Finishing Strong

Spring/Summer Newsletter

Friends, the school year is quickly approaching its close. It is a frenzied time of year when you prioritize your time so that you can get everything completed and leave no deadline missed. A spring/summer newsletter might be low on your priority list right now, but TRUST US! YOU WANT TO READ THIS NEWSLETTER!!!!! It is full of crazy-good stuff like:

  • ideas for teaching vocabulary
  • high energy math and reading games
  • quick informative (or just funny) videos
  • EOY assessment dates
  • summer PD opportunities
  • Free RtI webinars from TEA

So read it now or bookmark it for later. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!!!


Historically, vocabulary has been an area of challenge. However, vocabulary is the key to your students' understanding what they hear and read and communicating successfully with other people. For this reason it is very important for them to quickly build up a large store of words. Research studies have shown the strong links between having an extensive vocabulary and achieving school success.

Click on the link in the box below to download a great template to use when introducing new vocabulary. This instructional strategy follows Marzano's 6 Step Process for Building Vocabulary.

Ideas to consider:

This is a simple template that you could easily use for just about any word list, and you could even use it in your classroom immediately.

This summer, you can begin thinking about possible units, novels, etc. (or one with which you know you will want to start the year) and begin a list of possible vocabulary words.

This website dedicates itself to effective reading instruction, including CLOSE reading, vocabulary acquisition, and the necessary writing component.

Have you tried the Crazy Professor Reading Game?

Try this Whole Brain Teaching technique to see its effect on your students.
Whole Brain Teaching: 4th Grade: The Crazy Professor Reading Game

And try this free Whole Brain Teaching game that teaches beginning (and remedial!) readers the 100 most common English sight words. Click here for game rules and the SuperSpeed 100 words. Click here for SuperSpeed 1000.

Whole Brain Teaching: SuperSpeed 100 Reading Game
And since we could never leave math out of the fun, click here for the rules for Super Speed Math.

EOY Assessment Dates

K-2 TEMI: All data must be entered into Aware by May 15th

K-2 DRA: Upload into Aware by May 22nd (Student Inventory will open on May 20th)

April 21 - May 15: 4th Grade Science (Test Your Weather Knowledge)

May 1 - May 22: 5th Grade Social Studies (Industrial Revolution)

May 11 - May 29: 3rd Grade Science (Earth's Natural Resources)

May 15 - June 4: 4th Grade Social Studies (Branches of the Government)

May 18 - June 4: Q4 DA ELAR (Writing only) Grades 3rd and 5th only

May 18 - June 4: Q4 DA Math Grades K-5 (all data must be scanned in by June 4th)


All content areas will have updated Quarter 1 and Year At a Glance documents uploaded into Forethought by July 24th. These documents will also be handed out at the first Point People meeting of the 2015-2016 school year on July 28th.

Response to Intervention (RtI) Webinars

TEA is promoting a series of webinars designed to provide information about implementation strategies for RtI. National experts in applying the principles of RtI in reading, writing, mathematics, and behavior and a respected Texas administrator who has successfully implemented RtI on her campus will lead the one-hour webinars hosted by Southern Methodist University (SMU). Each free webinar provides one hour of professional development continuing education credit (CEC) awarded by the Simmons School of Education & Human Development at SMU.

The first three in the series, RtI & Administrators, RtI & Reading, RtI & Mathematics have already taken place, however, you may access the archived webinars by clicking here.

The next two webinars are below:

· RtI & Behavior May 12, 2015, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

· RtI & Writing May 19, 2015, 3:30–4:30 p.m.

To register for future webinars, click the webinar title. To learn more, contact RtI & Texas.

(I have participated in a couple of the webinars and was given access to tons of helpful resources!


Summer PD Opportunities

Here are just a few upcoming summer PD sessions we wanted you to be aware of as you begin planning ahead. However, you will want to check Euphoria as numerous sessions are being added often:


Collaboration with Region 10 -- The district will be offering sessions on Building conceptual fluency and Math Stations. If you plan on attending one of these sessions, you will need to register with Region 10 and Euphoria.

