Monday, September 28, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

Spicewood has various events occurring throughout this week such as the Annual Book Fair, Monster Mash Food Truck Night, and Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cook Out. These are great opportunities for you and your family to come out and get involved. We look forward to seeing many new and familiar faces this week! :)


Celebrations

Makerspace Kicks Off in the Library
One of Spicewood's Campus Improvement Plan goals for the school year includes creating a space where students can freely explore ideas, build with creativity and make connections to innovative thinking and learning. Mrs. Reeb along with several teachers joined force to form a library committee to kick off this great initiative. Our second graders were the first to participate last week in the library. Please visit Mrs. Reeb's blog for a full story and pictures. 


District Features Spicewood: School Showcase
Round Rock ISD Community Relations visited Spicewood Elementary last week and showcased wonderful teaching and learning happening at our school. Please take just a minute to see the great things happening at Spicewood by reading the article. 



IB PYP 101


This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.

The classrooms that educate our students today are far different from those that we were all used to growing up. We are preparing students for our future world. Life outside of the classroom isn’t departmentalized by content so in order to best prepare children for their futures, an IB school focuses on authentic learning that brings new perspectives and current issues within context (age and grade level appropriate standards and concepts).

The IB Curriculum framework, in addition to the Texas State Standards (TEKS) are embedded within each of the six Units of Inquiry.  I shared the model (see “How?” slide on Prezi) to give parents a visual of how teachers fit these two together in the presentation, but thought that showing an actual planner that one of grade level uses might help build community knowledge of HOW teachers make this all happen.

Below you will find the Who We Are planner for second grade, a Unit of Inquiry that is currently being taught in their classrooms. All teachers, grades k-5, use a Unit of Inquiry planner to drive their instruction over the course of their unit that typically lasts about six weeks.


Let’s break this down….





You’ll see that under the Who We Are theme, second grade is focusing on the CENTRAL IDEA, Who we are involves many different roles. The central idea is a statement that guides overall instruction in the unit. It makes connections to several different content areas (transdisciplinary in nature) and is open-ended to promote questioning and inquiry among the students. This unit ties in organically with the beginning of the year as teachers and students are getting to know one another, setting up procedures and expectations as well as creating goals for the school year. The learning experiences span across all content areas, support the central idea. For example, in second grade students are exposed to different historical figures and how they impacted our community, state and country. Within their unit, second grade investigates Benjamin Franklin and Amelia Earhart as they dig deeper into unpacking the central idea. 

Students explored Benjamin Franklin in Ms. Gonzales’ class during reading workshop mini lessons as well as during whole class conversations about citizenship. A class chart was created together as students gathered new ideas.

2. The LINES OF INQUIRY are written to elicit more student questioning and deconstruct the central idea. Below you can see how one classroom connected science learning to one of their lines of inquiry:




Student ownership of learning by providing students time for questioning. These questions drive the unit and help provide feedback for teachers as they plan instruction each week. The example above is from another grade level but gives a great visual as to how teacher align the LINES of INQUIRY with student questioning. 

3. The KEY CONCEPTS are chosen to increase coherence across the curriculum. While students explored place value they were making CONNECTIONS to the different places (ones, tens, hundreds, etc.). Key concepts also drove the inquiry into the different historical figures (social studies) that the classes studied. After a series of activities including first and second hand sources coupled with discussions with the class, students reflected on Amelia Earhart and her RESPONSIBILITY as a citizen.





4. The SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT assesses the student knowledge and understanding of the central idea. Based on their learning experiences, students interpret the central idea by completing the central idea. 2nd grade is wrapping up their Who We Are unit next week reflecting on learning and answering unanswered questions. Students will be “Creating a self reflection puzzle to demonstrate their understanding of who they are in different roles. This will help them develop goals for student led conferences and revisit at the end of the year to compare growth. These will be used at the spring conference.”



This was completed by students when the unit was launched. Student self reflection puzzles might use this learning experience as a tool to reflect on their learning of Who We Are. 


At the end of each Unit of Inquiry, teachers meet together to discuss the learning that took place in the classroom, connections and questions students made and reflect on how they can improve their unit for the next year. Our teachers work hard at evaluating the effectiveness of the learning experiences so that they best meet the needs of out students.

With most of our first Units of Inquiry coming to a close I’m sure you’ll be seeing finished products and reflections lining our hallway bulletin boards. Be sure to ask your child about his or her learning and use the “What can I do at home?” informational flyer to see what other ways you can best support your child’s learning in the classroom.

Want to be more involved? How can you support your child at home?Be sure to keep up with our keep up with all things IB related at our PYP Spicewood Blog

This Week's News

Book Fair is Here
The wait is finally over, the Book Fair is here! We’re open Monday, 9/28, through Friday, 10/2, 7:30am - 3:30pm. Please swing by to do some shopping, pick out a book from your teacher’s wish box, “pay it forward” by donating a purchased book to Book Spring (book donation drive sponsored by the Spicewood Brownie Troop #644), and don’t forget to purchase a raffle ticket to win one of our monstrously huge raffle baskets ($1.00 each - cash only please). We are still in need of volunteers, please consider giving two hours of your time by signing up for a volunteer shift on the Volunteer Page. For more information, including a schedule for when your child’s class will be visiting the Book Fair, please check out the Book Fair Page.

