Estrada's E-Notes

December 2022 Edition

Principal's Post

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and relaxing break. I know it was just what I needed to gear up for this fun, festive time of year. There are lots activities and events to look forward to so pay close attention to the important dates listed below. And, there's lots of learning happening too... check out the resource on Thinking Maps and the amazing work 3rd graders are doing.

Keep being awesome!

Principal Estrada


Grow with Gratitude

We have spent several months now learning about the benefits of having an attitude of gratitude and how to express gratitude. Sometimes expressing gratitude comes in the form of praise. This kind of positive feedback is a highly effective way to reinforce the positive behaviors that we want to see in our learning communities. Research indicates that the ratio of recognizing positive behaviors to negative behaviors should be 6:1. That means, as adults, we should be making 6 positive statements for every 1 negative/correction.

How we praise children and for what is also important. When we praise children for their effort and perseverance and not the product or score on a test, it can help to build a child's growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is believing that brains and talent are just a starting point and can be developed with hard work and dedication. Conversely, having a fixed mindset is believing that intelligence and talent are fixed traits that we do not have control over.

As we learned last year while reading Dr. Borba's book, Thrivers, we can encourage children to strengthen their character by praising the character strengths we see in them. If you didn't get a chance to read Thrivers with us last year, I highly recommend it. Below is a list of 24 Character Strengths you could use to identify some awesome character strengths within your child and find ways to praise and encourage.

Big picture

Spotlight on Academics

You are probably hearing or seeing more about Thinking Maps from your students. I briefly described back in September that the teaching staff and I are all participating in Thinking Maps training. Thinking Maps is a set of 8 visual patterns that correlate to specific cognitive processes. They are used across all grades and content areas to build the critical thinking, problem-solving, comprehension, and communication skills necessary for academic success in every domain. The more we learn about Thinking Maps and incorporate them into instruction, we see how beneficial they are in helping students to organize their thinking, process information in new ways, and use the maps to speak and write. Here is a summary of the 8 Thinking Maps and some prompts to try them out at home.

Shout Out for Third Grade

Our 3rd graders have been working so hard this year! The month of November has

been busy and exciting. November is a month of giving thanks and showing our

gratitude. Our Wonders unit of study was on poetry, so we combined our curriculum with

gratitude. We first created an acrostic poem about all the things we are thankful for. We

then chose 3 of our favorite things from our poem and used a Tree Map to go more in

depth with our reasoning. The students were able to create a well organized and well written

paragraph about the top three things they are thankful for in their lives.

Another awesome tool our kiddos were able to dive into this month was the Mood

Meter. We talked about feelings and how they can affect our actions and behaviors. We

discussed the 4 quadrants of the mood meter, and color coded it. The kids then drew

themselves in the box they felt they belonged in that day. Our moods and feelings

change constantly so we discussed the importance of expressing emotions in honest

and positive ways.

Important Dates

December 2 - Flag Deck @ 8:15

December 2 - NESF Meeting after flag deck in the staff lounge

December 5-9 - Book Fair - open daily and for 30 minutes after school

December 8 - Family Game Night - see flyer below

December 16 - Flag Deck @ 8:15

December 19-23 - Holiday Spirit Week - see flyer below

December 21 - Holiday Music Performance - see flyer below

December 23 - School dismisses at 12:35 for the Winter Break

January 9 - School resumes

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

School Volunteers

Parent volunteers add so much to our school community and the experience of our students.

All interested volunteers are asked to complete these 3 steps annually:

  1. Read through the Newport El Volunteer Orientation slide deck.
  2. Complete the Newport El Volunteer Agreement.
  3. Complete the district's volunteer approval process.

As always, every teacher utilizes volunteers in different ways. Teachers will be communicating with the approved volunteers from their class about their need for volunteers and scheduling.

Our Office Staff is Here to Help

Main Line: 949-515-6965

Absence Line: 949-515-6832

Attendance and enrollment questions:

Debbie Kandel -

Health, medications, and immunizations questions:

Dana Hansen - and

Nurse Sarah Hacker -

All Other Inquiries:

Susi Mendoza -

Staff Directory

Get Connected!

Big picture