DMS Corral

by Darnell and Guerra

Week at a Glance

Monday, Feb. 8

Colts @ Uvalde

Tuesday, Feb. 9

Dance eligibility deadline- 3:45 pm

Wednesday, Feb. 10

Faculty Meeting- 3:45 pm

Thursday, Feb. 11

Friday, Feb. 12

Benchmark make-ups- DMS Teaching Suites

Valentine's Dance, 1-3:30pm

Benchmarking Concerns

After benchmarking we all take time to look at the areas we need to improve upon; we, administrators, are no different. There were several things that we feel we need to address so that we can help students do their very best. The most important area is that of classroom environment. We know that keeping students quiet for four hours is difficult. Some of you may remember the days when we were stuck in the classroom the entire day. I myself had one group one year that finished at 10:30 A. M., and we had to remain in the classroom in test mode until 3:00 P.M. We know it is not easy.

During benchmarking, we had several classrooms which had students talking and moving about the room before we made the announcement regarding the end of the test. The greater majority of classrooms remained in test mode until the announcement was made; thank you.

We have students who have expressed concerns. One of those concerns was that they were taking their time, but felt rushed when others in the classroom made noises and moved about the room. It will be imperative that all students have the same quiet time regardless of how long they take to finish the test. It will be everyone's responsibility to make sure all students have the same environment throughout the test. Students should only be allowed to do two things while others are still testing, sleep or read. After testing is completed in a classroom, students may independently color or draw in addition to sleeping and reading. At no time should students be allowed to walk around the room, talk to each other, or share items. After one of the administrators has informed everyone that testing is over, students may at that point talk quietly.

Teachers, it is imperative that you actively monitor students by walking around the room. Remember that grading is not allowed during testing. Also remember that at no time should you have the computer in your room on or have your phone out.

I realize some of you feel more responsible than others, most especially when you teach one of the tested areas. What we should all remember is that we all want the same thing; we want our students to do their very best. We want our campus to do well.

PRIDE Changes Will Start This Week

New PRIDE teaching assignments will be e-mailed to staff by the end of the day Monday. Since we use the spring semester to focus on STAAR intervention, many teachers will have intervention groups; however, about nine teachers will have regular PRIDE classes. The regular classes will be comprised of students who do not need intervention. However, instruction will still need to be occurring in those PRIDE classrooms. More detailed information about what the regular classes should look like will be sent to those teachers later this week.

Several teachers will have their PRIDE teaching assignment changed so that we can be sure that class sizes during PRIDE are manageable for both PRIDE intervention and the regular PRIDE classes. Your willingness to help our students is appreciated as we work on getting students ready for STAAR.

Until the schedule changes have been completed (which will hopefully be by Thursday), you will take attendance for PRIDE by paper roster. The office will place a roster in your box each morning. DO NOT USE GRADEBOOK TO TAKE ATTENDANCE FOR PRIDE UNTIL DIRECTED TO DO SO.

Once the schedule changes have been completed, you will be notified that attendance may resume via Gradebook for PRIDE; students will also be provided a new schedule so that they know where to report for PRIDE. We will hand out schedules during second period.

Thank you for your patience while the schedule changes for PRIDE are being completed.

STEM Teacher Tool: Free Videos on 'Super Small Science' By Liana Heitin on January 28, 2016

NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation have released a series of short videos about nanotechnology, or the study of objects that are measured in billionths of meters.

To put into perspective just how small these things are, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. As my colleague Sean Cavanagh has written, "nanotechnology is used to make materials stronger, clothing more stain-resistant, and computer chips more sophisticated. Scientists see potential for nanotech to produce environmental and energy benefits, such as in the development of batteries that are more efficient and solar panels that yield more power."

Some scientists and educators have been trying to get nanoscience, typically a university-level subject, into K-12 schools for some time now. Although the Next Generation Science Standards, which a third of states and the District of Columbia have adopted so far, don't explicitly require the study of nanoscience, some say the topic can engage students and help them see how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are linked.

The half dozen "Nanotechnology: Super Small Science" videos are about five minutes each and available for free on the NBC Learn and NSF websites. One video features researchers discussing the nanotechnology used in smartphones. Another discusses nanoscale coatings and layers that can make surfaces water- and dirt-resistant and protect steel bridges.