Friday Focus

From the desk of Christopher J. Blake

Carroll Elementary School believes that by fostering a positive, safe and secure learning environment that includes a comprehensive curriculum and involvement of all stakeholders, all students will be successful academically, socially, and emotionally.

Message for the Week

I can imagine that many of you let out a huge sigh of relief as the final student in your classroom turned in their last STAAR test...I can also imagine that the student did the same! Yes...state testing is over for the majority of our students; however, the school year has definitely not come to an end.

So what do students need in the final three weeks of school? They need meaningful instruction that engages them daily!!! As you know, many students believe that when testing is over, so is normal instruction. Along with that mentality comes behavioral issues that can negatively impact the classroom environment. Therefore, on-target teaching is a must! Three weeks of solid quality instruction will have a tremendous impact on our students!

Students need to be engaged! What's not a better way to engage them than to involve your students in project based learning. Project-based learning is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge. Edutopia offers some suggestions for implementing PBL:

Start Small

Instead of targeting a million standards, focus on a few standards. Concentrate the learning on one subject rather than multiple disciplines. PBL emphasizes in-depth inquiry over coverage. Leverage this principle in designing your first PBL project. Make sure that the project won't take more than two to three weeks. Instead of doing real-life fieldwork, consider having the learning occur in the classroom. Ensure authenticity and public audience, but keep it focused.

Plan Now

One of the challenges of PBL, but also one of the joys, is the planning process. In PBL, you plan upfront. By using the backwards design process, you can effectively map out a project that's ready to go in the classroom. Once you plan it, you're free to differentiate instruction and meet the immediate needs of your students rather than being in permanent crisis-mode trying to figure what will happen tomorrow.

Know the Difference Between PBL and Projects

With PBL, the project itself is the learning, not the "dessert" at the end. If you are doing projects in the classroom, you may or may not be doing PBL. In fact, many teachers think they are doing PBL, but are actually doing projects. Again, in PBL, you are teaching through the project, not teaching and then doing the project. It helps to make sure that you are focusing on aspects such as inquiry, voice and choice, and significant content.

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Carroll News

  • The campus with the largest number of parent surveys completed will be treated to a pizza lunch! Let's make that campus Carroll Elementary!!! Encourage your students to have their parents complete the survey.
  • This is the last month to go shop at the Houston Food Bank-Teacher Store. Please don’t forget to sign up online prior to your visit!! Individual teachers may register by visiting

  • Field Day for grades 1 and 2 will be Tuesday, May 17.
  • Cravens ECA will visit Carroll Elementary Wednesday, May 18, so please be sure to welcome our incoming first graders!
  • The Wellness Health Screenings will be Wednesday, May 18.
  • Field Day for grades 3 and 4 will be Thursday, May 19.
  • Field Day for grade 5 will be Friday, May 20.
  • As a reminder, college shirts and dress slacks are allowed every Monday. Additionally, college shirts may be worn with jeans on Fridays. Carroll shirts and educational shirts are allowed on Fridays, as well.

Student Attendance

Please remind your students that they need to be in school every day!
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PBIS Campus Training

Plan NOW!!! Our summer CHAMPS training at Carroll Elementary will be July 11 and 12 from 8 AM to 4 PM. Please make plans to attend!!!

Parting Thought

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