Monday, December 15, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

It is hard to believe that we are starting on our very last week of school of 2014! It has been a fast ride since the beginning of the school year. You know what they say; when you're having fun, time flies by! We have A LOT to celebrate this past week so please enjoy the Celebrations featured below. Before we head off to a winter break, we'll be recognizing and celebrating our student success at Principals' Pride Award ceremonies today and tomorrow. There will still be lots of rigorous learning happening this week so please be sure that our students are here and on time, ready to learn! :) 


Celebrations

Spicewood Participates in the Hour of Code! 
The Hour of Code was a great success! Students and staff all around campus were coding with their kids. Even our Superintendent, Dr. Flores, stopped by for a little coding with Angry Birds! In addition to exposing our students to computer science, this week's activities gave students a multitude of opportunities for critical thinking and problem solving. All of the coding resources will remain available on our website so you can continue to code with your kids! We were featured on the district website twice for the outstanding learning opportunity that was provided to our students. Please check out the Superintendent's Visit to code with our students as well. 










Spicewood Students Receive Reflections Art Competition 
The results are in from the District Level Reflection’s Art Competition. All of the Spicewood student's did a fantastic job and showed immense creative talent.  The District Level competition included entries from all of the elementary school's in RRISD. Congratulations! We're so proud of you!

The following Spicewood students received an Award of Excellece:
Chloe Hall (Kindergarten) "One Thousand Kisses"
Ayaan Moledina (Kindergarten) "The World Would Be A Better Place If..." 
Rohini Screenivasan (4th) "Skill, Talent, Education and Motivation for Women 

The following Spicewood students received an Award of Merit:
Ishan Kartha (3rd) "Solar Community"
Claire Lee (1st) "Trees"
Prayag Sreenivasan (4th) "A War for Humanity"

The following Spicewood students received Honorable Mention:
Alexandra Hall (3rd) "A World Of Imagination"

Scott Seamon (2nd) "Ways People Connect"


Spicewood Robotics Team Advances to the Invitational Regional Round!
We are so very proud of Robotics students who participated in the district competition last Saturday, December 13, 2014! Our students have done a great job and will be advancing to the invitational Regional Competition! Big thanks to parent volunteers who have helped out, Mr. Ortiz and Mrs Haney for their hard work! 


IB PYP 101

Units of Inquiry: Who We Are
Let's see how the Unit of Inquiry: Who We Are comes alive in classrooms at Spicewood. [an inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human]

Our 3rd grade students are currently exploring this unit extensively under the Central Idea that states, individuals have rights and responsibilities in community decision-making. In this unit, students explore a) citizenship and responsibility; b) individuals' roles in community decision making; and c) why community decisions are important to individuals. Spicewood invited a board of trustee member, Mr. Chad Chadwell last Tuesday to speak to our 3rd grade students about his role as a board member and how he impacts the decision making process of the district. Last Thursday, Dr. Flores visited one of the 3rd grade classrooms and was able to briefly discuss his role as the Superintendent of the district. Students are not only reading and researching about topic but are allowed to make real life connections as a meaningful learning experience. In primary grade levels, this is the unit they start the school year with because it allows opportunities to set up classroom essential agreements as citizens of the class and extensively brainstorm and discuss about their roles as friends and students at Spicewood. All of our classroom expectations, also known as Essential Agreements, are not teacher created but student generated by incorporating Learner Profile Attributes and Attitudes. This is also the unit they set their own personal goals as teachers facilitate through the student-driven decision making process. Many grade levels also introduce science safety in this unit and encourages students to think like scientists and mathematicians. 

Isn't it amazing how it all comes together? IB truly believes in raising the whole child beyond academics. It prepares our students to be well-rounded and global-minded citizens of the world. 

This Week's News


Safety Patrol Student Safety
As parents drive off the circle drive during the drop-off and pick-up, please be extra cautious with our safety patrol students standing near the curbside. We had an incident with a student being hit by a side mirror of a truck during the drop-off in the morning. Thank you for supporting us as we continue to ensure safety of all our students. 

