Bronco Blast

November 13th Weekly Staff Newsletter

Staff Member of the Month - November

Gail Loftis

Help us congratulate Gail as our Employee of the Month! She is a strong advocate for SpEd students and teachers alike. We appreciate you Gail for all you do everyday, for all students.

A little bit about Gail:

* I moved to Texas from Florida in 1989 with my husband and sons.

* I'm mother to Kyle, 33 and Evan, 29. Both of my sons attended West.

* After many years of teaching pre-school, I gained my alternative certification in Special Ed and began teaching at West.

* As a former West and RHS band parent, I'm proud to say that my grandson, Hayden, is following in his father's and uncle's footsteps by playing the euphonium at Spring Creek.

*In my free time I like reading and loom knitting.

*Being a member of the West family has been an important part of my life for the past 11 years.

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A note from Kimberly

Here we are 5 days from our first long holiday break. And we have a lot of events happening this week. Magnet night, Thanksgiving feast, and staff v. student volleyball game on Friday. I know this week is going to fly by!

SAVE THE DATE: Staff Holiday party December 12, 2015 starting at 6pm.

Check out the Instructional Coaches section of the smore...lots of wonderful ideas!

Some of you have come to me with ways to save on paper. Thank you for your suggestions and those that are making an intentional effort to work on the paper situation. We must all reexamine how we are using paper and in what ways can we go from paper to digital. Thank you for your effort with this!

I know this week, I'm going to need to drink my orange juice everyday. :) Let's go!


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Blood Drive - American Red Cross

Friday, Dec. 4th, 9am-3pm

1309 Holly Drive

Richardson, TX

This blood drive is in honor of Elissa Hutchinson. We give blood in her honor. :) We love you Elissa!

Instructional Coaches Corner

Here are 10 ideas for reaching SAMR’s redefinition level:

1. A cultural exchange: My students were fortunate to participate in a cultural exchange created between me and a teacher in Spain. Students met in pairs via Skype to discuss predetermined topics and to just talk about whatever they wanted. They then wrote in their second language (Spanish or English) about the conversation and the other students help correct their mistakes. (I’ve written several posts about this exchange.)

2. Public blogs: Writing has always been at the core of many subjects. This takes writing and gives it a new, exciting potential audience: the world. Students write in publicly accessible blogs and share them via any channels possible (i.e. school website/newsletter, Twitter/Google Plus communities, listservs, etc.). They then have interactions with people about their ideas that they would never have otherwise.

3. Global perspectives: Students connect with a class in another part of the world to discuss a historical event — preferably one that affects both their own countries. Students write — in shared Google Documents, blogs, wikis or any other writing tool — factually about the event and then share opinions about it. They can compare how it’s perceived in different parts of the world. (Inspired by this post.)

4. “Aid the community” competition: Students from various countries engage in a project to tackle an issue in their communities (i.e. reducing the carbon footprint of their communities). Students share ideas on a wiki, discuss ideas together via video chat on Skype/Adobe Connect/Google Hangout, and partner with researchers at local universities or companies. They share the findings of their yearlong endeavor in a documentary on YouTube. (Source: ECISD Technology)

5. eBook authors: Creating an eBook opens students’ work up to a global audience. Students’ hard work to research or create a project can be produced digitally and distributed in previously impossible ways. iBooks Author or any publishing platform that produces epub or PDF files (Microsoft Publisher, Google Apps, etc.) would work. eBooks could be offered for free (or at a price to benefit a charity or other cause) on Amazon or other eBook sellers. (Inspired by this post.)

6. Twitter writing: Twitter, by nature, can open students up to people from all walks of life AND teaches brevity in writing with its 140-character limits. Students could engage in a collaborative writing project with students (or anyone) from other places via Twitter. A story starter could be posted to a teacher-created hashtag and suggestions for continuation of the story could be taken from participants. A “crowdsourced” story would result. (Source: EdofICTJSSALC)

7. Sketchnoting: If you’ve seen an RSA Animate video, where an artist sketches visual notes based on a motivating speech, you’ve seen sketchnoting. Plenty of digital tools are available to sketchnote, and sketchnotes can (like many examples here) be shared with an audience for dialogue and shared ideas. (Source: Kathy Schrock’s SAMR model musings)

8. Bookmark annotating: Sites like Diigo that allow users to bookmark sites and annotate over them provide a place for discussing content that didn’t exist before. Students (or the teacher) can bookmark sites and then write notes and highlight important ideas. A discussion can take place right on the page. Post-It notes and writing in margins were possible before, but you couldn’t access other people’s notes from anywhere and engage in conversation with them.

9. Nearpod presentation: Nearpod makes presentations possible in a way that was previously impossible. It gives the presenter controls that they wouldn’t have with a standard PowerPoint presentation (and it’s free). Teachers send the digital presentation out to student devices and control what students see. Students interact and respond to the presentation, and the teacher can monitor student progress.

10. Google Apps paperless classroom: Instead of creating documents on paper, distributing them to students and collecting them as assignments, students and teachers can function paperlessly. Documents in Google Apps (or Evernote or other options) can be organized and edited digitally. They can be shared and edited simultaneously by any user. Users can even use chat windows and comment boxes to discuss content. They can all be accessed from anywhere.

For more information on the SAMR model and teaching ideas, visit the following site:

Mr. Turkey Legs

Look for a FUN, light hearted competition coming this week from Mr. Parker called Mr. Turkey Legs! All participants will be awarded a jeans pass and the winner will be announced at the Faculty/Student Volleyball game next Friday. :)
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Help earn money for our school and its almost no work for you!

How does it work?

Download the app Shoparoo.

Shop anywhere.

Take a picture of your receipt in the app.

And just like that - we earn points which turn into money for our school. Download today!

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Who's Working at West? Get to know - Juanita Martinez

1.) Where are you from?

I am from El Paso, Texas. I grew up as one of five, with three brothers and one sister. My sister, Lydia, actually works in RISD as well.

2.) How long have you worked in the school system, and what types of positions have you held?

I have worked in a school for 17 years now. I spent ten years over at Dobie Elementary. Five of those were in a kinder classroom, two were in SpEd and three were in the front office. After Dobie I worked in the front office at Mark Twain for three years. When that was through I transferred to West, where I have worked with SpEd for the past four years.

3.) Do you have any children/grandchildren?

Yes, I have two grown children. My son Cesar is now 32 and my daughter Vivian is 28. I have a total of six grandchildren. Victor (who many of you know attends West!), Adriana, Arrianna, Alyssa, Jason and my Devin.

4.) You pick up an electric art deco lamp from a garage sell and discover that a hipster genie is living in it ironically. The genie offers to let you have a conversation with one person, alive or dead, because the three free wishes thing is SO done. To whom do you wish to speak?

I would speak to my Uncle Arturo. We all loved him very much. He was definitely my favorite uncle.

5.) Pozole or Menudo?

Pozole! I love to cook and can make great versions of both, but there is something about the beef tripe in menudo that just grosses me out.

Walking Warriors

Join the Walking Warriors everyday at 4 for a heart healthy walk or workout. You won't regret it!
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Upcoming Dates - November

November 16—PTA Meeting @ 6:30

November 18—Thanksgiving Dinner (ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE)

November 18—Magnet Night (5:00-9:00)—ALL HANDS ON DECK

November 19—8th AVID Cultural Field Trip to DMA

November 20—Staff v. Student Volleyball Game (PEP RALLY SCHEDULE)

November 20—PAY DAY

November 23-27—Thanksgiving Break