Ms. Mac's Memos

Week of October 28th

Mission & Vision

Park Street Mission:

We Learn. We Grow. We Thrive.

Park Street Vision:

Our vision is to provide a collaborative foundation for successful learning and living through:

P- Positive Experiences

S- Supporting all students

E- Engaging with the community and creating

S- Students of excellence

Week at a Glance

Red Ribbon Week


  • SILT Meeting
  • “Look At Me Drug Free” Wear a Red Shirt


  • PLCs
  • TOTY Pep Rally
  • “Tackle Drug” Wear Sports Paraphernalia


  • AP meeting
  • “My Future is Bright and Drug Free” Wear a College Shirt


  • Final day for lunch applications
  • “Drugs Are Scary, Don’t Do Them” (No MASK) Wear a Halloween Costume


  • Happy Tails
  • Coaches meeting 1/2 day at PSE
  • “Follow Your Dreams” Wear pajamas

Challenge for the Month...

October is my favorite month and fall is my favorite season. While surfing Pintrest, I found this Fall Bucket List. The challenge for this week (throughout this month) will be to choose something to do for yourself (or with your family) from the Fall bucket list.
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Instructional Spotlight

We are highlighting Ms. Ponders for her great work with students on Running records and Phonics. She has individual student data folders to track her students' learning and needs.
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Team Spotlight

This week we would like to spotlight the Specials Teachers. They have been doing an incredible job providing high-quality, standards-based instruction for students. Lessons and instruction have been hands-on and engaging. Great job Specials Teachers!

New School Design Team

We will need to start brainstorming and choosing things for the new school. If you are on on the design committee, we will meet on Monday, November 4th at 3:35 in the Media Center. We are hoping to have the designer there to share her vision and start providing ideas.
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Smart Boards

Good news, we will be receiving new classroom Smart Board some time next month. There will be a training on how to use the new Smart Boards on November 8th.

Co-teaching tips

Here is an article about tips and strategies to improve co-teaching.
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Coaches' Corner

What is the QFT?

The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) is a simple but rigorous step-by-step process created by the Right Question Institute to help all people — students and adults — formulate, work with, and use their own questions.

The QFT combines three thinking abilities in one process: divergent thinking, convergent thinking, and metacognitive thinking.

In the classroom, it helps students become more curious and engaged learners. It’s not a detour from teaching goals. Rather, it’s a shortcut to student-directed, deeper learning. QFT can be used, for example, during the launch of a science unit or lesson when a phenomenon is presented to students. This technique is a strategy that can help students develop the Science Practice of Asking Questions. It can be adapted by grade-band based on the progression of this SEP outlined by A Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS.

Steps of Question Formulation Technique

Step 0: Design a Question Focus

In science, the Question Focus is usually a phenomenon stimulus for jumpstarting questions. It is the focus of question formulation. The QFocus may be a statement, image, video, sound clip, data, or anything else that gets the questions flowing. It may not be a question, and it should be related to the content or intended learning outcomes. A good QFocus should be relevant and engaging to students, and should encourage divergent thinking.

Step 1: Introduce the Rules

  • Ask as many questions as you can.

  • Do not stop to discuss, judge, or answer the questions.

  • Write down every question exactly as it is stated.

  • Change any statement you write into a question.

Remind people to follow the rules each time you use the technique.

Give instructions to think about the rules, and let participants discuss one of the following:

• What might be difficult about following the rules for producing questions?

• Which rule might be the most difficult to follow?

Avoid naming or telling participants the difficulties or value of the rules. Let them think about it themselves.

Step 2: Introduce the Question Focus & Produce Questions

Present the QFocus without any additional information, keeping explanation to a minimum. Make a list of questions using the QFocus as the focus for their questions. Number each question (1, 2, 3, etc.) This step helps people think divergently. You may have students use their journals or Post-It notes.

Step 3: Improve Questions

  • Participants work with the questions they produced. This step helps people do high-level work with their questions and identify how different types of questions elicit different types of information and answers.

  • Questions can be open- or closed-ended: Closed-ended questions can be answered with yes, no, or with one word. Open-ended questions require an explanation and cannot be answered with yes, no, or with one word.

  • Categorize questions as closed-ended or open-ended. Participants find closed-ended questions and mark them with a “C.” They find open-ended questions and mark them with an “O.”

  • Discuss the value of each type of question. Identify advantages and disadvantages of closed-ended questions. Identify advantages and disadvantages of open-ended questions.

  • Change questions from one type to another. In other words, change one closed-ended question to an open-ended question. Then, change one open-ended question to closed-ended one.

Step 4: Prioritize Questions

Prioritization instructions should bring participants back to the central objective. This step helps participants think convergently. For students, prioritization instructions bring them back to teaching objectives and the plan for using student-generated questions. You can prioritize as many questions as you want. In our example, we’ve chosen to prioritize three questions.

