Bryan Adams Feeder News

December 16, 2014

Best Wishes for Happy Holidays to All!

In this Isssue:

Holiday Best Wishes to All!

Feeder Celebrations & Events

  • Choir Performances at the Casa Linda Tree Lighting
  • Sanger Art Market
  • Gaston Arts Showcase
  • RT Hill Open House
  • 7th grade Writing
  • School Choice Applicants

Donor's Choose (repeat)

Upcoming Events:

  • Spaghetti Dinner presented by Bryan Adams Culinary Arts
  • Feeder College Shirt Day for students and adults

Cougar Reading Den from Marshall Memo 533:

How Teacher-created Exemplars Support Writing Teaching

Links for Feeder Use:

  • BA Roaring Readers Volunteer Link

Feeder Pattern Events from the Week of December 6th

Great Job with Writing throughout the Feeder Pattern

Special thanks to 7th grade teachers at both Gaston and Hill MS; writing is alive like never before! Each teacher organized 3-4 completed samples of student writing with scored rubrics and specific feedback. Conferencing is occurring regularly for many and exemplars are being studied as students learn about writing. Similar practices are noted at both elementary and high school - great work RLA teachers!

Congrats to our School Choice Feeder Applicants!

  • Bryan Adams High School - Leadership Academy
  • Gaston Middle School - Fine Arts Academy
  • Hill Middle School - Expansion of STEM Academy
  • Sanger Elementary School - Dual Language PK-8


Reminder: In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, the Commit! Partnership is planning to market DonorsChoose K-3rd grade literacy projects in our feeder (both the week of Nov. 24th and Dec. 22nd) to help generate funding from the community.

It works!! Congrats to Larry Smith for getting 6 projects funded already! Tons of books on site... (Fun fact: One project even received a personal note from contributor Whoopi Goldberg!)

Although the deadline for teachers to upload projects online was Monday, Dec. 15th for the Christmas and New Years blasts, it is really never too late. Click the BA Literacy link below for samples and support documents.


Upcoming Feeder Events

Spagetthi Dinner presented by Bryan Adams Culinary Arts

Thursday, Dec. 18th, 5-6:30pm

2101 Millmar Dr

Dallas, TX

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Feeder College Shirt Day

Thursday, Dec. 18th, 8am


For the Cougar Reading Den:

How a Teacher-Written Exemplar Can Support Effective Teaching

In this Kappan column, Newark educator/author Paul Bambrick-Santoyo suggests that before teachers give their students a challenging Common Core-aligned question on a passage – for example, How does the author use figurative language to convey the protagonist’s tone? – the teacher should sit down and write the kind of response students should ideally produce. This gives the teacher a helpful end-in-sight benchmark for planning the lesson, for doing on-the-spot checking as students work, and for assessing students’ finished products. “Writing an objective is only the beginning of envisioning how far your students can go,” says Bambrick-Santoyo. “Writing an exemplar will bring it into unmistakable focus, so that there can be no doubt when your students have reached it.”

“At its core, an exemplar takes our broad standards and transforms them into a concrete definition of how ‘rigor’ works,” he continues. “The most a standard can offer – even a great standard – is a vague description of ‘what’ students must learn. An exemplar paves the way from ‘what’ they’ll learn to ‘how’ they’ll show it” – for example, linking the evidence to a central claim.

An exemplar also makes it possible for the teacher to compare students’ work-in-progress with the ideal and provide efficient real-time feedback (Bambrick-Santoyo watched a middle-school teacher give individual help to her entire class in just ten minutes). Here are the key elements to such rapid-fire teaching:

• Gather useful clues. “When you use in-class data to inform your next move,” he says, “you not only address error in the moment, but you also give yourself guidance on how to plan in the days and weeks to come.”

• Work with the faster writers first. Many teachers help their weakest students first, get bogged down, and don’t reach most of the class. Bambrick-Santoyo recommends doing the opposite – working first with students who write the fastest (who aren’t necessarily the strongest writers), then moving on to struggling students as they reach the point where help is most productive.

• Use “shorthand” symbols to communicate with students. For example, as a teacher circulates, she might put checks by evidence that is on target and circle evidence or explanations that need to be fixed. Agreed-upon marks like these allow the teacher to move more quickly from student to student and give feedback to the entire class in just a few minutes.

“When Students Don’t Meet the Bar” by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo in Phi Delta Kappan, April 2014 (Vol. 95, #7, p. 72-73),; Bambrick-Santoyo can be reached at


BA Roaring Readers Volunteer Information