Common Sense

Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern News - February 8, 2016

About the Title

Common Sense was a pamphlet authored by Thomas Paine in 1775-76. It was written to inspire American colonists to declare independence from British Rule at the beginning of The Revolution. This weekly, modern, online relative of that pamphlet documents the news, events, updates, and celebrations of the TJ Revolution - the educational sensation sweeping through northwest Dallas.

TJ Feeder Pattern News in Brief

Check Out Cigarroa's Winning Digital Editing Video

Boogie Marathon - Outlawz "Hosted By DJ P.E.

Executive Director's Message

Team TJ,

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us! Win or lose, both teams can hold their heads high after a great season. Each individual player and collective team have no-doubt worked hard to practice and prepare for this big day. Our educational "Super Bowl" is around the corner. Whether it's a STAAR test or a spring performance, a college application or a major competition, our students and teachers have been working hard all year and the culminating product will soon be created. Now is not the time to let up - it is time to focus, work hard, and prepare to win!

I look forward to engaging with you and your teams in the coming weeks as I visit your campuses. I will specifically be looking for implementation of your ACP Action Plans, targeting student achievement areas of opportunity that were revealed by the Fall 2015 ACP's. In addition, I will be observing instruction alongside you, beginning my Spring Random SPOT Observations.

Thank you for your continued hard work. Next weekend's three-day break will be a well-deserved one. In the meantime, have a great week with students!

Timothy J. Hise

Executive Director, Thomas Jefferson Feeder Pattern

TJ Feeder Literacy Cadre Corner

During Cycle 1, school leaders can expect to see the following moves in literacy teachers' classrooms. A data walk will look for these moves at the end of the fourth six weeks, but these moves should begin to appear in your classrooms now.

Learning Cycle - Week 5

PLC Focus

  • Bringing it all together: Using the three considerations of text complexity to select texts for different parts of the literacy block
  • Integrating scaffolded tasks into lessons

Observable Teacher/Student Moves

  • Teachers continue to select texts based on the quantitative and qualitative factors of text complexity
  • Teachers collaboratively plan for guided instruction of complex text in various settings
  • Teachers differentiate student reading tasks during various parts of the literacy block

Data Walk Scheduled

We will conduct a collaborative Data Walk on Tuesday, February 23 from 8:30-11:30am at Cigarroa ES.

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K-2 Balanced Literacy Cadre

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Digital Tools to Support Literacy Teaching

from Marshall Memo #622

In this Literacy Today article, Detra Price-Dennis and Sarah Schlessinger (Teachers College, Columbia University) recommend digital tools that enhance teaching and learning in three key areas:

Collaborative learning – These tools help students learn with and from each other and enhance conceptual learning, creative problem-solving, and classroom community

  • Google Docs – Students work simultaneously on one document from different devices and comment on shared documents.
  • Padlet – Students work simultaneously on a shared digital “corkboard” from different devices, adding images, videos, text, PDFs, links, and audio messages.
  • Coggle – Multiple students use this concept mapping tool to edit content simultaneously from different devices.
  • VoiceThread – Students work independently or with a team to add images, videos, text, and their own audio, video, and typed or drawn annotations to a presentation-like format.

Each of these tools allows students to contribute individually to shared creations involving inquiry, peer feedback, and collaborative composition.

Universal design and multimodal representations – These tools allow teachers to share information in interactive ways and get students producing their own narratives:

  • Glogster – A platform that allows students to create digital posters including text, video, audio, photos, animations, and voice.
  • iMovie – Voice-editing software that lets students create their own movies or book trailers.
  • Storybird – A story-writing site that gives students access to professional illustrations.
  • Educreations and ShowMe – Digital whiteboards that allow students to record as they draw and narrate image or video on a topic of their choice

Accessibility – These tools support students who need accommodations and modifications to participate fully in the classroom:

  • Read&Write – Tools for text-to-speech, speech-to-text, smart predictive text, highlighting organization, vocabulary support, translation, and voice commenting.
  • NewsELA – Current-events articles, each written at five different Lexile levels.
  • Readability – This app simplifies the screen by removing all distracting ads and images.
  • Blendspace and Nearpod – These multimodal platforms allow teachers to input content and activities for students to work through as they view and respond to questions for each segment.

Price-Dennis and Schlessinger stress that the teacher plays a key role in getting the most from each of these tools.

“Digital Tools for Inclusivity: Our Top Recommendations for Reaching All Learners” by Detra Price-Dennis and Sarah Schlessinger in Literacy Today, January/February 2016 (Vol. 33, #4, p. 30-31), no free e-link available; the authors are at and

Leadership Quote of the Week

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Week At-A-Glance

Monday, February 8, 2016
  • Principal Whitfield's Birthday (Field ES)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits (8am-2pm) - ACP Action Plan Implementation
  • Intergovernmental Affairs Meeting - Hise (2:30-3:30pm)
  • Assistant Principal Focus Group @ Haskell (4-6pm)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

  • ED Meeting w/ Supt. Hinojosa - Hise (8:30-10:30am)
  • Unannounced Campus Visits (11am-3pm) - ACP Action Plan Implementation
  • CLASS/Early Childhood/SMU Phone Conference - Hise (3-3:30pm)
  • K-2 Literacy Cadre @ JFK Elementary (3:30-5pm)
  • City Year Status Update @ Medrano - Hise (4-4:30pm)
  • Two-Way Dual Language Information Session @ Adams ES (4-6pm)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

  • Unannounced Campus Visits (8am-12:30pm) - ACP Action Plan Implementation
  • TFA Check-in @ Haskell - Hise (1-2pm)
  • NTX Principal Fellowship Steering Committee - Hise (2:30-4:30pm)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

  • Region 10 Turnaround Plan Training - Hise (9-4pm)

Friday, February 12, 2016

  • Deadline to Update SES Information in Chancery
  • "No One Eats Alone" Day
  • ED School Leadership Meeting @ Haskell (Hise) 8:15-10:15am
  • Unannounced Campus Visits (11am-4pm) - ACP Action Plan Implementation