Here are some examples of prioritization instructions: “Choose three questions that …”

  • you consider most important

  • will help with your research

  • can be used for your experiment

  • will guide your reading/ writing

  • can be answered as you read

  • will help you solve the problem

Participants should discuss and share why they selected their priority questions and where their priority questions fell in the sequence of their question list. (For instance, a group may decide to prioritize questions 6, 14, and 27 on their list.)

Step 5: Discuss Next Steps

How will questions be used? Next steps should align with priority instructions. For students, this further contextualizes how their questions will be used.

Step 6: Reflect

Participants should reflect:

  • What did you learn, and how can you use this information?

This step helps people think metacognitively about how they used questions to learn. It allows them to reflect on new lines of thinking they may have developed.

General Tips for Facilitation

• The role of the QFT-leader is to facilitate the participants moving through the different steps of the QFT as simply as possible. We call this person the facilitator. In a classroom, the teacher is the one who facilitates the QFT.

• Monitor group work and give clarifying instructions as needed. Go around the room to observe group work and interactions during the process. Listen for the types of questions participants are asking. Try your best not to get pulled into their discussions. Avoid answering any questions while people are in the process of producing questions.

• Validate everyone’s contributions equally. Use the same words for all contributions. For example: “thank you” acknowledges contributions neutrally. Using different words to validate different contributions (e.g. good, great, excellent question) may discourage some people from participating.

• Avoid giving examples of questions participants should be asking. If you do, you will be setting the direction of the questions and impeding independent thinking.

• Allow groups to work at their own pace. It is okay if some groups produce more questions than others. If a group seems stuck, prompt them with the QFocus. For example, “Look at your QFocus and think about if there’s anything you would like to know about it and ask a question.” The value of producing questions is in the process of thinking and not in the number of questions produced.

Examples of ways you can ask students to ask questions (from NGSS):





Ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural and/or designed world(s).

Ask and/or identify questions that can be answered by an investigation.

Ask questions about what would happen if a variable is changed.

Identify scientific (testable) and non-scientific (non-testable) questions.

Ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes based on patterns such as cause and effect relationships.

Ask questions that require sufficient and appropriate empirical evidence to answer.

Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

Ask questions to identify and/or clarify evidence and/or the premise(s) of an argument.

Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

Ask questions to clarify and/or refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.

Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles.

Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.

Ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships between independent and dependent variables.

Ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.

Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.

Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field (e.g., outdoor environment) with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory.

Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of the design.

Source: The Right Question Institute (RQI). The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) was created by RQI. Visit for more information and free resources.

Adapted by Washington University in St. Louis Institute for School Partnership



Classroom Clean out

Please try and begin to de-clutter and clean out your rooms. Walking around I have seen a lot of materials that are faded, out of date, and infrequently used. As of now, the new building will have about 3-4 storage cabinets on the wall and one rolling storage cabinet (like the one in Ms. Martinez's space). We will not be bringing over old file cabinets or furniture; therefore it is essential you begin to purge and reduce your materials. If you have spaces in your room that look like the picture below, it is time to "Let it Go" like Elsa.

We will work on getting a dumpster for you to use.

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Ordering Supplies

Just a reminder, the deadline to order supplies with your teacher money is November 22nd. Any money not spent by that time will go back into the school instructional fund to be used towards Summer School and supplies.

No Tricks...just treats

We love our Spooktackular staff! We will have Halloween treats for you on October 31st in the front office conference room.

Staff Shout Outs... (please submit shout-outs by Thursday at 3pm)

1. Mrs. C Rodriguez

Thank you for always being a wonderful & supportive Team Player!!

2. T. Ponders

You are a wonderful, positive and patient Friend/ coworker!!

3. Mr. Soto

Behind the cafeteria line serving our students! Wow! We are lucky to have you!

4. Audrey Dominguez

Audrey, you do an awesome job at giving affirmations! You really show your appreciation and gratitude in such special ways, even when it is not necessary! thank you for being so thoughtful!

5. Ms. McIntire

Thank you for expressing your gratitude and acknowledging our work!

6. Ms. Bagwell

Thank you for giving specific feedback and being so kind, always!

7. Ms. Fitzgerald

Thank you for sharing all of your fairy tale picture cards with the team to help our students grow as readers. Our students love them!

8. Stephanie Sims

Thank you so much for helping me out this week!- Joanna

9. Nicole Renshaw

Great job setting up student self check-in and check-out.

10. Alex Soto

Thanks for organizing Bus Driver Appreciation Week!

11. Dr. Martha Williams

Martha is a true team player (#Allin)!!!! Martha, thank you so much for being so flexible and willing to translate at meetings. I really appreciate you for all that you do for our Park Street Panthers!

12. Lisa Cabrera and Miriam Thompson

Thank you for sharing ideas/materials and willing to help communicate with parents when there is a language barrier (quick phone calls and attend meetings as translators when available). You are truly an asset to the Park Street family.