Blue Haze Bulletin

Weekly Staff Newsletter 2/29 - 3/4

Thank You!

I'd like to take a moment to say THANK YOU to so many of you who have shared ah-ha's and celebrations in the last couple of weeks! We're seeing teachers taking risks left and right and truly trusting the process! Several have shared their excitement about the reading culture we want to create here at BHE, and they're loving Donalyn Miller's book! Others are seeing great results with daily use of student journaling and open-ended questioning, resulting in high-level thinking! We are seeing a movement away from "stations" during Reading Workshop and students are simply reading self-selected texts or completing the formative task. This results in better management and less prep/explanation time. Simple changes like these make big differences not only for teachers but for engagement and instruction. THANK YOU all for taking risks, trying new things and providing feedback!

Printing and Copying

This is a very busy time of year here in the office. Our office staff members have multiple duties, so we need everyone to please take care of their own printing and copying needs. With such a large staff, we have a constant stream of students coming in throughout the day asking office staff for copies, stamps, envelopes or papers off the printer for their teachers. These students are missing instruction, and they often don't know what they're supposed to pick up. Please understand that our office staff must focus on their own tasks, especially during this busy time of year.


We thank you for your understanding and for taking care of your own administrative needs during conference or before/after school.

Movie/Film Guidelines

As we move into the spring, we have several things to celebrate with students. There are fundraiser and academic incentives coming up, parties to celebrate the end of the year, etc. This is the time we need to begin thinking of various ways to engage and celebrate students in creative and fun ways. Movies are an option for celebrations, but they should not be used for instruction or for "keeping students busy". The last few months and weeks of school are very important, as we are closing in on STAAR, EOY benchmarks and testing, and we are preparing students for the next school year. Celebrations are great, but high quality, daily instruction is expected throughout the end of the school year. Every single day of school is one more day you have to make a difference.


  • If you want to use a short video clip (YouTube, Discovery Streaming, brain breaks) for an instructional purpose, be sure it is pre-planned in your team's lesson plans, and directly tied to a TEK.
  • Full length films simply used for entertainment purposes should be saved for Friday lunches in the cafeteria, and special parties or celebrations.


To be consistent and to ensure proper instructional guidelines and parent support, any full length movie used for entertainment must be approved by the Principal one week prior to classroom use. Please contact me regarding approval.

Open House

Open House is this THURSDAY! 6:00-7:00, Hot Dog Dinners 5:30-6:30


  • Consider having soft "school appropriate" music playing in your room during Open House...it often cuts down the awkward silence!
  • Be sure your student work in the hallway demonstrates critical thinking, is recent (from February), and the TEK is clearly posted as well. If you are posting Writing Workshop products, consider placing the planning/rough drafts behind final copies to show parents the full process.
  • K-2 could create a "Scavenger Hunt" of your classroom for students to use with parents, so they can show their parents around your room. Find my desk browsing box, cubby, our Problem Solving Model anchor chart, Paw Powers, etc.
  • Think about creating a PPT with music/photos of learning throughout the year and have it playing on loop throughout the evening.
  • The "spring cleaning" deadline is Spring Break, but I highly encourage you to have your room as clutter-free as possible.
  • Have students' journals and current work out for display on desks.
  • Be sure all anchor charts hanging in your room are recent and/or relevant. If you have some from the first weeks of school that no longer apply, consider taking photos of them and placing them in a binder for reference, or find a place to store them for student reference.
  • Word Walls should reflect the vocabulary and learning from August until now. If you have a Word Wall with little to no words, parents, and I, will ask...why is it up there?
  • Next to your sign-in sheet, maybe have an informational brochure or sheet on your current units or the "Why Your Child Should Read 20 Minutes a Night" article you can find online!

BHE Instructional Guidelines

Thank you all for a purposeful day of professional development on Friday. I hope everyone enjoyed the team building activity, and that the information discussed throughout the morning was beneficial. As a teacher, I always wished that I had the "August PD/Expectations" information before we even let out for summer, so hopefully sharing out expectations and guidelines now will alleviate some stress, support preparation and ensure that everyone is on the same page when we hit the ground running next year.


