What's "Growing" On @ Cannon?

Staff Information & Updates 9/28/15

From the Principal's Pen...

The BIG DIG is now officially the BIG DUG!!

What an absolutely incredible day last Friday was for our school! Our school grounds have been transformed and our beautiful new outdoor learning garden is now ready for use by all of our Cannon teachers and scholars! The learning opportunities this space will provide are limitless and the authentic experiences our scholars can engage in, as a result of this space, will have an immeasurable impact on their minds AND hearts!

Above and beyond all of the curriculum connections I know will be made for our scholars through the use of the garden, I believe that they have already experienced some of the most valuable lessons in life, as a result of Friday's events.

Our scholars EXPERIENCED how:

  • A vision can become a reality!
  • Hard work and perseverance leads to incredible outcomes
  • A community that collaborates together can successfully accomplish a common goal
  • Teamwork WORKS!
  • Volunteerism means giving back and making a difference for others
  • Important and rewarding it is to be good stewards of our environment
  • Much others care about them, their learning....their success!

Words cannot express how grateful I am to all of our amazing volunteers from Mercedes Benz Financial Services, REAL School Gardens, GCISD Administration, City of Grapevine, our Cannon parents and most of all.... to all of YOU! The pride I feel each day to be part of our outstanding school and to serve alongside a staff that is completely dedicated to our scholars and our school is enormous! Thank you for all you do and dream of doing for our kids!!

Proud to be your principal,

Tona :)

Lisa's Coaching Corner

In this month's STEM Magazine, Dr. Willis discusses “How to Teach Students About Their Brain”. Using brain research teaching strategies and explicitly discussing brain research within your classroom empowers students to become self-regulated learners, which aligns with our Portrait of a Graduate. If you LOVE this article like I do and would like to dive deeper, please let me know. This would be a great topic for a book study!

Dr. Judy Willis, a board-certified neurologist and teacher in Santa Barbara, Calif., has combined her training in neuroscience and neuroimaging with her teacher education training and years of classroom experience. She has become an authority in the field of learning-centered brain research and classroom strategies derived from this research. You can also find other articles and webinars from Dr. Willis on this ASCD website.

As a reminder, this publication can be shared freely with our scholars, parents, and colleagues each month. Please share articles that are of interest to you and have relevance to the learning in your classroom!



Last year was our first year to participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge and it was a HUGE hit and a PERFECT connection for our school and scholars!! This global effort challenges students all over the world to get involved in making cardboard creations, using only cardboard and other recyclable materials.

The Global Cardboard Challenge launched from the overwhelming global response to the short film, “Caine’s Arcade,” through the Imagination Foundation, in order to "foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine." Click here to read more about this challenge! (Please do not register your class, as we are already registered as a school for the event)

Here's how Cannon scholars will get involved in this movement! All Cannon scholars will be invited to participate in our event, Cannon's Cardboard Creations Challenge. All that choose to participate will make their cardboard creations at home. On Friday, October 9th, all Cardboard creations will be brought to school and all grade levels will participate in a school-wide Cardboard Creations Gallery Walk, in order to view all of the creative cardboard creations! All scholars that participate will earn a special STEM spirit stick, in recognition of their innovative thinking and creative use of recyclable materials! We are also planning to keep the cardboard creations to make an awesome display for our Family Engineering Night, scheduled for November.

Sound easy? That's our hope! We really want to keep this easy for teachers, so the projects will be created completely outside of school, using materials that all kids will have access to at home. We will be collecting photos from parents and students and posting them on our own page, within the Global Cardboard Challenge website. I have outlined the steps below that we will need your help with, as we launch our own Cardboard Creations Challenge!

  1. Show the Caine's Arcade video inserted below to your class. KCAN will also plan to air the video on specific dates, immediately following KCAN. Watch for information in your email about which dates it will air.
  2. Talk to your scholars to explain the Challenge and show examples of student-created cardboard creations. Encourage them to use their best design thinking, as they come up with ideas for their own creations. Wouldn't it be awesome if the students actually shared how they used the Engineering Design Process, as part of their creation? Here is a link to photos from last year's challenge!
  3. Send home the informational flyer in Monday folders on Monday, September 28th.
  4. Share this information in all of your communications with parents. Encourage parents to get involved, by working with their child! After all, we are trying to nurture the innate passion, curiosity, and creativity of children both at school and home!
  5. Be sure to tweet out any photos you may receive from parents or students, as they are working on their creations at home.
  6. Plan some time in your schedule on Friday, October 9th, to take your scholars on a gallery walk to see some inspiring and creative cardboard creations on display!

I can't wait to see the creations our scholars design! By providing opportunities like this for our scholars, we are teaching them to be creative thinkers and doers, as well as the importance of sharing their best ideas with the world!

