Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Week 6.2

Celebrate Excellence
Our schools run so smoothly, but how smoothly would they run without our secretaries and office staff?  This Wednesday, April 27 is Administrative Assistants Day, so make sure you take time to thank all of our wonderful ladies around the district who consistently go above and beyond to help students, parents and staff.

Growing Excellence (+10 for ALL) 
STAAR scores are in, and we are so proud of our 5th and 8th grade reading and math teachers for their hard work in helping our students grow in their learning.  Thank you to the following teachers:

  • 5th Reading - Melanie Miller and Andrea Singleton
  • 5th Math - Mechelle McMichael and Kristin Lacy
  • 8th Reading - Melissa Dixon
  • 8th Math - Tracy Roden

The most impressive data that I would like to share is how many students grew from their performance last year.  77% of our 5th reading students grew from their performance last year. 94% of our 5th grade math students grew from last year, 71% of our 8th grade reading students grew from last year, and 87% of our 8th grade math students grew from last year.  To put that in perspective, 57% of Texas students grew in 2015.  Tatum ISD students are not just passing.  They are growing in their learning.

For more information, here is a link to tell you how much we have grown this year.

College AND Career 

Do you want to encourage a student to be a Spanish teacher?  Check out this College and Career project by Madelyn Haden and Daisy Hillin in Coach Rocha's Spanish class.

Making High School Registration like College

Below is an image showing how our incoming 9th through 12th graders will register for next year's classes and update their personal graduation plan using Career Cruising software.  Students will log in to their account look at their transcript and select courses in the same fashion that they will do that for college.  Special thanks to Jo Miller for all of her work in getting this new feature up and running.

Google Me This 

Upcoming Dates 
  • Wed, 4/27 - Early Dismissal (Campus Principals will give more specific instructions.)
  • Wed, 4/27 - Adminsitrative Assistants Day
  • Mon, 5/2 - EOCs begin at THS
  • Mon 5/2 - 5/6 - Teacher Appreciation Week
  • Thu, 5/5 - Cinco de Mayo celebrations at all campuses
  • Mon, 5/9 - STAAR 3 - 8 begins at TES and TMS
  • Tue, 5/17 - 8th Grade College and Career Commitment Day
  • Tue, 5/17 - Fine Arts Forum from 6:30 - 8:00
  • Fri, 5/20 - Bad Weather Day
  • Wed, 5/25 - Last Day of School and Early Release Day
  • Thu, 5/26 - Staff Development - District Required T-TESS Training
  • Fri, 5/27 - Staff Development - District Required Training
  • Mon, 5/30 - Memorial Day - School Holiday
  • Tue, 5/31 - Thu 6/2 - Campus Based Professional Development
  • Fri, 6/3 - Staff Work Day
  • Mon, 6/6 - Summer School Begins

 What I'm Learning

Friday, April 15, 2016

Week 6.1

Celebrate Excellence

Congratulations to Rylie Lassen and Connor Humphrey for earning summer camp scholarships from the Region 7 Gifted and Talented department.  Rylie earned the scholarship for the "Adventures in Marine Biology camp, and Connor earned the scholarship for the the "Minecraft - Challenge" camp. 

Growing Excellence (+10 for ALL) 
With STAAR beginning in 2 weeks for THS and 3 weeks for TES and TMS, I have a few questions for you.
  • Do your students know what their +10 goal for improvement is?
  • Do your students know what they need to do to reach their +10 goal?
  • What is your +10 goal for improvement this year?
  • What motivational strategies will you use to get your kids excited, inspired and confident that they can reach their +10 goal?
Remember, motivation adds 5 to 10 points to the  test, and the more motivated and confident kids are, the more likely it is that they will reach their goal.

 College AND Career 

Thank you to Scott Eppler for bringing Trey Sellers from Luminant to discuss this career path.

 Google Me This 

Check out how easy it is to share files on Google Drive now.  Created by @thegooglegooru

 Upcoming Dates 
  • Mon, 4/18 - Beginning of 6th 6 Weeks
  • Wed, 4/20 - Administrative Professionals' Day (Secretary's Day)
  • Wed, 4/27 - Early Dismissal (Campus Principals will give more specific instructions.)
  • Mon, 5/2 - EOCs begin at THS
  • Thu, 5/5 - Cinco de Mayo celebrations at all campuses
  • Mon, 5/9 - STAAR 3 - 8 begins at TES and TMS

 What I'm Learning

20 Strategies to Motivate Reluctant Learners

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tatum ISD Teachers of the Year

The 2016 Tatum ISD campus and district Teachers of the Year have been selected.  We have amazing teachers throughout our district who go above and beyond every day, and the honorees selected as Tatum ISD Teachers of the Year exemplify the beliefs of Excellence for All and Where Every Student is Special through their commitment to all students, through the model of excellence they set for their colleagues and through their tireless effort to continuously improve in their craft as educators.  Please join us in congratulating the following educators.

