Communication is the key to success!


Students are going to make mistakes, be annoying, and get on our nerves occasionally. But if they were perfect then they wouldn't need us.

"If student know you care, they'll run through a wall for you . If students don't think you care, they'll build a wall between you." The Blunt Educator

"Never discourage anyone who continually make progress, no matter how slow."


Ten Discoveries Concerning the Brain and Learning

1. Learning happens optimally when individual basic needs are met. This includes the need for physical and emotional safety. Every one matters and needs to know they are expected to take risks, make mistakes and cheer each classmate on. They also need to be able to move if uncomfortable, get drinks and use the facilities as needed.

2. The brain is more like a sieve than a sponge. If it is not important to the learner, or if the information is unrelated to something known previously, the brain gets rid of it. Helping students make connections between pieces of information keeps the information from flowing through the sieve.

3. The Brain is Naturally Curious. We want to figure out why and how things are happening. Let students explore their theories about why something is happening. Expect them to have theories and to explain their thinking. Create lesson introductions that pique curiosity.

4. The brain needs a meaningful context for using the info being taught. Build or activate background knowledge. Let them know how the information will be helpful in the future but in a way that makes them want to master the task!

5. Reactions, positive or negative, are robust memory activators. Make lessons enjoyable and you'll make it memorable.

6. Procedural memory is efficient for storage and of short term memory. Keep practicing skills in context and eventually they are warehoused in long-term memory. In other words, there are some things that can only be mastered through repetition and procedural thinking. This doesn't mean dull and boring activities everyday, it just means that learning to form letters, type by touch, do mental math, spew forth math facts rapidly or read at a rapid rate are important learning goals. Practice, practice, practice.

7. Each individual has a unique set of neuron pathways. Experience creates these networks. You must find out what a student knows and/or what they think they know in order to help them learn long-term.

8. Multi-sensory experiences and extreme emotion make memories strong. Simulations and experiments that directly involve the student as an active learner are far better teaching strategies than observing and listening activities. Keep each child active in the learning process. Present learning situations in as many different modalities as possible.

9. Attention is always focused on something. We are only kidding when we say they aren't paying attention. The truth is they are paying attention, just not to you or the task you expect them to do. As learners our interests drift naturally, we have to realize this and help students keep shifting back to task at hand, even if that means changing the activity to fit the learner.

10. Neuronal-connections can be made at any time. It used to be thought that you can only learn certain things at specific times in development. That is not true. There are favorable times for creating certain neuron wiring patterns, but specific learning conditions can help with increase the efficiency of connections at any time.

Upcoming News

3 week progress reports will be printed at 9am on Monday, April 11. You need a minimum of 1 major grade and 4 daily grades.

As the year ends, we all get a little busy. Just a reminder that you still need to monitor your students in the hallways.

Lunch on Friday, April 15: 5th/6th grade lunch 10:50-11:20; 7th/8th grade lunch 11:25-11:55; Dismissal at 12pm

We will have lots of visitors in our building on Wednesday thru Friday. Make sure to be in the hallways between classes and walk students to PE and electives. PE will meet in the cafeteria on these days.

We will have a jean fundraiser on Wednesday and Thursday next week. If you would like to wear jeans and a STAFF shirt, then you can pay money to Marci. Please wear a staff shirt so our visitors will know that you work for FISD.

When we have MANDATORY meetings that have been on the calendar for weeks, do not wait until the day of the meeting to tell us that you cannot make it. Be respectful of others work. We understand that you may have other duties, but you should know that before the day of the meeting.

If you have students who are misbehaving in your classroom, please call home.

Be sure to lock your classroom door daily. This is a safety precaution.

The benchmarks that we are giving are not to be used as a grade.

Be sure to communicate with parents about interventions and tutorials.

Annual ARDS are coming up. Please make sure that you have all data at the ARD meeting so that decisions can be made about the student for the next school year.

Instructional Strategies

Each week, I'm going to give you an instructional strategy to try in your classroom. These activities help the students become more involved in the lesson in your classroom.

The first resource is some Thinking Stems from Lead4ward. Thinking Stems are used to give students a framework to explain their thinking, expose students to vocabulary often found in the PROCESS STANDARDS, provide language support for ELLs and increases oral language proficiency.

1 Minute Paper: (Process TEKS: Analyze/Interpret; Generalize; Summarize)

1. Students "brain dump" all ideas, concepts, skills, processes, etc., they have learned by writing for 1 minute.

2. Students then draw 1 conclusion about what they learned.(Sentence Frame: From everything we learned today, I can conclude that this is important because _________.)

NOTE: This strategy can be implemented as a formative assessment "exit ticket". Results will inform instruction for the next day.

