Wildcat Weekly

February 4, 2019

Happy Birthday!







National Counselors Week!

We have an amazing counseling staff! Their care of our students covers so many aspects of their lives. From academics, to mental health, to goal setting and planning for the future, to meeting family emergency needs, our counselors wear many hats in the support of our students.

Please join me in thanking them for all they do!

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Congratulations --

To Mu Alpha Theta, our Math Club (above) for bringing home 5 trophies for outstanding scores. They were also one of the top 4 teams!

To German Club for the many successes at Winterfest. (See Daphne's email for details.)

To HOSA for co-hosting the area competition and for qualifying several students for state.

To our swimmers who did an outstanding job at regionals, 4 of whom will be going on to state. BTW, NONE of these students is a senior, so they'll all be back next year!

To ALL sports teams for bringing home wins last Friday night.

Plano Alums

We now have a Super Bowl Champion alum! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwgesgptBX4

We also have an alum who will be in an episode of NCIS, Charles Tyler Kinder: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3887013/?ref_=nv_sr_1

It's always good to be a Wildcat!


The spring brings with it many contests and competitions. If you have a group that will be involved in a competition, please send me the dates, and I will add to this calendar. Thank you!

Sarah Watkins

Important Dates

2/7 -- Band MidWinter Concert, Theatre, 7 p.m.

2/8-9 -- Regional Academic Decathlon competition, HPHS

2/9 -- Mr. Plano

2/13-16 -- TMEA, All State musicians to San Antonio

2/15 -- Three-week grade check

2/15-16 -- Dance Contest hosted here

2/15-18 -- Speech to Harvard

2/16 -- VASE (Visual Art Scholastic Event) REGIONAL at Prosper High School

2/21 -- NAEP Testing

2/23 -- Band to Solo and Ensemble

2/23 -- Texas State German Contest, San Marcos

2/28 -- Plano's Got Talent

2/28-3/1 -- Orchestra UIL Contest

3/1-3 -- Spanish Competition: Pan American Student Forum, San Antonio

3/2 -- Jazz Invitational

3/4-7 -- TELPAS Reading and Listening

3/6-10 -- State Academic Decathlon, San Antonio

3/7 -- Orchestra Spring Trip to Orlando

3/8 -- End of 3rd grading period

3/15-16 -- Robotics hosts First in Texas competition in our gym

3/22-23 -- Robotics to Greenville District Competition

4/4-7 -- Band Spring Trip to Corpus

4/6-9 -- Choir Spring Trip to New Orleans

4/26-27 -- State VASE, San Marcos

Control Environment Survey is here!

You should have received an email with a link to the Control Environment Survey. We do receive feedback from this survey and do our best to respond. Please take time to complete the survey. Thank you.

Professional Learning

Campus and Personal Trade Hours

Time to take a pulse check! Wondering how many hours you have logged as campus and personal trade hours? Just email Coryn and she’ll tell you!

Here is the form to sign up for Wellness PDH. We have adjusted the form so that you can sign up for multiple activities/dates at once. Hope you'll participate in these great activities designed to encourage a little self care!

Here are the dates when we will have campus pdh. These will also be in the lecture hall from 7:45-8:30, 3:30-4:15, and 4:30-5:15 each day.

2/21/19 Self care/counselors

3/21/19 Grading Tips sharing/Coryn

4/25/19 TBD

5/16/19 Collaborative teaming (progress assessment and planning)/Ashley Helms (afternoon times in C111)

These DO count toward your flex/trade hours.

Our district Social Emotional Learning/Restorative Practices training sessions are now open for enrollment in MyLearning Plan. Please share with your staff members as you see fit.

February 20 --3:30-5:30 -Active Listening/Effective Collaboration-Bird Center-Building A

March 20 --4:00-6:00- -Respect/Relationship Agreements-Bird Center-Building A

April 17 --3:30-5:30- Adult SEL Competence and Wellness- Bird Center-Building A

A gentle reminder that the deadline to enroll teachers in the Spring GT Academy is this Friday, December 21st.


