David G. Burnet Elementary

Shining Stars Gazette - October 12th - 16th

Excellence Will Lead to Success!

2nd Week of the 2nd Six Weeks

Notes from the Principal!

Happy Fall! This will be the best year ever at Burnet, home of the All Stars! Not only are we celebrating Burnet's 60th year, we are also celebrating school culture, instruction, data-driven and team effectiveness.

Teach valuable knowledge and skills and spiral important TEKS, especially Readiness Standards, on grade-level. Ensure that you are using feedback from PLC to concentrate on lesson alignment of on grade-level TEKS that all students must be introduced to, guided on and have the opportunity to do and master independently. Ensure that you are reteaching knowledge and skills that the students missed last six weeks and that you are spiraling them in after reteach.

Example of Lesson Plan Exemplar

3rd Reading



What will your students be able to do? (derived from the SE of the TEK from your Instructional Planning Calendar)

SWBAT make logical inferences based on details within a fiction text and will support those inferences by stating which details helped them make the inference.

TEKS: Fig 19.D Students make inferences about text and use textual evidence to support understanding.


How will you know whether your students have made progress toward the objective? How and when will you assess mastery?

Students will be given a short, three-paragraph passage that they have not seen before (“On Safari with Lillian and Friends”) and will answer the following question:

What can you infer about Lillian’s experience on the safari. What details in the story helped you make that inference?


What do your students need to know and be able to do? [These should be definitions of nouns and explanations of concepts.]

  • An inference is a conclusion we can draw based on evidence but not directly stated in the story.
  • Logical inferences are inferences that make sense based on the story.
  • Details are small pieces of facts or information.
  • We can use details in a story to make inferences about the characters.
  • We can make inferences for fiction and non-fiction texts. Fiction texts are make-believe or made up. Non-fiction texts are true stories about things that have actually happened in the world.
  • Supporting our inferences means explaining what details we used to come to those conclusions.


OPENING and HOOK (10 min)

How will you communicate what is about to happen? (Describe the objective.) How will you communicate how it will happen? (What will students be doing during class?)

How will you communicate its importance? How will you communicate connections to previous lessons?

How will you engage students and capture their interest?


In PPT, show three photos of children’s bedrooms. Share your ideas about the children who might live in these bedrooms. Explain what clues you use to form these guesses. The guesses are made by looking at small details you notice about each child’s room (i.e. bed made perfectly – child probably does this every morning before school and has had lots of practice; sports equipment and a couple of trophies – child probably likes sports and plays on an after-school team, etc.)

I just made some inferences about the children who live in these bedrooms. Making inferences is really fun because we sort of get to be detectives – noticing small details and making guesses about what those details mean! Do you want to start learning how to be a detective like this and make your own inferences?!

PPT with pictures of childhood bedrooms (use stock photos from internet)


What key points will you emphasize and reiterate?

How will you ensure that students actively take-in information?

Which potential misunderstandings will you anticipate?

Let’s start out with our key points for today’s lesson. Kaia will you read the first key point, please…

Now that we know our key points for today, let’s jump right in and I’ll show you how we can make inferences about what we read!

Teacher reads a new fiction passage “Why Blue Shoes?” aloud to the class while thinking aloud logical inferences based on details within the text. Teacher uses a graphic organizer on chart paper to record inferences and the details that support those inferences.

Reference the following guided questions (posted on chart paper) during the think-aloud:

Why do you think __________? How did you know __________? What probably caused ___________? Can you infer ___________? What clues led you to believe __________? How might __________ feel __________? I predict __________. I think that __________. My guess is __________.

Finish by making sure you have written out your inferences on the graphic organizer along with the details you used to support your inferences.

Large Inferences Graphic Organizer (the tree one)


How will you clearly state and model behavioral expectations?

How will you ensure that all students have multiple opportunities to practice?

How will you scaffold practice exercises from easy to hard?

How will you monitor and correct student performance? – [think Ten with a Pen]

Now it’s your turn to practice making inferences!

Teacher reads aloud an unread fiction passage (“An Unusual Day at the Pond”), pausing after each paragraph to have students work with a partner to think of and record on their graphic organizer one logical inference per paragraph plus the details that support each inference.

Teacher aggressively monitors during guided practice. Once everyone is finished, have 3-4 students share out their inferences and details to the class.

Copies of “An Unusual Day at the Pond”

Copies of blank inferences graphic organizer


How will you clearly state and model behavioral expectations?

How will students demonstrate independent mastery of the objective (Exit Ticket/DOL)?

Students receive an unread fiction passage (“Dancing in the Jungle”) that they read independently. As they read, they use a blank graphic organizer to record one inference per paragraph and the details that support each inference.

