David G. Burnet Elementary

Shining Stars Gazette - March 16th, 2015

3rd week of the 5th six weeks


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The "Big Four" Engagement Domains

Welcome back from spring break! I hope you had a restful break and that you are ready to fully engage in soaring our students at Burnet to greater levels of success.

As we enter March Madness, assessments and prepare students for the next grade level, consider these different approaches:

Effort: create a climate that sustains student effort.

Attitude: build positive attitudes and a growth-oriented, learner's mind-set.

Behavior: Teach and foster behavioral skills that help students learn the importance of kindness, fairness, self-regulation, and cooperation.

Cognitive capacity: build the cognitive skills to enhance executive function and promote academic success.

Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen

"Now What?": Meeting the Challenge of Implementation

In the Classroom

Angela returned from a Title 1 conference just as the school year began. To say she was excited would be an understatement. When she got the announcement that her school was doing a book study on engagement, her enthusiasm multiplied. She had more ideas than she knew what to do with. Her first week's lesson plan incorporated a whopping 15 new strategies. This was going to be her best year yet!

Matt, a teacher at the same school, had been unable to attend the Title 1 conference. He knew he needed to do a better job of engaging his own students, so he was mildly encouraged to hear about the book study: this would given him some support. But unlike Angela, Matt liked to do things deliberately, one at a time. Before trying a new strategy, he wanted to know the rationale behind it and make sure it was supported by strong research.

Angela was fueled up and ready to go, like a high-speed train headed out of the station for her destination. Matt knew he had his work cut out for him; he just wanted to think things through and make some decisions for himself.

In your work, you don't need to match Angela's high-energy personality or Matt's reflective personality; it's OK to fall somewhere along the continuum. What is important is to take what you've learned and use it to move forward.

Four Actions for Successful Implementation

Every day, I asks myself, "What can I do better next time?" Some teachers tell me, "I don't know if I can do all this engagement every day. I didn't sign up for this." I advise them to start with taking a small step in the right direction. If you're serious about improving student performance, you must be willing to improve your own performance - no finger pointing and no excuses. I'm sorry if you though your job should be easy. It's not easy to get 100 percent of your students to graduate and have a chance to success in life, but that's what we are paid to do.

Are you willing to take the next step and aim for a higher level of teaching? Are you willing to enrich every single class you teach with powerful learning and engagement? If you are, you'll change you life and the lives of your students.

The four actions laid out in this chapter will support your move toward an exciting yet realistic implementation plan.

Action #1. Get Organized

Solutions You Can Use

  • Organize strategies by engagement domain.
  • Prioritize
  • KISS every day.

Action #2: Engage with Differentiation

Humans share over 99 percent of the same DNA. What makes each of us unique is not just that 1 percent difference in DNA, though; it's a lifetime of experiences that has sculpted each brain into the unique masterpiece that it is.

Just as we are all different, so are our students and their needs. Thus, differentiating instructional and engagement strategies is crucial to your success.

Solutions You Can Use

  • Shift your attitude.
  • Shift the application.
  • Shift the boundaries.
  • Shift the context.

Action #3: Know What to Expect

Solutions You Can Use

  • Know what to except from your students.
  • Know what to expect from your colleagues.
  • Know what to expect from yourself, and manage your stress.

Action #4: Break Down the Breakdowns

Solutions You Can Use

  • Debrief what happened.
  • Think through next steps.

Having the Grit to Commit and Raising the Bar

In a recent study (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), researchers evaluated teachers before and after their first year of teaching. Those who initially scored high for grit - defined as toughness, perseverance, and focus on long-term goals - were 31 percent more likely than their lower-scoring peers were to spur solid academic growth in their students. Hard work, passion, and commitment are crucial characteristics for teachers, especially those who teach students living in poverty and other adverse circumstances. It's when things aren't going well that tit's important to square your shoulders, brush off discouragement, and keep going.

