Monday Morning Motivation

Central Elementary Staff News----January 25-January 29

Flexible Attitude

Dear Staff,

As educators we talk a lot about being flexible. Often we have to be flexible with our lesson plans, with the schedule, the weather, with demands out of our control. In the end what it really means is we must have a good attitude when frustrating things happen to us and we are forced to completely change gears.

This week has the potential to be one of those weeks requiring a great deal of flexibility with regard to Cogat testing. This is the first time we have tested Kindergarten students online, second grade students, and those students new to the district. It is a big undertaking with great benefits because it will allow us to have a cognitive baseline on every student in our school. However, we are going to be dependent on technology, which often forces us to be flexible. We have the whole month to test, so we do not need to become stressed if it doesn't work according to our pre-planned timeline. Knowing we have plenty of time to complete this task, we will do our best, adjust our schedules accordingly, and be flexible.

For the majority of my career, this quote by Charles R. Swindoll has hung above my desk.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a church....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Charles R. Swindoll

In your mailbox, you will find The 30 Day Happy Teacher Challenge. This was given to me by one of our Central teachers, who thought it might be fun to bring some positivity to our day. I have enjoyed reading through it and hope to implement several of the challenges.

Have a great week!


A Week at a Glance

Central Calendar

MONDAY, February 1

  • Kindergarten Cogat meeting during prep
  • Labs continue to be closed for testing (STAR and Cogat)

TUESDAY, February 2

  • Second grade Cogat meeting during prep
  • Cogat practice test-Kindergarten

WEDNESDAY, February 3

  • Cogat testing

THURSDAY, February 4

  • 7:55 meeting with Mr. Olinger in the LGI
  • Cogat testing

  • Faculty meeting in Megan Johnson's room

FRIDAY, February 5

  • Cogat testing

Announcements and Reminders

  • Copy machine update. Last Thursday, I spoke with the sales manager from Ricoh and personally met with the service man. There have been two service calls to our building on the new machine. According to him, the first call was due to operator error-incorrect loading of the paper. The second call was on them because the repair to to part/cable was done incorrectly. Since one-third of the service calls to RIcoh around the state are due to operator error, we are going to have a training on the proper use of the copiers for those people who oversee the copiers. This is a newly updated, highly technical machine, which is an upgrade for us. Currently, on the machine upstairs, there are signs with instructions for loading paper. If at all possible, I would like a list of your main grade-level parent volunteers who make copies, so we can train them as well. Please continue to let Kathy and Shonda know upstairs if you have problems with copiers. They will keep me in the loop.

  • Cogat testing information. Since we need all hands on deck to help login Kindergarten students, team time aides will need to leave 5th grade at 9:15 each day until testing is over. On this Tuesday only, you will not have any aides due to the practice test. Kindergarten teachers should plan on parent volunteers to help in the classroom with your two classes since aides will be help the other two classes in the computer labs. We may send an extra aide during this time depending on how this goes.

  • Unplanned Classroom Observations are underway. Please remember to have your lesson plans out on your desk.

  • If you are interested in using the display cases next to the gym, please let Karen or Margaret know as we are looking for student works displays.

  • Orientation for 5th graders will be held at the Middle School on February 4th at 9:00 a.m. Thanks for your flexibility 5th grade teachers!

  • Mouthpiece testing for 5th grade students is Thursday, February 11th

    1:40-2:05 p.m

    2:05-2:30 p.m.

    2:30-2:55 p.m.

    2:55-3:20 p.m.

  • February 16th and 18th there will be a parent band meeting at the Middle School.

  • The Central Elementary Art Show will be on Thursday, February 18th from 5-7 pm.

Valentine's Parties

The PTO and I met last Thursday to discuss upcoming events. We talked about the Valentine's Day Parties. I had heard from a couple of teachers and reviewed my notes from the Big Idea Committee meeting where we talked about Fall Parties, and we came up with the following compromise:

  • The parties will run for 30 minutes and include 1 game, a snack, and rest of the time for the students to look at Valentine cards.
  • In an effort to control the number of people in our building due to a heightened sense of security, we are staggering the parties. We have tried to put them as close to the end of the day as we could, but not too close so people won't leave with their children.
  • Party TImes
  • 1:10--1:40 4nd and 5th Grade (This cuts into 5 minutes of 5th grade recess. We will coordinate Cogat so students will not miss parties.)

    1:55--2:25 2nd and 3rd Grade (This cuts into 10 minutes of 3rd grade team time)

    2:30-3:00 Kindergarten and 1st Grade

  • See me if there are major concerns

  • The PTO will ask parents who want to volunteer to work through you to make sure they have a background check and you can control the numbers.

  • Jen Nanny and Rene Hauck will put the game together

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Professional Development!

Handouts for the PD this week will be in your mailbox. More information about where you will be going to follow in an email.

