The Bruin Blast

Labor Omnia Vincit

1st Week of the 6th 6 Weeks Period: April 18 - 23, 2016


Principal's Corner

A Note from the Principal

This week our focus at our Monday meetings will be to focus in on our struggling students. For our K-2 teachers we will be looking at our ISIP Tier 3 students or if you do not have Tier 3 then we will be looking at the TIer 2 students. In 3-5 grade we will be looking at the students that did not pass the Mock STAAR. We will need to determine whether or not there has been growth and continue to fine tune next steps.



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As of Friday 4/15:

3, 4, 5 Grade:

Math: 15 instructional days (5th: second round)

Reading: 16 instructional days (5th: second round)

5th Science: 17 instructional days


Coming up this week:


2-5 Math Teachers


Just a reminder that the end of year (EOY) Spring Administration window for the ESTAR/MSTAR Universal Screener opened on April 4, and will close Friday May 6 for all students in grades 2-4 (ESTAR) and grade 5 (MSTAR).

This screener will let us know how algebra-ready our students are. You may have chosen to have the students take the test all at the same time on the computer lab, or have them do it as practice in your classroom with the printed version.

An advantage of having the students take it in paper, is that it allows them to practice showing work and taking their time on each question. When they are done with the questions, then they can log in to their account and input their answers. The website to log on to ESTAR/MSTAR is:

Once all your students are done with the screener, please let me know. This data will also be used to create classroom rosters for next school year.

Also, remember that your students accounts are activated on The Vault with Everfi. The 6 modules on The Vault will help our students to get certified in Financial Literacy. The program is really interactive and it is fun! To access the students need to go to the website:

If you have any questions, let me know.

-Alicia Iwasko

The Reading Corner

Without Comprehension, We Have Nothing...

K-5 Reading Teachers,

Regardless of the content or lesson we are teaching, the ultimate goal is comprehension. There are several components in defining what comprehension is. It is the meaningful transaction that the reader has with text. However, even though the reader must be able to decode words, simply word calling without understanding is not comprehension. When a reader spends too much time on the decoding process, it takes away from comprehension.

This week's K-2 Literacy Cadre focused on comprehension. Here are a couple of strategies that can be used to deepen comprehension. The first is story retelling using the "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" theme, which is more appropriate for K-3 students. After a read aloud, students can work in pairs to "walk" along the yellow brick road to retell the story. Then as a whole group, teacher and students can fill out the big chart together. Additionally, there is a recording sheet that students can use independently to practice their writing skills. We have this resource so if anyone is interested, please let us know.

Another strategy that can be modified to fit the varying needs of your students is the Retelling Rope. Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart are good places to buy rope that can be cut into smaller sections. A thicker rope works best. It can be used to retell a story in a fun and interactive way while students hold each knot that represents a different part of the story. For example, a rope with three knots in it can be used to retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story. By using a rope with 5 knots, the focus can be on the beginning of the story, three important details, and the end. To challenge students further, have another rope with 7 knots. Students can retell a story by discussing the setting, characters, problem(s), beginning, middle, end, and solution.

The last strategy is something we came across recently. It involves summarizing using hashtags. Basically, after reading a story or passage, challenge the students to summarize the selection in just a few words with a hashtag. Each entry should include "who" and "what." Students in grades 3-5 can use phrases with 1-3 words and younger students can use 3-5 words. The more proficient students become, the fewer words they need. Remember that "less is more" and exposing students to this type of activity can help as they retell and summarize text in all formats.

Happy Reading!

Dr. Garcia and Mrs. Mondragon

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We Celebrate the Greatness in YOU!

  • Kudos to Mr. Martinez and Mr. Diaz for doing such a great job with copies and laminating. We appreciate you!
  • Thank you Ms. Alexander for taking our students to the Artrageous Competition!
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We welcome Julio Gonzalez to Blanton Elementary! He joins us as a TA and will be working to support all of our students!