Staff Weekly Update

For the Week of February 8th, 2016

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Barista for Amy Beverland

Friends, the support for Amy Beverland has been incredible. Their book drive in honor of Principal Susan Jordan has been very successful and thankfully, many of their students have been able to benefit by getting more books at home.

As many of you know, Ryan's wife Stephanie, is their Assistant Director of Curriculum and has been deeply involved with the staff and students at Amy Beverland. After conferring with her, Ryan has suggested we hold off on supporting staff until March. At this time, they have more than enough.

Through some "bus duty time brainstorming," Martha, Ryan, and I have landed on raising money to hire a barista for the staff on Friday March 11th. I have already reached out to a few companies to get quotes. Once I get answers back, I will give you all final details for donations! Your donation is strictly optional and we will not be keeping track of who donates. Regardless of what we receive, we will let the staff know this is from all of us at SGE! THANK YOU!

ZCS Teachers Spent Saturday 2/6 with KATHY COLLINS! Reading Workshop: Teaching Students to Read with Power, Intention and Joy

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It was a fantastic workshop filled with learning and laughter. Her depth of knowledge for teaching reading workshop is truly vast, but she also reminds & inspires us to keep the JOY in reading. My top three take-aways from this workshop:
  • Balance is healthy. We balance our diet, we balance home + work, we balance our checkbook. So, remember to BALANCE YOUR LITERACY.
  • Never abandon the read aloud. PLEASE. Our students need models of avid & engaged readers.
  • Complex thinking, not complex text. Our goal should NOT be that our students can read complex text. Instead, the goal is that students read any text with complex thinking. We should be striving for "thought complexity." (LOVE!)

Common Vocabulary for Reading Units of Study

For those of you that attended that late January Units of Study for Reading Workshop training, hosted by our Literacy Coaches, you all received a copy of this handout.

However, I wanted to highlight this document once again for those of you that did not attend. WHY? As we continue to grow as a district, it's more important than ever that we start to use specific terminology with a specific common definition.

For example, if you tell me to observe you during your "Reading Workshop" time, I would expect to "see" the following definition of reading workshop: A simple and predictable structure centered on students reading. It includes mini-lessons, independent work time, conferring and small-group work, mid-workshop teaching, and shares during which partnerships or clubs work together.

Click here to view this document or you can also find on our SGE Canvas page by clicking the link, "SGE 15-16 Google Drive Files for Canvas."

Example of Student Agency is Right Under Our Own Roof: ZEEKSQUAD!

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So, if you're NOT a 3rd/4th grade teacher, you might be asking yourself . . . what the heck is ZeekSquad? This is a great exemplar of our district priority for empowering learners.

Kyle meets with ZeekSquad (1 student from each 3rd/4th grade classroom) twice a month to teach them technology tools that they can master and then use this knowledge to act as an internal "technology help desk" for their class. Slowly but surely, he has been filling up their tech toolbox, but also listening intently to their technology interests and honoring their thoughts and ideas of what they should learn next.

As you can imagine, student agency and empowerment doesn't happen overnight. It's a gradual process so that each next step can be done with thoughtfulness and intent. Depending on their thoughts/ideas, he guides them with his own knowledge base, OR he may tell them that he doesn't know, but he could help them reach out to an "expert" to help find the right answers and/or next steps!

Student empowerment = teacher empowerment. This means that as students are learning, so are the teachers. Teachers do not have to be the keepers of all knowledge, but rather, they are to help facilitate the knowledge.

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If you can believe it . . . it's time to start thinking about this event! Here are the details:

  • SGE KDG Round Up date is: Thursday, April 7th (it's much earlier this year)
  • Rooms used will be the gym + the music room
  • Music on this date will be held in room 127
  • NO staff meeting on this date . . . NEW date for staff meeting will be Thursday, April 28th. Please mark your calendars accordingly!
  • Also, our MAY staff meeting will be changed to Friday, May 27th - Teacher Record Day
  • Our format for this date will be the same as last year.
  • You will ALL get the full details once they have been finalized - just in case parents as you questions about it.
  • Soon, you will all get a blurb to copy/paste and also place in your parent communication newsletters. As soon as we get the information + sign-up link ready for the Friday Flyer, we will also send out to teachers, too. Thanks!

Tuesday Take-Away: ANXIETY

What Does It Looks Like?

  • · Restlessness and fidgeting
  • · Irritability
  • · Crying
  • · Shutting down, not talking
  • · Not participating in class
  • · Physical complaints (think “clinic frequent flyer”)
  • · Acting out
  • · Constant questioning and need for reassurance
  • · Crying

When students’ minds are overwhelmed with anxious thoughts, the amount of brain power they have to devote to learning is greatly diminished.

What You Can Do To Help?

  • · Acknowledge - tell them you notice that they seem anxious and ask if something is bothering them. Listen to them.
  • · For frequent worries, give your student a plan or go over the plan that is in place. Our job is to help students know that we have plans to keep them safe.
  • · Help students who are stuck in anxious thoughts. At our house, we call this getting stuck in a thinking trap. Tell the student that they are stuck in a thinking trap, and they need to get out of it.