Monster Mash Night at Spicewood
Be a Monster Reader and come devour a book as well as some dinner at the Book Fair's Monster Mash Party on Tuesday, 9/29, from 5:00-8:00pm. There will be Monster Make-up (face painting), a DJ Monster Mash dance floor, and this year we are offering even more food trucks for your convenience. Come feed your hungry monsters, then shop the Book Fair to feed your mind. For more information, including a list of attending Food Trucks, please visit  the Book Fair Page. Volunteers are needed in order to make this event a success, please consider signing up for an easy 2 hour shift on the Volunteer Page.

K.I.S.S. (Kids Invite Someone Special) Cookout
The annual K.I.S.S. (Kids Invite Someone Special) Cookout will be held Friday, 10/2, during all lunchtimes. This is a fun and popular event and we are expecting a large turnout. Please feel free to bring your lunch.  If you will be purchasing lunch from the cafeteria, be sure to bring exact change for the number of lunches you are purchasing. The cost for each ticket is $3.30 and you only need to purchase tickets for outside guests, NOT Spicewood students.  For more information visit the K.I.S.S. Cookout page or contact Lana Petty at Lana@TopNotchRenovations.com

K.I.S.S. (Kids Invite Someone Special) Cookout – Volunteers Needed
Volunteers are needed in order to make the K.I.S.S. Cookout a success.  For a complete list of Cookout volunteer shifts and to sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Volunteer webpage. Please note, you DO NOT have to be a PTA member to volunteer. Thank you for your help!

Westwood vs. McNeil Feeder Pattern Sock and Underwear Drive
Westwood HS Principal, Mrs. Arterbury, invites all Westwood Feeder Pattern schools to participate in the annual WWHS vs. MHS Sock & Underwear Drive. These new underwear and no-show socks will help students who are in need in our district. The drive will last till noon of October 8, 2015. Please send any new underwear & socks for kids to the front office at Spicewood, if you'd like to gracious donate to the cause. 

Spicewood Annual Silent Auction Hosted by PTA
“Masquerade Under the Stars” will be held Friday, November 13, at the Balcones Country Club beginning at 6:00. Spend an incredible night with friends while raising money for Spicewood through the silent and live auctions.  There will be a casino room to enjoy this year as well. Tickets and tables for this event will go on sale Oct. 15th at 6am. Tables will be $500 for 10 people, Couples tickets will be $50 (only a limited number will be available online) and General Admission tickets will be $30. Only 300 tickets will be available, so make sure you buy your tickets the day they go on sale so you aren’t left out of the fun!

2015-2016 Spicewood Yearbook
Order your child’s yearbook before September 30th and get 15% off the regular purchase price!  Simply go to www.TreeRing.com/validate and enter our school’s passcode: 101375475891671, or use your log-in information from last year, if you already created an account.  For questions, contact Liz Boyce at erliemha@gmail.com, or Angie Dubroca at amdubroca@yahoo.com. 

REFLECTIONS Creativity Contest
This PTA-sponsored program allows your child to come up with her/his own way to express this year’s theme: Let Your Imagination Fly. Children can enter as many pieces as they’d like across six categories (literature, visual arts, photography, film production, dance choreography, and musical composition). Your child does not have to be an accomplished artist or expert writer to enter. It’s all about a child’s interpretation and expression of the theme. The deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 11/6. For more information, including rules and entry forms, check out the Spicewood PTA Reflections website. Please email Thea Woodruff with any questions, thea.woodruff@gmail.com.  

Parent Volunteers Needed for Math Pentathlon Club 
Parent volunteer coaches are needed for Math Pentathlon Division 1 (Grade K-1) and 2 (Grade 2-3).  Without our wonderful parent volunteers it will not be possible to offer Math Pentathlon Club for these divisions.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Dipti Agnihotri at dipsagni@yahoo.com.  The Math Pentathlon Club program uses interactive creative thinking and problem-solving based board games.  The parent volunteers need to be able to commit to coaching 18 weeks (November - April) on Thursdays (Please note the change)at 2:45 pm at the school.  For more details about the club, please visit the Math Pentathlon site on the PTA website.

Attention Amazon.Com Shoppers
Did you know you can support Spicewood every time you shop, at no cost to you? Next time, log into Smile.Amazon.com instead of Amazon.com and designate "PTA Texas Congress 7884 Spicewood Elementary PTA" as your charitable organization, and Spicewood gets 0.5% of eligible purchases! (Under the "Your Account" drop-down menu, choose "Change Your Charity".) Smile.Amazon.com is the same site as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your chosen charitable organization. For more information please visit the Merchant Rebates page.  Questions-Contact Lisa Revelett, at merchantrebates@revelett.com

Crossing Guard Needed at SWES
The City of Austin Child Safety Program is hiring for an open Crossing Guard position at Spicewood ES. For more information, please call Esperanza Schiele, Child Safety Supervisor at (512) 565-5623. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, September 28- Friday, October 2
Book Fair 

Tuesday, September 29
5:00-8:00PM   Monster Mash Night with Food Tucks

Friday, October 2
Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cook-Out Day
Please be sure to turn in the RSVP Form

1st WatchDOGS Friday

Please come and help out with the Cook-Out Preparation

Monday, October 5
6:00-7:00PM   Outdoor School Information Meeting (Only for 5th Grade Parents)
If you have a 5th grade student, please join our 5th grade teachers in the library for the Outdoor School Information Meeting. 

