Monday, January 25, 2016

Updates from the Leadership Team

Dear families and community,

We would like to thank you for all your hard work in supporting students as they prepared for Science Fair this week. We look forward to seeing you on campus Wednesday night to view student projects. 


Celebrations

UIL A+ Academics District Competition
Our students competed last Saturday, January 16th, at Cactus Elementary in various categories. We are so proud of every student that participated and competed in District competition! A special congratulations to the following students who placed in their categories:

Music Memory
Brandee Benson, 2nd Place

Number Sense
Ethan Yang, 5th Place
Brandi Tai, 2nd Place
Kavita Kohli, 5th Place

Spelling
Rsohan Paul, 6th Place 
Alexander Bui, 1st Place
Aimee Wang, 3rd Place
Peter Kim, 4th Place

Storytelling
Nisha Raghavan, 4th Place
Farah Coffman,  5th Place 

Oral Reading
Oliver Barnfield, 1st Place
Madison Heard, 4th Place






A huge thank you to the following Spicewood teachers who volunteered to coach students in preparation for this event, and helped with judging different categories at the district competition: Mrs. Albright, Mrs. Brzykcy, Mrs. Cain, Mrs. Dielmann, Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Prichard, Ms. Mckenna &  Mr. Ortiz.





IB PYP 101
This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin
An IB school provides students an opportunity to explore concepts and ideas through inquiry based learning in turn preparing them for a future we can only begin to imagine. While the exploration and inquiry that happens in the classroom is key we ultimately want the units to inspire students to take action (remember action is see, think, act, be, say, feel) with their new learning.

Our third graders are taking action in a new way this year. For their last two Units of Inquiry (How the World Works and How We Express Ourselves), students took action and shared their learning with their families. More specifically, students were asked to bring home their PYP folders and other journals that were used  throughout the unit, sharing with their families selected artifacts from a variety of learning experiences that took place over the previous six weeks. The conversations provide a platform for parents to see the learning as it unfolds throughout the inquiry cycle in addition to solidifying the concepts learned in the unit.

After reviewing the items in their journals and folders with their parents, the tables were turned and parents were asked to answer reflect and answer few questions. Involving parents in the learning and reflection process is beneficial for both students and parents. For students, it gives them an opportunity to make more real world connections as their parents share their own knowledge and experiences related to the central idea and unit. Meanwhile, it gives parents an informal opportunity to learn more about the unique elements that make up a PYP education and and get a glimpse small glimpse about how the inquiry process unfolds throughout a unit.
Be sure to check out our parent reflections near the music hallway!

Meanwhile, in Kindergarten, we find our students reflecting with their parents based on their classroom inquiry. 

At the start of every unit, the Kindergarten teachers share a short reflection form with their classroom parents. Parents are encouraged to share the conversations (related to their unit, learner profile attributes, math concept, etc.), or action, that occurs at home and document their child's action. The forms, again, provide a platform for parents to reflect on their child's actions and conversations, highlighting what's at the heart of an IB education.  
During their Sharing the Planet unit, students explored resources around the world. It's clearly evident that students were inspired by their learning from the classroom and extending their knowledge with their own collections and sharing of information obtained during their inquiry!

What kind of "table talks" are you having with your child? 

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

Science Fair Viewing Night 
The viewing night for families is Wednesday, Jan 27 from 6:00pm-7:00 pm.  K-3 projects will be displayed in the science lab and 4th-5th grade will be in the library.  Please do not remove the projects or ribbons at this time because this is a viewing night only. Projects will be sent home later during the week.

Library Volunteers Needed
With an average daily circulation of 306 books, the Spicewood Library is in need of volunteers to assist with re-shelving and/or manning the checkout desk. This is a relaxing and easy way to make a meaningful volunteer contribution to Spicewood and you can do it when it best fits your schedule. To sign-up for a 1 hour time slot please visit the Volunteer page and click the online schedule located under the Library heading. You may even want to check with your child’s classroom teacher to find out when your child’s class has their weekly visit to the library, then sign-up to volunteer while your child is there. Kids love to see their parents at school! Grandparents are welcome to volunteer too! 

UT Hosting Spicewood Elementary Spirit Night
Come support Spicewood by attending the Spicewood Appreciation Night at the Longhorns vs. Texas Tech basketball game. All fundraising revenue goes to Spicewood PTA. The game is February 6th at 1:00 pm at the Frank Erwin Center. The class with the most students attending will get a chance to high five the players as they come onto the court. If 150 tickets are sold then those attending can go on the court after the game! Tickets are only $12 and can be purchased through the PTA store.