(form attached to email)


ANCHOR CHARTS (Using Concepts)

1. Place a chart on the classroom wall with the overarching concept associated with the unit listed in the center.

2. Students add ideas to the anchor chart as the unit progresses, linking skills, topics, examples, details, images, and clarifying information to the chart.

Students transfer the anchor chart information to their journals.


NINE Squares

1. Students read a text or view an image.

2. Students then analyze the text or image by determining and writing the following:

• 5 details (what does it say?)

• 2 inferences (what does it mean?)

• 2 valid conclusions (why does it matter?)

3. Students may trade nine squares with a partner to see if each can “guess” the 5 details, the 2 inferences, and the 2 conclusions.

NOTE: As a scaffolding activity, teachers may choose to complete the nine square statements for the students, but present them in a mixed up order. Students would cut the “word bank” cards apart and sort the details, inferences, and conclusions into the nine squares game board.


3-2-1 Test Review (template attached)

Students analyze a graded test to determine where they are strong and where they still need to work.

• 3 = select 3 difficult questions you got correct and explain WHY you got them correct to a friend.

• 2 = select 2 questions you THOUGHT you got correct, but you missed them and correct your mistake with a friend.

• 1 = select 1 question you guessed on or are “clueless” about and find someone to teach you how to best start, think about, and answer that question.


Frayer Model

1. The Frayer Model is a visual organizer that helps students understand key words and concepts. The Frayer Model is a chart with four sections which can hold a definition, some characteristics/facts, examples and non-examples of the word/concept.

2. The purpose is to identify unfamiliar concepts and vocabulary and to create visual reference for concepts and vocabulary

(I have attached the a sample of a Frayer Model)


Quintile Strips

See Attachment

Use this information with local assessment data and benchmark data


What Went Wrong?

1. Provide students with assessment items that have been incorrectly solved/answered.

2. Students determine what went wrong within the problem solving process and identify the incorrect answer as one of the following:

· Guessing

· Careless

· Stopped too soon

· Mixed things up

3. Students use the Problem Solving Flow Chart to address misconceptions.

Students apply the Problem Solving Flow Chart when evaluating their own work.

(see attachment)


Vocabulary Pyramid Game

1. Students are organized into pairs.

2. Student A is the clue-giver and provides hints, phrases, and ideas related to the term revealed on the game board.

3. Student B is the guesser who provides possible answers.

4. When student B guesses the correct term, Student A pops up and says, “Whoo hoo!” and then sits back down to begin giving clues for the next term.

5. Student pairs continue giving clues and guessing terms until all terms have been correctly identified.

NOTE: some students may need a word bank, vocabulary cards, or their notes to successfully participate in the activity.


April 7: Solo/Ensemble contest

April 8: HS Cheer tryouts; District Track Meet; 3 week progress reports

April 9: Lionette Tryouts

April 11: Track Pictures

April 11-15: Color Guard Practice for Try-outs

April: 13-15: Little Dribbler Tournament

April: 15: Early Release

April 20: Tech meetings during conference period

April 21: Spring Band Concert

April 29: 3 week progress report


May 3: GT Parent Meeting

May 4: Twirler Tryouts

May 5: Tennis Pictures


May 16: 6th grade band field trip

May 18: GT Field Trip

May 19: Water Conservation Day 5th grade

7th grade field trip

May 20: 5th grade field trip/ SIx Flags band trip

May 23: STUCO field trip

May 24: UIL Field Trip

May 26: NJHS Induction

May 27: AWARDS

Something Important!

5 Ways to Deal with Students Who Are Emotionally Disturbed

by Lynette Walters

1. Be sensitive--Think of your job as being to provide a security blanket for the student. I'm not saying for you to enable them, or give them a crutch, but to instead model your sensitivity to their needs.

2. Be Informed--Study and/or observe the student, if you will. Read the IEP and the BIP and research the disability to further increase understanding.

3. Be Proactive--Knowing triggers that may offset an episode is essential. ALWAYS THINK PREVENTION.

4. Be a Team Player--Consult and collaborate with parents, students, other teachers, coaches, etc to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Working together always enhances a students' chance of educational survival and success.

5. Be an Advocate--Advocate for the child's ability to cope with the emotional disorder in varied settings. Encourage them to be active, remind them that they are in control of their behavior and encourage others to be inclusive.


Dual Coded Tests: In August, we discussed dual codes tests. Your 9 week assessments should closely reflect what the STAAR assessment will look with dual coded questions.

Math: 100% (all grades)

Science: 60% (all grades)

SS: 57% (all grades)

ELA: 5th: 40%; 6th 46%; 7th 41%; 8th 42%


May 3: Algebra

May 9: Math grades 6, 7/retest 5th,8th

May 10: Reading grades 6, 7/retest 5th, 8th

May 11: Science 5, 8

May 12: Social Studies 8