Bryan Adams Feeder News

November 16, 2014

In this Isssue:

Week in Review:

  • Thanks to Bryan Adams Team for Open House
  • Congrats to Robotics & Academic Decathlon
  • Donors Choose Pk-3 Literacy Grants
  • New Teacher Support

Upcoming Events:

  • TEI Expert Meeting
  • Elem Content Tune Ups
  • Assistant Principal Feeder Meetings
  • Gaston Family Math Night

Cougar Reading Den:

  • Student-led Discussions

Links for Feeder Use:

  • School Choice Link
  • BA Roaring Readers Volunteer Link

Kudos to Bryan Adams High School for a Successful Open House Evening

Thank you to the many teachers, students, feeder schools, and guests for making this annual open house a great evening! Special thanks to our guest performances from the Sanger Choir and Hill MS cheerleaders.

Bryan Adams Cougars Lead the Way!

Cougarbots IED Robotics Team competed at the Dallas Invitational Meet on Saturday and took 1st place. The ten member team are all 9th grade students in our Academy of Engineering. Go Cougars!!

The BA Academic Decathlon Team competed Saturday in the Dallas District Academic Decathlon Meet and advanced to the Regional Academic Decathlon Meet January 30 - 31, 2015. The team placed fourth overall and the athletes received a total of nine medals in math, science, art, music, social science and economics. Awesome job, Cougars!

Donors Choose Grant Samples and Instructions

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, the Commit! Partnership is planning to market DonorsChoose K-3rd grade literacy projects in SOC, Molina, TJ, Bryan Adams, and White (both the week of Nov. 24th and Dec. 22nd) to help generate funding from the community. While full project funding is not guaranteed (as funding is dependent on project quality and community will), last year 84% of projects marketed by the Commit! Partnership were fully funded.

We're only featuring well-written projects that are within the $500-$700 range (check the link above for examples and guidelines). The deadline for teachers to upload projects online is Tuesday, Nov. 18th for the Thanksgiving blast and Monday, Dec. 15th for the Christmas and New Years blasts.

Research is clear --- students must spend quality time reading books at their "right fit level" to develop reading proficiency. Yet, classroom libraries are expensive and take years to build. This is a great opportunity to add to your classroom library so all students have access to multiple books that speak to their interests and align to their reading level. Let's make this happen, Cougars!


Let's Make time to Support New Teachers in our Bryan Adams Feeder Pattern

The first year of teaching is a challenging task even under the best circumstances. New teachers are on a huge learning curve and recognizing the phases they go through gives us a framework within which we can support and help increase positive experiences. According to research, we are at the hardest part of the year from November through December. Let's join together to support our new teachers in the Bryan Adams Feeder Pattern! Please take time to offer encouragement, support planning and share resources. Sometimes even a simple, friendly interaction will make a huge difference.

Anticipation - Teachers have just completed a teacher training program. They are eager and excited about their initial teaching assignment. They have expectations about how it is going to be.

Survival - Reality hits. New teachers can become overwhelmed with all the aspects of the job they didn’t anticipate. They are working 60+ hour weeks. They still maintain their enthusiasm but are getting tired.

Disillusionment - New teachers are working hard, but feel they are not getting as far as they had hoped. They are surprised at reality and wonder if this is the right profession for them. Illness often characterizes this phase. This phase also corresponds with parent conferences and the first evaluation conference.

Rejuvenation - New teachers have just had a few weeks off for winter break. They have completed half the year and can see the end in sight. They have gained coping strategies to manage the problems they may encounter. They begin to feel a sense of confidence. They begin to focus on curriculum development. They are more optimistic about their capabilities.

Reflection - Towards the end of the year, new teachers begin to reflect on changes that they want to make for the next year. They begin to critically analyze the past year, thinking ahead to what they will change for next year.

Anticipation “2" - New teachers begin to look forward to the next year but their eagerness to try again is more reality-based. The level of anticipation never quite reaches the height that it was prior to their first teaching position.

*Developed by Ellen Moir, New Teacher Center, University of Santa Cruz

Upcoming Feeder Events

TEI Expert Meeting

Monday, Nov. 17th, 4-6pm

2101 Millmar Dr

Dallas, TX

Elem Feeder Reading & Math Content Tune Ups

Monday, Nov. 17th, 3:30-5:30pm

2100 Farola Dr

Dallas, TX

Bryan Adams Assistant Principal Meeting - Elem

Tuesday, Nov. 18th, 2-5pm

11230 Lippitt Ave

Dallas, TX

Feeder College Shirt Day! (3rd Thursday)

Thursday, Nov. 20th, 8am-4pm

Everywhere in the Bryan Adams Feeder!