Wednesday, October 7
School Picture Day
Send your child with a smile on, ready for a picture :)

Thursday, October 8
Spirit Night at Jason's Deli (Hosted by PTA) 
3rd grade teachers, Mrs. Reeb and Mrs. Kim will join our families for part of the night. 

Monday, October 12
No School for Students

Thursday, October 15
WatchDOGS Friday

6:00-6:30PM   5th Grade Concert
Cafeteria 

Monday, October 19- Friday, October 23
Digital Citizenship Week

Monday, September 21, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

Good morning! It is an Early Release Day this Wednesday. Please remember to arrange student pick-up accordingly in advance as all students will be released at 12:45PM. If you have a child in attendance, you should have been contacted by your child's teacher via email or phone regarding setting up a time for a student-led conference session last week or this week. Our students have been working diligently to set up goals that they'd like to work on this school year and would love an opportunity to share it with you. We look forward to seeing everyone this week. 


Celebrations

The Stantec Architecture Firm Volunteers Contribute to Spicewood Beautification
We had over 20 volunteers from the Stantec community that partnered with Spicewood PTA and the school to bring on the Green Apple Project last Tuesday. They worked on various tasks to making our outdoor learning space inviting for our stakeholders. They filled all 10 planters with gravel and soil, along with drilling holes in them. They purchased plants for 4 of the planters and planted them. They power washed the picnic tables and benches and stained them beautifully. We are so grateful for such an amazing work that they brought on! 


Breakfast With Dads hosted by WatchDOGS
Spicewood WatchDOGS (Dads Of Great Students) hosted another successful round of Breakfast with Dads last Wednesday morning. Many dads and dad figures came out to grab a bite with their child(ren) before heading to work. It was a great opportunity to share with and inform dads about various ways they can get involved in the school community! We love seeing dads and dad figures at Spicewood!


IB PYP 101


This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.

This past week we held our annual PYP 101 Information Night in conjunction with PTA's first General Meeting. The PYP 101 event gives parents an opportunity to learn a little more about what an IB education is as well as a forum for parents to ask questions and get some "hands on" learning of all things IB. 
A packed house!
This year's Information night took a different approach and put the parents in their students shoes this time. The event was set up using the Inquiry Cycle Model (a teaching and learning tool) as an approach to learning more about IB. Often times on our campus, we will hear teachers and students referring to inquiry based learning or projects. That evening parents engaged in similar learning experiences as our students do resulting in new thinking about what IB really is all about. We had a huge turn out at this event so it was great to be able to have some face to face time with such a large group of parents! Check out some of the parent reflections after last night's presentation below:
I used to think the IB program was grade level team work. Now I think that this is more of HOW children and teacher are TOGETHER so it can be different from each class even though they are in the same grade. 

I used to think PYP principles were taught separately. Now I know it is a method for how the normal material is presented.

I used to think IB was for the brighter student. Now I think it is a community involvement in the class. 

I used to think that IB was interesting but not critical. Now, I wonder if I should consider sending my kids to an IB middle school too!

Some new wonderings came out of our session too which gave some good feedback as to next steps that I can take as PYP Coordinator to help support our parent community. Be on the lookout for future PYP Information Night sessions as well as this section each week on Mrs. Kim's letter. I'll be working on providing resources and information to you to help clarify more of the WHAT, HOW and most importantly WHY we do things here a little differently than other non IB campuses. 

Unable to make it out to our event last night or need a little refresher? 

Click on the link below for Thursday night's PYP presentation

REFLECT and take ACTION on YOUR new learning: 
Add to our community ACTION board by completing the following form.
Curious as to what you can do at home? Here's the resource.
Want to be more involved? How can you support your child at home?Be sure to keep up with our keep up with all things IB related at our PYP Spicewood Blog

This Week's News



Early Release & Fall Student-led Conferences
This Wednesday is an Early Release Day. All students will be dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan in advance accordingly. Please look out for a direct contact from your child's teacher about setting up a time for you and your child to come in for a student-led conference session. 

Do Not Use Hope Church Parking Lot This Thursday & Friday

Please remember not to use the church parking lot this Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25, 2015.

Literacy Library Training This Week

The Literacy Library provides books for teachers to use in classroom reading groups and at home for extra reading practice. Role of PTA volunteers is to pull books and re-shelve the returned books for the teachers. It is really easy work and can be done whenever it is convenient for you. If you have never worked in the Literacy Library (or you just need a refresher), please attend one of the following training sessions on how the library is organized: Monday, 9/21 at 8am or Tuesday, 9/22 at 2pm. The Literacy Library is located in the first grade wing by Mrs. Steinberg's classroom and the training should not take more than 15 or 20 minutes. For more information please visit the Literacy Library page or contact Larissa Bradford, larissabradford@austin.rr.com.

