Hall Elementary Teacher Newsletter

September 29, 2014

This Week

STAR Testing Window. Test this week!


Send progress reports to office - with comments written- by the end of the day


Planning Meetings


Meet with Mrs. Gray to discuss Test Security and Office 365 - Bring your laptop


Deadline for completing Google Survey for Mrs. Mitchell

Upcoming Events

September 29- Progress Reports Due in Office

October 3 - Progress Reports Mailed

October 6- FACULTY MEETING 3:30-4:30

October 6-9- EQT Testing

October 6-10 - Food Drive for Bay Area Food Bank

October 9- 1st Quarter Ends

October 13 - Fall Picture Day

October 20 - Statewide Parenting Day

October 20- Report Card Pick Up - 8:00-3:00

October 21- Read Across America

October 27-October 30 - Red Ribbon Week


Hall Elementary Literacy Focus

It has been heavy on my mind that the implementation of our Units of Study may create a freedom in planning that will allow us to veer off in too many directions. The key to our past success has been a narrow focus. I would like for us to narrow our focus on a few instructional strategies that can be implemented K-5 and can be integrated across content areas. We could use those strategies as the foundation of our instruction so that our students become comfortable with these strategies and can use them independently as you move into more student-centered instruction. I have attached a Google Doc survey for you to complete. It will let me know that strategies that you find be the most beneficial in your class. Please complete it by Friday. I will compile the data and we will talk more about this process at our faculty meeting next Monday.

Good News!

United Way Winner

Thank you for your support during the United Way Student Campaign. George Hall raised a total of $363.05! Mrs. Arensberg’ s class raised $73.23. Her class will receive 10 Golden Eggs and a pizza party in the Eagles Nest!

Box Top Winners

The BoxTop winners this week are Mrs. Norwood, Mrs. Washington, and Ms. McDonough (there was a tie this week)! So far, we have collected 2,551 in total! That means we have met our quarterly goal! You guys are awesome! Keep them coming!


Classroom DoJo

Many of you use Classroom Dojo. Thanks to Carey, I just learned that there is a Dojo app! You can add your classroom Dojo to your iPad or iPhone and continue monitoring behavior in the hallways or at lunch.



I have to acknowledge when I drop the ball. Between retreats and meetings, and Ms. Coffey being out ( she lays the eggs, you know...), I did not give out eggs last week. I know that you and your students are working hard and I want to be sure that those efforts do not go unnoticed. I am asking that support staff also step up the egg giving too! I am placing a schedule outside of the Eagles Nest. When you reach 15 eggs, sign up for a time on the schedule. We will do a better job of recognizing the good job you are doing :O)


If you are not new to Hall you know that we have ALWAYS focused on limited transition time. Every minute lost to transition is a minute of instruction lost. Not being prepared or a lack of consistently implemented procedures will surely lead to lost instructional time. As I walk through the building, I notice that there are some issues with classes in what looks like perpetual transition. Below you will see things that I have found to be areas in need of improvement. Clearly, I am not speaking to everyone. If you notice that your class could do better in one of these areas, please make an effort to work on it.


Mrs. Hunter has revised their schedule to make sure that breakfast is in your rooms by 7:30 each morning. Breakfast is over when the 8:00 bell rings. NO EXCEPTIONS. Please make sure that you are following this schedule. If a child comes in right at 8:00 they have missed breakfast. Instruction begins at 8:00. Also, please make sure that you are accurately marking the roll that you turn in to the cafeteria. We need to be sure that the information that you provide Mrs. Hunter matches what is in INow. Make sure that your students either finish their beverages or pour out any extra juice or milk in your sink before you place the containers in the garbage. There is a huge issue with bags leaking in the hallways and causing extra work on the custodians.


Snack should be a brief break, 10-15 minutes at the most. It should not linger beyond this timeframe. Students should only have one snack.