The BHE Instructional Guidelines documents are the standards we will hold ourselves to starting in August. As the district pushes toward alignment from campus to campus, we must also align from grade to grade and classroom to classroom. The level of expectation for quality instruction and student product MUST be aligned. We are only as strong as the weakest classroom.

It's People, Not Programs

If you are interested in a K-4 Team Lead position next year, please begin thinking about the following:


  • How do you strive to build capacity in your team?
  • How do you currently support district and campus initiatives?
  • How do you handle crucial conversations?
  • What steps have you taken this year to improve your own professional practice?
  • What are your future professional goals?


Given the recent expansion of the principal role, teacher leaders can augment the school leader’s capacity to provide essential instructional guidance, by modeling effective practices, sharing best practices, mentoring, and collaborating with their peers. Teacher leaders also can take part in strategic planning to achieve better-informed decision making, shared ownership, and commitment to school and district goals. Finally, teacher leader roles can formally recognize professional expertise and accomplishment while providing teacher leaders with further opportunities for growth and influence (Curtis, 2013; York-Barr & Duke, 2004).

BOOSTERTHON!

BHE's BOOSTERTHON FUN RUN fundraiser begins on TUESDAY, and we REALLY need to pump this up for our students and families! Teachers, don't forget to take your student to the GYM starting on Tuesday for ALL specials classes so they will receive the 10-15 minute character lesson from Boosterthon reps! After the lesson, students will then split up to the different specials classes.


Our goal is to raise $10k for books for our classroom libraries and leveled reading library! There will be additional incentives for out-of-state pledges! Please be sure you are including BOOSTERTHON information in your newsletters, sharing it out on social media, and talking it up to your students! If we can collect $10k just imagine all of the books we can purchase for our classrooms and students!

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Blue Haze Running Club/Cowtown Cook Children's 5k

THANK YOU to our amazing Running Club coaches and all of the Blue Haze staff members who came out to support our students on Saturday morning! The kids had a blast, the weather was beautiful, and it's events like these that show our students and parents how much we care about them. What a fun morning!

STAAR

As we approach STAAR, I want our instructional culture to continue focusing on rigorous, relevant and engaging instruction rather than the upcoming state assessment. As I mentioned during Friday's PD, I do feel that STAAR is very important, but that pressure should not be shared with students. Yes, we want them to know that it is an important day and to take the test seriously, but I do not want our students feeling an overwhelming pressure of a state assessment. If we are providing relevant, rigorous, and engaging instruction with FIDELITY, every single day, and every single one of us is doing everything we can to provide the very best instruction possible, that's all we can ask for. This same sense of urgency is expected in our K-2 grades, as we need our little ones to have a rock solid foundation in literacy. Our students must learn to read so they can read to learn, and learn to think for themselves...which is an ultimate goal of education.

Dates and Events

Monday 2/29: Boosterthon Rally ALL Grades, 1:45-2:15 in Gym, Boosterthon Teacher Meeting, MPR 3:05 (Certified Staff Only, 15 or so min)

Tuesday 3/1: BOOSTERTHON Fundraising Begins

Wednesday 3/2: Spring/Class Pictures, National Read Across America/Dr. Suess Day 2016, No Lesson Collaboration Team Mtgs (prep for Open House)

Thursday 3/3: Grade Level PLCs, Mr. Jenkins Calendar Mtg, All Staff, MPR 3:05 (15 or so min), OPEN HOUSE 6-7

Saturday 3/5: BHE's Craft and Vendor Fair 10-4


Tuesday, 3/8: Interventionist Mtg (Rescheduled), Conference Room 3:05, Life Skills Mtg, Johnson's Room 3:05

Wednesday 3/9: BOOSTERTHON FUN RUN (Times on Calendar), Staff Mtg MPR 3:05, Birthday Lunch/Potato Theme

Thursday 3/10: Grade Level PLCs, $1 50's Dress Up Day, BHE Sock Hop Dance 6-8


Monday 3/14-3/18: SPRING BREAK

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We have FIVE days this week to impact our students! Make each day GREAT!