The following are ways to help with that:
  • · Distraction can be a great tool. Is there a particular job that your anxious student likes to do? Ask them to do that for you.
  • · Arrange for your student to be able to take a break if needed. If your student is uncomfortable asking verbally, let them use a break card to ask for their break.
  • · Remind them of calming strategies they know.
  • · If your student is seeing a therapist, ask for suggestions specific to that child for ways to support them in the classroom. Make sure you go through the parents to do this, as schools need a release of information on file to communicate with health care providers.
  • · Have a safe person for that student to talk with, usually the counselor. School counselors (especially Lisa Cox) are great with anxious students.
  • · Model what you want them to do. Show your students productive ways to deal with stress and unforeseen events. Talk about what you are doing to get through it.
  • There are many good resources for dealing with anxious kids. One of my favorites can be found here. If you are looking for other resources to help your anxious students, please let me know. I’d love to help you find something to help your students.

***Bonus Resource*** is a great website full of inspirational stories about kids that teachers can use in their classrooms. The stories are terrific tools for reinforcing lifeline lessons. They also lend themselves to use in reading groups. A link to the site is found here. Click on the tab for educators. You can search by age, topic, or subject. This website is full of positive, inspiring information that you can use in a variety of ways.

PTO Spring Silent Auction: Saturday, February 27th!

First of all, just another friendly reminder that if you have NOT YET donated an item to this event, please consider making one! PTO stands for parents and teachers - this is a team effort!

Sips, Bites & Bids: Silent Auction 2016

  • Date: Saturday, February 27th
  • Silent auction of over 100 items
  • Wine and spirits pull
  • Tickets are $40 per person, which includes two drinks & heavy appetizers
  • FREE ticket to every staff member that donates a silent auction item!
  • Click here to purchase your tickets

7-DAY FORECAST: Be prepared for much colder temperatures and a return of some accumulating snow!

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Retention candidates . . . thank you for filling out the 2016 Retention Form. Just to be 100% clear, the names you submitted does NOT mean we are going to aggressively pursue retaining the student. However, it simply means you have them on your radar and you are concerned about their success in the next grade level. However, this does mean that the student names you submitted MUST BE on RtI Tier 1+ or now, should be brought to the RtI Team to start Tier 2. Please email Connie/Martha for any questions or clarity about their involvement in RtI.

Intentional Teaching blog . . . by our very own, Allison Spillman! We all know how knowledgeable Allison is, but now thanks to her blog, the whole world can benefit from her professional insight. Click here to read her blog and to sign up to receive notifications of new posts.

Random Acts of Kindness Week . . . For the week of Feb. 15th (just a 3-day week), Lisa has scheduled two events for SGE. Please mark your calendars accordingly:

  • Wed. Feb. 17th - All school convocation w/ Miss Indiana - 9:30, GYM. Lisa has NOT yet finalized the specials details w/ the 3rd grade team but I have asked that she please get this finalized quickly. IF we have to switch our Wednesday/Thursday related arts schedule, we will let you know ASAP for your lesson planning purposes.
  • Fri. Feb. 19th - Western Wear Day in honor of our Kindness Country Concert with the Hobbs Sisters!

ISTEP+ is just a few weeks away . . . the official testing window is February 29th - March 11th. Martha JUST got updates from the DOE about testing schedule. Martha, Lisa, and I will be working on ISTEP+ schedule & other details this week and will get information out to you all by end of the week. Please be ready to be flexible with noise, possible change in schedules, availability of Connie/Martha/Lisa due to proctoring of small groups, etc . . .

*UPDATE* - PE Portable Speaker & Microphone . . . I will be meeting Joe at SGE later this afternoon around 4PM. The goal is that we have this all set up before the Superbowl begins. Assuming we do so, I will send out an email with pictures/directions of how to start using this system for Monday! HOORAY!

ABM - Spring Cleaning List . . . ABM staff will be working during spring break shampooing the cafe carpet, a few (not all) hallways, etc . . . Please let Alison Maxey know if there are any other areas that you see in your room or anywhere else at SGE that needs to be added to the spring cleaning list. We cannot promise it will get done, but they have requested your input in order to ensure they can get as much as possible. Thank you!

Here are our beautiful birthday friends for February 2016!

*If you are NEW and we do not have your birthdate, please email Alison so we can recognize you on your special day! Thank you!*


6 - Allison Spillman

13 - Connie Largent

17 - Emily Clare

18 - Diane Herbst

21 - Abby Andries

22 - Jessica Luchenbill

2015-2016 Lifelines

August - Cooperation

September - Respect

October - Flexibility

November - Gratitude

December - Generosity

January - Responsibility

February - Friendship

March - Perseverance

April - Self-Control

May - Integrity

From the Kathy Collins Workshop: The Saddest Bookworm (Isn't this how we would want every child to react after the book has ended? Watch this 90 second video!)

The saddest bookworm