Monday, November 24, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

Happy Fall Break  and Thanksgiving to all! Please be sure to read through the newsletter as I covered important information about IB PYP and math instruction. 
Hope you enjoy the week off with your loved ones. We will see you on Monday, December 1!

Celebrations

Second Grade Concert
Our second grade students put on a concert under the guidance of our very own, Mr. Steinburg. They did a fabulous job! This is the very last concert Mr. Steinburg put together before his retirement. We're so appreciative of all that he has done for Spicewood. 



IB PYP 101

In an effort to provide and communicate more information on IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) to parents and community members, I added this section. I will cover one aspect about IB each week. 

Inquiry Based Learning
Did you know IB PYP firmly believes in inquiry based learning? So what is inquiry based learning? What does that really look like and sound like in our students' classrooms? So it goes like this. Students bring in prior knowledge and valuable experiences related to a concept or a skill being taught. Teacher gives various opportunities for students to explore and share their prior knowledge then provide a wealth of new information about the content through discussions and instructional materials. Students then are given opportunities to explore the new information and then learners themselves start to make connections between existing and new information to form new and added understanding of the concept. The key part in inquiry based learning is that students are self-regulators and active participants of their own learning. Teacher mainly acts as a facilitator of their learning. To make it more concrete, let's look at a real-life example. A few weeks ago, I visited Mrs. Prichard's 4th grade classroom. Prior to my visit, students created simple paper protractors in relation to measurement of angles as an exploration of the newly introduced skill. Teacher introduced the real protractors to students during the lesson  while I was there. Rather than teaching our students in direct-teach style of all the aspects of using a protractor to measure angles, Mrs. Prichard provided an opportunity for students to compare the simple paper protractor to the real one and gave a few angles for collaborative groups to figure out the exact measurements. No specific direction on how! In groups of four, students actively engaged themselves in discovery of the how. "Wait, the numbers are backwards, I think we need to flip the protractor." "Oh! You see, you have to match the bottom line of the protractor to the side of this angle" "What is this center hole for?" "I got 68 degrees because I did... but wait, you got 66?" "Do you see the lines (referring to the incremental lines)? They count by twos.. oh wait, no, they count by ones." Yes, these are the real conversations that our students were holding as they were discovering the hows. Meanwhile, Mrs. Prichard went from a group to another to facilitate discussions and ask scaffolding questions. When students find out the concept behind the hows and the whys, learning becomes meaningful and the information is retained by learners. Simple drill and kill math methods are not the best practice; concept driven and inquiry based learning is proven by research to be sound practice. Next week, I'll talk about the Units of Inquiry. :)


This Week's News


No Use of Staff Parking Lot At All Times
This is a friendly reminder that no students or parents are allowed to walk across using the staff parking lot at all times for safety. Our teachers drive through the lot and park their cars in the mornings in order to get to their classrooms in time to receive students. It startles our staff/teachers when student(s) jump out in front of their car. We would like to proactively prevent any students and/or parents getting injured. Please use the lawn area to walk to the crosswalk at the circle drive to get to the front entrance of the building.

Why Is Math Taught So Differently Now
We have heard some concerns and questions from parents regarding how math is being taught in such different ways. Dr. Raj Shah explains why math is taught differently than it was in the past and helps address parents' misconceptions about the "new math." Please take just 8 minutes to watch the video



IB Infromation Available on School Website
Thanks to over 100 parents who participated in the IB PYP Parent Survey last week. We appreciate positive comments that encouraged us and some feedback to better improve. I would like to take this chance to inform parents that we have a great deal of IB information available on our school website and district website. We currently have a PYP Blog along with our new Facebook page. Spicewood also encourages parents to attend our semi-annual IB Parent Information Nights hosted by our wonderful IB Coordinator, Mrs. Marvel, in order to be informed about the Primary Years Programme. We had the fall session in October but will be hosting another one in the spring semester; please be on the look out for more information. 