Your Expertise is Needed for STEAM Day 2016
STEAM Day - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (formerly Enrichment Day) will be taking place on March 11th and we are seeking your ideas and/or expertise to help make the day great! If you have some ideas for the event or expertise that might help to make a fun and educational day for our kids, please visit the STEAM page on the PTA website or contact Karen Pavlovic at kdpavlovic@gmail.com.


Other Campus Activities


Makerspace as a Flexible Learning Environment
The Makerspace movement in education is about moving students from consumption to creation and turning student knowledge into action. A Makerspace facilitates this student driven, inquiry based learning, and here at Spicewood we have added a Makerspace to the library and art classrooms! In our Makerspace, we are encouraging a growth mindset amongst students and staff as they tinker, explore, create, collaborate, and communicate to share their ideas. Be sure to check out our campus and library websites to see how Spicewood students use the creative space.



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Wednesday, January 27
6PM - 7PM - Science Fair Night

Thursday, January 28
5:00-8:00PM   First Grade Spirit Night @ Cajun Pizza Place (hosted by PTA)
Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance

Tuesday, February 2
Class Picture Day

Wednesday, February 3
Early Release Day
(All students are released at 12:45. Please plan accordingly in advance.)

Saturday, February 6
1:00PM Spicewood Spirit Event (Frank Erwin Center)

Thursday, February 11
5:00 PM -8:00PM 5th Grade Spirit Night @ Bush's Chicken (hosted by PTA)
Coach Robertson, Coach Berry, Mr. Parks and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance

Monday, February 15

President's Day- No School for Students.

Thursday, February 25
PTA General Meeting





Monday, January 18, 2016

Updates from the Leadership Team

Dear families and community,

We hope you are enjoying the nice long weekend. We have a lot of important information being shared this week. Please take just a few minutes to read through the newsletter. We look forward to seeing many parents throughout the building this week! 

Celebrations

Spicewood Students Participate in Scripps Spelling Bee
The Spicewood Elementary PTA hosted our first campus Scripps Spelling Bee last Wednesday night. Students did an amazing job and we are proud of each of them! We would also like to recognize Jose, as the Spicewood Elementary 2015-2016 Spelling Bee Champion. He will be representing Spicewood Elementary at the Regional Scripps Spelling Bee in February. 
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IB PYP 101
This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.
Before the winter break, I shared the inquiry cycle with you, focusing in on what was happening in each grade level. I briefly outlined the different learning experiences and explained where in the inquiry cycle the students were within their Unit of Inquiry.1098f-inquirycycle
Our fourth graders are currently wrapping up their Where We Are in Place and Time unit in which they explored the concepts of migration, connection, and perspective.  They spent the last five weeks tuning in to what they already knew about migration (4th grade Social Studies state standards primarily focus on Texas history so this was the central focus for the students), actively engaged in different learning experiences to find out and sort through new information, and went further in their inquiry during their field trip to San Antonio.

During the last week of each Unit of Inquiry (each unit is about 6 weeks long), students spend a majority of their time reflecting and making connections between the transdisciplinary theme (in this case Where We Are in Place and Time) and the central idea. This can look differently depending on the classroom, but some ways that students spend this reflection/connection time might be through whole class discussions or a written reflection. Using their PYP folders and/or journals, students synthesize their learning that has taken place over the last five weeks to demonstrate their understanding of the central idea through the summative or final assessment. A summative assessment is never a traditional test or multiple choice answer sheet. It usually contains an open ended assignment or task (assessed with a class created checklist or rubric) that provides students a choice of medium or creative expression of their ideas.

To assess the students learning of their unit, "Students will share their information by writing a fictionalized first person account that demonstrates the perspectives of the immigrants as well as the locals." Before this task could be completed by the students, however, the fourth grade teachers had one final learning experience for the students.

The teachers invited a panel of parents to come and share their individual story of immigration. Parents were asked to share where they immigrated from and how their immigration experiences changed them as people.
With such a diverse population here at Spicewood, we were fortunate to have to very diverse panel (Italy, Malaysia, Germany, India and China) represented to our fourth graders, giving them an opportunity to listen to different perspectives on immigration. And although our panel came from different countries around the world, each story had similar underlying themes; freedom, opportunity and inclusion. Overall, the participants shared that they felt that in the United States there is freedom to "do what you want because of who you are" and the overall acceptance and open-mindedness of the United States.

