Norris Faculty and Staff Bulletin

Get in the know!

December 4, 2015

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Yep, that just happened....

  • Julie put her Santa hat on and organized parents and collected up all of the Angel Tree gifts. Then, she passed them on to where they needed to go. Thanks, Julie!
  • Rhonda climbed up on the back cabinet in the office and moved stuff around to save the day with the holiday decorations.
  • Kristen worked hard on getting our office area "just right" to show our cozy, "we like to have fun decorating too" fun side. She even has holiday music playing very faintly. You GO, Kristen!!!
  • Sarah C., Carmen, and Katrina put on flippers and waded out of their classrooms due to water leaks. They set up shop in alternate classrooms for two days in the midst of all the buzzing. We love your great attitudes!
  • Michelle S. was a fantastic hostess to our Audit team. We appreciate you, Michelle!
  • The 2nd grade team took one for the team! They were interviewed and questioned by the Audit team. Way to represent 2nd grade!!!
  • First grade wins the "We turned in our school supply list for next year" before anyone else award. This makes Amanda VERY happy!!!
  • Cassie also told the Audit team what we are all about. :)
  • TONIGHT IS THE BIG NIGHT for our sweet Emily! We wish her the best in her married life.

Thinking Topic...

So, I was thinking about the Thinking Topic this week and this is what is stuck in my head....these three weeks are the PERFECT weeks to show your students your fun side.


You know the old phrase "if you can't beat them, join them"? Well, it's obvious that there is a buzz in the air. The "holiday energy" has arrived in full force. Parents are whirling around trying to buy gifts, make travel plans, hide things, going to parties, flipping out over finances, etc. Elves are flying around shelves. Houses are getting make overs and pretty shiny things are popping up all round. The city is decorated and holiday music is flowing out of speakers at grocery stores, malls, and shops. The television is flooded with commercials of cool new toys and holiday programs.


Now freeze! If you are an elementary school child and all of this is going on, what do you think you would be doing? Hyping up, that's what!!! Christmas Break is AWESOME!!!! I mean like, you just got a little taste of it last week and your family has been asking you for Christmas lists and buddy, you have had sharp eyes on that dang Elf flying all over the place in your house! In fact, you got up when your parents were sleeping just to see if you could find it! And, let's not even talk about all of the decorations around the house or how mom and dad moved the couch over so the tree could go up. AND, you get to drink hot cocoa when you get home from school!!! What? What??? Your parents have been going to office holiday parties so you got to let it all loose with the babysitter. You finally talked her into letting you go see if you could find your hidden presents while your parents were away. Oh BOY THE EXCITEMENT!!!! Well crud, you have to go to school for THREE WHOLE STINKING WEEKS before you will get out of school for TWO WEEKS!!!! You talk yourself into being able to endure the dread of school but gosh it is exciting to get home and see what has happened while you were away. PHEW!


And this, my friends, is why I say...this is the perfect time to show your fun side. Teach, of course, but come up with fun, out of the box, different ways to get your point across. I am not suggesting that you go hog wild and blow off curriculum. But, I am suggesting that you let your hair down and "join them". It is ok to be excited. It is ok to be funny. I read several blogs and one of the ones that I find myself going back to is Minds in Bloom. The lady that started it is a former educator. It has grown now to include other guest writers that have an educational background. But, I digress. The point is, last week there was an article posted about 20 ways to keep students engaged during the holiday. I wanted to share a few of them with you.


Let's make it our goal for the next 2 weeks to keep the students on their toes wondering what is going to happen next! Let's show them that being at school is WAY MORE exciting than wondering what is going on at the house.


Get to scheming. :)


PS. #6 happened in my classroom all year long. Most of the time, my students thought I had lost my mind. LOL! Great times.



  1. Desk Switch: Students have ten seconds (count down from ten) to find another desk to sit in that is in a different part of the room than his or her normal desk. Students stay in that desk for the rest of the lesson. Why? Two reasons, first switching desks gets them up and moving. Second, sitting in a different place in the classroom will give them a different perspective and wake up their brains a bit.

  2. Position Switch: Have students turn their chairs around and sit straddling the chair with their hands resting on the back (girls in dresses can sit side-saddle). While good sitting is important, a few minutes of sitting differently can keep kids alert. Another idea is to let kids sit on their desks with their feet on their chairs (which they will love!)

  3. Give each child a small ball of play dough to fidget with if you are doing a lecture-type lesson.

  4. Throw students a foam ball when calling on them to answer a question.

  5. Choose a fun word, such as "Shazam!" or "Bazinga!" Every time you say the word, students must use both hands to hit the tops of their desks two times and then clap two times. Say the word several times throughout the lesson. It will wake everyone up!

  6. If you have experience in theater, improv, or just like to have a little fun, teach a small portion of the lesson with an accent or imitating someone famous.

  7. With younger students, teach with a puppet or give a voice to a stuffed animal.

  8. Throw in a joke every now and then.

  9. If a lot of kids look sleepy, stop talking and write a simple command on the board such as: "Put both hands on your head." The silence should alert day dreamers that something is going on. Follow up with two more written commands. Make the last one something with sound just in case a few kids haven't caught on, such as, "Clap three times." Continue with your lesson.

  10. Wear bright colored clothing. If you want to keep their attention, you should be the most interesting thing in the room.

  11. Require students to take notes. Every so often, have them do a quick, related sketch in the margins. For example, if you are learning about Abraham Lincoln, give them 30 seconds to draw log cabin in the corner of the paper.

News from Natalie

Thank you for your continued support of our students’ deep thinking in math problem solving! As a team, please come together and identify 1 student exemplar sample, or part of exemplar work that you feel best represents deep mathematical thinking. ITLs…please place the student copy in my box before our holiday break! I would love to display them so we can see vertically the great work that we are doing as a campus!

District Info

Elementary Instructional Coach Informational Meeting

An informational meeting for Frisco ISD staff interested in applying for the elementary instructional coach position is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, 4:30-5:30 in the FISD board room.

Job responsibilities and program expectations will be shared. Attendance is not required for applicants interested in future positions. Three or more years of classroom experience is required.

Here is the Parent Newsletter for this week.