Westwood vs. McNeil Feeder Pattern Sock and Underwear Drive
Westwood HS Principal, Mrs. Arterbury, invites all Westwood Feeder Pattern schools to participate in the annual WWHS vs. MHS Sock & Underwear Drive. These new underwear and no-show socks will help students who are in need in our district. The drive will last till noon of October 8, 2015. Please send any new underwear & socks for kids to the front office at Spicewood, if you'd like to gracious donate to the cause. 

Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cookout
The annual Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cookout will be held on Friday, October 2, during all lunchtimes. This is a fun, district-sponsored event that allows students to invite someone special to join them for lunch at Spicewood. In order to attend, guests must complete an RSVP Form and return it to school by Friday, 9/25. RSVP Forms will also be arriving home through your child’s Friday Folder so be sure to check those backpacks. Guests may choose from two cafeteria lunch options or bring their own lunch from home. For more information, including ways to help out, please visit the K.I.S.S. Cookout page or contact Lana Petty, Lana@TopNotchRenovations.com.  

REFLECTIONS Creativity Contest

This PTA-sponsored program allows your child to come up with her/his own way to express this year’s theme: Let Your Imagination Fly. Children can enter as many pieces as they’d like across six categories (literature, visual arts, photography, film production, dance choreography, and musical composition). Your child does not have to be an accomplished artist or expert writer to enter. It’s all about a child’s interpretation and expression of the theme. The deadline for submitting entries is Friday, 11/6. For more information, including rules and entry forms, check out the Spicewood PTA Reflections website. Please email Thea Woodruff with any questions, thea.woodruff@gmail.com.  

Book Fair - Monstrously Huge Raffle Baskets

Brand new this year, the Book Fair has put together 2 fantastic raffle baskets full of books, t-shirts and other monstrously fun stuff. Book Fair runs the week of Monday, 9/28, through Friday, 10/2, from 7:30am - 3:30pm and the raffle baskets will be on display; come check them out. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase throughout the week of Book Fair and are only $1.00 each (Cash Only Please). We have a Kinder-2nd grade basket and a 3rd-5th grade basket; each basket valued at over $150.00. Set aside a dollar now so you don’t miss out on your chance to win a Monstrously Huge Raffle Basket. For more information, please visit the Book Fair page; and to volunteer for the Book Fair please visit the Volunteer page.

Monster Mash Night at Spicewood
Be a Monster Reader and come devour a book as well as some dinner at the Book Fair's Monster Mash Party on Tuesday, 9/29, from 5:00 - 8:00pm. There will be Monster Make-up (face painting), a DJ Monster Mash dance floor, and this year we are offering even more food trucks for your convenience. Come feed your hungry monsters, then shop the Book Fair to feed your mind. For more information, including a list of attending Food Trucks, please visit the Book Fair page. Volunteers are needed in order to make this event a success, please consider signing up for an easy 2 hour shift on the Volunteer page. Remember, the Book Fair runs the week of Monday, September 28, through Friday, October 2, from 7:30am - 3:30pm in the Spicewood Library.

Math Superstars
This is a completely optional program for your child (K-4) if they love problem solving or want additional practice.  This is not a classroom or teacher-led program.  You can sign-up to participate in the program and/or sign-up to be a volunteer grader for your child’s class now through September 25th.  Please visit the Math Superstars page on the PTA website for more details! 

Parent Volunteers Needed for Math Pentathlon Club 
Parent volunteer coaches are needed for Math Pentathlon Division 1 (Grade K-1) and 2 (Grade 2-3).  Without our wonderful parent volunteers it will not be possible to offer Math Pentathlon Club for these divisions.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Dipti Agnihotri at dipsagni@yahoo.com.  The Math Pentathlon Club program uses interactive creative thinking and problem-solving based board games.  The parent volunteers need to be able to commit to coaching 18 weeks (November - April) on Tuesdays at 2:45 pm at the school.  For more details about the club, please visit the Math Pentathlon site on the PTA website.

Last chance to purchase Spicewood T-Shirts
Spicewood school t-shirts are officially on sale at the PTA Store. Please scroll down to the bottom of the store; the t-shirts are the last item on the page. Be sure to place your order SOON because sales will close on Friday, September 25. The t-shirts will be delivered on Friday, 10/2, and there will be a school-wide Spirit Day in late October; order your Spicewood t-shirt now and don’t be left out.

HEB/Box Tops for Education Promotion

Are you going to the HEB this week? You know you are! From 9/16/15 - 9/29/15, earn 100 Bonus Box Tops when you buy 15 Box Tops products (in one transaction) at the HEB. Alternately, you can earn 60 Bonus Box Tops when you buy 10 products! Check out the HEB flyer for more information. Remember, every Box Top counts!


Crossing Guard Needed at SWES
The City of Austin Child Safety Program is hiring for an open Crossing Guard position at Spicewood ES. For more information, please call Esperanza Schiele, Child Safety Supervisor at (512) 565-5623. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, September 21
8:00AM   Literacy Library Training Option #1

Tuesday, September 22
2:00PM   Literacy Library Training Option #2

Wednesday, September 23
12:45PM   Early Release Day
All students are dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

1:00PM   Fall Student-Led Conferences
Please look out for a direct contact from your child's teacher to schedule a conference time.