Some other surprises or culture shock our immigrants experienced...

I thought that there was a curfew in the United States because I didn't see many people walking around the streets. In India there are always people walking around everywhere (because their population is over 1 billion!) and when I didn't see people around I thought there must be a curfew if there were no people out. 

I thought that the reality of the United States was what I saw on TV- nice cars, homes, everyone looking the same. I found that there are homeless people in some areas (Los Angeles was the specific area described) and that around one corner there could be lots of nice homes, meanwhile, the other corner doesn't have the same amount of wealth in the area.

I found that the United States allows you to do what you want if you work for it. Even if you don't know the language, people are accepting of that and supportive. You have the flexibility to move different fields if you want. You do not have to be set on a certain career.

The people here are accepting of different languages and cultures. People ask me how to pronounce my name and are careful to say it correctly. At first I didn't think I would be able to keep my language and culture (after I moved from India), but found that the US is respectful of my culture and I can still practice my traditions and festivals.

What an amazing first hand experience for our fourth graders! As part of the Learner Profile attributes, perspective and reflection play a significant role in Spicewood's vision of preparing our students to be "a community of caring, global-minded thinkers".  It's clearly evident that our fourth graders were given the opportunity to see and model these traits with this well crafted learning experience. A big thank you goes out to all of the parents who volunteered for this event!

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
Other Campus Activities

One World, One Night Informal Meeting
Spicewood Elementary parents are invited to join the PTA on January 21 at 7:30pm at the Balcones Country Club for an informational meeting for the One Wold, One Night event. This will be an informal meeting where families can sign up, ask questions and become more familiar with the event. They can also team up and work together with other families from the same country. Please come and support us. Do not hesitate to contact Beatriz Gunz and Silvana Giannetti at spicewoodoneworldonenight@gmail.com should you have any questions or if you would like to participate in the event, but are unable to make the informational meeting. 

Science Fair Registration
Science Fair is a little over a week away, which means it’s time to get those projects registered! 4th and 5th graders will be completing their Science Fair registrations in class. However, K-3rd graders who are participating in Science Fair must complete their registration online. To register a project for a K-3rd grader, please complete the online Science Fair Registration. Participating students should bring their display boards to school on Monday, January 25. Please visit the Science Fair page for more information.

Science Fair Volunteers Needed
In order to make the Science Fair a success, we need parent volunteers to help cover shifts on Monday, January 25, through Wednesday, January 27. Duties include setting up, escorting students from class to the library for judging, placing ribbons on projects and cleaning up. To sign up as a volunteer, please visit the Volunteer page and click the online schedule located under the Science Fair heading.

Library Volunteers Needed
With an average daily circulation of 306 books, the Spicewood Library is in need of volunteers to assist with re-shelving and/or manning the checkout desk. This is a relaxing and easy way to make a meaningful volunteer contribution to Spicewood and you can do it when it best fits your schedule. To sign-up for a 1 hour time slot please visit the Volunteer page and click the online schedule located under the Library heading. You may even want to check with your child’s classroom teacher to find out when your child’s class has their weekly visit to the library, then sign-up to volunteer while your child is there. Kids love to see their parents at school! Grandparents are welcome to volunteer too! 

UT Hosting Spicewood Elementary Spirit Night
Come support Spicewood by attending the Spicewood Appreciation Night at the Longhorns vs. Texas Tech basketball game. All fundraising revenue goes to Spicewood PTA. The game is February 6th at 1:00 pm at the Frank Erwin Center. The class with the most students attending will get a chance to high five the players as they come onto the court. If 150 tickets are sold then those attending can go on the court after the game! Tickets are only $12 and can be purchased through the PTA store.

Your Expertise is Needed for STEAM Day 2016
STEAM Day - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (formerly Enrichment Day) will be taking place on March 11th and we are seeking your ideas and/or expertise to help make the day great! If you have some ideas for the event or expertise that might help to make a fun and educational day for our kids, please visit the STEAM page on the PTA website or contact Karen Pavlovic at kdpavlovic@gmail.com.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Monday, January 18
No school - MLK Day

Monday, January 25-28
Science Fair

Wednesday, January 27
6PM - 7PM - Science Fair Night

Thursday, January 28
5:00-8:00PM   First Grade Spirit Night @ Cajun Pizza Place (hosted by PTA)
Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance

Tuesday, February 2
Class Picture Day

Wednesday, February 3
Early Release Day
(All students are released at 12:45. Please plan accordingly in advance.)