Restroom Breaks

Look around and see what times other classes are out to use the restroom. Every class on a hall cannot go to the restroom at the same time without creating a traffic jam in the halls. Stagger your breaks so that you can get in and out and back to class quickly. When you are in the restroom be sure to fill every stall and get in and out as quickly as you can.

From the Other Mrs. Mitchell: Library News

See attached AR data

Mrs. Gray: Technology and Federal Programs Reminders

  • Parents need to sign and return Parent Compacts. Turn in one complete set to Mrs. Gray and keep one complete set on file in your classroom.

  • I will meet briefly with the staff on Thurs. Oct. 2 to discuss:

    · EQT Guidelines and Security

    · Office 365

    They will need to bring their laptops.

Ms. Miller: Curriculum Notes

  • If you have students in RtI, remember to progress monitor them weekly in STAR, and provide Tier II and Tier III intervention daily.
  • Students in RtI should be on iReady daily.
  • STAR testing window is next week (M-F). All students need to test during this time to show up on the screening report.

    o K-2 STAR Early Literacy

    o 3-5 STAR Reading

    o 1-5 STAR Math

Math Facts in a Flash (2nd-5th grade) – I will give 1 egg for each class when they get to 50% of the class at benchmark level, 75% of the class, and 90% of the class.

Think Through Math (3rd- 5th grade)– Model for the remainder of the quarter. Beginning 2nd quarter students will need to complete a minimum of 2 lessons per week.

Bulletin Boards

A reminder from the Teacher Handbook:

Bulletin boards are important part of the total physical and educational environment, and should be colorful, timely, relevant, and teachable. The classrooms and halls should feature student work that reflects what is presently being taught in your classroom. Bulletin boards must have the ACCRS standards displayed.

Bulletin boards must be changed by the 1st of each month.

Please take a look at your bulletin boards and ask yourself if they reflect the quality that has been the norm at Hall in past years. Our hallways should be vibrant and filled with student work.

Math PLT Notes

We had a very productive Math PLT meeting this week.

Our Math PLT goal as a building is: What can we do differently in our classrooms to facilitate the CCRS Math Practice Standards in order to engage students in productive discourse.

In order to do this, we will continue to use Engage NY lessons, with a focus on conceptual learning. We will focus on aligning essential questions and exit slips. Talk Moves are useful to help guide discussions. They should be visible to students and should be used throughout the school day in all settings. The Standards for Mathematical Practice should also be visible to students during math class, and they should be a useful reference for them. Your Math PLT grade level representative will share with you some ideas that we all discussed today.

We also discussed the need to deepen teacher understanding of the concepts before teaching them. A few resources that can help with this are: Learnzillion videos, Teacher Toolbox, Math Flip Book, and MCPSS resource available on Moodle.

Food Drive

Bay Area Food Bank Food Drive will take place Oct 6-Oct 10. For every 25 items a class collects they will receive an egg. The class that collects the most items in the school will receive a pizza party.


ACT Aspire

Below you will find the initial round of ACT Aspire data that has been released to us. Remember that the ARMT measured basic proficiency, while the Aspire measures ACT readiness. I will share more grade level specific data as I receive it. We will focus on growth in every area. I want to be sure that we focus on teaching the standards thoroughly so that we can be assured that our kids have a deep, meaningful understanding. I also want to be sure that we focus on creating assessments that mirror the types of questions and tasks expected on the Aspire. We will soon have access to computer based practice tests, but you need to make sure that the assessments that you create are rigorous and provide students with purposeful practice toward Aspire testing.

As you can see, we have work to do. We need to focus and work hard each day. We CAN do this! Please know that the need to provide meaningful, engaging, rigorous instruction and the immediate need to eliminate wasteful transition time are key to providing our kids what they need to be successful.

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Accelerated Reader

AR is looking better each week. Thank you for the efforts you are making. Remember to work on finding the balance of having kids reading and scoring high on books within their ZPD and 35/Z/90 should come naturally.

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Document Links

Helpful Links

Good Reads... and Videos



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Have a great week :O)