Craig Talks Teaching: Learning to Notice (or Noticing to Learn)

by Craig McKinney

“Oblivious” is a word I’ve heard many a parent use to describe their teenager. Sometimes it feels like kids stumble through life completely unaware of what’s going on around them. If you’ve ever followed a freshman through the halls of a high school and have been whacked in the face by a backpack as he whips around to talk to a friend or have been stuck behind a clog of congregating teenagers in the middle of a hallway thoroughfare, you know what I mean. Teens will overlook a pile of trash they left on a lunch table as they wander off, distracted by the next shiny object that catches their eye.

We live in a world where we are bombarded with stimuli. Noises, images, smells, and sensations assault our senses from the moment we awake until we try to turn everything off so we can get some sleep. The barrage of sensory information is so overwhelming that we struggle to discern what’s essential and what’s extraneous. We speed through our days without pausing to examine our surroundings, rush through tasks just to have the satisfaction of checking something off our growing to-do lists, and multitask 24/7.

The result of all of this is that we have forgotten the importance of noticing—of pausing for a while to pay focused attention to something, of looking and listening intently, of sifting through the clutter to turn our gaze to one thing and to give the details time to sink in. The endangered art of noticing is something that can and should be taught and practiced in every classroom. Teaching students how to increase their awareness and their stamina for observing will sharpen skills that will help them in all facets of their lives.

My brother, a musician, listens to music in a different way than I do. Kevin hears how the instruments work together in a composition to create the listener’s experience: the nuances of the bass line, the harmonies, the chord progressions, the choice of key, the meter, and elements I don’t even know enough about to include on this list. These are things I, too, could learn to hear and appreciate in music if (1) someone guided me at first to teach me how to listen like a musician and (2) I shut up, quit humming along, and paid focused attention. With guidance, I could learn to listen like a musician.

The act of noticing takes different forms in every subject area. Visual artists don’t look at a painting of a tree and only see a tree. They notice positive and negative space, shading, tone, line, color, texture, and more. Athletes and dancers possess an awareness of their own bodies that goes far beyond “Ouch, that hurts” and “Boy, am I out of shape,” and this allows them to make adjustments, respond to cues given by their bodies, and repeat motions and postures that increase their success or effectiveness. A sociologist, a historian, a psychologist, an economist, and a political scientist would all notice different things if they watched the same political debate. Mathematicians and scientists both hone keen skills of observation to solve problems and collect data, yet the things they notice differ. Neither one succeeds if they rush into solving or drawing conclusions without spending some time taking in all the details.

Proficient readers in every subject area notice the clues and cues authors leave for them to guide them through the text, assist them in comprehension and reflection, deepen their thinking about the topic, and signal what is to come. Once students know what to look for and practice awareness as they read, looking for these common signposts becomes second nature, but until then it takes practice and guidance. Kylene Beers and Bob Probst share their expertise to help teachers orchestrate noticing-while-reading in Note and Notice, Reading Nonfiction, and Disrupting Thinking, three outstanding texts I recommend to any teacher.

As educators, we have to teach our students what noticing looks like in our subject areas and coach them so they can learn and practice. To do that, we must have a clear vision of what noticing means to us; we have to practice that noticing ourselves. Then, we have to develop open-ended prompts or questions that elicit responses from our students. Allow them time to look, listen, feel, smell, and/or taste (depending on what they’re noticing, of course). Let them jot down their observations; thinking on paper helps students collect their thoughts. Then, let them share, preferably in pairs or small groups so that everyone gets the chance to practice before they share with the entire room. Resist the temptation to conclude with the “correct” answer of what they should have noticed. If we must share something, we should consider limiting our response to one or two observations and frame our comments with a sentence stem such as, “Something I noticed this time was. . . ,” which reinforces the idea that with more time and repeated observations, people notice new things.