Saturday, February 6
1:00PM Spicewood Spirit Event (Frank Erwin Center)

Thursday, February 11
5:00 PM -8:00PM 5th Grade Spirit Night @ Bush's Chicken (hosted by PTA)
Coach Robertson, Coach Berry, Mr. Parks and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance.



Monday, January 11, 2016

Updates from the Leadership Team

Dear families and community,

We had a great first week back after our winter holiday. Students have gotten back into routines and are eagerly preparing for Science Fair and U.I.L Competitions! We'd like to extend our appreciation towards visitors and their awareness of designated parking areas. Your efforts keep our students safe. 
.  
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IB PYP 101
This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.


PYP 101 section will return next Monday, January 18th!

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
Other Campus Activities


UT Hosting Spicewood Elementary Spirit Night
Come support Spicewood by attending the Spicewood Appreciation Night at the Longhorns vs. Texas Tech basketball game. All fundraising revenue goes to Spicewood PTA. The game is February 6th at 1:00 pm at the Frank Erwin Center. The class with the most students attending will get a chance to high five the players as they come onto the court. If 150 tickets are sold then those attending can go on the court after the game! Tickets are only $12 and can be purchased through the PTA store.

Your Expertise is Needed for STEAM Day 2016
STEAM Day - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (formerly Enrichment Day) will be taking place on March 11th and we are seeking your ideas and/or expertise to help make the day great! If you have some ideas for the event or expertise that might help to make a fun and educational day for our kids, please visit the STEAM page on the PTA website or contact Karen Pavlovic at kdpavlovic@gmail.com.

Merchant Rebates
HEB is having another Bonus Box Tops promotion from January 6-19! Perfect timing since our next contest will end mid-February! More information about the contest after the holidays. Meanwhile, while visiting with family, check to see if they have the following Merchant Rebate labels available to you:

Merchant Rebate labels available to you:
Box Tops for Education
Labels For Education
Tyson A+ Labels
Community Coffee
My Coke Rewards
****Submit the above 5 labels/codes to your child's teacher!!****
Target REDcard  
Randalls' Good Neighbor Program 
Office Depot 5% Back to Schools Program
Amazon Smile

Questions? Contact Lisa Revelett: merchantrebates@revelett.com



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Wednesday, January 13
6:30PM - 8:00 PM Spicewood Elementary Spelling Bee 

Friday, January 15
WatchDOGS start back up!

Saturday, January 16
8:30AM - 12:00PM  District U.I.L Meet @ Cactus Ranch Elementary

Monday, January 18
No school - MLK Day

Monday, January 25-28
Science Fair

Wednesday, January 27
6PM - 7PM - Science Fair Night

Thursday, January 28
5:00-8:00PM   First Grade Spirit Night @ Cajun Pizza Place (hosted by PTA)
Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance

Tuesday, February 2
Class Picture Day

Wednesday, February 3
Early Release Day
(All students are released at 12:45. Please plan accordingly in advance.)

Saturday, February 6
1:00PM Spicewood Spirit Event (Frank Erwin Center)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Updates from the Leadership Team

Dear families and community,

Spicewood wishes everyone a happy new year! Teachers are returning to campus today for a day full of training and new learning. We will welcome our students back tomorrow on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.
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Celebrations


Student Council Participates in Cookies For Courage
This year our Student Council, lead by Mrs. Della Robinson and Mr. Jerry Ortiz, chose to express their gratitude and appreciation for individuals who support our community by participating in Cookies For Courage. They delivered homemade cookies and cards to the fire station, police department, crossing guards, custodians, memory care center and WatchDogs. We are extremely proud of our students' commitment to exemplifying the IB learner profile. 

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IB PYP 101
This portion of Mrs. Kim's letter is contributed by Mrs. Vance, our PYP Coordinator.

A new year, new goals and a new perspective go hand in hand. 
What better time to take a closer look one of the key concepts - perspective. 

The key concepts are an essential element to the PYP curriculum framework. There are a total of eight key concepts (perspective, connection, form, function, causation, change, responsibility, reflection) and they transcend each subject area, giving students an opportunity to explore concepts throughout the day no matter what standard or subject they are learning. Collectively, they drive classroom inquiry, learning experiences and individual or classroom research projects. Most simply put, they lie at the heart of the PYP curriculum. Each unit (remember there are a total of six) focuses on only three of these concepts, allowing the teacher and students to focus their inquiry in further depth by using them as a guide for questioning and inquiry. The key concepts provide an avenue for the exploration of big ideas and give learners an opportunity to break down their misconceptions, resulting in deeper meaning.

