Austin ISD PK4 Newsletter

November 2016

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From the Director

Happy November Everyone,

Teaching certainly isn't for the lazy or faint of heart. The month of October is a super difficult month in teaching and if you are reading this - it means you survived!! Hooray!! There is so much packed into October. Hopefully your November can be a bit calmer. If you haven't been to, I highly recommend it before we get into the craziness of the holidays. Subscriptions for teachers are free.

During this time of thankfulness, I just want to take a moment to say thank you for what you do each and every day with our 4 year olds. I love meeting with you at our HB4 trainings and hearing all of the things your are doing with your students. You are a very creative group of teachers and I am grateful for your dedication. If I don't get to talk to you before Thanksgiving, have a restful, wonderful, Thanksgiving!

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News & Information

Fall Light Table Fun

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Jill Pardo Bilingual Pre-K Padron Elementary 512-841-9648

I made these to print on Transparency Paper. You can color in the leaves, acorns, and face with Sharpie or you can go to the Dollar Tree and buy 2 packages of transparent dividers in the office section and cut off the tab. It will feed through the laser printer. I used a sharpie on the acorns because I didn't have brown. It turned out really cute.


Pumpkin Outline for Light Table Click Below

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Upcoming Themes

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These lessons are a great support to your instruction as well as a great model for creating your own lessons.
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Sandy Chilton's Techno Tools

Creating Digital Portfolios

Seesaw is an awesome digital portfolio that allows teachers and students to save and submit a variety of work -- videos, photos, text, and drawings. It has a lot of FREE options available for teachers. It is available online, on Android, Chromebook, and iOS and in a variety of languages. This helps keep parents informed of student progress at all times and it can follow students from grade level to grade level. You can see a beginner user guide here:

Let me know if you need help getting going - I think you'll love it.

Here are some examples of Seesaw in action:
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Sorting Numbers, Shapes and Letter-QR Code Game

Using QR codes with children helps children learn that devices can be used as a tool for learning. This is a simple sorting center game that shows students different images of letters, numbers and shapes. If you have never used QR code games with your students you could play this whole group with them to model it. I use the Cloud QR scanner app since it is kid friendly and does not have ad pop-ups.

Get a copy of the game below.

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From Nicole Aguirre

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Click below for a list of wonderful apps complete with a description, ways to incorporate in your classroom and workable platforms.
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Celebrating Fall at the Nature Table

Our weather has changed and so has our outdoor environment. Some trees are beginning to show their colorful side...not just green leaves, but red, orange, yellow, and brown. The leaves are also beginning to fall. On a windy day children delight in waiting for the leaves to begin floating down. They might even gather a bundle of leaves and haul them to the top of a play structure, just to pretend they are a tree, allowing their leaves to gently float down on their friends. Leaf collecting can be great fun, especially if you challenge them to look for different colors and shapes around the campus or at home. Nuts, like acorns and pecans can be used for counting and weighing (heavy/light). Make sure you have plenty of room on your nature table and plenty of trays and baskets for them to display their found treasures. Remember that this is their table, so let them fill it up with nature. Make sure you have hand lenses, paper, and writing tools on the table, too.
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Whole Child

VOICE FROM THE CLASSROOM - Yza Rodriguez, Pickle Elementary

Getting kids to school every day can be a challenge, so the Department of Education, the Ad Council, My Brother’s Keeper, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation have teamed up to bring awareness to the importance of school attendance through the Absences Add Up Campaign. Dig into their new information about how to encourage school attendance and resources to help address issues like poor grades, bullying, and family challenges that cause children to miss school when they don’t have to.


Yza Rodriguez, a bilingual Pre-K teacher at J.J. Pickle Early College Prep (Austin, Texas) sets the foundation for good attendance at the start of the school year because she knows it is the first step in getting students to academically succeed. Read about her strategies for building relationships with parent and students in this week's Homeroom blog.

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That’s L.I.F.E. (Logical Information For Educators)

A Great Day Begins the Night Before

There are five major themes in an evening routine that will get you ready for a successful tomorrow and they are; review, plan, prepare, reset and relax. I will go over each of these themes and the activities that they entail. Let’s start with review.

*Review – This is where you will review the day, asking yourself the following questions, possibly writing them down in a journal, what went well that day, what could have been better and what were you grateful for that day.

*Plan – Look at your planner and/or calendar to see what tomorrow holds and what you need to prepare for. Make a list of what you’d like to get done tomorrow and put a star by your three most important tasks. Check the weather and lay out your clothing and accessories for the next day.

*Prepare - Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” This holds true when implementing the preparation part of your evening routine. Here’s where you will plan and prep what you can for the meals of tomorrow. Set out any dishes and non-perishable items you will need for breakfast, pack lunches and take out anything that is in the freezer or that you will need for dinner that next night. If you drink coffee, set out your mug and get the coffee maker ready. Gather any items that need to leave the house with you and put them by the door so they are easy to grab and go. Include things you will need for work, errands and if you have children, their things as well.

*Reset – You will want to get your house and things back to a state of readiness, so after dinner, put the dishes in the dishwasher and run it so it will be ready for you to empty in the morning. Set a timer and do a quick 15 minute tidy of the house where you put back all items that you got out during the evening for meal prep, homework or other activities. Check all your electronic devices to see if they need to be recharged. Go through your work bag or purse to take out any trash, or refill with necessary items.

*Relax – About an hour before your bedtime is when you want to do activities that will signal your body that it’s time to get ready for sleep. Brushing your teeth, taking a warm bath, stretching or doing yoga, drinking a cup of herbal tea and reading either a magazine or a not too stimulating book are a few ideas of pre-bedtime activities. You pick the things that are most relaxing to you. Before slipping into bed, make sure you’ve created an atmosphere that is conducive to sleep; make the room as dark, quiet, cool and comfortable as you can and limit technology during that last hour before bed.

Let’s end with another one of Benjamin Franklin’s quotes - “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” So be sure to pick a bedtime that will give you enough sleep so that you will be ready to wake up early to start the morning routine that you set into place from last month’s article.

P.S. If you need ideas for your kid’s evening routine, check out this post with a free printable checklist at

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Professional Development

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About Us

Jacquie Porter, Director

Debra Caldwell, Administrative Assistant

Diana Perez, Data Processing Assistant

Adelina Gonzalez, Clerk

Irene Campos, EC Specialist

Robbie Polan, Childcare Liaison

Melinda Servantez, EC Specialist

Sylina Valdez, Administrative Supervisor