Teacher aggressively monitors during independent practice. Once everyone is finished, have 3-4 students share out their inferences and details to the class.

Copies of “Dancing in the Jungle”

Copies of blank inferences graphic organizer

CLOSING (5 min)

How will students summarize or make connections about what they have learned?

Let’s review our key points for today.

What connections did you make about what we learned today and what we’ve learned before in third grade?

Possible responses:

  • We learned before about characters and how each one is different. Inferences are also different for every character.
  • We learned before about how to find details in a story. Today we used the details to learn something new.
  • We learned before about writing down what we know. Today we had to write down the details we used to make our inferences.

Awesome job! You are the hardest working third graders I have ever met! And you sound like you’re ready to show how much your brains have grown today! Let’s get started on our Exit Ticket, and you know what to do when you’re finished!

Copies of Exit Ticket (“On Safari with Lillian and Friends” + inference question)

HOMEWORK (if appropriate) How will students practice what they’ve learned?

One inference passage worksheet (“To the Moon and Back”) included in weekly homework packet.

From Marshall Memo 605

Teachers Being Clear About Task, Purpose, and Criteria for Success

In this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dan Berrett says that some college students [and K-12 students] run into trouble because academic expectations are not clear. It’s as if there are unwritten rules that these students aren’t privy to. “As an increasingly broad and diverse cross-section of students enters higher education, knowing those rules matters more than ever,” says Berrett. “Without them, students stumble. They might miss the point of a paper, drift during discussions, or feel overwhelmed or aimless.”

Transparency with assignments is one key to these students gaining confidence, thriving academically, and feeling they belong. Researchers have zeroed in on three components that the most-effective instructors orchestrate and communicate to students:

  • The task – What exactly are students being asked to do?

  • The purpose – Why should they do it? What important learning will flow from it?

  • The criteria – How will students’ work be evaluated?

    “As minor and perhaps self-evident as the underlying questions may seem,” says Berrett, “it’s surprising how often they go unexamined… Spelling them out for students does not mean wholesale changes, like flipping courses. It requires no fancy technology.” Clarity of task, purpose, and criteria help students meet higher expectations of rigor and ensure equity of educational quality. Attending to these factors also pushes instructors to think through their material at a deeper level and give assignments that benefit all students.

    Why don’t some instructors use these simple steps? Because they “often take for granted the logic and the rhythm of their courses,” says Berrett. “Some have forgotten how much they know and care about the material relative to their students… An assignment can become an old standard, reliable but creaky.” When an instructor is on autopilot, what the assignment is all about, and what it takes to be successful, may seem obvious – but to some students, it’s anything but. Some instructors also believe that being this explicit about assignments is hand-holding; students should be able to figure out assignments by themselves. And some instructors think that showing students they care about them at a personal level is more important than being explicit about task, purpose, and criteria.

    “Understanding the rules of the game is one of the most difficult parts for historically underrepresented students,” says Tara Yosso of the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor. This “navigational capital” needs to be developed, and explicitness, along with good teaching and caring, is how it’s done. When instructors explain material clearly, use good examples to explore difficult points, are well prepared, and have a solid command of their subject, students notice and appreciate it – and are more successful academically.

“The Unwritten Rules of College” by Dan Berrett in The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 25, 2015 (Vol. LXII, #4, p. A26-A29), e-link for subscribers only

Spot Observation continues! Great things are happening at Burnet in teaching and learning. Remember, spot observation will provide feedback with actionable steps that you can implement immediately to enhance your teaching and the learning. Spot observations focus on 5 areas of the classroom:

2.1 Establishes clear and rigorous lesson objective (s) (LO)

2.2 Measures student mastery through a Demonstration of Learning (DOL)

2.3 Clearly presents instructional material (Purposeful Instruction)

2.5 Engages students at all learning levels in rigorous work (Engagement & rigor)

3.1 Maximizes instructional time (Classroom Culture & Use of Time)


Ms. Loskot, Proud Principal of All Stars!

Key Action 1: Promote a positive climate and culture that ensures student achievement by establishing a common vision. (Philosophy)

Key Action 2: Strengthen the instructional program and data system by providing differentiated professional development. (Process)

Key Action 3: Promote student achievement by implementing and monitoring a system of data and feedback on instruction. (Implementation)

Parent Conference

From Marshall Memo 604.

As you get ready for parent conference on Thursday, ensure you start your conference with a positive and then with an upgrade for the students. Below is an article that can assist with parent concerns.