TISD Elementary Teacher of the Year - Teresa Beazley
  • 5th grade science and writing teacher.
  • Educator for 24 years
  • Quote - I teach the system, "Believe, Behave, and Become".  In my classroom, students learn that they can be whatever they want to be if they are willing to put in the work.  

TISD Secondary Teacher of the Year - Kin Bryan

  • Industrial Technology teacher.
  • Educator for 23 years
  • Quote - My goal is to have a positive impact on students and to help them achieve success, and I believe that all students can be successful.  However, I believe that success is better measured by the lessons learned rather than the grades earned.

Tatum Primary School Teacher of the Year - April Dygert
  • 2nd grade ELA and social studies teacher.
  • Educator for 11 years
  • Quote - I believe that my greatest contributions and accomplishments in education are found in the pure fact that I'm doing what I love.  I get the privilege every day to come to a building where lives are changed, and I love being able to work with a great group of staff and collaborate with one another.

Tatum High School Teacher of the Year - Melody Ojeda
  • CTE teacher and Debate Sponsor
  • Educator for 4 years.
  • Quote - What my heart desired was the gratification of seeing a student 'get it' for the first time, the opportunity to offer kind words to a student who may never hear them at home, to be a 'surrogate' mother to those who don't have one, or just to offer a safe atmosphere to those who need it most.  I realized that those were the people whose lives I was intended to touch.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 5.6

Celebrate Excellence

Congratulations to the THS UIL One Act Play for advancing to the area competition this Saturday.

Congratulations to the UIL Academic team for winning 2nd place at the district UIL meet on Tuesday.

Congratulations to the Tatum FFA for winning the Tractor Supply Company Grants for Growing grant from Tractor Supply Company and the National FFA Foundation.  The grant is valued at $1500.

Congratulations to Melody Ojeda's banking class for earning a $100 gift card for high level of engagement in the H&R Block Budget Challenge.

The TMS Makerspace continues to spark creativity.  On the right, you see 2 fishing lures that were designed and made using the 3D printer.  Congratulations to Parker Elliott (top) and Jaxon Evans (bottom) for their hard work and creativity.

Growing Excellence (+10 for ALL) 

I thoroughly enjoy Toby Mac's music, but I think I like following him on Instagram and Facebook more.  Every day there is something inspirational that keeps me focused on the important things.  Today, I want to share one of those things with you.  All too often, we get tired and think that we really can't change what's going on in the classroom, and so we avoid confronting it and fix our minds on dealing with it.

This week, I want to push you to focus on this quote and ask yourself this question.  "If I want things to change, am I ready change first?"  As long we continue with the same old behaviors, our results never change, but if we make a stronger investment and double down on our belief in ourselves and our abilities, we will see a better outcome.  Kids deserve our best investment because it could be just the thing that will forever change their outcome.

College AND Career 
On March 24, seniors in Bryan Price and Tyler Terry's economics classes attended their first virtual college fair which was hosted by Region 10 ESC in Dallas.  The students were able to chat live with over 100 colleges and universities in Texas and out of state straight from their chromebooks.  Students found the event beneficial as they had the opportunity to see the school, chat with school representatives and register themselves to win a $1000 scholarship just for participating

Check out this career research projects from Trey Miller and Vilia Payne's classes. 

 Google Me This 
Do we have 21st century classrooms?  Zoom in on this infographic and check out the data and statistics.  You can also go to this link.

 Upcoming Dates 
  • Mon, 4/11 - Give Formative Assessments (unless campus has changed date to different week)
  • Mon, 4/11 - #LoveMySchoolDay - Share examples of the awesome things happening in your school on Twitter with the hashtag.
  • Fri, 4/15 - End of 5th 6 Weeks (Begin Response to Assessment for FA's)
  • Mon, 4/18 - Beginning of 6th 6 Weeks
  • Wed, 4/20 - Administrative Professionals' Day (Secretary's Day)

 What I'm Learning

The 8 Best Chrome Extensions As Chosen By Teachers (#7 is my favorite)

Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week – 4 Tips for Using YouTube Videos in Your Classroom

20 Strategies for Motivating Reluctant Learners

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Week 5.5

Celebrate Excellence

STAAR Week will be over on Friday and I would like to thank everyone for your hard work in making this a smooth week.  I would first like to thank our counselors for organizing all of the tests, accommodations and everything else that we necessary to set our kids up for success.  I would also like to thank our principals for leading their campus to success.  Thank you to every teacher, support staff and volunteer for helping ensure that the test went well for every student.  Finally, I would like to thank our cafeteria staff, custodial staff and maintenance staff for all of your work behind the scenes to make sure that our buildings were clean and cool and our lunches were hot and ready for the kids.  This was truly a team effort to ensure that Excellence for All becomes a reality.