Thursday, September 24- Friday, September 25
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 28- Friday, October 2
Book Fair 

Tuesday, September 29
5:00-8:00PM   Monster Mash Night with Food Tucks

Friday, October 2
Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cook-Out Day
Please be sure to turn in the RSVP Form

1st WatchDOGS Friday

Please come and help out with the Cook-Out Preparation

Wednesday, October 7
School Picture Day
Send your child with a smile on, ready for a picture :)

Thursday, October 8
Spirit Night Hosted by PTA 
TBA

Monday, September 14, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

Good morning! It seems like the pace is picking up at Spicewood with lots of upcoming events and activities. We hope to see many dads and dad figures this Wednesday at the Breakfast with Dads. On Thursday, we invite all parents and community members to join us at the first PTA General Member Meeting that's combined with IB PYP Information Night. We love seeing you all and your involvement! Keep it coming! 


Celebrations

Spicewood Open House
Spicewood loved seeing many of our parents and guardians in classrooms last Thursday evening at the annual Open House. We always pride in ourselves for high parental involvement that exists on our campus and we hope to continue our partnership in education for years to come. Thanks to those who came out and a big thanks also goes to all the teachers for doing a wonderful job putting it together! 







IB PYP 101


This week Spicewood's new PYP Coordinator, Jessica Vance, contributes to the IB PYP 101 section about inquiry. Take a look!

“What’s in a question you ask? Everything. It is evoking stimulating response or stultifying inquiry. It is in essence, the very core of teaching”
– John Dewey
During Open House last week, our classroom teachers shared some information about their six Units of Inquiry and what concepts and standards would be explored in some of their units. These Units of Inquiry (six total) are taught from grades Kindergarten through fifth grade, culminating in the fifth grade Exhibition. The thematic units are intentionally named Units of Inquiry because “since its inception, the PYP has been infused with a spirit of inquiry” (MTPYPH pg. 28).
One of the benefits to being at an IB school is that students get the opportunities to authentically and more meaningfully construct their learning. This is primary done through the intentional use of inquiry by the classroom teacher.
So the question remains, what IS inquiry then? 
“Inquiry…is the process initiated by the students or the teacher that moves the students from their current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding” (MTPYPH p.29). It may also be helpful to know what inquiry is not. It is NOT inquiry if students know what “results” they are supposed to get or the question and the steps are predetermined for them. But perhaps, in order to best understand what inquiry is we should take a peek into the amazing and dynamic classrooms here at Spicewood!
Image
A fourth grade classroom breaks down their Central Idea, Understanding rights and responsibilities contributes to our development as world citizens, into small phrases and words. 
Students in the classroom above participated in inquiry by exploring, wondering and questioning. In small groups, they jotted down ideas, pictures or questions related to the words presented to them. It didn’t matter whether or not their were right or wrong, the teacher intentionally created an opportunity for the students to make their thinking visible as they all explored their understanding of certain concepts at the beginning of their unit. This activity culminated in a classroom discussion of the ideas shared on the small posters. Students were able to share their thinking, ask more questions and in some cases defend their current thinking. The teacher, in turn, will use this inquiry experience as a guide for what next steps to take to support the students construct meaning of the Central Idea over the next six weeks of their planner.
Image (1)  Ms. Vanzura’s first grade classroom
In the primary classroom above you see the last (or third) Line of Inquiry, Friendships can fluctuate and change, is posted in her room as a guide to probe wondering and questioning among the students. The idea of “Friendship” must first be investigated by the students before deepening their understanding of the concept. Students brainstormed qualities of a friend. The teacher is the facilitator of learning, providing opportunities for exploration through classroom discussion as well as through the illustration piece you see on the right. As the class moves through the Unit of Inquiry, Who We Are, they will continue to revisit this line of inquiry, making connections between their learning experiences and in turn taking action (thinking, feeling, doing, saying, having and being) with their new conceptual learning.
Image (2)
Fourth grade students exploring different tones and shades using the primary colors on their palettes. 
We even see inquiry in our Specials areas.
In art this week, our fourth graders participated in “The 100 Color Challenge” as a way to explore and experiment with possibilities before they implement their learning into their landscapes that they will begin to work on in the coming weeks. The teacher is facilitating their learning through this exercise by asking questions to challenge student thinking, again “allowing students to be actively involved in their own learning and taking responsibility for that learning” (MTPYPH pg.29).
How can you use inquiry at home to help guide and encourage your child’s genuine curiosity on their wanting and needing to know more about the world?
Want to be more involved? 
Be sure to keep up with our keep up with all things IB related at our PYP Spicewood Blog

This Week's News

WatchDOGS Breakfast with Dads
Wednesday, September 16th is the annual WatchDOGS breakfast for father figures and their children.  Formerly known as Donuts with Dads, this event is a great way to start the day with your kids.  We’ll be serving donuts (of course); fruits and coffee in the cafeteria during morning drop off.  Dads are invited to stay after the 7:45 bell that signals the start of lessons.  There will be a brief orientation about the WatchDOGS Program and why you should consider joining to become a part of what makes Spicewood great.  It’s also a chance to meet with other dads.  See you next week.  If you’re interested in volunteering to help with the event, please go to the signup sheet on the WatchDOGS page.