Spicewood Principals' Pride
We will be celebrating the success of our students as we invite our parents to join us at the Princpals' Pride. Today we will be celebrating with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students from 8-8:30AM in the cafeteria. Tomorrow we will be recognizing 3rd through 5th grade students. We would love to have you with us! 

No Parking at Hope Church This Wednesday & Thursday
Please refrain from using the Hope Church parking lot this Wednesday and Thursday.  

Candy Canes of Kindness Bookmarks On Sale!
Student Council is launching a fundraiser called Candy Canes of Kindness. Students can purchase a Candy Cane of Kindness bookmark for 50 cents each or a class pack can be purchased for $10. All of the money raised will be donated to the Special Olympics. Donations are also accepted. Bookmarks will be sold during lunch in the front of the cafeteria and after school in front of the school. Student Council appreciates your help in reaching their goal of $800.

Annual Giving Campaign
It’s the final days of the Annual Giving Campaign. We are still short of our $20,000 goal, if you have not yet had a chance, please kindly consider making a contribution by Thursday, 12/18. Every dollar goes to funding our Enrichment Programs. It’s easy to make your Annual Giving donation, just visit the PTA Store.

5th Grade Parents, Sign Up for CVMS Newsletter!
Please make sure to sign up for Canyon Vista's e-news where you can find information about upcoming middle school transition events throughout the rest of the year. You can sign up for e-news with the following link: https://www.roundrockisd.org/about-rrisd/e-news-community-subscription/

Science Fair
Science Fair Handbooks will be going home with 4th and 5th graders this week. Parents, please be on the lookout for them. After 4th and 5th graders have received their handbooks, the handbook will be made available on the Science Fair page. Parents of K-3rd graders are encouraged to download the handbook. For more information, please visit the Science Fair page.


If you would like to purchase a Science Fair display board, the deadline for ordering is Wednesday, 12/17. The Science Fair Board Order Form is available for download on the Science Fair page. Please remit your paid order form to your child’s teacher by Wednesday, December 17.  Boards will be delivered in early January.

No School on Friday, December 19
Parents, please mark it on your calendar that there will be no school for students on Friday, December 19. The last day of school for students before Winter Break is Thursday, December 18. 

LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

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

Friday, December 19- Monday, January 5
Winter Break 

Tuesday, January 6
First Day of Spring Semester

Tuesday, January 13
6:00PM   Parent Information Night on ADHD -Hosted by PTA
A guest speark, Dr. Denbar, will be here to speak on ADHD for any parents who would like to receive information the topic. There will be an opportunity for Q & A at the end of the session. Please join us in the library. 

Wednesday, January 14
Wellness Wednesday Starts Back Again!

Friday, January 16
WatchDOGS Friday Starts Back Again!

Monday, January 19
NO SCHOOL - MLK Day

Monday, January 26- Thursday, January 29
Science Fair 

Tuesday, January 27
5:00-8:00PM   Spirit Night @ Cajun Pizza Place (hosted by PTA)


Monday, December 8, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

 As we wrap up the fall semester, I wanted to create an opportunity for feedback and open-discussion with parents and community members. You're invited to the first round of Coffee with Principal this Wednesday, December 10 at 2:00PM in the library. We'll be joined by Mrs. Page (Assistant Principal), Ms. Marvel (IB Coordinator), Mrs. Hougham (Counselor) and Mrs. Haney (Instructional Technology Specialist). There will be no set agenda so please come, sit with us and have a cup of coffee. 


Celebrations

4th Grade Field Trip to San Antonio
Last Friday our fourth grade went to San Antonio for a field trip.  While there, they visited the Institute of Texan Culture and the San Jose Mission. The Institute of Texan Cultures and San Jose support the fourth grade Unit of Inquiry: WHERE WE ARE IN PLACE AND TIME with the Central Idea of: Humans migrate for many reasons with a wide range of effects.  This also supports the Texas History portions of the fourth grade Social Studies TEKS.



IB PYP 101

Units of Inquiry: How We Organize Ourselves
I'll be spending next few weeks on providing real classroom examples on how each Unit of Inquiry looks and sounds like at Spicewood. Today I'd like to focus on the Unit of Inquiry: How We Organize Ourselves [an inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.] 