LIKE Spicewood Facebook Page!
Spicewood ES along with many other schools in the district has launched a Facebook Page. It'll be another way of communication to all stakeholders. All comments and activity will be filtered and monitored. Please LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, November 24- Friday, November 28
Fall Break - NO SCHOOL

Wednesday, December 3
Picture Re-Take
Wellness Wednesday
12:45PM   Early Release

Friday, December 5
WatchDOGS Friday

Monday, December 8- Friday, December 12
Computer Science Education Week
More information TBA

Thursday, December 11
5:00-8:00PM   Spirit Night hosted by PTA @ Taco Cabana
3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Dielmann, Mrs. Skagen & Mrs. Page will be there for part of the night.

Monday, December 15
8:00AM   Principals' Pride Kinder-2nd Grade

Tuesday, December 16
8:00AM   Principals' Pride 3rd-5th Grade

Wednesday, December 17- Thursday, December 18
No Parking at Hope Church Parking Lot

Thursday, December 18
Last Day of Fall Semester

Friday, December 19
NO SCHOOL

Monday, November 17, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

It's hard to believe that we are already well past mid November and our Fall Break is approaching fast and furious. We'd love to see everyone this Thursday night at 6:30PM in our cafeteria as our 2nd grade students will put on a special concert! 


Celebrations

Principal Today - Community Relations
RRISD in partnership with Partner In Education (PIE) Foundation invited various community members to each school as a guest Principal on Thursday, November 13. Spicewood welcomed Brenda Healey, Partner with Duggins, Wren, Mann & Romero, as our guest principal. Mrs. Healey went into various classrooms and witnessed the world class education in action at Spciewood. Thank you for your support and partnership! We loved having you as a guest principal, Mrs. Healey. 

Spicewood 40th Anniversary Celebration & Silent Auction
The results are in; Spicewood PTA raised approximately 85K (gross) for our Spicewood students! We appreciate all of those that attended the event that bid high and bid often.We especially want to give a big shout out to all our corporate sponsors as well as our amazing donors. Without you, this fundraiser would not be a success! Check out our list of wonderful donors and corporate sponsors. Additionally, thank you to all the parent/teacher volunteers who helped to pull this amazing evening together. It was a true team effort!  Please view our list of parent volunteers that helped make this event a success!


This Week's News


Second Grade Concert
Our second grade students will perform a special concert this Thursday, November 20 at 6:30PM in the cafeteria. We would love to have families and community members to join us!

Lego Robotics Club - Volunteers Needed

The Lego Robotics Club is in need of parent volunteers to help students prepare for their upcoming competition in the First Lego League Challenge on Saturday, 12/13. Parent volunteers are crucial in helping students amplify their robotics learning and prepare for competition. Lego Robotics meets every Thursday and Friday after school from 3-5pm. For more information, please visit Mr. Ortiz’s Robotic’s Club website. To sign up as a volunteer, or if you have questions, please email Mr. Ortiz (Jerry_ortiz@roundrockisd.org) or Julie Haney (julie_haney@roundrockisd.org). 

Thanksgiving Pie/Dessert Drive
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we are seeking volunteers to provide whole pies or other whole desserts for our teachers and staff at Spicewood.  This is an easy way to let them know how thankful we are for all they do to teach and care for our children.  We need 28 whole desserts (that do NOT need refrigeration) from each grade level.  All pies and desserts will be combined to provide each teacher and staff member with one or two take-home desserts to enjoy over the holiday. If you are interested in donating please click on Thanksgiving Pie/Dessert Drive to sign up on the google doc. Please deliver your goodies to the school on Thursday, 11/20, between 7:30-2:45pm in a disposable container or dish. You will NOT get your containers/dishes back. For more information please visit the Teacher/Staff Appreciation page or email Joyceln Fagan (jocelyn@laviejoyeuse.com).

Spicewood Rocks T-Shirt Sale

Due to popular demand, PTA will open up sales for the "Spicewood Rocks" red sleeved baseball jersey, charcoal grey crew neck t-shirts and cinch sacks via the PTA Store webpage. You may purchase these shirts thru Friday, 12/5, thus ensuring they arrive prior to winter break. If you ordered a shirt at the event and have not received it, please contact Sandy Parent (sandyparent@austin.rr.com).

Wellness Wednesday
Come to Wellness Wednesday! This is a free and fun workout before school, every Wednesday! No registration required and everyone is welcome -- students, parents, siblings, etc. Come to the gym at 7 a.m. We'll be at the main entrance to meet you. Hope to see you there!