PTA General Meeting + IB PYP Parent Information Night This Thursday
Parents, please join us this Thursday from 6:00-7:00PM for our very first PTA General Meeting + IB PYP Parent Information Night. Our PTA will present the breakdown of the budget on how money will be spent for our students, information about fundraising events such as Silent Auction, Annual Giving and Spring Carnival, and much more. Our new IB PYP Coordinator, Mrs. Vance, will also utilize this time to share more information about the IB PYP framework and how this directly impacts our students in the classrooms and at homes. This will help parents facilitate great conversations at home! 

Parent Volunteer Training
All Spicewood volunteers must complete a brief training. You can choose between two different training sessions - Monday, September 14th, at 6:30 pm or Tuesday, September 15th, at 8:00 am. Each of the training sessions take place at Spicewood and are approximately 30 minutes each. Can't make one of these sessions? You can complete the training online on the Volunteer Page of the PTA website. Please make sure to read through the entire document and sign the Acknowledgment Form at the end of the training session. In addition, Homeroom Parents should plan to stay 30 minutes after the volunteer training session for additional information.

Digital Student Directory
The Spicewood PTA is going digital with the Student Directory! The new digital directory will provide immediate access to Spicewood family contact information online or via your smart phone. Additionally, families will have the option to print a grade level directory for personal use. In order to access the 2015-16 Spicewood directory you must first add your family's data by clicking on My School Anywhere. Please add your family data by today- Monday, September 14, and remember that if you do not add your information, you will not be given access to the directory. Please email Shannon Williamson with any questions (shannon.williamson@gmail.com).

Monster Mash Night at Spicewood
Be a Monster Reader and come devour a book as well as some dinner at the Book Fair's Monster Mash Party on Tuesday, 9/29, from 5:00 - 8:00pm. There will be Monster Make-up (face painting), a DJ Monster Mash dance floor, and this year we are offering even more food trucks for your convenience. Come feed your hungry monsters, then shop the Book Fair to feed your mind. For more information, including a list of attending Food Trucks, please visit the Book Fair page. Volunteers are needed in order to make this event a success, please consider signing up for an easy 2 hour shift on the Volunteer page. Remember, the Book Fair runs the week of Monday, September 28, through Friday, October 2, from 7:30am - 3:30pm in the Spicewood Library.

Math Superstars
This is a completely optional program for your child (K-4) if they love problem solving or want additional practice.  This is not a classroom or teacher-led program.  You can sign-up to participate in the program and/or sign-up to be a volunteer grader for your child’s class now through September 25th.  Please visit the Math Superstars page on the PTA website for more details! 

Parent Volunteers Needed for Math Pentathlon Club 

Parent volunteer coaches are needed for Math Pentathlon Division 1 (Grade K-1) and 2 (Grade 2-3).  Without our wonderful parent volunteers it will not be possible to offer Math Pentathlon Club for these divisions.  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Dipti Agnihotri at dipsagni@yahoo.com.  The Math Pentathlon Club program uses interactive creative thinking and problem-solving based board games.  The parent volunteers need to be able to commit to coaching 18 weeks (November - April) on Tuesdays at 2:45 pm at the school.  For more details about the club, please visit the Math Pentathlon site on the PTA website.

Annual Giving Campaign
The purpose of the Spicewood Elementary PTA is to promote the welfare of children and youth in our homes, schools and communities. To achieve this mission, the PTA is involved with organizing and funding countless events and programs at Spicewood, as well as purchasing supplies used directly by our students every day, such as the 72 laptop computers purchased last year. The only way we are able to continue to enrich our children’s lives is through your generous donations. If each able family donates just $50 per student, the PTA can continue to offer all of our fantastic programs throughout the school year. To make a contribution to the Annual Giving Campaign, please visit the PTA Store, where you can also sign up to be a PTA member and purchase this year’s Spicewood T-Shirt. We greatly appreciate any amount your family can contribute! Thank you!

Spicewood T-shirts for sale in the PTA Store
School T-shirts are officially on sale on the PTA website. Please scroll down to the bottom of the store, it's the last item in the store. Order your T-shirts now, T-shirt sales will close on Friday Sept. 25th and will be delivered on Friday Oct. 2nd. Kids will have a school wide Spirit day late October, so order your School Tshirt now so your kids are not left out. 

Book Fair - Volunteers Needed
Join us for Spine Tingling Tales at this year’s Monster Mash Book Fair on Monday, September 28, through Friday, October 2, from 7:30am - 4:00pm. It takes many volunteers to make the Book Fair a success and we need your help! Please visit the Online Volunteer Schedule on the Volunteer page to sign up for a short 2 hour shift. Thanks and see you at the Book Fair!