Bryan Adams Secondary Assistant Principal Meeting

Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2:30-4:30pm

505 Easton Rd

Dallas, TX

Gaston Family Night

Thursday, Nov. 20th, 6-8pm

9565 Mercer Dr

Dallas, TX

For the Cougar Reading Den:

From the Marshall Memo: Student-Led Discusions (Originally titled “Talking to Learn”)

“Some of my happiest, most rewarding moments as an educator have been hearing what comes out of learners’ mouths when I get out of the way,” says Elizabeth City (Harvard Graduate School of Education) in this Educational Leadership article. “Talking matters to learning. Although it’s possible to think without talking – and to talk without much thinking – each can strengthen the other. Talking also provides windows into what students are learning.” Rich classroom conversations also go to the heart of democratic schooling, she says: the better students get at thinking, speaking, and listening, the better off we’ll all be.

So why do teachers do most of the talking in classrooms? And why is so much student talk unimpressive? City believes there are five reasons:

- We have other priorities. Curriculum coverage. Test preparation. Even if “accountable talk” is in the school-improvement plan, other things push it aside.

- It’s hard to step outside the traditional paradigm: the teacher steers discussions, the students follow in familiar roles.

- We’re afraid. Teachers fear losing control. Students fear not knowing how to play the game of school. Both fear sounding stupid.

- We believe that only “advanced” learners can drive discussions.

- Everyone thinks silences should be avoided at all costs.

There’s no question that having rich, authentic discussions is difficult, says City. It involves balancing each of these elements: safety, challenge, authentic participation, and ownership.

Students must feel safe from being attacked, but discussions shouldn’t be so safe that no one takes risks. The level of challenge must be just right – not too hard and not too easy. This is tricky, but City believes we often underestimate what students can handle. “Authentic participation means students offer questions or comments that deepen their own and others’ understanding and make space for multiple voices and ideas to be heard,” she says. And ownership is key: not anarchy, in which students “veer wildly from one side of the intellectual road to another while the teacher sits back like a powerless passenger,” nor dictatorship, with the teacher saying, “I want you to discuss…” In a successful discussion, says City, “students ask most of the questions, connecting with and building on one another’s ideas, taking responsibility for the tenor of the conversation, and talking with one another… The teacher is valued and respected as a member of the discussion community – albeit one with more experience and expertise – but she or he is not deferred to as the authority.” How can this happen?

Set the stage. Students should be in a circle or U so they can see each others’ faces.

Think-pair-share. Getting students to think, jot down ideas, and chat with an elbow partner is an excellent way to ramp up participation and authenticity.

Use discussion protocols. In Save the Last Word, students read a text in advance and choose a sentence or passage they consider important or striking. A group convenes, one person reads the passage he or she chose aloud, the others have one minute each to respond, then the first person gets “the last word,” with 2-3 minutes to explain the choice and connect with what others said. In Four A’s, students read a text with four questions in mind: What do you agree with? What assumptions does the author hold? What do you want to argue with? And what parts of the text do you aspire to?

Use texts. It’s possible to have student-driven discussions without texts, says City, but well-chosen texts are very helpful. They provide common ground for a conversation and offer pathways to ideas, experiences, and feelings. They don’t have to be print – art, music, maps, primary documents, essays, political cartoons, and math problems are fine. One discussion used two photographs of Abraham Lincoln, one taken shortly before he became president, one shortly before his death.

Focus on process. Content is the central focus, says City, but “a little attention to process can make a big difference in quality.” Facilitators and participants can set goals – “Talk more,” “Listen more,” “Ask a question” – or a collective goal like “Let’s try to connect with one another’s ideas” or “Let’s refer to the text more.” And at the end of the discussion, it’s good to reflect on how it went. How did we do on safety? How challenging was the conversation? Who participated and who didn’t? How authentic and educative was it?

“Talking to Learn” by Elizabeth City in Educational Leadership, November 2014 (Vol. 72, #3, p. 10-16),; City can be reached at

Yes, the long awaited School Choice Applications are Available! Click the link to learn more.

BA Roaring Readers Volunteer Information