  • July 13th - Math Stations in Action (K-2)
  • July 14th - Building Conceptual Fluency (3-5)
  • July 15th - Math Stations in Action (3-5)
  • July 16th - Building Conceptual Fluency (K-2)

Or would you prefer math PD in your pajamas? Click here to take a free video course that will build your own knowledge of elementary math concepts. The course consists of 10 sessions (you could pick and choose which sessions you would like to explore), each with video programming, problem solving activities both online and in print form, and interactive activities as well as demonstrations on the web. The last session is a video that explores ways to apply the concepts of number and operations that you have learned through the course in your own classroom. (Explore the rest of this amazing FREE site, a website whose goal is to help teachers increase their expertise in their fields--not just math--and assist them in improving their teaching methods. LOVE IT!)


  • Lit Institute (K-2) - July 14 - 16 (July 14th and 15th will consist of an in-depth look at the foundational components of the Balanced Literacy Model (and open to all K-2 teachers, whether you attended last summer or not).) The 16th is intended only for those who attended the Lit Institute last year (more info will be under the description in Euphoria soon).

E3 ("Elementary Essentials for Engagement") - August 4th - 6th (8:30 - 4:00):

Below is a non-comprehensive sampling of content specific classes offered at E3 this summer---


  • OI 1&2 Trainings per grade level
  • Elementary-Middle Alignment (5th & 6th Grade teachers)
  • Differentiation Strategies for Students with Special Needs
  • Matter and Energy Teacher Background Knowledge
  • Vocabulary Acquisition

Social Studies:
  • OI 1&2 Trainings per grade level
  • Social Studies in ELM
  • Incorporating Timelines
  • Maps 101: Maps and Field Trips
  • Choices for Student Products


  • Grade Level Content Updates
  • Problem Solving is Not a Problem (K-5)
  • Angles, Lines and Rays...Oh My (4-5)
  • TEMI update
  • Think Through Math
  • Navigating Through Go Math
  • Taking Go Math to the Next Level


  • Sessions for grades 3-5 ONLY
  • 3rd grade Reading with Purpose
  • 3rd grade Planning with Craft of Writing Mini-Lessons
  • 4th grade Reading & Writing Connections
  • 5th grade Focus on the Depth of Reading
  • 5th grade Writing with Purpose

ELM Summit Specific Classes:
  • Student Panels
  • Authentic Audience Showcase/networking
  • Design Time
  • Facilitate Standards
  • Differentiated DIYs
  • Best Practices with ELM
  • Digital Tools in ELM

A Few Other Dates to Note:

  • Point People - July 28th 8:30-11:30 & 1:00-4:00 (Campus teams will meet vertically and in Content specific groups during one of the two sessions TBD)
  • Leadership Cadre - August 3 1:00-4:00
  • New Teacher Content Rotations - August 11th 8:30-4:00


Here are some ideas to extend science into the summer for you and your students.

Anytime can be the right time to explore science. These fun science activities take our favorite experiments and demonstrations and let you explore them at home! Materials are easy to find, most activities take an hour or less, and the science learning is limitless. Include this in your end of year newsletter to parents so that they can encourage science exploration at home over the summer!

Check this out! This is an interesting guide to understanding the science behind viral outbreaks! You and your students will find out how viruses can be spread and who the professionals are that spring into action when outbreaks of viruses like ebola occur.

Social Studies

Here is a bank of Social studies newsletters that offer teaching ideas, learning opportunities, and summer reading for socials studies teachers.

Click here for a link to a site that offers fun social studies teaching ideas and free resources. You can even sign up to have new ideas sent to your inbox periodically!

just for fun

Said No Teacher Ever
Big image

Michelle Caballero and Kathryn Hindt

Instructional Coaches