Our 5th grade students embarked on the unit last week. The Central Idea of the unit for 5th Grade is that systems of government organize societies.  In Mrs. Moser's class, they started the unit by reading an article called, "Hunger Games" salute now banned by Thailand's military leaders on NewsELA for Kids. (See how it's cross-curricular? IB calls it, transdisciplinary which means across content areas) Students were hooked on the topic immediately as they were able to relate to the famous book and make a connection to a current event as one student exclaimed, "This article was posted on November 25, 2014!" Mrs. Moser and students shared their thoughts and stances on the involvement and impact of the government in Thailand and made comparisons between different types of governments using their prior knowledge. Next door in Mr. Ortiz's class, they together generated a list of officials (President, VP, Secretary of Defense, etc) for their "nation" and students signed up for a specific position to run for by turning in a written intention. Students were allowed opportunities to campaign for themselves prior to an election. Students wrote their own intention and speech, practiced public speaking skills by sharing what systems they would implement to make a difference for the better, and listened to suggestions citizens were making (because we know good leaders are also great listeners!). Throughout the unit, students will be exploring TEKS on governmental structure, forming nations, how matters are organized with various properties in science, and elements of persuasive writing (they have to convince others to vote for them). Math TEKS are covered in the sequence that RRISD has outlined for all elementary schools in the district. 

You might wonder, well, what does this unit look and sound like in a primary grade level? Sure, let's take a look at our 1st grade. In this unit of How We Organize Ourselves, first grade students learned about goods and services within our community and the different types of organizations that help people meet their needs. They brought in various guest speakers to discuss the roles they play in their jobs, read various books on this topic, wrote in their journals to reflect and in the end decided to take action--a way they can contribute. Students have decided they would like to donate books they no longer use to children who are in the hospital over the holidays. If you can recall, I included this in the November newsletter, asking for donations to support the student-generated action. In this unit, 1st graders also learned in science about how forces and motion play a role around us. They explored forces magnets create and how these forces are used in our lives all around us.  

Conversations that our students are having as teachers facilitate are simply mind-blowing. Student generated questions drive the learning experiences in the classrooms. As they make connections across all that they're learning- Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies, it becomes so much more meaningful and applicable in their own lives. 


This Week's News


Coffee With Principal
I'd like to invite parents and community members to the first round of Coffee With Principal this Wednesday, December 10 from 2:00-2:45PM in the library. There is no set agenda; this is an opportunity for parents and community members to provide feedback and ask any questions they might have. We will be joined by Mrs. Page (Assistant Principal), Mrs. Marvel (IB Coordinator), Mrs. Haney (Instructional Technology Specialist) and Mrs. Hougham (Counselor). 

Computer Science Education Week!- The Hour of Code
We live in a world surrounded by technology and we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. But only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and less students are studying it than a decade ago.

That’s why our entire school is joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-12). Last year, 15 million students tried computer science in one week. This year, we're joining students worldwide to reach 100 million students!

Our Hour of Code is a statement that Spicewood Elementary is ready to teach these foundational 21st century skills. To continue bringing programming activities to your students, we want to make our Hour of Code event huge.  I encourage you to volunteer. During this week, your child will be participating in a coding activity with their classroom teacher as well as:
  • View coding information & videos on morning announcements
  • Photo Contest - teachers will snap pictures of their class coding for a chance to win cool prizes! 
  • Kids React Video Booth - kids can record a 30 second video about their coding experience


3rd Grade Spirit Night at Taco Cabana- Hosted by PTA
Please join us for dinner at Taco Cabana this Thursday between 5PM and 8PM. 3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Dielmann, Mrs. Skagen & Mrs. Page will be there for part of the night. Money raised from the event will be spent towards educating and enriching our students at Spicewood. 

Science Fair Parent Information Night
The Spicewood Science Fair will be held Monday, January 26- Thursday, January 29, 2015. All 4th and 5th graders are required to participate. K-3rd graders are highly encouraged. A Parent Information meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11 at 6:30PM in the library. (Please join us at Taco Cabana- Spirit Night for dinner then come! :) For all the details, visit the Science Fair page on the PTA web site.

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, December 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).

