Panther Note

December 4, 2015

Week of the Bobcat

...noted in your planner, on Google Drive and your mailboxes:









Start Now

The window for semester posting is open Monday by Nancy.

Review your final project expectations today and schedule ahead for posting deadline.

The due date for grades posting is December 18 at 2:00.

Immediately after dismissal, the grading period begins.

Prior to making lunch plans, be aware of your ability to meet the grading deadline.

If you are unable to meet this, please see me in person prior to December 18.

Start NOW

Thank you for your testing schedules. Your planning and support of the Quality Assessment Consensus that ensures:

**no more than 2 AOLs/Finals on a given day

**if an AOL/Final shifts, it should be backwards allowing for more time to study

**projects graded as an AOL are an AOL

**avoidance of project due dates on the final two days of a semester

Ms. McFarland is communicating to Musical Participants starting today and each day moving forward through December 17 to plan starting this weekend for a busy two weeks that incorporates time to rehearse and study / complete AOLs. Communication from Core teachers to students daily, families in newsletters / emails that are in support of preparation and a busy upcoming schedule will be effective in performance, lowering anxiety and parent frustration.

Similar daily communication in preparation of concerts and basketball practice / games would be powerful from coaches, exploratory teachers and core teachers.

AOL / Project schedules will be placed on the Google Calendar and the PSM Outlook Calendar by Kelsa.

School Messengers will be sent starting today as well as inclusion in Building Newsletters by leadership. Any communication with parents from you will be even more effective starting Monday.

Taylor Family Support

Thank you to Virginia for coordinating the PSM donation for $300 to the Taylor family.

Leadership Agenda for December 9

AOL Schedules / Concerts / Musicals


Winter MAP

"ALL" Supervision Plan

PSM Mix / Snacks


A reminder: the Snack fund request made in late July led to some of you providing $5 directly to Kelsa to support snacks at a multitude of events (conferences, early release, PD days ....).

At this time, we are on "E" in the snack fund tank.

If you have not supported the snack fund, now is the time. We will not have snacks on the 18th, unless we have support from those who have not yet pitched in.

Thank you!

Bee Aware

Thank you to Lisa Nocita for placing Bee materials in your mailboxes.

  • Student Spelling information is downloadable from the PSM library website. Please share this with students.
  • Note deadlines in your information.
  • Geography Bee is January 7th
  • Spelling Bee is January 14th
  • History Bee is January 14th after school

Please reach out before break with any questions to leadership or Mrs. Nocita.

State Assessment Schedule as of December 4, 2015


W, Feb 24: MDPT (one day) 6‐8


R, Mar 03: Math Performance (one day) 6‐8

W, Mar 23: History (one day) 6 and 8

W, Mar 30: Science (Part I) 8

R, Mar 31: Science (Part II) 8


M, Apr 04: Reading (Part I) 6‐8

T, Apr 05: Reading (Parts II,III) 6‐8

R, Apr 07: Reading (Part IV) 6‐8

***moved one week prior because of an additional testing date required due to anticipated length of test

M, Apr 11: Math (Part I) 6‐8

W, Apr 13: Math (Parts II, III) 6‐8

***aware of track meet that we originally were able to avoid – limited number of kids and will support

R, Apr 14: Math (Part IV) 6‐8

***moved one week prior because of an additional testing date required due to anticipated length of test


W, May 04: MAP

R, May 05: MAP

W, May 11: MAP

R, May 12: MAP

Reflecting KSDE updates as of 12.04.15

Sixth Grade 3 on 3 - December 14

Tuesday PD for December 8

  • Please be prepared to share an AFL you plan to use that incorporates seven keys to Quality AFLs
  • Tara Mahoney will be joining PLCs to support
  • Resources exist in multiple locations from the PD provided in November and can be provided by leadership upon request
  • The rich resources provided will be recorded and posted on Edmodo as resources moving forward

Hour of Code ... December 7- 10

  • Schedule is on Google Drive
  • Some may be sharing space/devices with another class
  • Link: Hour of Code
  • Role of teacher is simply to facilitate - utilize the videos or tutorials
  • No knowledge of programming is required
  • May be completed in one hour or less
  • Help available: "Ask three, then me", positive reinforcement, the Hour of Code forum

Seventh & Eighth Grade 3 on 3 - December 15

Espresso Bar at PSM on December 4 from 9am - 11am

Thank you Nicely Family!!

Band Concert - December 10

Remember to factor in for assessments on the 11th. Communicate with students and families proactively.

Strings Concert - December 14

Remember to factor in for assessments on the 11th. Communicate with students and families proactively.