Caine's Arcade

Dates to Remember

9/28 STEM Leadership 3:00-3:45

9/29 PLC Week A - 5th grade - 2:00-3:30

9/30 PLC Week A - 4th grade - 2:00-3:30

9/30 Dyslexia Simulation - 3:15 - 4:45 @ Cannon Required for ALL teachers

10/1 PLC Week A - 3rd grade - 2:00 - 3:30

10/2 PTA Back to School Family Picnic - 6:00 pm

10/5 Picture Day

10/5 Wear Blue - Anti-Bullying Day

10/5 U.CAN 3:00-3:45

10/6 Lockdown Drill

10/6 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30

10/7-10/8 Early Release K-5 11:45 - Parent Conferences

10/7 6 week Progress Reports date

10/7 PLC Week B - Kinder - during conference time; 2nd grade - during conference time

10/12 Student Holiday - Professional Learning Day for staff

10/13 PLC Week A - 5th grade 2:00-3:30

10/14 PLC Week A - 4th grade 2:00-3:30

10/15 PLC Week A - 3rd grade 2:00-3:30

10/16 End of the 1st nine weeks

10/16 Fire Drill -1:30

10/19 STEM Leadership -3:00-3:45

10/20 Spring Creek Night for Cannon families!

10/20 4th grade goes to Nash Farms

10/20 PLC Week B - 1st grade 2:00-3:30

10/21 PLC Week B - Kindergarten 2:00-3:30

10/22 PLC Week B - 2nd grade 2:00-3:30

10/21-10/23 5th Grade to Sky Ranch


  • SEPTEMBER FRUIT INFUSER DAY IS MONDAY, 9/28! - Don't forget to wash out those Cannon Fruit Infuser Water Bottles and bring them to school on Monday! The September Fruit of the Month will be provided for you in the teacher's lounge, courtesy of Lisa Brown. Enjoy!!

  • GCISD EDUCATION FOUNDATION GIVING CAMPAIGN - Remember to return your donor form to Mandy and/or let her know if you make an online donation. The Giving Campaign ends on 10/6. Thank you in advance for your willingness to support a GREAT cause - the GC Education Foundation!

  • ENGINEERING DESIGN PRODUCTS NEEDED! Several classrooms have been working on great engineering projects, as well as this month's Book of the Month Challenge with their scholars! We are in the process of creating our first school K-5 display of engineering project examples and need some from YOUR class! Please select 2-3 projects that are of high quality to be displayed and give them to Tona. Make sure they have the scholar's name on them and a brief description of the product. Each month, we want to showcase the products/models/prototypes our scholars create, from engineering projects and/or the Book of the Month challenge. This way, all of our scholars, K-5, can have their ideas displayed for the school to see. Click here to read Tina's newsletter for all of the information you need about this month's Book of the Month.

  • OCTOBER EARLY RELEASE DAYS - SCHEDULES & EXPECTATIONS - October 7 & 8 are both early release days for all K-5 scholars. They are dismissed at 11:45 on each day. Please make sure you are communicating this information early to all parents! Start prioritizing which parents you need to have some 1:1 time with during these dates and schedule parent conferences early, in order to maximize your time and ensure that this time is spent in the most beneficial way possible! Early intervention and communication is essential to ensure success for ALL scholars!

  • ATTENDANCE SPIRIT STICKS BEGIN THIS WEEK! - Anne will begin awarding our class Attendance Spirit Sticks at this week's Friday Assembly!! Each Friday, the class at each grade level that has 5 or fewer tardies, absences, & early dismissals for that week will receive the weekly spirit stick. The week for attendance counts will run from Friday to Thursday. Spirit sticks need to be returned to the office each Thursday, to be ready to award at the Friday assemblies. Also, NEW THIS YEAR, Anne will be sharing criteria for how students can earn individual attendance spirit sticks for their backpacks!! Kids LOVE to collect these!! Please share this information with your scholars and get them pumped up about earning this recognition for your class!

  • GLOBAL READ ALOUD 2015 - All staff received an email from Tina over the weekend explaining and encouraging you to participate in the Global Read Aloud 2015 project! This provides another wonderful opportunity for our scholars to make global connections. Be sure to check out all of the details in Tina's newsletter!


  • Set a timer and complete daily attendance ON TIME!
  • Stop by the teacher's lounge for some fresh fruit to infuse in your water bottle Monday morning!
  • STEM Leadership meeting on Monday, 9/28 for all STEM Leadership team members!
  • Select 2-3 quality engineering/Book of Month products/models to give to Tona for school display.
  • Attend the required Dyslexia training for all staff on Wednesday 3:15 in library
  • Promote the 2015 Cardboard Challenge to your scholars and parents!
  • Consider donating to GCISD Education Foundation - support our schools!
  • Remind parents about the Back to School Family Picnic on Friday, 10/2. Plan for someone on your team to attend this event!
  • Work on your websites, blogs, and social media accounts to get them updated. Ask Ben for help!
  • Tweet & blog about all of the great things you are doing in your classroom/grade!