Cordata Weekly Bulletin


Happy Monday!

We have a FULL school week ahead! We've got this, team!

Take a look at children experiencing and sharing their learning last week (clockwise from top left):

  • first graders singing about friendship
  • Promise K kids finding the first letters of their names in a book
  • 3rd grade engineers and the WCC students who turned their vision into laser-printed reality so they can test and refine their designs
  • 4th grade chefs, preparing the most amazing smelling curry dish last week!
  • 4th grade musicians, demonstrating that even though they missed two weeks of music instruction to snow, they can jump right back in to steady beats and melodies!
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The week ahead - 2/25 - 3/1

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Our Firm and Kind Committee has chosen to focus on a problem that emerged as a common theme: disrespectful words and actions. If we are to change disrespectful behaviors, it is essential that we TEACH respectful ways of interacting. If you are struggling with disrespectful words and actions in your classroom, I strongly encourage you to spend time with the Positive Discipline lessons listed in our SEL calendar for this time of the year:

· All general ed teachers – teach lessons in Essential Skills for Class Meetings section of Positive Discipline

o Practice Compliments and Appreciations (lessons 1, 2 and 3) p. 109-113 in Positive Discipline

o Review Respecting Differences and add on with the following lessons:

o Rhythm Band Warm-up p.117

o It’s Not Fair p. 118

o Step into My Shoes p.119

· All specialists – Review the concept of giving and receiving compliments by asking kids to think about what this will sound like in your learning environment. Start with the strategies outlined in Compliments and Appreciations 1 on p. 109 in Positive Discipline.

Upcoming Dates

  • Feb. 25 - March 1 - ELPA assessments - Shannon will pull ELL students from a full grade level - No ELL push-in or pull-out services
  • Feb. 27 - DESSA window closes
  • Feb. 28 - 1:00-3:00 - 3rd grade SGC
  • March 1 - Report cards sent home with all students
  • March 4-7 - ELPA make-ups
  • March 6 - Special staff meeting - Dr. Anthony Craig visiting
  • March 7 - 1:00-3:00 - 5th grade SGC
  • March 8 - No school for students, PD and collaboration day for cert staff - focus on inquiry, tech integration, and SEL
  • March 11 - 5:30-6:45 - General PTA meeting
  • March 12 - 8:45 am - Assembly - The Real Food Show produced by the Bellingham Food Coop
  • March 14 - 2:00-3:00 - SBAC Test Administrators Training in the library - For all intermediate teachers and selected classified staff who will be proctoring SBAC.
  • March 19 - 2:45-4:00 - THIRD Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • March 22 - scheduling details to come - Children's Author Derek Munson visiting for separate primary and intermediate assemblies
  • April 1st through 5th - Spring Break
  • April 11 - 1:45-3:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff) (note that this time was originally published incorrectly, 1:45 is the correct start time)
  • April 19 - THE BIG EVENT, hosted by Cordata PTA
  • April 23 - 2:45-2:00 - FOURTH Tech Integration session for all Cordata cert staff
  • May 21 - 2:45-4:00 - Choice Tech Meeting (this can be a choice towards your 2.5 choice hours, cert staff)

Other News and Information

  • Intermediate teachers, please mark your calendars - we will be meeting in the library on March 14, 2:00-3:00, for SBAC Test Administrator Training. Classified staff, if we have been in touch with you about proctoring SBAC, please plan to attend this required training as well. You will fill out a time sheet if this falls outside of your regular contract time. THANKS!

  • This Friday, our PTA is hosting a Family Fun Night - Crafts and Ice Cream!! Volunteers are needed and always deeply appreciated! Please email the pta - - if you're able to help out. Thank you!

  • Cert staff, please consider joining me in attending the Ad Hoc Foundational Literacy Committee meetings. Dawn Christiana is leading this group in looking at current practices in foundational literacy (phonics, phonological awareness, word study, even handwriting will be discussed) with a goal of clarifying our hold-tights in this area of instruction. I am attending and will be bringing information back for our staff. Barb DelWraa and Michelle Hornof are also a part of the group. I would love to have one or more classroom teachers join this conversation about direction for Tier 1 instruction. Dates are March 13, April 17, and May 15, from 3:00-4:45.

  • On Tuesday, we will be practicing an emergency drill. This will either be an evacuation drill (fire drill) or a shelter in place (which is done in case of an emergency outside where we need to keep everyone in the gym, with controlled air flow). The weather will help us decide, but please be prepared for either one! Two documents will help you if you're unfamiliar with the shelter in place drill. Look on the Intranet in the Emergency Procedures folder for Emergency Drill Procedures, and Shelter in Place Seating Chart. All staff, please follow the emergency procedures.
    Teachers, remember to hold up your green or red cards.
    Staff not assigned to classrooms, please come to Minh or myself during the drill for direction.
    If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Analisa or Minh for clarification!

In closing . . .

This is our year of inquiring into inquiry. It has been exciting to see our teaching teams collaborate to explore the different ways that they can introduce (or enhance!) the pedagogy of inquiry in their classrooms: through choice time and following students' interests, through science and connections to the community, through social studies and opportunities for research, through technology explorations . . .

I've been thinking about how we can collectively continue to move our inquiry work forward. We have dollars in our building PD budget that can support us in taking those next steps! I am hoping to visit your grade level collaboration meetings in the next few weeks, and we will talk more about this during our March 8 PD day as well. But for now, I want to share with you a passage from Comprehension and Collaboration that stood out to me as I did some reading this week . . . Big ideas and essential questions have the power to spark curiosity and motivate learning.

Teach with the Big Ideas and Essential Questions in Mind

Many of us came of age in classrooms that look very different from the ones described in this book. We had classrooms arranged with desks in rows; no talking; teacher lectures; daily quizzes on history dates, vocabulary lists, and math facts. Yeah, we turned out OK, but we know that in-depth, robust learning requires much more than regurgitating what the teacher says . . . To lead kids to deeper understanding, we teach with the big ideas in mind. If we guide kids to think about and discuss the important fundamental concepts and themes that can turn up almost anywhere in literature or content, they will derive a greater understanding of the issues. Sometimes these big ideas and essential questions are part of the content standards--how symbiosis affects coral reefs or why people emigrate. Frequently, these ideas emerge from kids' questions about what they are learning. Other times, we may have thoughts of our own about what is worth further discussion. Often these big ideas are not written out explicitly in the text; we have to infer them. Themes like jealousy and betrayal in literature, the impact of climate change in science, or how war changes human beings in history--these are the big ideas that we want our kids to wrangle with.

Comprehension and Collaboration pp114-115, chapter entitled Setting Up Your Inquiry-Based Classroom.