New Merchant Rebates Information

We are excited to announce an addition to the Merchant Rebates family! Community Coffee's Cash for Schools is an annual program that's been in existence for over 25 years and Spicewood is now registered in the program. All we have to do is save UPCs (bar codes) from all Community and Private Reserve products and turn them in to your child's teacher. Each UPC is worth 10 cents for Spicewood! All Community Coffee products (coffee, tea, creamer, sugar & coffee filters) contain eligible UPCs; and boxes of coffee and coffee-related products delivered to restaurants, hotels and other businesses contain high value UPCs. If you or anyone you know uses Community Coffee, start saving the UPCs and submit them to your child's teacher! Questions? Visit Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools or contact Lisa Revelett (merchantrebates@revelett.com).

LIKE Spicewood Facebook Page!
Spicewood ES along with many other schools in the district has launched a Facebook Page. It'll be another way of communication to all stakeholders. All comments and activity will be filtered and monitored. Please LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Wednesday, November 19
Wellness Wednesday

Thursday, November 20
6:30PM   2nd Grade Concert
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Friday, November 21
WatchDOGS Friday!

Monday, November 24- Friday, November 28
Fall Break - NO SCHOOL

Wednesday, December 3
Picture Re-Take
Wellness Wednesday
12:45PM   Early Release

Friday, December 5
WatchDOGS Friday

Monday, December 8- Friday, December 12
Computer Science Education Week
More information TBA

Thursday, December 11
5:00-8:00PM   Spirit Night hosted by PTA @ Taco Cabana
3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Dielmann, Mrs. Skagen & Mrs. Page will be there for part of the night.

Monday, December 15
8:00AM   Principals' Pride Kinder-2nd Grade

Tuesday, December 16
8:00AM   Principals' Pride 3rd-5th Grade

Wednesday, December 17- Thursday, December 18
No Parking at Hope Church Parking Lot

Thursday, December 19
Last Day of Fall Semester



Monday, November 10, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather that came along with much needed rain. It is hard to believe that we've made our way into the month of November already! We had a week full of celebration last week as a community and once again are reminded what a great community we have here at Spicewood. We have a couple of weeks till Thanksgiving break; let's keep the momentum going! 


Celebrations

40th Year Celebration Assembly
Our students and staff members from past and present celebrated the 40th Year Anniversary last Monday at a school-wide assembly. We were honored to have our past two principals, the current superintendent as our special guests along with many teachers that consider Spicewood ES their home. We opened the time capsule from 1994 and selected new items for a new one to be opened in 2024 at the 50th Year Anniversary Celebration! What a proud day it was!
Thanks for joining us, past staff members! We were so honored to have you with us.




5th Grade Outdoor School
I was able to pay a surprise visit to the Outdoor School Thursday afternoon. Students were highly engaged in various activities and making meaningful connections to build new understanding. Students told me they participated in team building activities on Wednesday and shared how they needed to use communication skills to work in cooperative groups with others with one goal in mind. They also shared with me they had to be confident risk-takers when they participated in rock-climbing. Our IB learners truly amaze me each and every day! Special thanks to our fifth grade teachers and parent chaperons for all their hard work and support! More pictures are available on our official Spicewood Facebook Page

Annual Silent Auction
I'd like to first start off by thanking the parents who spent countless hours to make this even a huge success. Special thanks goes to our co-hosts-Mrs. Sandy Parent and Mrs. Stephanie Engels- and our Data Entry Guru, Mrs. Kirsty Pilon. We'd also like to recognize all the solicitation parents. THANK YOU. Complete list of parent volunteers for the auction is available on our PTA website. Words cannot express how grateful Spicewood is. It was a great night of another round of celebration with parents and community. Thank you for your unending support. 





