Professional Development Newsletter

#houstonfutureready

What is this newsletter about?

Each month, we will be sharing tips, strategies, information, and ideas for your classroom. If you are in need of resources, materials, etc., let one of the instructional coaches or Ms. Greiner know and we will help in any way!

Using Plickers in the Classroom

Plickers is a great resource and can be used in any grade level. What are Plickers, you may ask? Plickers are cards with QR codes on them. Hand the cards out to students and you can quickly answer questions while you scan the room using your phone, laptop, or tablet. The teacher can create questions, quizzes, etc. in Plickers and then have students answer based on a multiple choice answer (A, B, C, D). The students turn their Plickers card based on what they think the correct answer is and then the teacher scans the cards. Once the cards are scanned, teachers can see REAL-TIME data and students can quickly see if they answered correctly or incorrectly. Teachers have whole class data as well as individual student data and can use the data to drive further instruction. If you would like to try Plickers in your classroom, please check it out at the link below! It is FREE!!!


If you would like more information, please let me know!

By: Shelly Mutzebaugh

Upcoming Curriculum Work Days:

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December:

12th-HS Social Studies/Foreign Language Day 3


January:

9th-1st and 2nd grade ELA Day 3

16th-MS Social Studies Day 3

17th-1st and 2nd grade Math Day 3

21st-HS Science Day 3

23rd-K-12 P.E. Day 1

29th-K-12 Fine Arts/K-5 Library Day 1

30th-K-12 Practical Arts Day 1


February:

6th-K-2nd grade Science Day 1

11th-6-12 Health Day 1

Teaching Strategies During the Holidays

Christmas Break is right around the corner and students are already excited! In order to make the most of the few weeks we have in December, here are a few teaching strategies:

1) Acknowledge the Coming Holidays. Students are happy and families are busy preparing for the holiday season. When we talk with students about their traditions, upcoming activities, etc., we are showing they matter and what happens outside of school is just as important to us as it is to them. When we honor what matters to them, students are more likely to honor what matters to us.

2) Don't let the Season Distract from Learning Time. We as teachers know how time is precious to get as much of the standards covered in a year. Be intentional with your lesson planning. This doesn't mean you can't use the holidays to cover a standard, but it does mean that just watching movies and making crafts is not a good use of instructional time.

3) Get Students Up and Moving. Students are full of energy (even more so) this time of year. Offering brain breaks allows for students to have time to move and regroup their thinking and are ready to start again when the short break is finished. [There are links below to some really good ones!]

4) Project-Based Learning is Great During the Holidays. This type of learning keeps students engaged in the material being taught. Allowing students to work on key concepts in a different way usually helps it "stick" with them, especially with a 2 week break coming! Having a hands-on approach may require some prep work, but it will be worth it for students to stay engaged, and you, the teacher, to not have to handle as many behaviors.


There are many more things you can do during this holiday season. We have seen lots of great things. Keep up the good work and remember, your job is important; you are teaching our future!


Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!

Shakespearean Musical Chairs-Moving Strategy

This strategy can be used for any subject. It is a great way to provide students with close-reading strategies or as a review.

Reindeer Games Brain Break

Resource from A Second Story Window. This is a great way to implement some brain breaks in the classroom!

Teacher Health During the Holidays

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I am ready for Christmas Break! While I love my work and typically don’t mind putting in the extra hours, it’s nice to also have a few days to not have to get up in the morning, pack lunches, or figure out what I am going to wear. Many times I start planning all the relaxing, self-indulgent ways I am going to spend my holiday break. I will go to sleep on December 22nd and the next thing I know it will be January 5th! Where did the time go? How did I not get everything done? Is there a chance for snow tomorrow just so I have one more day?


Over the past few years, the phrase “self care” has become fashionable. For many of us in education, we give, give, and give because it is just in our genetic make-up. We want to do it all and we typically can, but we all have a breaking point. Some of us feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. Don’t let that happen to you! Everyone needs a break!


If you’re a teacher who’s feeling burnt out (like most of us are at this point in the year), here are some ideas from veteran teachers that you can take to alleviate some of the stress:


  • “Go hiking to re-energize your immune system and sleep in as much as possible! That means 10:00 a.m.” – Daniel Padilla, San Ysidiro School District
  • “If you have to work, I would say to limit the amount of work that you do over the break (give yourself a set number of hours). Get outside as much as possible.”- Tim Cariss, Chico Unified School District
  • “Doing arts and crafts relaxes me and allows me to be creative.” – Milly Estrada, Pittsburg Unified School District
  • “If holiday family time is intense, make sure to take 10-15 minute walks to “take out the trash” or time in your room to read to reset each day.” – Kelly Knoche, The Teaching Well
  • “If you are a parent, try to find some time just for yourself.” – Julie Ziegler, Oakland Unified School District
Academic Vocabulary Resource

Mrs. Buchanan found this great resource! Check it out!

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Previous Month's PD Newsletter

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11