Think About This

Plano Academic & Creative Education Sept 30 2016

469 752 0354

Professor Hours (prearranged curriculum support in PACE)

Tuesdays 7-730 am and Tuesdays 3-30pm

Thank you parents for signing up for and for sending the PACE Info Cards. I am appreciative of your support.

"If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes. "

John Wooden

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To get Remind Messages:

If you have a smartphone, open your web browser and go to the following link: Follow the instructions to sign up for Remind. You'll be prompted to download the mobile app.

If you don't have a smartphone, to get text notificiations:

Text the message @bethanypa to the number 81010.

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First Grade Parents

text @VVYTJX to 1 858 256 6691

Second Grade Parents

text @QT5UHK to 1 858 256 6691

Third Grade Parents

text @8JYVTF to 1 858 256 6691

Fourth Grade Parents

text @7YRBAC to 1 858 256 6691

Fifth Grade Parents

text @33PBYN to 1 858 256 6691

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Mark your calendars: PACE Information Session for Parents of PACE Students

October 10, 2016 9AM-10AM. PACE Room E101.

I will be discussing general PACE Information for parents who have students in PACE. All parents of PACE students are welcome. This is a great time for me to explain PACE curriculum and the basics of PACE. I look forward to meeting with you that day.

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Google Classroom

If your child has not logged into Google Classroom at home, please help your child log in so you can see what they are working on in PACE.

Special Note to parents of 2nd grade PACE Students: I have asked that students NOT use at home unless they were absent or want to repeat what we have coded in class for additional practice. Thank you for your understanding.

It is very easy to access:

google classroom

sign in

PW -the password you use every day at school

**Some students are .2 or .3. They know who they are.

All comments made on Google Classroom need to be school appropriate and ONLY about the content of the assignment. It is not a chat room. I can see every comment students make.

I have placed SCAMPER paper work on Google Classroom. There are websites to enhance learning. Each grade level has content specific their grade.


Reading is critical to learning. Every subject in school revolves around reading: writing, math, science, and social studies. PACE students are expected to read from 1-2 grade levels above their grade level while in PACE. The content covered in PACE is high level with new vocabulary words that are beyond grade level. This requires students to have fluency and comprehension at a high level. The best way to increase reading comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary development is by practicing reading.

I have asked students to read real books (not a digital book) and to keep a book they enjoy reading in several locations; such as the car, their bedroom, and at school. Students can read anything they like or enjoy. A trip to the library is a great way to get students excited about reading.

Ask your student which book they are currently reading. Have them tell you about the characters, plot, mood, setting, and specific details about the book. Read the book together aloud. Take turns reading the book. Read the book more than once. Compare the book to a different book. How are these books alike/ different.

Reading a good book is their gateway to learn so much and is extremely critical to continue to develop reading skills. Reading classics is a fun way to share time with your family.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Albert Einstein


Progress Reports are given to parents at the end of each semester: December and June. PACE Reports are not like a typical Report Card. When a student is in PACE, we are looking at the following categories:

  • Creative Thinker
  • Uses Advanced Higher Order Thinking Skills
  • Collaborative Worker
  • Uses Advanced Problem Solving Skills
  • Self directed Learner; Quality Producer
  • Creates Advanced Products and Performances

Students are rated as follows

  • NA not applicable
  • 1 Not Demonstrated
  • 2 Developing
  • 3 Meets Expectations
  • 4 Exceeds Expectations

Students new to PACE are developing their skills and learning to think critically. A typical report for students new to PACE will indicate "developing." The goal for students in PACE is to demonstrate high level thinking and produce advanced products.

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SCAMPER due November 7-11 5 weeks left before deadline

At this point students should have thought about their idea. Gathered materials. Sketched at least 3 possible ideas and have a good idea what they want to create for their project. Work on your project a little each week. This is a long term project so I expect HIGH QUALITY work.

SCAMPER is a problem solving method. Inventors, business people, doctors, lawyers, bus drivers, athletes, teachers, authors, students, and moms & dads use this method to create new ideas. Anyone can use SCAMPER to solve problems.

  • Substitute
  • Combine
  • Adapt
  • Magnify/ Minify
  • Put to other uses
  • Eliminate
  • Reverse/ Rearrange

Students will present their projects to the class. This long term assignment will be graded. There are many examples of projects in the PACE room. Students received handouts with all the details about their project. I highly recommend students start EARLY. Remember to test your project to see that it works. Please use items you already have at home. You should not spend more than $5 on supplies.When you start a long term project early, this allows for modifications. It also allows for flops, failures, and fumbles. We learn best from what doesn't work. Revisions and a second look at our work, create the best quality product.