Spicewood Principals' Pride
We will be celebrating the success of our students as we invite our parents to join us at the Princpals' Pride. On Monday, December 15, we will be celebrating with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students from 8-8:30AM in the cafeteria. On Tuesday, December 16, we will be recognizing 3rd through 5th grade students. You will receive a prior written notice from your child(ren)'s teacher(s). We would love to have you with us! 

No School on Friday, December 19
Parents, please mark it on your calendar that there will be no school for students on Friday, December 19. The last day of school for students before Winter Break is Thursday, December 18. 

LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, December 8- Friday, December 12
Computer Science Education Week

Wednesday, December 10
2:00-2:45PM   Coffee With Principal
Please join us in the library. 

Thursday, December 11
5:00-8:00PM   Spirit Night @ Taco Cabana (hosted by PTA)

6:30PM   Science Fair Parent Information Night
In the library

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

Friday, December 19- Monday, January 5
Winter Break 

Tuesday, January 6
First Day of Spring Semester

Tuesday, January 13
6:00PM   Parent Information Night on ADHD -Hosted by PTA
A guest speark, Dr. Denbar, will be here to speak on ADHD for any parents who would like to receive information the topic. There will be an opportunity for Q & A at the end of the session. Please join us in the library. 

Wednesday, January 14
Wellness Wednesday Starts Back Again!

Monday, January 19
NO SCHOOL - MLK Day


Monday, December 1, 2014

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone enjoyed the long break! We are excited to have our students back and continue the rigorous learning as we finish up the fall semester. Spicewood appreciates all parental support and involvement! 


Celebrations

Robotics Club
Students participating in the Robotics Club are gearing up for a competition coming up in mid December. We are thankful for Mr. Ortiz and Mrs. Haney as they volunteer their valuable time to help our children as co-sponsors of the club. We're also thankful for all the parent volunteers! 




IB PYP 101

Units of Inquiry
What are Units of Inquiry? In PYP, there are six transdisciplinary themes that allow the opportunity to incorporate global issues into the curriculum, which also covers all required TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills). What are these six themes or six Units of Inquiry that our students explore throughout the school year? 

  • Who we are—an inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
  • Where we are in place and time—an inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
  • How we express ourselves—an inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
  • How the world works—an inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
  • How we organize ourselves—an inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
  • Sharing the planet—an inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution. 

The written curriculum: What do we want to learn? Retrieved from http://www.ibo.org/pyp/written/

Each grade level explores through the six Units of Inquiry in different ways by covering different grade level specific TEKS and beyond. Here's a visual example of How The World Works Unit of Inquiry variations by grade level at Spicewood. 



I have heard some parent concerns regarding IB not covering all TEKS like non-IB schools do. I want to reassure you that Spicewood not only covers all TEKS required by the state of Texas but also goes above and beyond to provide in-depth opportunities for inquiry, critical thinking, student-driven learning experiences that allow our learners to incorporate global perspectives and international mindedness. ALL students at Spicewood benefit from IB and are enriched each and every day. 

This Week's News


Portico Area During Dismissal
Please keep the main pathway to the portico area open and clear for students to get to their designated seating areas during dismissal. It's difficult for our students to walk through when the pathway is congested. Thank you for understanding and your support. 

Early Release This Wednesday
It will be an Early Release Day this Wednesday. All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

Picture Re-Take This Wednesday
Any students who were absent on Picture Day or who wish to re-take the photo will be allowed for a re-take this Wednesday. 

No Wellness Wednesday in December

Wellness Wednesdays are on hiatus in December. We will see you next year when we resume on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.

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, December 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).

Science Fair
The Spicewood Science Fair will be held Monday, January 26- Thursday, January 29, 2015. All 4th and 5th graders are required to participate. K-3rd graders are highly encouraged. A Parent Information meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11 at 6:30PM in the library. (Please join us at Taco Cabana- Spirit Night for dinner then come! :) For all the details visit the Science Fair page on the PTA web site.

No School on Friday, December 19
Parents, please mark it on your calendar that there will be no school for students on Friday, December 19. The last day of school for students before Winter Break is Thursday, December 18. 

LIKE us on Facebook and stay connected! 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Wednesday, December 3
Picture Re-Take
NO 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.

6:30PM   Science Fair Parent Information Night
In the library

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