Staff Weekly Update

For the Week of April 27th, 2015

In honor of ISTEP testing starting this week . . . :-)

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Edutopia: 50+ Tools for Differentiating Instruction Through Social Media

*WOW!* This article & the resources connected to it is like finding hidden treasure when it comes to ways you can differentiate through social media. Below are highlights from the article + click here to read it in its entirety.


Readiness: Readiness focuses on a student's current academic skill level. Work is structured to help them address any gaps or needs for enrichment. Students work in like-skill groups for specific, targeted support to address a common need, such as guided reading or tiered (leveled) activities. They also collaborate in mixed-skill groups to support struggling students with needed skill development. Additionally, experiences can stretch the advanced students in a mixed-skill group -- they may have the core skills, yet the critical thinking challenges them and their teammates.

Consider these tools to assist with readiness:

  • Kaizena provides a space where students get feedback for revising their work.
  • Weebly is a blog tool that can create "center" activities for students based on their skill support needs.
  • Survey Monkey is one of many online survey tools for capturing pre- and formative assessment of students' progress. This one is also a good tool for student feedback on the helpfulness of the intervention used.


Interests: Allowing students to tackle work based on the option that makes the most sense to them is crucial for cognitive connections. Seeing a concept in context of a topic in which the learner has great interest -- and possibly expertise -- can help him or her turn abstract ideas into concrete purpose. Here are some tools to help focus on student interests:

  • Youtube Playlists: There are many videos that address content from different perspectives, including the one way that a particular student or teacher needs to see it. Create playlists (like this one) to provide that variety.
  • Screencastify is a Google Chrome app that enables students to capture video of their screen. Have a history tour on Minecraft? This tool will showcase it (as in this example by Steamer).
  • Zoom, a video conferencing tool that includes recording, enables students to connect with field experts on relating content to the world outside of school.


Learning Profiles: When students address concepts from diverse perspectives, especially in collaborative groups, it can lead to in-depth understanding. Learning profiles are about providing each student with experiences that incorporate a variety of learning style elements, not just one. Such activities help students find deeper connections, especially if they share points of view via peer reflection and dialog.

Try these tools:


Here are an additional 50+ tools for exploration. ***BE SURE TO CLICK ON THIS LINK - IT'S A GOOGLE DOC AND IT'S A FANTASTIC RESOURCE!***

Te@chThought: 25 Things Successful Teachers Do Different

How many of these things do you do? Read below to find out & click here to read the entire article! 25 Things Successful Teachers Do Differently


1. Successful teachers have clear objectives
2. Successful teachers have a sense of purpose
3. Successful teachers are able to live without immediate feedback
4. Successful teachers know when to listen to students and when to ignore them
5. Successful teachers have a positive attitude
6. Successful teachers expect their students to succeed
7. Successful teachers have a sense of humor
8. Successful teachers use praise authentically
9. Successful teachers know how to take risks
10. Successful teachers are consistent
11. Successful teachers are reflective
12. Successful teachers seek out mentors of their own
13. Successful teachers communicate with parents
14. Successful teachers enjoy their work
15. Successful teachers adapt to student needs
16. Successful teachers welcome change in the classroom
17. Successful teachers take time to explore new tools
18. Successful teachers give their students emotional support
19. Successful teachers are comfortable with the unknown
20. Successful teachers are not threatened by parent advocacy
21. Successful teachers bring fun into the classroom
22. Successful teachers teach holistically
23. Successful teachers never stop learning
24. Successful teachers break out of the box
25. Successful teachers are masters of their subject

Calendar Items & Reminders

Mon. 4/27 - *ISTEP*

  • 8:10 - Intake Meeting - Cox - Lisa's office
  • 2:30 - Largent leaving for a dentist appointment


Tues. 4/28 - *ISTEP*

  • 8:00 - Staff Meeting - hosted by Melissa Rent
  • 1:00 - 3:00 - Leadership Team Mtg - Largent/Farley - PVE
  • 2:30 - SPED Case Conference - conf. room


Wed. 4/29 - *ISTEP*

  • 8:00 - ACR - conf. room
  • NO TECHTIPS-LIVE W/ KYLE - Mtg canceled
  • 4:00 - 6:00 - Last Balance Math PD w/ Courtney Flessner - SGE Music Room


Thurs. 4/30 - *ISTEP*

  • Jen Evans - out all day!
  • 8:00 - Connie in Preschool Mtg - BME
  • 4:00 - 6:00 - Largent/Farley - Tent Painting Party for PTO Silent Auction


Fri. 5/1 - *ISTEP*

  • Jen Evans - out all day!
  • 8:10 - Initial Case Conference - conf. room

April 28th - 8:00AM - Staff Meeting, hosted by Melissa Rent. We will be discussing our End of Year Checklist. AND . . . since we changed it so late in April, we will NOT have a staff meeting in May! You get the gift of time!!!

Outdoor Recess Time!

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Teachers, just a friendly reminder to please ensure you are walking around the playground during outdoor recess. While we know we cannot have eyes in the back of our heads, walking around and maintaining playground proximity will be our best defense for helping to minimize accidents and negative behaviors. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Important Notes from Our School Treasurer!

Have you worked hard at a grant? Have you ever received a donation of any kind in your role as teacher? If so, please read the bullet points below . . .

  • Any donations you receive through Donors Choose, ZEF Grants, other Grants, or donations of any kind must be reported to the Board of Trustees.
  • When we receive donations such as Chrome Books, iPads, (technology)., IT needs to be notified at the same time as the Board, so they can pick up, tag, and return those items to SGE. The IT department will never be aware unless we signal to them of such donations.
  • Ultimately, it is important to realize the Board accepts the gifts on behalf of ZCS, and they become the property of Zionsville Community Schools. So, you may ask, I do this work and get a grant or a Chromebook and it is the property of the school district? Yes.
  • Always notify Connie, Martha, and Jen of such donations and/or grants/DonorsChoose items for pre-approval.

Custodial Needs? Feel Free to Call Kathy!

Just wanted to make sure you knew that Kathy Boyne is happy to help out if you need her assistance. I highly advise you enter these two numbers in your contacts ASAP:


  • Kathy's personal cell phone: 1-765-894-0606
  • Sodexo cell phone: 1-317-590-3479 - Kathy has this phone during the day & Rose has this phone during the evening!

Here are our beautiful birthday friends for the month of April!

April 2 - Pam Anyaebunam

April 7 - Muff Biber

April 14 - Leslie Frobig

April 20 - Rhonda Munz

April 23 - Joe Budd

Monthly Lifelines

September - Respect

October - Flexibility

November - Gratitude (I am grateful for ALL of you!)

December - Generosity

January - Responsibility

February - Friendship

March - Perseverance

April - Self-Control

May - Integrity

What Not to Say to a Teacher . . .

The gal in this video is Kathy Collins. She is the author of Growing Readers & worked at Columbia University's Teacher's College, under Lucy Calkins. She is HYSTERICAL during her workshops and clearly, she's pretty darn funny in real life! Enjoy.
What Not to Say to a Teacher