In the fifth grade, students are currently exploring their How We Organize Ourselves unit, focusing on the central idea, Systems of government organize societies. Within this unit, the classes primarily concentrate on the fifth grades social studies standards (TEKS). The key concepts of the unit are perspective, function and responsibility (see the descriptors below):


Before the holiday break, Ms. Schuster shared with me a particular learning experience that beautifully illustrates the perspective key concept. She writes,

"As part of our learning about the American Revolution, our class created a mock debate between 3 famous loyalists (Thomas Hutchinson, Jonathan Boucher and Lord Dunmore) and 3 famous patriots (Benjamin Franklin, Mercy Otis Warren, and Samuel Adams). Students within small groups each chose their own role and everyone played a part in the process of creating a stimulating debate and deciding for themselves which argument was stronger."

We can probably all recall a time when we tried to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. It required a different, deeper thinking to be able to really understand how someone else might feel/act/be. Taking on the different perspectives of people during the American Revolution provided a unique learning experience for her students. The learning became "alive" as students interacted with the material and were asked to take their learning to a deeper level. The students had to defend their reasoning, using evidence and critical thinking.

So what did the students think about it experience?

"... it was cool".

"...liked being the architects of the debate".

So how can you support the concept based learning happening in the classroom at home?

Explore concepts through a multitude of real-life experiences! It engages the natural curiosity of the child and provides an opportunity to verbalize with language. Try using some of the following question prompts with your child,


Responsibility –How is that going to help others? How do we all get electricity? Who is responsible for our safety? Why should we wear seat belts in cars? Who makes sure that we all have enough to eat? What role does a bee play in what we eat? Who can help us do that? Why do we need museum curators/artists/nurses/shopkeepers?

Reflection – How do you feel now? How did you find that out? Did it get easier after you practiced? What would help you to do that better? Why do you think that is tricky for you to do? What do you think? Why do you like/hate that? What did you find out? What would you do differently next time?
Connection – How are these things connected? How are these the same/different? How can we group (sort) these things? How can you keep in touch with (friend)? What links us all together? Can you work out a way to take turns/share? How do you decide what is best? How do we sort out these leaves/bugs/buttons? What are these things made of? Is that bigger or smaller/ more expensive/cheaper…? 

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


Other Campus Activities



Your Expertise is Needed for STEAM Day 2016
STEAM Day - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (formerly Enrichment Day) will be taking place on March 11th and we are seeking your ideas and/or expertise to help make the day great! If you have some ideas for the event or expertise that might help to make a fun and educational day for our kids, please visit the STEAM page on the PTA website or contact Karen Pavlovic at kdpavlovic@gmail.com.


Merchant Rebates
HEB is having another Bonus Box Tops promotion from January 6-19! Perfect timing since our next contest will end mid-February! More information about the contest after the holidays. Meanwhile, while visiting with family, check to see if they have the following Merchant Rebate labels available to you:

Merchant Rebate labels available to you:
Box Tops for Education
Labels For Education
Tyson A+ Labels
Community Coffee
My Coke Rewards
****Submit the above 5 labels/codes to your child's teacher!!****
Target REDcard  
Randalls' Good Neighbor Program 
Office Depot 5% Back to Schools Program
Amazon Smile

Questions? Contact Lisa Revelett: merchantrebates@revelett.com

School Garden - Volunteers Needed
The PTA approved a portion of funds from the 2015 Live & Silent Auction for the creation of a school garden at Spicewood Elementary.  Want to learn more? Or maybe you, or someone you know, would like to be involved with this grassroots program? Please visit Garden at Spicewood page for more information about this exciting new resource.



MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


Monday December 21 - Monday January 4
Winter Break 

Monday, January 4
Staff Development /  Student Holiday

Tuesday, January 5
Classes Begin

Friday, January 15
WatchDOGS start back up!

Saturday, January 16
8:30AM - 12:00PM  District U.I.L Meet @ Cactus Ranch Elementary

Monday, January 18
No school - MLK Day

Monday, January 25-28
Science Fair

Thursday, January 28
5:00-8:00PM   First Grade Spirit Night @ Cajun Pizza Place (hosted by PTA)
Mrs. Teal, Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Page will also be in attendance