Redbird Roundup, Vol 8

Friday, September 28, 2018

Principal's Greeting

Happy Friday Norris Staff!

This week was truly a memorable one. We celebrated nearly 20 months of renovation with our dedication and ribbon cutting on Tuesday. It was so amazing to see former students and staff members return to the building and how excited they were for Norris. I was incredibly proud of our student performances, as well as how incredible our classrooms looked with the door decorating contest! Thank you for a great evening!

I saw so many excited teachers going to each other's classrooms with their pineapple notes to do peer observations this week. This is such an incredibly powerful practice. I have already heard great stories of what teachers have learned from each other.

By the time you read this, we will be on our way for the 8th Grade UNO Exploration Day. This event is intended to provide college access to our students so they can begin envisioning themselves there! We hope it goes well!

Next week we resume our PD cycle. We have a faculty workshop Monday, and team PD on Tuesday. We end the week with some additional VILS PD as we near our rollout.

Have a great weekend!

Dr. Carr

October 1-5 Calendar

Monday, October 1: Faculty Workshop after school

Tuesday, October 2: Make-up faculty meeting for coaches and activity sponsors at 7 a.m. in room 129; Team PD during assigned team times; VILS Parent Day at 8:30; Varsity VB home vs. McMillan, JV VB at Buffett

Wednesday, October 3: MAP Data Meetings by appt; Cross Country at Davis

Thursday, October 4: VILS PD during team time, Varsity and JV VB home vs. King

Friday, October 5: JV Football home vs. King; Varsity Football at King

Saturday, October 6: Lights On Event for RASA/Completely Kids at UNO Sapp Fieldhouse, 10-2

Staff Introductions

This week we will get to know Sara Newman and Lisa Ward.

Sara Newman

Name: Sara Newman

How many years have you been teaching? This is my sixth year.

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? I love how involved the staff is and they are totally willing to offer their time and support!

What is one of your favorite quotes? “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve” J.K. Rowling

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity? Outdoor - I love riding my bike. Indoor – Board Games

What chore do you absolutely hate doing? It’s a toss up between laundry and dishes

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be? 32

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? Netflix

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do? Take my family and grandparents on a cruise.

What is something you learned in the last week? Norris families are pretty awesome!

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for? Pinteresting

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time? Psych

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation? How to train a dog.

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category? Sweet, peanut butter M&Ms.

Lisa Ward

Name: Lisa Ward

How many years have you been teaching? 4 years

What is your favorite thing about Norris Middle School? Toss up students and I may be biased but my department is pretty amazing!!!

What is one of your favorite quotes?

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

Basketball or any water activity that involves time with my family

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

The bathroom…uck!!

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time? With my family

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Take my family to see family in Germany

What is something you learned in the last week?

What TV show would you binge watch if you had the time?

The Real Housewives of Orange County and Atlanta

Sweet or salty? And what food is your favorite in that category?

I love skittles and taffy, I also love popcorn…just depends on my mood

Powerful Practices

Six-Step Vocabulary

Mr. Plank uses several components of Marzano's Six-Step Vocabulary to teach his students new terms. Students describe the terms in their own words and include a picture. Additionally, he only introduces eight new terms, allowing students to master their comprehension of a small number of terms before moving on. Great job Mr. Plank!


Ms. Real y Vasquez's students created board games to demonstrate their comprehension of this unit. A component of the new science standards is creating projects and collaborating with peers. Students could then play the board games for review. Great activity!

Learning Goals Spotlight

Ms. Hansen and Ms. Naeve are our learning goal spotlight this month. They have taken learning goals above and beyond. They leave blanks where the verbs are and provide students a Bloom's Taxonomy handout and students generate the verbs and identify the level of thinking. This also gives them time to unpack the learning goal in depth. What a powerful practice! You can check out the video below (you'll have to log into your SharePoint) of their lesson. It's also posted under the September PD on the Norris Staff SharePoint.

Norris Academic Community (NAC) Meetings

Our first NAC meetings were held on Monday. Formerly Content Meetings, they have a new twist this year. Our first meeting focused on establishing a vision for the group. My Science group chose this: The Norris Middle School Science Department works together to establish consistency and provide support through high quality instruction to improve student learning and create scientific thinkers.

This first meeting also focused on selecting roles and discussing our September PD on Learning Goals. Finally, we talked about the Engagement Continuum and rated one of our lessons on this continuum. Next month, you are asked to bring a common assessment and lesson plan. Thank you to our content leads for being great facilitators!

Norris Staff and Students Seen and Heard

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association and Amnesty International, that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals. Held during the last week of September since 1982, the United States campaign "stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them" and the requirement to keep material publicly available so that people can develop their own conclusions and opinions.

Presley and Brodie Urwin, Morgan Riley, and Michaela Nanfito help the Redbirds celebrate this exciting week with Ms. Wakefield in the library!

Open House and Ribbon Cutting

Words will never capture how powerful this night was. To be able to cut the ribbon and celebrate nearly 20 months of renovation, and to share with our students, staff, families, and community, was absolutely incredible. It has been a long 20 months, but the end is in sight. Thank you for joining in the celebration!

A few special thank you's:

Our custodians for getting our getting our building in great shape.

Mrs. Zermeño for translating the entire event!

Mr. Russell for having his Chorus kids rock the National Anthem.

Mr. Walker, Ms. Borjon, Ms. Gatson, Ms. Hansen, and Ms. Naeve for having our Redbird Posse show their stuff.

Ms. Frayre for securing the El Chavo food truck (which was a hit!)

Mr. Wize for getting the CU Dance Team here.

The NLT for helping with various odds and ends and taking pictures.

Door Decorating

Our door decorating contest was INCREDIBLE!!! Everyone really brought their A game and it was tough voting! Congrats to our winners!

First Place = Ferris

Second Place = Sporcic

Third Place = Hansen/Naeve

Music Fundraiser

Our music department kicked off their annual fundraiser this week. Students will be selling all kinds of goodies from cookie dough, to other cooking items, cups, tumblers, and much more! Please consider supporting our music department!

Redbird Student Roundtable

I really love the Redbird Student Roundtable. This group, consisting of officers from Student Council, meets weekly to discuss successes and challenges. They are incredibly honest and thoughtful in their discussion.

Redbird Alumni

Madelene Portillo, Omaha South: University of Nebraska at Omaha UHOP

The Stellar Senior class this year completed independent studies in labs that researched types of pediatric cancers, pancreatic cancer, infectious diseases, and mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. The Stellar Seniors also took classes and served on the Honor Council. We wish this class of Stellar Seniors the best of luck on their future health care careers.

picture on page 9

Final Thought

Sometimes you need a laugh. On the NLT, we have a tradition called "Bounties and Boneheads." We do this at each NLT meeting. You give a bounty to someone who has done something nice for you, and it is a way to publicly recognize them for doing that.

The bone is a traveling "trophy" for the NLT member who has done the most boneheaded thing. I was the lucky winner last week. On our Wellness Day, Parks and Reid were picking teams for volleyball. Reid yelled for "Moore" but I of course thought she was talking about me. I yelled "Yes!" and pumped my fist in the air and started running towards her team only to realize that she meant Jenn Moore (and my last name isn't Mohr anymore...). Needless to say, I was bright red after. Totally bone-worthy.

I encourage you to do something like this with your team. Find a regular activity you can do to support one another and laugh. We always make time for this, and it is so beneficial.