Tuesday PD for December 15

  • All core contents will be given guidance, support and time to create at three tiered lesson plan.
  • Please bring a lesson you want to beef up for a third quarter unit.
  • Please bring laptop and MAP data that impacts your content (ELA or Math)

PTO Snacks planned for December 16

December 18 Information

Sixth Grade:

  • Students report to 1st hour
  • December Appaws and Oops Slip Drawing in the pod until 8am
  • Return to first hour for a G-rated movie with 1st hour until the assembly at 9:30
  • Kids can bring their own snacks to 1st hour.

7th Grade

  • PAVE drawing and in-class movie in POD until 8
  • 8:00-9:30am watch a G-rated movie with 3rd hr teacher
  • assembly at 9:30am

8th Grade

  • follow-up to the “THE OUTRAGE” presentation they see on Dec 17 with Reynolds and Stark from 7:45-9:30am using the 8th grade POD and the computer labs
  • 7:45 – 8:35 a.m. the girls will be in 8th grade POD, and boys in computer labs. Then they’ll switch places 8:40 – 9:30 a.m.

Receive text alerts for school closings

In Kansas, it’s likely that over the next several months we’ll see a forecast that calls for freezing temperatures and precipitation overnight. Winter weather like this means the chance for schools to be closed is a possibility. What is the fastest way to find out if Blue Valley is having school or not? BV Alerts.

BV Alerts has been around for several years to send text messages to staff and families when emergency situations occur in a school. Blue Valley also sends a text message, to those who sign up, when school is canceled due to inclement weather.

If you have already signed up to receive emergency BV Alerts text messages there is no need to sign up again. If you are a new subscriber or if you need to update information or preferences, visit

BV Alerts is just one of many ways to find out if inclement weather is impacting the school day.

If the decision is made to cancel classes, the district will also notify the following media outlets by 6 a.m.: WDAF-TV (Ch. 4), KCTV (Ch. 5), KMBC-TV (Ch. 9), KSHB-TV (Ch. 41), as well as KCUR, KFKF, KBEQ, KMBZ and WDAF radio stations.

Blue Valley families will receive an email from the district in case of a weather-related school closing. In addition, the district’s weather line, (913) 239-4600; website,; Facebook; and Twitter will have up-to-date information if the school day is impacted due to severe weather.

If bad weather continues and classes are canceled the following day, announcements will be made in the same manner as the day before. Otherwise, classes will be in session.

Request For Leave

Please remember that the AM of 12 / 18 is a restricted leave day.

Pretty Cool Read - From an interview of Shelby Tate by Trevor Goertzen through the BV mentoring program. Enjoy


Shelby Tate / Prairie Star Middle / 6th Grade ELA/Reading; Social Studies


Stilwell, KS


Kansas State University. EMAW.

Why you chose teaching:

I’ve been around educators my whole life. My great-grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Stilwell and loved listening to her stories. I spent the early years of “Take Your Child to Work Day” sitting at my mother’s desk at Blue Valley High School as she taught Junior and Senior, both AP and regular, English classes. Although my desire to be in her classroom started with an intense love for coloring on the whiteboard, it shifted to seeing her passion for the content, wondering about the language the students who seemed to be incredibly intelligent used, and how much fun her students seemed to be having while they listened to her. As I started my own AP classes in high school, she moved on to administration, but continued to drive my developing passion for literature, specifically with coaching me through Shakespeare essays. Today, I think of her often in my practices as an educator…and still love my whiteboard.

Best Moment of the first few months:

My 6th grade students engaged in a Socratic Seminar over the text set we had been discussing for a few weeks. I was anxious to see how the students would handle this type of discussion, because 1) they had never heard of it before, and 2) they had total independence for 15 minutes of the period with this student-led discussion. There were obviously some awkward silences; however, one moment of silence was broken by a student who is in the ESOL program. This student moved from Israel a month ago and has opened up about being uncomfortable speaking in class because he is unsure of his English. When he broke the silence of the Socratic Circle, though, he catapulted himself into a leadership position in the discussion. He led the other students and carried the discussion for the rest of the 15 minutes. I was ecstatic to have found an outlet for him to feel comfortable sharing his thoughts with the large group.

Most Challenging Moment of the first few months:

I struggled with finding my voice in my PLCs in the first few months. I have a relatively experienced team of teachers, although the majority is new to the 6th grade team, coming from other school or grade levels. It took about a month for our norms to be set, which was a frustration. After those were all laid out, however, I felt more comfortable in sharing my opinion with my team members because the expectation had been set; I felt more open to correcting experienced teachers if they broke norms, something I was not accustomed to doing in previous PLCs.

If I could go back to New Teacher Academy, what advice would I give myself?

If I were to go back to New Teacher Academy, I would have collaborated more with other educators and bounce ideas off them to see how they had planned to implement classroom management strategies as well as content-specific strategies.

