The Quintanilla STAR

Week of February 8, 2016

Core Beliefs

  • Our main purpose is to improve student academic achievement.

  • Effective instruction makes the most difference in student academic performance.

  • There is no excuse for poor quality instruction.

  • With our help, at risk students will achieve at the same rate as non at-risk students.

  • Staff members must have a commitment to children and a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

Tile Art

Our futures are important and they begin now! Our choices and attitudes will continue to shape our lives. Shoot for the stars! Students learned about various colleges and universities while creating tile art. These students are discovering that they have many choices in their future for picking out a university in which to further their studies.
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Students and staff celebrated homecoming at QMS. Events included a pep rally, presentation of homecoming royalty and continued into the evening with the Valentine's Dance. Thanks to all staff members who volunteered their time to serve as chaperones. And, a special thanks goes out to Mr. Carter who served as the DJ.
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Calendar of Events

2/10/2016--New Teacher Academy 7:45AM-8:15AM

02/10/2016--PTA, Family S.T.E.M. Night 5:30PM-7:30PM, Robotics, Live Animals, Science Museum on Wheels, Science Fair Projects, Prizes!!!!!

*Refreshments will be served*

2/11/16--Mock STAAR

2/12/16--Mock STAAR

2/19/2016--4th six weeks ends

2/23/2016--Verify Grades by 5PM

UIL Academics and Chess Club will meet every Monday in Room 200.

All students and teachers are welcome to attend.

Contact Ms. Lisa Taylor at 214-914-1099 for more info.

Article of the Week: The Curse of Knowledge – A Failure of Empathy in the Classroom

In this Edutopia article, Christopher Reddy explores the “curse” of a teacher knowing content really well and forgetting how difficult it was to learn it in the first place. This creates an empathy gap with students who are having difficulty learning – the teacher can’t get into students’ state of mind, making it much more difficult to teach effectively. A teacher suffering from the curse of knowledge may assume that the lesson’s content is “easy, clear, and straightforward,” says Reddy. “We assume that connections are apparent and will be made effortlessly. Assumptions are the root cause of poor instruction. And acknowledgement is the first step to recovery.” Reddy suggests these steps to counteract the curse of knowledge:

Fill in background knowledge. It’s very difficult for students to understand new content without a foundation of facts and concepts, says Reddy: “Conceptual knowledge in the form of facts is the scaffolding for the synthesis of new ideas.” Teachers should not assume that students have all the prerequisite puzzle pieces to understand what’s being taught.

Tell stories. Vivid narratives are one of the most powerful ways for students to make a personal connection to curriculum content, says Reddy: “Everyone loves a great story because our ancestral past was full of them. Stories were the dominant medium to transmit information. They rely on our innate narcissistic self to be effective learning tools – we enjoy stories because we immediately inject ourselves into the story, considering our own actions and behavior when placed in the situation being described.”

Inject emotion. Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson has found that playing a short, humorous film clip or making a quick joke can change the emotional valence of a classroom, creating emotional links between teacher and students.

Use more than one learning modality. Students are attuned by a variety of learning styles and intelligences, and presenting visually, kinesthetically, orally, musically, etc. connects with more students.

Use analogies and examples. An effective analogy highlights a connection, and getting students to form connections is at the core of learning. Similarly, giving lots of examples helps students scan their knowledge inventory for possible connections.

Use novelty. “New challenges ignite the risk-reward dopamine system in our brains,” says Reddy. “Something that is novel is interesting, and something interesting is learned more easily because it is attended to.” Teachers should look for ways of presenting content with a different spin.

Have students retrieve what’s been learned. Effective teachers check for understanding at regular intervals, strategically spacing the mini-tests to maximize long-term retention and provide feedback to teacher and students on what’s being learned and what continues to be a struggle.

“The Teacher Curse No One Wants to Talk About” by Christopher Reddy in Edutopia, December 18, 2015,

Habits of Mind--Finding Humor

Humor The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks , which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body., known as humors (Latin: humor, “body fluid”), control human health and emotions. Why we laugh, no one really knows. Laughing is an instinct that can be traced to chimps, and it may reinforce our social status. Humor is a form of mutual playfulness. Laughing, scientists have dis-covered, has positive effects on physiological functions: blood vessels relax, stress hormones disperse, and the immune system gets a boost, including a drop in the pulse rate.

Some students find humor in all the wrong places– human differences, ineptitude, injurious behavior, vulgarity, violence, and profanity. They employ laughter to humiliate others. They laugh at others yet are unable to laugh at themselves. We want students to acquire the habit of finding humor in a positive sense so they can distinguish between those situations of human frailty and fallibility that require compassion and those that truly are funny. (Dyer, 1997)