Silent Auction is coming up!
Silent Auction will be here before we know it. In preparation, we are proactively recruiting ideas on how to best appropriate the funds raised this year. In years past, we have allotted all of the funds to generally supporting PTA, we have made specific purchases, or we have done some combination of both. This year, we are hoping to raise $25,000.00, and we want to hear from you on how to allocate the funds. Please take a quick moment to click on and fill out our Online Survey Monkey. We will tally the results and present the top picks for voting at our first General Meeting on Thursday, September 17. The only way to have a say is to join PTA and vote, so make sure to join PTA by visiting the PTA Store and come to the meeting on 9/17!

Media Madness
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 15 at 6:30pm at Ridgeview Middle School for a special presentation on Media Madness. Today’s kids are exposed to an average of seven hours of “screen-time” each day, and the impact of those media messages can shape many of their perceptions and actions. Media Madness provides parents and caregivers the tools to successfully manage their children’s “screen time,” effectively monitor media messages and content, and realistically modify your approach as children grow and technology advances. All Parents, Teachers and Administrators are invited and encouraged to attend!
Crossing Guard Needed at SWES

The City of Austin Child Safety Program is hiring for an open Crossing Guard position at Spicewood ES. For more information, please call Esperanza Schiele, Child Safety Supervisor at (512) 565-5623. 


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Monday, September 14
6:30PM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 1
Library

Tuesday, September 15
8:00AM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 2
Library

6:30PM  FYI: Media Madness at Ridgeview MS

Wednesday, September 16
7:00-7:45AM   Breakfast with Dads
Cafeteria

Thursday, September 17
6:00-7:00PM   IB PYP Parent Information Night + PTA General Meeting #1


Friday, September 18
International Dot Day Celebration in Art

Wednesday, September 23
12:45PM   Early Release Day
All students are dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

1:00PM   Fall Student-Led Conferences
Please look out for a direct contact from your child's teacher to schedule a conference time.

Thursday, September 24- Friday, September 25
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 28- Friday, October 2
Book Fair 

Tuesday, September 29
5:00-8:00PM   Monster Mash Night with Food Tucks

Friday, October 2
Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cook-Out Day

Monday, September 7, 2015

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend with family and friends. It is going to be a busy week at Spicewood with our Annual Open House this Thursday. We look forward to seeing many of you here! There's a lot of information being shared again; please take just a few minutes to read through and stay informed. 


Celebrations

Breakfast Served Every Morning
More students are taking advantage of our breakfast service offered in the cafeteria. Breakfast is available for purchase for $1.35 this school year. Breakfast line is open from 7:25-7:40AM in the cafeteria. Students who qualify to receive Free/Reduced Meals are able to eat breakfast at no cost. 



IB PYP 101

One of our Units of Inquiry, Who We Are, is a common unit for most grades begin each year with. As teachers and students are getting to know each other at the start of every school year, they are primarily working to set up systems and standards to create a space where everyone feel part of a community; unafraid to make mistakes, ask questions and take new risks as learners. Students are making more connections between the Unit of Inquiry and the interdisciplinary learning that takes place in the classroom. 

As the facilitator of learning in the classroom, the teacher helps guide the students towards new learning and discoveries. In order to all be effective in the classroom and around our campus, Essential Agreements, or guidelines that all students agree upon, are created to help frame the learning space throughout the year. Essential agreements are revisited frequently throughout the year, being added to as the group of learners best sees fit.

Over the last two weeks teachers, from Kindergarten to fifth grade, have intentionally chosen to read several different books, conducted a variety of activities as well as had classroom meetings to discuss what they think would best support in classroom learning this year. As a campus each year, we mindfully choose a handful of attributes and attitudes to be a central focus of our essential agreements, uniting our community at Spicewood Elementary. This year we have chosen:


Balanced     Appreciation     Caring     Tolerance     Reflective


Below is a quick look at how each grade has interpreted these attitudes and (learner profile) attributes!





Kindergarten was spent time this week exploring Who We Are as scientists. 


This Week's News

Do Not Use Hope Church Parking Lot This Tuesday & Wednesday
Please remember not to use the church parking lot this Tuesday, September 8 and Wednesday, September 9, 2015.

All Students Must Enter Through MAIN ENTRANCE
4th and 5th grade students housed in the new modular building MUST enter through our main entrance every morning. No students should be reporting to the classroom directly. This is so that we can keep track of absences and tardies appropriately. 

Late Student Pick-Up
Spicewood has implemented a new system last school week. When students are not picked up by 2:55-3:00PM, all of them will be brought into the office as last year. Parents/guardians are asked to come into the front office and physically sign out their child(ren) on a newly created form in the front office. This form will allow school to keep track of repeated late pick-ups. 

Student Arrival
This is a friendly reminder that  parents are asked to drop off their children at the front entrance of the school starting this week. Otherwise, all visitors will need to sign in at the front office and obtain a visitor's pass prior to entering the building. 

FYI: WWHS Homecoming Parade & Food Drive
The Westwood Homecoming Parade will be held on September 9th at 6 pm, along with a food drive for the Capitol Area Food bank. Come out to support the Warriors and bring some cans to donate!!! There will be a truck at the end of the parade for you to place the cans in, and attached is a list of items needed by the food bank.

Spicewood Open House
Parents, please mark your calendar! Spicewood Open House will take place this Thursday, September 10, 2015. Please refer to the below 'Mark Your Calendar' section for a specific time frame for each grade level. 

