DMS Corral

By Darnell and Guerra 4/4/16


Monday, April 4

GT Testing in Teaching Suites

Promotion Planning Committee Meeting- 3:45, DMS Library

Tuesday, April 5

GT Testing in Teaching Suites

Wednesday, April 6

Faculty Meeting- 3:45- DMS Library

Department Head Meeting- Immediately following faculty meeting

DEIC Meeting- 4pm in Teaching Suites

Thursday, April 7

Band Contest in Eagle Pass

Friday, April 8

Spring Pictures

Thank You For Your Hard Work During Testing!

Thank you to everyone for the hard work and team work that it takes for testing week to go smoothly. Each of you is appreciated for the extra you do when we test. From- changing classrooms, testing students, monitoring hallways, helping out at lunch, and being flexible with scheduling, it makes everything so easy because you all do what is needed at a moment's notice. Thank you!

Special thanks to all of you who administered tests- great job! We all know that that is one of the hardest jobs for testing day. Also, thanks for Mark for keeping us well fed! Thanks to Nancy and the math department for getting calculators ready for the 8th graders, and thanks to Mrs. Freas for getting dictionaries and thesauri out to classrooms.

If you still have dictionaries and thesauri in your classroom, please have a student deliver them to Mrs. Freas room (room 205).

We made it through the first round of testing! Next round coming up! Hang in there... May 27 will be here soon!

Six Weeks Exams Next Week

Six weeks exams start next week on Monday, April 11. If you are using AWARE, please share your exam with Mrs. Guerra so that she may print your answer documents for you.

The exam schedule is below.

Monday, April 11- ELA and Reading

Tuesday, April 12- Math

Wednesday, April 13- Social Studies

Thursday, April 14- Science and Electives

Friday, April 15- Make-Ups

We will have oral administration help for those of you who requested it last six weeks. If you need it, but did not request it last six weeks, please e-mail Mrs. Guerra.

How One School District Uses Virtual Field Trips to Save Lots of Time, Money By Marva Hinton on March 25, 2016

This is a great way to take students on field trips since we don't have money for actual trips.

School field trips. Many of us remember getting a permission slip signed, boarding an activity bus and heading to some museum or maybe a state park excited to spend a day outside of the classroom.

But today, due to time and/or budget constraints, more school districts are turning to virtual field trips, which allow students to "visit" places like the ocean floor without leaving their classrooms.

Dacia Jones' official title is district science specialist for Durham Public Schools in Durham, N.C. But her unofficial title is something like virtual field trip coordinator for the district. She describes these events as "an in-class experience to an out-of-this-world place" and plans more than 100 of these trips every year primarily for K-5 students in 30 Durham schools. But, she says, typically students in more than 200 schools across North America watch along with them. All of these virtual field trips are filmed and archived so schools can watch them anytime.

Dacia says planning these trips can be daunting for a teacher doing it the first time, so she recommends they check out the trips provided by Discovery Education. She's part of the company's network of educators and shares her expertise on using digital media in the classroom with more than 1 million educators in North America.

We recently talked to her via phone about her work. Below is a lightly edited version of our conversation.

Generally, do virtual field trips take less time and cost less than traditional field trips?

I don't pay for any virtual field trip. For us, they're absolutely free except if we purchase anything for the kids to be doing while the field trip happens. And you're right about planning for lunches and getting buses. They do take a lot less time. We have some teachers that take a virtual field trip every week. And we do have some soft data that says kids are in attendance more on the date of a virtual field trip because they don't want to miss it.

How do you fund these experiences if you don't pay for them?

All you need is a cell phone and Internet. All of our classrooms have computers. There is no money involved with these at all. When I put out on Twitter that I need a robots expert to talk with a group of kids, and from the Black Eyed Peas says absolutely, then he just volunteers his 30 minutes to talk with our kids. There are places that will advertise [that] for $150, your kids can talk to one of our engineers for 30 minutes for a virtual field trip. We don't have that money. I find things that they can do that don't cost money.

As far as technology, it is a computer and Internet. You have to have a camera on your computer, but any computer that's been built in the last two years automatically has cameras. The only expense that we come into is when we do an interactive one, which is where the kids are watching the person talk and then they're doing something at their desk. A couple of weeks ago we were at a coal mine in Arizona and I wanted the kids to be able to have rocks and minerals in their hands while the people on the virtual field trip were talking about how to dust the rocks and read the minerals. I made sure that we found enough rocks and mineral samples so that every kid in the district could have one to hold while they were talking.

What are some other examples of virtual field trips?

In Durham Public Schools in the last two-and-a-half years, we have visited places like the Mayo Clinic. We've been inside volcanoes. We've been on the International Space Station. We've been to Anne Frank's home. We've been in the Sistine Chapel where the docent actually showed how Michelangelo laid on scaffolding and did the paintings. When they finish talking to the docent, the kids go under their tables and the teachers have taped paper under there and the kids begin to draw with crayons to sort of understand how taxing that was on the artist. We tie that to gravity. Some of the most exciting ones have been to the Galapagos Islands. We've been to Antarctica. That just goes to show there's really no place we can't go. We've been on Robert Ballard's boat. Robert Ballard is the guy who's trying to lift the Titanic. Anywhere the kids and teachers are asking to go, I'm out there trying to find ways to get that into the classroom.

This new piece that we're adding I'm calling it STEM Moments where kids are talking to older people that had STEM jobs but now are in nursing homes or retirement centers where people are really not paying much attention to them. I'm going in and doing interviews and taking personal histories and then tying it to a field trip so kids can see what grandpas and grandmas did back in the day.

Discipline Help

As we get to the end of the year, it will be vital that you continue to send in referrals. When you are going to be absent, please take time out to write your sub a note in regards to students who may give them trouble and those that will be helpful in your absence.

I try to visit subs when they are on campus to let them know I am here to help. I make it a point to tell them to call 602 for help. Even with that information, I find that some give your classes a bad report yet do not call for assistance.

Please continue to hold students accountable. Many of you have expressed frustration to me when it comes to getting students to complete work. Please do everything you can to get students to work; keep them in at lunch, assign them to homework detention, and call parents. If you have done all you can, and the student still doesn't turn work in, then give them the grade they have earned.

I am here to help you.