Addressing Various Parent Concerns

In this article in Principal Leadership, New Jersey social worker/family therapist Brett Novick lists some troublesome parent behaviors and suggests ways to deal with each one:

My child is never at fault – “Stick to the facts,” advises Novick. “Document your conversations… Documentation can help clarify facts, reduce emotional exaggeration, and avoid legal disputes.” To prevent teachers, administrators, and other adults being played off against each other, he suggests including the student in meetings.

The teacher or administrator must be wrong about what my child did – Let the parent have his or her say first, says Novick. “Encouraging parents to share their worries first enables you to remind them in a firm-yet-understanding tone that the rules of the school apply even if they don’t necessarily agree with all of them.” It’s helpful to have another educator present at the meeting.

He’s your problem now – “Some parents are drowning in a world of financial despair and/or emotional, physical, or family issues,” says Novick. “First, see if these survival concerns are being met.” If the parent isn’t in a position to help with a child’s issues, work with the school counselor to find rewards, motivations, and consequences within the school.

Second-guessing teachers and administrators – Don’t always assume the worst and avoid getting defensive, says Novick. The parent may be using questions about the curriculum and other matters to understand what’s going on and feel part of a child’s education. “The more information that these parents have on the front-end, the less apt they are to question how things were handled on the back-end,” he says.

Harassing, intimidating, or bullying behaviors – When parents are in this mode, Novick advises against using e-mail (it can come across as confrontational) or picking up the phone while angry. Timeliness is also important – getting to the parent with the school’s side of the story before the child has a chance to stoke anger at home.

My child will attend school when he or she chooses to – Look for patterns in children’s absence, advises Novick, as well as signs of abuse or neglect, and provide missed work for chronically absent children.

Passive-aggressive behavior – Becoming too friendly with parents – accepting a daily cup of coffee or a bagel, chatting on social media or the soccer field, accepting a compliment that includes an invidious comparison with another educator – can come back to haunt you, says Novick. Maintain appropriate boundaries at all times.

My child is being victimized by teachers (or other students) – Steer the conversation away from blaming or victimizing, says Novick. “Remind them that it is the behavior that you are addressing. You are not condemning their child’s character or, consequently, their parenting skills.” In addition, it’s important for the school to work toward consistent discipline policies from classroom to classroom.

Helicoptering – Be proactive in contacting these parents and affirming their deep and passionate concern for their children’s well-being. “These parents are concerned that their child will not be able to handle the proverbial ‘real world’ without their intervention,” says Novick. “When you report successes to the parents, it helps them to realize that they do not have to do everything for their child.”

Distrustful of public schools, administrators, and teachers – “Don’t focus on being right or wrong,” says Novick. “Focus on what is right for the student.” And look for face-saving “win-win” solutions.

“The 10 Most Challenging Types of Parents – and How to Work With Them” by Brett Novick in Principal Leadership, September 2015 (Vol. 15, #1, p. 44-48), no e-link available.

One School, One Vision, Together We Are On A Mission

Week At-A-Glance

Monday, October 12th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 34)
  • Ms. Kish (Teaching Trust Coach) to observe classrooms from 8-9 to view alignment of intro to new material, guided and instructional practice. She will assist Ms. Seaton and I on observing classroom and providing actionable feedback.
  • Week B for guidance lessons
  • Please sign up in the main office for Hispanic Heritage Potluck on Friday!
  • Faculty Meeting - Lync 3:30-4:30 bring charged laptops

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 35)
  • Cliburn Musical Awakening @ 1:30 2nd and 3rd
  • Principal for a day

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 36)
  • Send home remainders for parent conference

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 37)
  • No PLC - work on parent conference
  • Thursday Folder goes home
  • Remind 3rd and 5th grade students to wear college t-shirts tomorrow
  • Parent Conference 4-7:30 p.m. (Dinner will be provided by Burnet)

Friday, October 16th, 2015

  • Classroom Entry & Ten With a Pen (Day 38)
  • Hispanic Heritage Potluck at 106! Let's cook our favorite food from Spanish speaking countries.
  • Remember to complete compliance videos by October 30th.
  • Send Kudos to Ms. Loskot by 2:00 p.m.

Quote of the Week

Think BIG

Keep Calm and Shine On!

Action Items

Action Items

October 15th - Parent Teacher Conference from 4-7:30 p.m.

October 16th - Boss's Day

October 30th - Complete all compliance videos and turn in to Ms. Lupe

November 6th - Teacher Perception Survey on Response to Intervention (RTI) due

David G. Burnet Elementary


Providing excellence in the physical, emotional, social and academic growth of every child to ensure all student achieve their maximum potential.


Teachers will create strong classroom cultures, build relationships with students, and implement instructional practices that engage all students.