Coolest life moment/experience

Having been a Beatles fanatic for a lifetime, when Paul McCartney announced he was coming to Kansas City for a show a few years ago, I took any and all extreme measures to ensure I was at the Sprint Center when he walked on that stage. With seats in the last row, furthest from the stage at the other end, I stood amongst the elderly, the middle aged, the teens, and the infant child in her mother’s lap in front of me for the entire two and a half hours. I listened to Paul McCartney sing each and every one of my favorite songs with what seemed like five generations of people who were just as in awe of the iconic musician.


Course Briefings/AOLs for the upcoming week:



  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Percents

  • Comparing Bits and Pieces Inv. 3 AOL on Friday, December 11th


  • Multiplying and dividing fractions


  • Elements of Nonfiction

  • Narrator and Point of View

  • Making Predictions

  • Tone/Mood

  • Roots and Stems Quiz #7 on Monday, December 14th (Moved due to the two AOLs on Friday)


  • Inside Earth

  • Plate Tectonics

  • Earthquakes/Volcanoes

  • Chapters 10-12 Study Guide due Tuesday, December 8th (Nixon)

Social Studies

  • Achievements of the Gupta Empire

  • Study Guide due Tuesday, December 8th

  • Achievements of the Gupta Empire AOL on Friday, December 11th

6th Grade Guided Study for Week of 12/7-12/11:

  • CNN Student News will be shown to introduce current events of the week.

  • Hour of Code

  • Reading Lesson over Nonfiction Text using Scope Magazine

PTO Support

Thank you to PTO in November:

  • Invest deposit
  • Support of KMEA band trip in second semester
  • Staff appreciation events

When you get a moment, send support to Shawna Stout and the PTO team for the continued support of PSM staff and students.


Social Studies: We are moving north to Canada for the next couple of weeks.

Canada is Chapter 6 and we will complete all lessons before the end of 2015.

No AOL’s for social studies until January.


*Students have calendar with all due dates and upcoming topics.

Topics: Touching Spirit Bear Project are ongoing this week and are due Dec 14.


Advanced Integrated Algebra 7th Grade-

Topic -This week we will continue in our new book, Comparing and Scaling, looking at ratios, percents, and proportional relationships. We will have an AOL over Investigation 1 on Monday, December 14. New Target Zero will be assigned on Monday and it will be due Monday, December 14, at 3:00 p.m. This will be the last Target Zero of the quarter.

Integrated Algebra 7th Grade-

Topic - We will be starting a new book, Stretching and Shrinking, which is a unit on Similarity. We will be completing Inv. 1 and starting Investigation 2. These investigations will show how shapes change given a scale factor. New Target Zero will be assigned on Monday and it will be due Monday, December 14, at 3:00 p.m. This will be the last Target Zero of the quarter.

3rd hour integrated algebra will be having an AOL over the book, Accentuate the Negative, on Wednesday, December 16.


Students are collecting materials and building a cell/virus model at home while writing their essay in class this week. Catlett’s project is due Dec 9, while Burton’s is due Dec 11. Ongoing review of cell parts at home will be helpful.

Guided Study 7th Grade:

Students will complete a lesson and discussion on nutrition, including a video on the history of American Food Habits. Click Here to Preview Video

Staff Theme Week: December 14

Pair Jeans each day the week of December 14 IF you pair it with:

M: Tourist Day (travel week is nearing)

T: Decade Day (6th grade (60s), 7th Grade (70s), 8th grade (80s), Explo (90s)

W: Twin Day (a vacation is best with a friend / twin)

R: Class Color Day (6th: Green, 7th: Navy, 8th: White, Explo: Mix it up)

F: Ugly Sweater Day



Field Trip on Dec. 8th to the WWI Museum

Social Studies:

Wrapping up WWI with video: World Wars; Geography Bee is on Dec. 11. Study guide for finals will be passed out Dec. 11


Finish up Middle Earth Maps - Due Wed. Dec. 9th, Vocabulary AOL Chpts. 10-19 Hobbit - Dec. 9th, Visual summaries due Friday 11th, Wrap up reading Hobbit


Integrated Algebra 8th Grade -

Target Zero on Math XL - AOL - Friday, Dec.11; There is a practice AOL available.

Beginning analyzing numerical & categorical data (LT2 in TWMM):

Wade’s 2nd hr Math -

Target Zero on Math XL - AOL - Friday, Dec.11; There is a practice AOL available.

Continue working on linear functions (LT1 in TWMM)

Algebra I

Target Zero on Math XL - AOL - Friday, Dec.11; There is a practice AOL available.

Statistics Project (AOL) -- due Monday, Dec.7.

Begin new book (Say It with Symbols). (LT1: simplifying expressions)


Students are transitioning into chemical properties this week. Ongoing review of any AFLs that have been already been given will be helpful. AOL for this unit will be Dec 14.

Guided Study 8th Grade:

Students will complete a lesson and discussion on nutrition, including a video on the history of American Food Habits. Click Here to Preview Video