Week of January 4-8, 2016


Top 12 New Year's Resolutions for Teachers

By: Annie Condron

It's time for that yearly tradition of reflection and resolutions for the upcoming school year. Get inspired with our list of the Top 12 New Year's Resolutions for Teachers.

1. Stay Positive

Coming off a much-needed break, it’s time to figure out how to make your classroom a happy place for you and your students in the long stretch to summer. Try these 5 Powerfully Positive Teaching Practices to get started.

2. Spice Up Your Classroom Routine

Try one new technology or instructional technique each month to keep things new and challenging for you and your students. Making a list and assigning one new thing to each month will help you actually stick to this resolution.

3. Build Fitness into Your Curriculum

It wouldn’t be a resolution list without some mention of better health. Make it a classroom affair with healthy eating lessons, integrating movement into your day-to-day activities and just encouraging you and your students to take care of your bodies.

4. Get Your Work/Life Balance in Order

As best you can, keep school work at school and enjoy your time at home. Making yourself happy will be better for you AND your students.

5. Give Individual Time & Attention to Students

It doesn’t have to be formal one-on-ones, tutoring or meetings, but try to integrate a rotating classroom job in which your students help you do something. You can check in with him/her individually and see how everything is going (whether they’re the best , worst, loudest or quietest student in class).

6. Get Organized – Work Smarter, Not Harder

With the fresh start, it’s a great opportunity to get your classroom organization back on track. Here are some 6 Back to School Tips to Organize Your Classroom and 12 Time-Saving Assessment Strategies to get your school life back in order.

7. Don’t Let Admin & School Policies Get You Down

There is nothing you can do to change those annoying policies, unnecessary meetings or mounds of paperwork, so try to take a Zen about the situation rather than letting that sour mood infest you and your classroom.

8. Plan Your Move Up the Payscale

Whether you need to add professional development hours or graduate credits or change positions, consider what your careers goals are and get a move on them!

9. Set Goals & Avoid Autopilot Mode

Now, I don’t mean your school and official achievement goals, I mean your own personal classroom goals. What is one or two things you think are important but forget as soon as the flurry of the teaching gets in the way? Write one achievable goal a month on your calendar and make it a priority.

10. Get Students Involved/Empowered

By giving students more control over their assignments and activities, they will hopefully take ownership of their education and use their talents and interests in a positive way.

11. Make Better Use of Planning

Time Resolve to bust it out during your planning time so you can take less (or hopefully no) work home with you. It’s tempting to take the much-needed break during your day, but it’ll feel even better to walk away with an empty bag at the end of the day.

12. Dress to Impress Yourself

Don’t underestimate how felling good in your clothes and wearing something you love can lift your mood and start your day on a positive note. Grab a few new, fun pieces to add to your typical work outfits and turn those hallways into your own personal runway!

Update about District Writing Assessment:

Directly from Dave Foster:

In mid January, Alice and Becca will work with reading coaches and the school level writing representative ( formerly known as the writing coach) to develop a training session for scoring and calibration that all schools can use to train their teachers.

ASSESSMENT WINDOW: January 25-29, 2106: Students will participate in a ninety minute block formative writing assessment in grades 3-5 at each school. All materials will be provided prior to this window so that teachers can familiarize themselves with the formative assessment through sessions with their reading coach. Information related to additional time for completing the assessment, materials we will use, paper/pencil vs. chrome book and other details will be shared prior to this assessment window. All assessments will need to be completed by January 29th and turned in to the reading coach.

SCORING WINDOW: February 1-18, 2016: Calibration sessions, rubric training, and scoring of all student writing in grades 3-5 will take place during this window, All scored writing assessments will be turned in to the reading coach and scores entered into the spreadsheet by the afternoon of February 18th. Reading Coaches will meet on February 19th to complete calculations and reports for their school with Alice, Becca, and Dave.

Reading Coaches will complete and share school reports with school administration and teachers after February 19th. Conversations, grade level meetings, and professional development will then be provided to inform and support classroom writing instruction.


Monday, January 4: F Day

3:30pm Grade level collaboration

Tuesday, January 5: A Day

No school-wide events scheduled

Wednesday, January 6: B Day

No school-wide events scheduled

Thursday, January 7: C Day

Reading Coach meets with all grade levels during planning

1:00pm IAT

6pm Nothing But Net district basketball game at Keenan High

6:30pm PTO Board meeting

Friday, January 8: D Day

College Colors Day

Montessori Community Meeting

A Message from Jordan Jones

Dear Pontiac Family,

I hope you all had a excellent Christmas break! I have been so appreciative of all the thoughts and well wishes from you all for both myself and my twins. My family and I are so excited about these new additions and that is why I have had to make a very difficult decision. My pregnancy has had some complications that are going to require me to remain out for the remainder of the school year.

After speaking to my doctors, my family, and Dr. Barber I feel that this is in the best interest of my health as well as the twins. The condition they believe that I have is known as vasa previa. Feel free to google it however the biggest thing with this is that going into preterm labor would be life threatening to myself and “baby A”. In my pregnancy with Landon my water broke unexpectedly at 33 weeks 2 days while I was at school. He came 3 days later and spent 18 days in the NICU. With twins you have a higher chance of preterm labor therefore they will be monitoring me very closely and will require me to go on early bed rest and hospital bed rest followed by an elective early c section at around 34 weeks. I am sharing this with you so that you are not left wondering what in the world happened to me. I also want you to know I have struggled with this decision. I love being at Pontiac and so many of you have become such wonderful friends to me so it saddens me to know I won’t see your smiling faces in the halls. I, however, do not write the future and have no idea what continuing teaching would do as far as stress on myself and the babies and I am not willing to take that risk. I am so appreciative of all of your thoughts and prayers and I am putting full trust in God to see me through. I go to the high risk OB on Wednesday and that is when they will be able to confirm the diagnosis (still praying it’s not there when they check) and then give me an official plan. Feel free to email me on private message me on facebook and I will also be keeping Katie informed. This, however, is not something I want to be shared publicly on social media so thanks in advance for allowing me to keep this as private as possible.

I am not disappearing! Landon will still be walking the halls of Pontiac and as long as I am allowed I will be dropping him off and picking him up every day. Feel free to correct him in the hallways in my absence if you see him stepping out of line for Mrs. Mandrell or Ms. Dail! :) I will be thinking of you all often and praying for an easy, stress free rest of the year full of lots of fun and plenty of laughs! :)



Try Tellagami in your classroom!

This app that allows you to create a quick animated Gami video. It's simple! Customize a character and choose a background then record your voice or type a message for your character to say! Book reports. News Show. Endless possibilities.