  • Please mark your calendars for the following district-wide professional development:
  • January 26th for Literacy Stations #1: Using the Classroom Library to Build Stamina (K-5)
  • February 9 for Literacy Stations #2: Implementing Literacy Stations for Fluency (K-5)
  • February 23 for Literacy Stations #3: Implementing Literacy Stations for Word Work (K-5)
  • March 8 for Literacy Stations #4 and #5) Implementing Listening and Reading (K-5)

Curriculum and Instruction

Answers to the questions from last week posed after the Professional Development.

18 teachers responded to the email. Here are their answers:

1. What do you call the independent reading time with your students? For example, do you say “Independent Reading Time, Read to Self, Silent Sustained Reading (SSR), etc.?

  • Silent Reading (8 teachers)--Mostly primary
  • Read to Self (5 teachers)--Mostly primary

  • AR reading (4 teachers)--Mostly intermediate
  • Independent Reading (1 teacher)--intermediate

2. What kind of charts do you use to track reading stamina?

  • 10 said no charts are used to track stamina
  • 8 said charts are used to track stamina

Spring Assessments!

Students are preparing now more than ever for upcoming assessments this semester. Please put the following assessments on your calendar. As always, make sure your children get a good night's sleep and eat a nutritional breakfast each morning. If you are running short on time, we serve breakfast each morning here at school.

  • WIDA English Language Learner Assessment January 25-29 (only for ELL students)
  • Cogat High Ability Assessment February (all students in kindergarten and second grade and those students new to the district)
  • STAR 360 Math and Reading February (all students grades k-5)
  • ISTEP Part 1 Window February 29- March 11, 2016
  • I-Read-3 Window March 14 - March 18, 2016 (all third grade students)
  • ISTEP Part 2 Window April 18-May 6, 2016 (all students grades 3-5)

Very Important ISTEP Information/Resources Grades 3-5

26 Days Until ISTEP+ 2016 Window opens!

Please take some time to review the updated resources on the DOE. Additionally, I will sent an email with all the information, including a PowerPoint. At the end of last week, I put printed materials in your mailbox. Students should be exposed to ISTEP sample problems once a day!

Look at the grade-level pdf resource guides.

The IDOE is pleased to announce the ISTEP+ “Experience” opportunity is now available through Pearson. Experience is presented via the Pearson online platform (TestNav 8) that will be used for ISTEP+ online testing, as well as IREAD-3 online testing. The purpose of Experience is for students, educators, parents, and community members to see how test items similar to those on the ISTEP+ Part 2 assessment are presented in the online system. Experience makes a great classroom-based activity!

Overview: Experience (ePATs)

Pearson provides Electronic Practice Assessment Tests (referred to as “ePATs”) for Indiana’s Experience opportunity. ePATs make it possible for students, educators, parents, and community members to experience various technology-enhanced item types that will appear on the ISTEP+ Part 2 assessment as often as they like from home, at school, or on mobile devices. ePATs use the same TestNav 8 tools, navigation, interface, and infrastructure as the online ISTEP+ assessments, providing students with a more authentic, low-stakes way to practice and become familiar with online testing and technology-enhanced items. Practice opportunities such as these enable students to become comfortable with the technology used for online testing before they take ISTEP+, allowing them to better demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained in the classroom.

Accessing Experience

To access the Experience TestNav 8 forms, Pearson recommends that students only use officially supported devices, browsers, and operating systems. Other devices and hardware/software combinations could result in students experiencing incorrect formatting, functionality, or other unanticipated issues. For a list of currently supported platforms, please refer to the TestNav 8 System Requirements page at

Guidance Regarding English/Language Arts and Math Experience Online Items

· English/Language Arts Experience Online Guidance Video (link is external)

· Math Experience Online Guidance Video

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Celebrate Staff

  • Awesome Battle of the Book competition. I was so proud of our Central students and the sportsmanlike conduct they displayed. Thank you to Kathy Crum for all your hard work and dedication to the program.
  • Congratulations to the following teachers for being awarded PTO Mini-Grants!

  • Jennie Menser - Memories to Last a Lifetime project total $137.80 - 30 binders, white card stock paper, 200 protective sheets. She will publish a scrapbook for each child displaying their accomplishments and best work from the year.

  • Katy Riester - Pencil Sharpener - $29.10

  • Krista Bullington - All Purpose Mobile Teaching Easel $350-$500. It would help with small groups and could be used for center activities.

  • All 1st grade classes - would like to celebrate Dr. Seuss Birthday by planning a literacy day with different activities. - $100 - for food and craft materials

  • Annie Pagels - hands on activities using math manipulative - $187.66 she has picked out 4 games that would help with math standards - working on counting, patterns, & measure attributes

  • Rachelle Mogg - New CD player $79 - she would like one that will play CDs and tapes

Battle of the Books Team!

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Second graders practice subtraction facts

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3rd graders teaching 2nd graders about life in the desert through choral reading