Parent Volunteer Training
All Spicewood volunteers must complete a brief training. You can choose between two different training sessions - Monday, September 14th, at 6:30 pm or Tuesday, September 15th, at 8:00 am. Each of the training sessions take place at Spicewood and are approximately 30 minutes each. Can't make one of these sessions? You can complete the training online on the Volunteer Page of the PTA website. Please make sure to read through the entire document and sign the Acknowledgment Form at the end of the training session. In addition, Homeroom Parents should plan to stay 30 minutes after the volunteer training session for additional information.

Digital Student Directory
The Spicewood PTA is going digital with the Student Directory! The new digital directory will provide immediate access to Spicewood family contact information online or via your smart phone. Additionally, families will have the option to print a grade level directory for personal use. In order to access the 2015-16 Spicewood directory you must first add your family's data by clicking on My School Anywhere. Please add your family data by Monday, September 14, and remember that if you do not add your information, you will not be given access to the directory. Please email Shannon Williamson with any questions (shannon.williamson@gmail.com).

Annual Giving Campaign

The purpose of the Spicewood Elementary PTA is to promote the welfare of children and youth in our homes, schools and communities. To achieve this mission, the PTA is involved with organizing and funding countless events and programs at Spicewood, as well as purchasing supplies used directly by our students every day, such as the 72 laptop computers purchased last year. The only way we are able to continue to enrich our children’s lives is through your generous donations. If each able family donates just $50 per student, the PTA can continue to offer all of our fantastic programs throughout the school year. To make a contribution to the Annual Giving Campaign, please visit the PTA Store, where you can also sign up to be a PTA member and purchase this year’s Spicewood T-Shirt. We greatly appreciate any amount your family can contribute! Thank you!

Spicewood T-shirts for sale in the PTA Store

School T-shirts are officially on sale on the PTA website. Please scroll down to the bottom of the store, it's the last item in the store. Order your T-shirts now, T-shirt sales will close on Friday Sept. 25th and will be delivered on Friday Oct. 2nd. Kids will have a school wide Spirit day late October, so order your School Tshirt now so your kids are not left out. 

Book Fair - Volunteers Needed

Join us for Spine Tingling Tales at this year’s Monster Mash Book Fair on Monday, September 28, through Friday, October 2, from 7:30am - 4:00pm. It takes many volunteers to make the Book Fair a success and we need your help! Please visit the Online Volunteer Schedule on the Volunteer page to sign up for a short 2 hour shift. Thanks and see you at the Book Fair!

Silent Auction is coming up!

Silent Auction will be here before we know it. In preparation, we are proactively recruiting ideas on how to best appropriate the funds raised this year. In years past, we have allotted all of the funds to generally supporting PTA, we have made specific purchases, or we have done some combination of both. This year, we are hoping to raise $25,000.00, and we want to hear from you on how to allocate the funds. Please take a quick moment to click on and fill out our Online Survey Monkey. We will tally the results and present the top picks for voting at our first General Meeting on Thursday, September 17. The only way to have a say is to join PTA and vote, so make sure to join PTA by visiting the PTA Store and come to the meeting on 9/17!

Media Madness

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, September 15 at 6:30pm at Ridgeview Middle School for a special presentation on Media Madness. Today’s kids are exposed to an average of seven hours of “screen-time” each day, and the impact of those media messages can shape many of their perceptions and actions. Media Madness provides parents and caregivers the tools to successfully manage their children’s “screen time,” effectively monitor media messages and content, and realistically modify your approach as children grow and technology advances. All Parents, Teachers and Administrators are invited and encouraged to attend!




MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Monday, September 7
Labor Day
NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 8- Wednesday, September 9
No Parking at Hope Church


Wednesday, September 9
6:00PM   FYI: WWHS Homecoming Parade/Food Drive

Thursday, September 10
Spicewood Open House
5:00-5:30PM   4th & 5th Grade
5:30-6:00PM   Kinder & 1st Grade
6:00-6:30PM   2nd and 3rd Grade

Friday, September 11
International Dot Day Celebration in Art

Monday, September 14
6:30PM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 1
Library

Tuesday, September 15
8:00AM   Parent Volunteer Training Option 2
Library

6:30PM  FYI: Media Madness at Ridgeview MS

Wednesday, September 16
7:00-7:45AM   Breakfast with Dads
We call for all dads and father figures to come join us at the Breakfast with Dads. Students will be able to eat yummy breakfast with dads in the cafeteria and be released to their classrooms at 7:45AM. 

Thursday, September 17
6:00-7:00PM   IB PYP Parent Information Night + PTA General Meeting #1


Friday, September 18
International Dot Day Celebration in Art

Wednesday, September 23
12:45PM   Early Release Day
All students are dismissed at 12:45PM. Please plan accordingly in advance. 

1:00PM   Fall Student-Led Conferences
More detailed information to come

Thursday, September 24- Friday, September 25
No Parking at Hope Church

Monday, September 28- Friday, October 2
Book Fair 

Friday, October 2
Kids Invite Someone Special (K.I.S.S.) Cook-Out Day