Luh Putu Januwati has begun claymation at TES where students are using clay to create characters and tell stories.  To the right one of our students has created a character and is experimenting with how his story might be told.  In honor of the NCAA Basketball tournament that ends this weekend with the final four, here is a claymation of the 1982 Finals.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 5.4

Celebrate Excellence
STAAR testing is next week in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, and EOC.  This week, I would like to highlight the teachers who have been working so hard to prepare the students for these challenging tests.  Please take time this week to help me thank the following teachers for all of their hard work.

  • 4th Writing - Deborah Johnson and Linda Robertson
  • 5th Reading - Andrea Singleton and Melanie Miller
  • 5th Math - Kristin Lacy and Mechelle McMichael
  • 7th Writing - Saundra Morris
  • 8th Reading - Melissa Dixon
  • 8th Math - Tracy Roden
  • English 1 - DeBranda Bradford
  • English 2 - Kevin Grace

I would also like to thank Angie Garcia and Luh Putu Januwati for all of their leadership and support in giving our teachers the tools they needed to help all students succeed in their learning this year. 

Below is a schedule of when tests for next week.

Tuesday, 3/29/16
STAAR Grade 4 Writing
STAAR Grade 5 Math
STAAR Grade 7 Writing
STAAR Grade 8 Math
STAAR EOC English 1
Wednesday, 3/30/16
STAAR Grade 5 Reading
STAAR Grade 8 Reading
Thursday, 3/31/16
STAAR EOC English 2
Make up testing for all tests
Friday, 4/1/16
Make up testing for all tests

Growing Excellence (+10 for ALL) 

The Texas accountability system is largely focused on 2 things:  student growth and advanced performance.  In the table below, I have listed some approximate scores that students will need to earn in order to pass the test, earn a college-ready score, and earn an advanced score.  As you visit with your students about STAAR, you can use the scores below to set attainable goals for students just below passing. You can also create "stretch goals" that push students to strive for college-ready performance and advanced level performance.

TestGradePassingCollege ReadyAdvanced Level
ReadingEng 157%64%83%
ReadingEng 259%66%87%
MathAlg 140%63%78%
Social Studies854%73%83%
Social StudiesUS45%63%79%

College AND Career 

Have you or your students ever wondered what it takes to pursue a career as an athletic trainer?  Check out this Google Slide by Alannah C. in Melinda Qualls' Health Science class.

Google Me This 

What do Raspberry Pi, Legos, Animation, Engineering and Robotics have in common?  They have lots of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics.  At TISD we have tons of opportunities for our students to unleash their creativity.  Check out this video to see what our kids are creating through the use of technology.  Thank you to Cristi Whiddon and Cindy Haston for sharing pics of these new technologies that connect kids to school.

 Upcoming Dates 

  • Fri, 3/25 - Bad Weather Day / Good Friday
  • Tue, 3/29 - Fri, 4/1 - STAAR Testing 
    • Tue - 4 & 7 Writing, 5 & 8 Math, English 1
    • Wed - 5 & 8 Reading
    • Thu - English 2
    • Fri - Make-up Testing
  • Thu, 4/7 - TELPAS Verification and submission
  • Fri, 4/11 - Give Formative Assessments (unless campus has changed date to different week)
  • Fri, 4/15 - End of 5th 6 Weeks (Begin Response to Assessment for FA's)

What I'm Learning

The 8 Best Chrome Extensions As Chosen By Teachers (#7 is my favorite)

The biggest indictment of our schools is not their failure to raise test scores by Scott McLeod

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Week 5.3

Celebrate Excellence
TPS Makerspace

This week, I would like to highlight all of the learning possibilities our libraries are providing to kids.  As libraries around the country are becoming more than an inventory of books due to the introduction of e-readers, computer-based programs and videos, our MITS have begun to explore new and different ways that students can see an even bigger reason why the library is the hub of learning for the school.  

Throughout the district, students are coming to the library to "make".  In other words, students are using the library to create, experiment and explore.  Students at the primary are making new worlds like the one you see to your right.  Elementary students are learning about coding, stock markets, the history of Tatum and other technology based tools, and middle school and high school students are learning how to use Raspberry Pi's to make robots, and Sphero's to learn how to code in a meaningful way.

Our libraries are doing a great job meeting the kids where there interests are and offering opportunities for students to create products that you won't find on a test.  Thank you to Jennifer Day, Cindy Haston, Veronica Wilkerson, and Cristi Whiddon for all of their hard work. Stay tuned next week, as I share a video highlighting the progress of our Maker-movement.