5th Grade Student Council Representatives Attend World Class Student Leadership Conference
Under the guidance of Mr. Jerry Ortiz, five of our six 5th grade student council representatives attended the district-wide World Class Student Leadership Conference at Patsy Sommer ES last Saturday. Students attended various sessions to learn about what it means to be effective leaders. 
Our students with Dr. Flores



This Week's News


We Need Your Help!
In our PYP Unit ‘How We Organize Ourselves,’ first grade students have been learning about goods and services within our community and the different types of organizations that help people meet their needs. Our students have decided to take action and have found a way they can contribute. Students have decided they would like to donate the books they no longer use to children who are in the hospital over the holidays. First grade teachers will be now accepting all new and gently used books until Friday, November 14th. New coloring books and crayons will also be accepted. All books will be donated to Seton Hospital who will distribute them to children in need over the holiday season. Students are also encouraged to write motivational notes of support on the inside cover if they would like. Even if your child is not in 1st grade, all can participate by sending the items with your child to their teacher, who then will pass the donated items to first grade teachers. 

LIKE Spicewood Facebook Page!
Spicewood ES along with many other schools in the district has launched a Facebook Page. It'll be another way of communication to all stakeholders. All comments and activity will be filtered and monitored. Please LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 

Report Cards
Report cards went home last Friday in Friday Folder. Please be sure to take a look and check in on your child's progress. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the child's teacher to set up a conference. 

Tardy & Absence Phone Calls
I have made a round of phone calls to all the parents of students with excessive tardies and absences. Please be sure that our students are in their classroom by 7:45AM so they do not miss out on important instruction. Thank you for your support!

Reflection Winners
Congratulations to all the students who have participated in the Reflection Art Contest hosted by PTA. Please check out our winners on our PTA website

Grisham MS Parent Education Session on Bullying
Grisham MS PTA is hosting a parent education program on bullying called "Don't Stand By, Stand Up" on Monday, November 10 at 7PM. GMS PTA would like to extend an invitation to Spicewood parents to attend as well. Attendance is free. Please view the flyer for more information. 

Canyon Vista MS PTA Math Night for Current 5th Grade Families
This event is for current 5th grade parents and students. 



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, November 10
7:00-8:00PM   Parent Education Session on Bullying @ Grisham MS

Tuesday, November 11
7:00PM  Canyon Vista MS Math Night for Current 5th Grade Families
In the cafeteria

Wednesday, November 12
Wellness Wednesday

Thursday, November 13
6:00-7:00PM   TAG Referral Parent Information Session
Please join us in the library.

Wednesday, November 19
Wellness Wednesday

Thursday, November 20
6:30PM   2nd Grade Concert
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Friday, November 21
WatchDOGS Friday!

Monday, November 24- Friday, November 28
Fall Break - NO SCHOOL

Wednesday, December 3
Picture Re-Take
Wellness Wednesday
12:45PM   Early Release

Friday, December 5
WatchDOGS Friday

Monday, November 3, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

This week is a BIG WEEK to the Spicewood community as we celebrate the 40th Year Anniversary! Students and staff members will kick off the celebration at an assembly Monday morning with special guests from the past while parents and community members will close off the celebration by hosting our Annual Silent Auction this Friday at Balcones Country Club. We are excited to reflect on the changes and growth our school has gone through with all of our students and families. 




Celebrations

Red Ribbon Week
Spicewood spent the entire week last week learning about how to live a healthy and happy life. Our students and staff members pledged to keep it going by signing the pledge board. Thanks to Mrs. Hougham and all of our teachers for such valuable learning experiences!

Pledge Board



First Grade Guest Speaker
First grade is currently learning how organizations exist to meet people's needs in our PYP unit of How We Organize Ourselves. Students have learned about consumers and the different wants and needs that exist in ourselves and different organizations. This has allowed students to expand their learning to include how goods and services meet our wants and needs so we can survive and thrive in our community. Dr. Vagner spoke to first grade students about his profession of being a orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and elbows on Monday, October 27. He spoke about how he provides a service to our community by offering services of helping those who need surgery on their hands.He also shared how he is a part of a doctors organization here in Austin that serves our community through their different specialized skills.
Thank you, Dr. Vagner, for sharing about your contribution to the community!


Spicewood Principals' Pride
First round of Principals' Pride Award Ceremony went fabulous! Thanks to all the parents that attended the ceremony to celebrate with our students and staff!



This Week's News


Stage Unavailable for Parents Lunch Visit on Tuesday, Nov. 4
On Tuesday, November 4, students will be voting for student council president in the cafeteria during their lunch period. In order to give students the voting experience, we will be using the stage to set up voting booths and students will be voting during their lunch period. On this day, the stage will not be available to parents and students for lunch. Please plan accordingly. If parents choose to eat with their students outside of the cafeteria, they will miss out on the valuable voting opportunity.

