The Hero Focus

Heritage Staff Newsletter - March 20, 2017

Dear Heritage Heroes,

I hope you all had wonderful Spring Break! It was great to spend time with family, rest, and re-energize for the spring semester. I am looking forward to a great rest of March, April, and May as we continue to serve the Heritage community and students. You all are making such a huge difference in the lives of our children. They are so lucky to have you all and your dedication to their emotional, educational, and social development. Every moment counts with our little heroes. Thank you for your drive, commitment, and focus!

I have included the learning and task dates along with a personnel update. I also found some great quotes, a fantastic list of classroom random acts of kindness, and a quick strategy for helping students develop an increased vocabulary.

Thanks for staying focused on our very important work.

Have a great week!



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Blog Post from Jennifer Hogan - Synectics

I’m on a mission to get rid of assignments that consist of writing down vocabulary words and copying definitions from the text. In a digitized world, this is the equivalent of creating digital flashcards to “learn vocabulary.”

Today’s post is about a strategy that can be used to help students learn vocabulary.

Synectics is a problem-solving technique that promotes creative thinking by making a comparison between two seemingly unrelated terms/objects. The strategy of synectics forces students to make connections about vocabulary words in creative and uncommon ways. Because of this, students are more likely to remember vocabulary definitions.

How to use this technique with students

1.Provide vocabulary words along with words that are not related to the content.

For example, if the word is meiosis, you may provide the words:

clover bracelet octopus pinata

2. Demonstrate to students how to use the synectic:

Meiosis is like a _____________ because __________________.

Meiosis is like clover because meiosis is the division of a cell into four daughter cells, and clover has 4 leaves.

3. Allow students to create their own comparisons, either individually or in pairs. Students can use the comparison words you’ve provided or create their own.

4. Have students to create an image to represent their synectics.

5. Ask students to share their synectics with the class.


I learned a new word at the Title 1 meeting a couple of weeks ago. It was "word poverty". It describes how our children do not have adequate vocabulary development and this has big consequences for their learning. There are many vocabulary development techniques and when I saw this this technique I thought it might provide you with an effective and quick process for developing increased vocabulary skillls. Click on this link to access the article and a great Pdf on synectics.

50 Acts of Kindness for the Classroom

This could be implemented easily and add an extra layer of care and kindness to March, April, and May. Possibly discuss one or two each day in morning meetings or welcome activities. Click on the link to see the list and a PDF.

Updates and FYI's

  • March 20th: Film Festival Deadline
  • March 21st: Spring and Class Pictures and Chic Fil A Night
  • March 24th: Progress Reports Grades Due
  • March 24th: MOY Schedule for each teacher due on the google doc. (more info. coming)
  • March 24th and 31st: Progress Monitoring Meetings
  • March 28th: STAAR Writing Test and Progress Reports Available in HAC for parents.
  • March 30th: Be a Hero Assemblies

Upcoming Events to have on your radar:

  • March 24th - 12 hours of EQ time due
  • Check to see how you are doing on getting your 6 hours of GT update
  • Week of April 3rd - Kindergarten Roundup
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Professional Development

  • March 21st and 22nd: Amber Richards on Campus - please have her help you with problem solving and using UPS check.

  • March 22nd - PLC's (Mallory will send out the specific agendas for each team)

  • March 23rd - TELPAS Scoring support during conference times Grades 2-4. Robin will send more information ASAP.

  • March 23rd: Team Leader Meeting

  • March 29th: PLC Meetings

  • March 30th: Third and Fourth Grade STAAR Mock Analysis

From Tori - GT EOY Testing Update

I just wanted to let everyone know that the spring GT referral window is coming up. The referral deadline is April 7th, and the testing will be April 24th- May 12th. Monday, I will give you parent letters for students that have been referred for EOY testing.

Personnel Update

Mr. Beck will has accepted the STAAC teaching position at Friendship Elementary. He will start his new position on Tuesday. We will miss him greatly, but are excited about his new teaching opportunity!

Please welcome Allyson Flores who will be joining us from Independence Elementary to help in our STAAC classroom. She will be taking Mr. Beck's spot.

Mrs. Starr and Mrs. Fuscko will continue to help out in the STAAC classrooms, as well.

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