I look forward to seeing the SCAMPER projects. Please keep projects at home until the due date.

Asignments in PACE

PACE students will have one homework assignment for the academic year- the SCAMPER project. These projects are amazing every year and I can't wait to see all of the quality projects!

Work done in PACE is kept in a student portfolio here at school and is presented during Open House in the spring. We are saving all of the students' work to share with you then!

FIRST GRADE PACE Think About It More

First graders are on SUBSTITUTE and COMBINE in SCAMPER. We wrote several stories by substituting unique nouns, verbs, adjectives, and exclamations. "A Charming Story" was the title and the stories were crazy fun just by substituting words. Students continue to work on analogies. Students viewed some unusual inventions and thought about inventions they might create. First graders used COMBINE to create 6 new products. They illustrated and wrote about their inventions in class.


This week students worked on angles, move pen, and jump pen in coding. We have defined pixels and loop this week as well. Students understand that repeating a series of actions is called a loop. Any student who has not finished stage 4 in is welcome to utilize google classroom to get caught up. I do ask that students only use in the google classroom to catch up in they were absent from PACE or if they are behind in class.

We have worked on Stage 5 and 6 of

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THIRD GRADE PACE Logic & Reasoning

Students are learning that generalizations are typically false. This week students have now eliminated a few more suspects in the chocolate mystery. We need more facts and more data to determine who actually stole the chocolate recipe. Six suspects remain. The culprit has not been determined yet!!!

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Students are researching a famous architectural structure. Students are utilizing google slides to create a presentation of what they learn about their topic of choice. Part of the research project is to include architectural vocabulary and the corresponding definitions, to describe the concept to a student 2 years younger, to describe the concept to a student 2 years older, to compare their topic to something totally different and make similarities, to find a trend or gist within the topic, and to create 3 questions they now have about their topic. This will be an ongoing research project for the next few weeks. Students do have access to this assignment on the google drive so they may continue to work on the project at home if they choose.

In addition, students are using the PBS Building Big Website to complete Forces, Materials, Shapes, and Loads labs.


Fifth Graders have written Amendment 1 in their own 5th grade words. We have studied the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and then compared the two. Students are utilizing google classroom, on line resources, and We the People books for their research. Students then posted comments about the differences between these two documents on the google classroom. Great ideas were shared.

We discussed the landmark case Tinker V DesMoines which was all about students first amendment rights. What a great case to study! Students have learned to complete Law Case Data Sheets and to think as a lawyer would; requiring students to think as if they are representing the plaintiff and as if they were representing the defendant. Students also play the role as the US Supreme Court and make a decision on the outcome of the trial based on facts. Part of the Law Case Data sheets is to develop "WHAT IF" questions to make the Supreme Court think about their point of view. This activity was done on the google drive and sts submitted answers into the google classroom.


google classroom

google drive

If you use a really great website that your child loves, please let me know. I would love to share with all PACE students.

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Some students naturally have very neat handwriting. Other students struggle to form letters correctly. Capital letters should be twice the height as lower case letters. Certain letters should be closed (a, o) and certain letters should be open (u, v). I have observed some PACE students have very illegible handwriting.

This is a problem because I can't read the writing. Just this week, I noticed a student was using a gripper. changer. If your child has poor penmanship (handwriting) a gripper might be a great idea. The student I spoke with said his mom got him a GROTTO GRIPPER. It is really really good. I did see they are available on line and not too costly.

If you look at your child's writing and think it could definitely be improved, spend 5-10 minutes each night on handwriting. For elementary students, using a grip is not a bad idea. It forces proper grip which promotes neater writing. The more a student practices improper grip, the more ingrained it becomes and the messier the writing.

The first impression of student work is the handwriting. If the work is messy, it conveys the message that the student rushed or didn't take time to form the letters properly. I point this out because it is something that is easily fixed with just a few minutes of practice each day.

Letters live on the line. No ghost writing. No mole writing. We don't want letters floating or dipping (unless it is a letter with a tail).


I want to tell you thank you for all you do to support PACE and your child. It is so much fun to work with these students each week. We laugh, we work, we are silly, we are serious, and mostly we just have fun learning. No one is perfect; especially me. Please know that I adore my students and I am so thankful this is what I do every day. My work is really my passion and fun for me. Thank you for sharing your students with me and entrusting me to guide them to their highest potential. I do expect a lot from my students; yet at the same time I love them along the way.

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky