"Super" Spruce Scoop

Volume 2 Edition 3

September 7, 2015

Istation - So we have data, now what?

Thank you to approximately 90 K - 2 elementary reading teachers in the Spruce Feeder Pattern who attended the Balanced Literacy Cadre Istation training during this first cycle of learning. At this point, nearly all of our students should have been assessed using ISIP. Thank you for making this a priority. We will soon look at the data and discuss next steps. For students who have not been assessed, please make sure this is done this week.

So we have data, now what? The ISIP data we have collected on our K - 2 students should serve as a way to prescribe the appropriate level of instruction to our students. Specifically, this data serves as information on the reading Lexile level our teachers use to form small groups for Guided Reading instruction.

Guided Reading Video Links

Below are websites and video links to support Guided Reading. Link 8 provides wonderful examples of classroom set and other helpful tools. A few of the videos illustrate pre-teaching that leads into the Guided Reading lesson and others are examples of explicit Guided Reading instruction. The third video illustrates how to introduce work stations in conjunction with Guided Reading. PLEAS SHARE THESE WITH YOUR K - 3 TEACHERS. See video links below:

  • Video 1 Dallas ISD model lesson of a phonics lesson leading into as well as Guided Reading
  • Video 2 Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading lesson
  • Video 3 Guided Reading with Jenna: Introducing Work Stations
  • Video 4 Guided Reading with Jenna: Overview
  • Video 5 Guided Reading with Jenna: Small Group Guided Reading
  • Video 6 Fourth Grade Guided Reading: Sibley Elementary
  • Video 7 Second Grade Guided Reading: Day 2
  • Link 8 The Balanced Literacy Diet - Excellent for classroom setup, etc.

During elementary school coaching visits, we will discuss the support provided to K - 3 teachers for implementing Guided Reading and look for it in action. If you need support in providing professional development in Guided Reading, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. Allen, our Academic Facilitator, for support. Our students need instruction at their respective reading level.

Reading Cadre Grades 3 - 5

In conjunction with our K - 2 Balanced Literacy Cadre, we have support from the Reading Department to support our reading teachers. Just like the strong attendance for our K - 2 Cadre, we will greatly benefit from high attendance of our teachers. Please do your best to have high attendance. Below are the dates for each of the sessions which will be held at the Buckner Building from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.:

  • September 24
  • October 29
  • January 4 (tentative)
  • February 11
  • April 7

Division 5 Data Meeting

Friday, Sep. 11th, 8:30pm

1700 East Camp Wisdom Road

Dallas, TX

Lead 4 Ward T.E.K.S. Study

Below is a link Mrs. Williams, Principal at Burleson Elementary School, has shared with her staff in preparation for upcoming professional development. The video provides an overview of the state standards, TEKS, as well as many other nuances related to the TEKS. Please use as appropriate.

Comstok Middle School Staff has People...

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  • Ms. Potts was caught providing professional development to the science department and other staff members during a PLC. She did a really nice job of modeling the use of the lesson objective and engagement, among other TEI components.
  • Dr. Johnson for building leadership capacity in his A-Team members. He demonstrated effective coaching to his assistant principal during calibrated spots and allowed assistant principals to lead professional development to teachers. Ms. Potts and Ms. Edwards demonstrated effective professional development.
  • The Frederick Douglass leadership team for the use and implementation of interactive journals. Pictured below is an example of a third grade math class with modified Cornell notes.
  • Mr. Bennett and his 4 Star Teachers at Macon Elementary. We observed purposeful instruction in all classes observed. Thank you to his team for providing good instruction to our students.

Events for the Week

  • Monday, September 7 - Labor Day!
  • Tuesday, September 8 - Happy Birthday, Dr. Wilson!, K - 2 Cadre @ Burleson 3:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 9 - K - 2 Cadre @ Cuellar 3:45 p.m., Enrollment Call-In
  • Thursday, September 10 - K - 2 Cadre @ Anderson 3:45 p.m.
  • Friday, September 11 - Division 5 Data Meeting @ Gilliam Collegiate Academy, Schools submit C. E. O. P. to Emergency Mgmt.

TEI Update

Watch Understanding the Components of my TEI Evaluation.

Understanding the new TEI salary structure
We know that many of our teachers have questions surrounding the upcoming changes that the new salary structure will bring. Below you will find links to three resources that will provide teachers with answers regarding their salary. As a reminder, since teachers are now evaluated under TEI, increases in compensation will come only through TEI’s strategic compensation model. Teachers are not eligible for the 3 percent increase passed by the Board.

How to Calculate your 2015-16 Salary
TEI Compensation Calculator
TEI Compensation Frequently Asked Questions


Principals recently received their 199 funds allocation for tutoring. This link will take you to the tutoring handbook which is comprised of guidelines and sample forms that can be used to communicate with parents and track student support provided by teachers. All schools should be gearing up to provide tutoring and intervention for our students.

Quote of the Week

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Marshall Memo

Leaving Behind Ineffective Lecture-Style Teaching

In this 1993 College Teaching article, Alison King lampoons the traditional sage-on-the-stage approach to teaching – which tries to pour information into students’ empty brains and produces little lasting learning – and suggests three teaching strategies that are far more effective. The common ingredient, she says, is learners actively integrating new information with their prior knowledge and experience.

Pausing to process in pairs or small groups – After presenting a chunk of new material, the instructor has students spend a few minutes engaging in one of the following:

  • Think-pair-share;

  • Generating new examples of the concept just presented;

  • Developing specific scenarios in which the concept can be applied;

  • Creating graphic representations of the relationships among aspects of the new concept – concept maps, flowcharts, tables, or graphs;

  • Predicting what might happen in a specific situation;

  • Developing rebuttals for arguments presented and testing them on classmates;

  • Proposing a metaphor or analogy for the concept;

  • Thinking up a real-world scenario involving the concept and posing it to a classmate;

  • Developing a critique of the concept;

  • Summarizing the idea in pairs and checking each other for accuracy.

    After a few minutes working in groups, students are called back together to share ideas and questions.

    Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning (GRPQ) – Groups of 3-4 students use a set of generic questions to generate their own questions on the content being studied, for example:

  • What is the main idea of …?

  • What if …?

  • How does … affect …?

  • What is the meaning of …?

  • Why is … important?

  • What is a new example of …?

  • Explain why …

  • Explain how …

  • How does this relate to what I’ve learned before?

  • What conclusions can I draw about …?

  • What is the difference between … and …?

  • How are … and … similar?

  • How would I use … to …?

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of …?

  • What is the best … and why?

    Using these question stems, each student works individually to write two or three thought-provoking questions on the content, and then students take turns answering each others’ questions. King says using GRPQ with students “stimulates their critical thinking and promotes high-level discussion. Because of the reciprocal nature of this procedure, all students actively participate in the discussions. Even those students who are reluctant to participate in class for fear of asking the teacher ‘stupid’ questions are less hesitant about posing such questions to their peers in a small group.”

    Cooperative learning – King recommends three ways to orchestrate high-quality group work:

  • Jigsaw – Curriculum content is divided up into about six chunks; students are divided into six groups; each group works to become proficient “specialists” in one of the areas; students return to mixed groups and each specialist teaches his or her jigsaw piece to the group; all students should then master the full curriculum picture.

  • Constructive controversy – Students work in teams of four, with pairs within each group assigned opposing sides of a controversial issue. Each pair researches its side and then the pairs discuss the issue as a team. Understanding is the goal, not winning the debate. After some discussion, pairs switch sides and argue the opposite side of the issue.

  • Co-op Co-op – After an initial discussion of a curriculum unit and why it’s important, students work in small teams (guided by the instructor) to choose and investigate a topic, divide responsibility among group members, and produce a group product to share with the whole class.

    The key with all cooperative learning strategies, says King, is careful orchestration of curriculum content by the instructor, group goals, and individual student accountability – that is, each student must take an assessment on his or her own at the end.

    “Engaging our students in such active learning experiences helps them to think for themselves,” King concludes, “– to move away from the reproduction of knowledge toward the production of knowledge – and helps them become critical thinkers and creative problem solvers so that they can deal effectively with the challenges of the twenty-first century.”