We could even make this into something resembling a game. Challenge students to notice things they think others won’t, and play “Did You Notice?” Students can take turns in pairs, triads, or table groups asking each other “Did you notice. . .?” in an attempt to point out something others didn’t catch. Students can add others’ ideas to their own notes to compile a more comprehensive list of details and observations.

Describing something in detail—adding adjectives—is a strategy Dr. Ed Burger suggests in his new book Making Up Your Own Mind: Thinking Effectively Through Creative Puzzle-Solving. Burger advocates approaching any problem (real-world or academic) by observing carefully and listing as many descriptors as possible. As students brainstorm words to describe the problem or situation, they may accidentally stumble on a clue that could unlock a solution or open an unexpected avenue of thinking about the topic.

Noticing can be a key element in learning to do things in a more professional way. Anyone can become a writing teacher by getting students to notice how real-world writers write. Teach students how to use texts as writing mentors: Notice what the writer did and try it yourself. Want to write better poetry? Find some poets you admire, notice what they do, and attempt it. Need to write a resume? Gather a few from the internet, notice their features, draft a list of desired traits or elements, and write your own. Unsure of how to write a science report? Read several published exemplars. Notice how the writer structures the report, what is included and not included, the type of language used, and how the report is formatted. Let the good examples show you how it’s done.

This same strategy would work in so many other fields from decorating a cake to sketching a portrait to throwing a javelin to making a website. Notice how the pros do it. Break down their technique into steps or strategies, and start practicing them.

Metacognition, or awareness of what is going on in your head when you do or think about something, is another way of noticing that has immense value to students. Prompting students to notice what they did to successfully (or unsuccessfully) navigate the learning, solve a problem, create a product, or complete a task reinforces and clarifies best practices and sheds light on what to avoid next time. Better self-reflection leads to ongoing growth and improvement. It’s a habit that benefits us in every aspect of our lives, from job performance to interpersonal relationships.

There is so much power in noticing. It’s up to us, as people who care about the future lives of the students we teach, to help them recognize the value of taking the time and making the effort to pay attention. If we can help them hone their skills at observing and convince them to carve out space for noticing, there’s no telling what they might be able to do.



  • WILDCATS vs Prosper at PSHS, Tue. Feb. 5th. JV plays at 6:00pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.

  • LADY WILDCATS vs Prosper at Prosper, Tue. Feb. 5th. JV plays at 6:00pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.

  • WILDCATS vs Allen at PSHS, Fri. Feb. 8th. JV plays at 6:00pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.


  • WILDCATS vs Jesuit at Clark Stadium, Tue. Feb. 5th. JV plays at 5:45pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.

  • LADY WILDCATS vs McKinney Boyd at Clark East, Fri. Feb. 8th. J V plays at 5:45pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.

  • WILDCATS vs McKinney Boyd at McKinney Boyd, Fri. Feb. 8th. JV plays at 5:45pm and Varsity plays at 7:30pm.


  • WILDCATS at District Tournament Fri. Feb. 8th and Sat. Feb. 9th.Place and Time TBA.


  • LADY WILDCATS vs Rowlett, Tue. Feb. 5th at Rowlett. JV scrimmages at 5:00pm and Varsity scrimmages at 7:00pm.

  • VARSITY LADY WILDCATS vs Rockwall, McKinney North and Frisco Lebanon, Sat. Feb. 9th at PSHS. Time TBA.

  • JV LADY WILDCATS vs Rockwall, McKinney North and Frisco Lebanon, Sat. Feb. 9th at McKinney North. Time TBA.


  • VARSITY WILDCATS vs. Rockwall, Mon. Feb. 4th at Rockwall. Time is 5:00pm.

  • JV WILDCATS vs. Rockwall, Mon. Feb. 4th at PSHS. Time is 5:00pm.

  • VARSITY WILDCATS vs. Heath, Fri. Feb. 8th at PSHS. Time is 5:00pm.

  • JV WILDCATS vs. Heath, Fri. Feb. 8th at Heath. Time is 6:00pm.


  • LADY WILDCATS at Dual with West, Sat. Feb. 9th at PSHS track.