LIKE Spicewood Facebook Page!
Spicewood ES along with many other schools in the district has launched a Facebook Page. It'll be another way of communication to all stakeholders. All comments and activity will be filtered and monitored. Please LIKE our page and stay connected! 

5th Grade Field Trip to the Outdoor School 
Our 5th grade students and teachers will be taking a trip down to Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX to the Outdoor School from Wednesday, November 5 through Friday, November 7. For more information, please visit Mrs. Morley's website.

WatchDOGS Fridays
In our continuous effort to encourage father/father figure involvement, we have designated first and third Fridays of each month as WatchDOGS Fridays. Fathers/Father figures can volunteer all day or part of the day to provide help in various areas of need at Spicewood. This Friday, November 7 is a WatchDOGS Friday. Please be sure to sign up to volunteer throughout the day (Click on "click here for the on-line schedule" button). We appreciate your time devoted to helping our children and staff at Spicewood! 

Get FREE MS Office 365 with RRISD Email Addresses
We are excited to announce a new opportunity for our Round Rock ISD families to access Microsoft Office products - including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more - free of charge for their home computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Microsoft Office 365 allows Round Rock ISD students to have everything they need to create, edit, and share documents using Office 365. Students can visit our Office 365 webpage to access this offer, which is accessible with their Round Rock ISD email address, at www.roundrockisd.org/getoffice365. Accessing this offer only requires an active Round Rock ISD email address, making it an easy way to get Office products at home. Technical Support for this program will be run through Microsoft. Please visit https://support.office.com/en-us for help signing up.

Tardy & Absence Phone Calls
Parents, I will be making personal phone calls to the parents of students with excessive tardies and unexcused absencesover next two weeks. Please support us in getting our students start their day in their classroom by 7:45AM every day. 

Spicewood's 40th Anniversary Celebration & Auction
General Admission tickets are sold out; there will not be any available at the door.

PRE-CHECK IN AVAILABLE!  Don't want to stand in the check in line the evening of the event?  Please stop by Balcones Country Club on Friday, 11/7, between 10am - 2pm for pre-check in.  Bring your credit card and obtain your bidder number. 

BUY YOUR RAFFLE TICKETS TODAY! Don’t forget to purchase raffle tickets to enter a chance to win either the Big Green Egg (The World's Best Smoker and Grill) or a Tory Burch Handbag. Two fantastic prize options guaranteed to impress him or her. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the PTA Store thru Tuesday, 11/4, and at the evening of the event.

THANK YOU DONORS! Check out our list of wonderful donors to date, and visit the 40th Anniversary Celebration and Auction web page to get all the details on this exciting event.

Grisham MS Parent Education Session on Bullying
Grisham MS PTA is hosting a parent education program on bullying called "Don't Stand By, Stand Up" on Monday, November 10 at 7PM. GMS PTA would like to extend an invitation to Spicewood parents to attend as well. Attendance is free. Please view the flyer for more information. 

Canyon Vista MS PTA Math Night for Current 5th Grade Families
This event is for current 5th grade parents and students. 





MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, November 3
Wear Your Spicewood T-Shirt!

Wednesday, November 5- Friday, November 7
5th Grade Outdoor School

Thursday, November 6
5:30-8:30PM A Night of Pastabilities- Westwood HS Silent Auction

Westwood HS Class of 2016 would like to cordially invite the community to "A Night of Pastabilities." For more information, please view the attached flyer

Friday, November 7
WatchDOGS Friday!
7:00PM   Annual Silent Auction at Balcones Country Club

Monday, November 10
7:00-8:00PM   Parent Education Session on Bullying @ Grisham MS

Tuesday, November 11
7:00PM  Canyon Vista MS Math Night for Current 5th Grade Families
In the cafeteria

Thursday, November 13
6:00-7:00PM   TAG Referral Parent Information Session
Please join us in the library.

Thursday, November 20
6:30PM   2nd Grade Concert
Please join us in the cafeteria. 

Friday, November 21
WatchDOGS Friday!

Monday, November 24- Friday, November 28
Fall Break - NO SCHOOL