Your Next Step

Every student in your school would rather be engaged by an energetic, caring teacher than be bored by someone going through the motions. Kids deserve a great day every day. They need role models. They need caring adults. They need savvy risk takers who aren't afraid to fail. If you're not modeling those qualities, where will your students learn them? If you're thinking this sounds impossible, maybe a little practice would expand your conception of what is possible.

A "no excuses" mentality means that even if you believe it should be students' job to be engaged, you accept that it's your job to engage them. Engaging students is not just part of your obligation to be a good teacher: our country's economic, social, and cultural survival relies on it. For every graduation rates are correlated with lower unemployment, smaller prison populations, fewer adults receiving government services, more marriages that last, more adults paying taxes, and, ultimately a more prosperous country (Heckman, Humphries, & Mader, 2011).

Build students effort, attitude, behavior, and cognitive capacity in your students. A teacher that does this makes all the difference in a student's life. Can you be that miracle teacher for your class this year? Will you try? Your students await your answer (Jensen, 2013).

Key Action 1: Sustain a Positive Culture

Career Day 2014-2015

Thanks to Ms. Jacobo and Ms. Scott for a successful career day! Everyone had great comments about Career Day.

Thanks to our campus instructional coaches for assisting, Ms. Gonzalez, parent volunteers, Ms. Bonds, Ms. Lupe, Ms. Hairston, teachers, students, student escorts and everyone who assisted in making this career day one to remember!

Key Action 2: High Quality Instruction and Engagment

Key Action 3: Data-Driven Instruction

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation

Domain 2: Instructional Practice

Domain 3: Classroom Culture

Domain 4: Professionalism and Collaboration

Week At-A-Glance

Monday, March 16th, 2015

  • Logan's Photography Students (see attachment on previous e-mail) Staff @3:10
  • Trustee Miguel Solis at Burnet @ 10 a.m. we will be visiting classrooms.
  • March 16-April 8 TELPAS online reading students 2-5
  • No Faculty Meeting

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

  • Collaborative Planning Meeting - bring laptops and planning tools
  • TELPAS Writing - Familiar Process
  • Continue progress monitoring
  • K-5 Tutoring

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

  • Continue progress monitoring
  • Grade Level Chair Meeting – 3:15-3:30
  • STEAM Night 4-6
  • Student Clubs & sports

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

  • Continue progress monitoring
  • Thursday folder goes home
  • Remind 2nd and 4th grade students to wear college t-shirts tomorrow
  • K-5 Tutoring

Friday, March 6th, 2015

  • STAAR Pep Rally 3, 4 & 5th @ 2:15 in the auditorium
  • TELPAS Writing - Narrative about a past event
  • Please send kudos to Ms. Loskot by 2:00 pm

Quote of the Week

Think BIG

Think Differently Act Courageously

STAY Calm and Shine On!

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Wednesday, March 18th, 4-6pm

3200 KInkade Drive

Dallas, TX

Please sign up in the main office for one shift 4-6. Everyone participating receives a jean pass and names will be entered in a drawing for a MacBook Air. Please RSVP so that your name can go into the drawing twice. In addition, the grade level with the most participation, members present, will receive an hour lunch.

Please help us make STEAM Night a great success! We need your help.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Important Dates!

March 16th: Trustee Miguel Solis to visit Burnet at 10:00

March 16- April 8th: TELPAS online reading, students 2-5

March 18th: STEAM Night

March 20th: STAAR Prep Rally, 3rd, 4th & 5th @ 2:15

March 23rd: 1st & Art PTO Meeting at 5 p.m.

March 23rd: Real School Garden Interview @ 3:30

March 30th: STAAR 4th Writing, Day 1

March 31st: STAAR 4th Writing, Day 2 and 5th Reading

April: Common Open House during the day

BEST DAY EVER - Everyday

Action Items

Letter of Intent for Faculty and Staff

Please complete by March 20th.