Growing Excellence (+10 for ALL) 
Motivation can add 10 points to a test.  It can take 10 seconds off of your long distance run, and it may just add 10 years to your life.  When we are motivated, we get more done and we get it done more enthusiastically.  To put it another way, motivation is exponent of life.  The more of it we have, the more fruitful our life will be.

Well, what if you're not motivated?
Bill Ferriter shared an interesting article by @MindShift about the brain research behind motivation and it revealed that if we psyche ourselves up and focus our thoughts on being successful, we will ignite the neurons in the part of the brain that controls motivation.  So the evidence is conclusive, we can motivate ourselves if we want to.

So what if our students are unmotivated learners?
After reading the article, I was drawn to a @MindShift article called 20 Strategies for Motivating Reluctant Learners.  The piece highlighted Kathy Perez an educator and consultant who shared her ideas to fire up the neurons of our unmotivated students.  She pointed out that motivated learning requires lots of action and excitement.  Here are a  couple of reminders that we must never forget if we want to fire up our kids for learning.

  • Student attention equals 1 minute per year of age.  For example, 8 years olds have an attention span for any given activity for 8 minutes.
  • Boredom is Motivation's Kryptonite - If you don't respond to student boredom, they will lose the motivation to learn.
  • Goal Setting is Essential - If we want kids to stay motivated, they must help set measurable and attainable goals that will keep them focused on the learning for the day.
  • Group Collaboration with short time limits - As opposed to allowing 5 minutes to do group collaboration, Kathy recommends using seconds, like 72 seconds, to collaborate. The short amount of time actually focuses kids on more active learning.
In order to motivate the unmotivated, it requires us to matter to kids.  It has to be learning that it attainable, but most importantly it has to be safe. The biggest turn-off to learning is not just when the learning is boring.  It is when the learning makes kids believe they can't learn the content.

Motivated Learning is SMART.
If you want more kids excited about the learning in your classroom, you have to determine if the learning faciliates the SMART mentality.
  • Specific & Stimulating - Does the learning have a specific goal, and is it introduced in a way that piques our students' curiosity to want to know more about it.  
  • Meaningful & eMpowering - Do we find a way to make the learning meaningful to our kids, and do we create learning opportunities that empower them to make their own meaning of learning. 
  • Attainable & Applicable - Do we stretch our kids to reach attainable short-term goals along the way, and do we allow our students to apply what they learn in predictable and unpredicatable situations.
  • Results-Oriented & Real-World - Do our learning tasks yield tangible results that students can use to drive their next steps in learning, and does our learning apply to real-world that our students know and understand.
  • Time-Bound & Targeted - Does our learning optimize time and give kids a clear target to shoot for at all times?
The best part of my reason was this video that I found at the end of the second article.  It clearly articulates what kids need to be motivated to learn. 

College AND Career 
Check out this TNT video by Tori Robinson on how Annie Thompson's Grad Point class is helping students reach their College and Career goals.

Google Me This - Slides

Google Slides are for more than presentations.  In this video below by +The Gooru you can use slides to create a wide variety of newsletters or newspapers for your classroom or campus.  Beyond using it for teacher or leader purposes, students could use this tool to make all kids of products to show their learning.  Here are just a few ways that you can have your students use Google Slides as a formative assessment.

  • A history class could make a newspaper from a time period that they are studying.
  • Science or math classes could make a study guide over a unit of study and embed videos they find on YouTube or other sources.
  • English classes could make a newsletter from a novel they are reading together as a class.
  • CTE classes could make a want ad for careers they are studying.
  • Foreign language classes can make a vocabulary or conjugation study guide and add videos they create to show proper speaking of the language.

Google slides are too cool not to incorporate into your instruction for a number of reasons.  First the layout provides so many more opportunities for graphic creativity.  Second, images and videos are easy to embed into the document, and last, there is no one correct way for kids to show their learning. The teacher can assign each student or group of students a page for them to edit and when the students are complete, you have a multitude of pages where students have shown their thinking.  Google Slides help students learn from one another's work as they create evidence of their learning.

Upcoming Dates 
  • Thu, 3/24 - Deadline to enter Mock tests & FAs into DMAC
  • Fri, 3/25 - Bad Weather Day / Good Friday
  • Tue, 3/29 - Fri, 4/1 - STAAR Testing 
    • Tue - 4 & 7 Writing, 5 & 8 Math, English 1
    • Wed - 5 & 8 Reading
    • Thu - English 2
    • Fri - Make-up Testing
  • Thu, 4/7 - TELPAS Verification

What I'm Learning

A Bigger Vision by George Couros

Movenote is a great way to use technology to do a virtual presentation.  It can connect directly to your email and you can create and share your presentation to your kids.