grade Science STAAR Mini Labs

6-8 Grade Science STAAR Mini Labs

4th Six Weeks Instructional Planning Calendars & Exemplars!

The Instructional Planning Calendars & CA4 Exemplars for the 4th Six Weeks will be available on December 14th and posted on the website. Be sure to check them out then!
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ACE Writing Academy:


December 13th 4:00-6:30 p.m.

Edison Middle Learning Center

We are excited to host our final Writing Academy where we will review writing scoring, practice providing high leverage feedback, and decide on high impact lessons based on trends in students' compositions using our Big Ten list.

Please register by clicking here.

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ACE literacy teachers are taking off using guided reading to strengthen student's reading skills and are creating lifelong readers!

Data Fever is in the air!

Celebrating Student Growth and Performance!

Coaching is in high gear everywhere in ACE and leaders are sparring constantly on ways to Get Better Faster!

Aggressive Monitoring is taking student's learning to new levels--students are rising to the level of the exemplar!

You spar, I spar, everybody EXEMPLAR!

Amazing job transforming Dunbar and building strong relationships with parents and families!

Carr has been doing a phenomenal job building great relationships with students!

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