Monday, October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Great things are happening at Crystal Middle School.  Teachers and parents are increasing their knowledge base.  Teachers are learning how to better implement technology in the classroom. Parents are learning how to better support their students to be more successful in middle school and high school which will prepare them for college. 

Participants working on their Ipads at the Technology PD that was held on Thursday, October 3rd. Geoff presented information in a very easy to understand and hands on manner. 

More teachers working on their Ipads at our recent Technology PD. 

Parent Participants at our very first PIQE, Parent Institute for Quality Education, night on October 2nd. Our next PIQE night will be this Wed. October 9th from 6:30-8:00 PM.

Last Friday was scheduled for my "shadow" day. Unfortunately, the "shadow" day did not happen.  But, I was in several classrooms and saw moments I would like to share. Any time you want to take a picture of something that is happening in your classroom, feel free to do so and e-mail it my way. I can't be in all rooms at the same time, so that is a great way to share what is happening in your classroom.

Math Journals in Cochran's math class. Each student has a journal and a page that lists the standards that will be covered. Students check the standards off as they are mastered. 

In RaNae Summers' Physical Science class students use element cards to sort and help them answer the question of the day. Students worked together to help each other understand parts they may not have known before. 

While on a field trip to the Suisun Marsh, Carole Schneider's students are asked to write and journal. We see writing everywhere now, even on a field trip to the marsh.  
Mr. Clay Blanco and several of his Armijo High School Advanced Woodshop students built a wood frame with plexiglass sliding doors to house our No Excuses map. This map will soon have pins identifying the locations of all the colleges that Crystal Cougars staff and their family members attended. 

A common question that has been coming up has been in relation to lesson plans.  Several people have expressed a desire to learn how to create better lesson plans.  With our shift to the Common Core, it is true that the approaches you take to create your lessons will be different.  There will need to be a greater focus on guiding questions that are purposeful and planned in advance.  Everyone is striving to make their lessons rigorous, relevant, and engaging.  Paul Walpole shared a resource with me on Twitter, #5minutelessonplan that can help. Go to

I have a lofty goal, let's create an amazing lesson plan app that works with Common Core. There are some apps out there, but none that do everything. I envision a template that focuses on our T4S Strategies and a bank to choose from with Common Core standards.  The lesson plan app should also be interactive in the sense it would allow the teacher it import YouTube videos, Google images, etc. Just my idea right now, but if we could make it a reality that would be amazing!!!

Angie Julien from West Ed will be here this Tuesday, October 8th to present Reading and Writing to Learn.  The professional development will be in the library from 3:45-5:30.  Our Department Chair meeting will be "virtual" via Google docs so everyone that wants to attend the PD can attend.

Our Second Annual College and Career Fair will be this Wednesday, October 9th during our single lunch.  Show your college spirit and earn a chance to win a prize. Joanna Rockwell and a few art students will be face painting your favorite college logos!!

Word of the Week:  CRITIQUE is to review and say how good or bad a book, play, or painting, or set of ideas is.

Have a GREAT Week!

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