Monday, January 9, 2017

Updates from the Principal

Dear families and community members,

I hope everyone had a warm and relaxing weekend at home in this cold weather. Our students and teachers did an amazing job of transitioning smoothly back into the routines. We have a Spirit Night at Noble Sandwich Co. this Wednesday from 5-8PM and hope to see many of you there!

IB PYP 101

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

In alignment with teaching the whole child, students at Spicewood work on a variety of skills to give them the tools they need to be successful [read more about Approaches to Learning] in our ever changing and connected world. Explicitly teaching and giving students opportunities to practice specific communication skills provides them with vital skills for collaboration.

Communication Skills include listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, presenting, and non-verbal communication. Teachers provide their students a variety of learning opportunities and collaboration experiences to develop these skills.

So what does this look like in the classroom?
  • Students in 2nd grade are currently learning about sound. To launch their inquiry, students looked at a list of a variety of objects (ex: clapping hands, balloon popping, dog barking) and were asked to collaboratively work with one another to sort the objects.
  • In 4th grade, students are exploring fractions (comparing, equivalent, etc.). Students were given two fractions to compare to one another. Independently, students solved the problem and then were asked to work with an elbow buddy to discuss their answers as well as share strategies they used to solve the problem.
As group members and partners shared their ideas, they used speaking and listening skills to discuss and share their ideas. Students were given sentence stems (such as, "I agree with you because..., and I'd like to add..."  or "I disagree with you because..., and I think....") to help support and guide the academic conversation with their peers. Teachers highlight these skills with explicit instruction and modeling, in addition to reflection time with their students allowing the classes to see the value and importance of these skills.

What can you do at home?
  • Model communication skills (listening, speaking, non-verbal communication) at home with your child
  • Learn more about thinking and communication skills from the lens of a PYP student
  • See what this type of communication might look like in a PYP classroom

This Week's News

Spirit Night at Noble Sandwich Co. hosted by PTA
PTA is hosting a Spirit Night at Noble Sandwich Co. this Wednesday from 5-8pm. Part of the sales proceed will be donated to the PTA to do great things at Spicewood for our students. Please come out and join us! 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Powers (TAG) and Mrs. Kim will be there for part of the night. 

Message from Hope Church- Pastor Robinson
Hope Church would like to extend new year greeting as well as remind everyone of safety expectations. I've extracted the safety information. Here's a copy of the letter from Pastor Robinson written to the Spicewood community. 
  • Speed Bumps: During the break, we added four sets of speed bumps in our parking lot. We believe a safe speed in any parking lot with children is 5-7 mph. We hope these bumps will serve as a reminder to mindful of your speed and the surroundings.
  • Exit Only: Our parking lot is one directional. While we have "Exit Only" signs posted, they have become weather worn. Those have now been replaced with reflective signs, making it easier to see in darker hours.
  • Right Turn Only: After receiving feedback from the crossing guards and observing the traffic patterns on Olson Drive, we began placing cones at the exit to encourage a right turn only. We now have a "Right Turn Only" sign for those cones. During high traffic times, please exit the parking lot by turning right.
  • Curbs and Circle Drive: Thank you for your response to Principal Kim's notes about not parking in the circular drive in front of the church. This has been quite helpful for the elderly and deliveries. We would add a reminder to be mindful of not parking on street curbs or blocking sidewalk ramps.
  • U-Turns on Olson Drive: As a final word of concern, making U-Turns on Olson Drive is a violation, and it is very dangerous. The crossing guard and I observe this action multiple times every day. We understand the traffic pattern around Spicewood E.S. and Hope Church may be inconvenient during peak times, but the safety of our children and other pedestrians is of the utmost concern.
Education Go Get It Week (EGGI Week) Next Week
Education Go Get It Week is next week, January 17-20th. EGGI Week is a week to focus on exploring and learning about the wide variety of post-secondary opportunities and career choices available in the future for our students. It's never to early to start thinking about the future and this year we're asking students to DREAM BIG! 

Below is a list of spirit days your child can choose to participate in during EGGI Week:
Tuesday: Spicewood School Shirt Day—At Spicewood Elementary we work to build a strong educational foundation in preparation for our bright futures!
Wednesday: College/Military/Training Program T-Shirt Day—You have to get the education and skills before you get the job you want! Show your spirit for higher education and training opportunities to build our education and skills!
Thursday: Dress for Success Day—It’s interview time—dress to impress in the career world (dress in “interview” attire - you have to look the part to get the job!).
Friday: My Future Career Day—You’ve finally landed your dream job—dress up in your future career gear!

To go along with EGGI Week, students may like to create a Dream Board to share. To inspire themselves to dream big and shoot for the stars, some people create Dream Boards by decorating a board with pictures (drawn, photos, or cut from magazines), words, poetry, and more to keep these dreams and goals alive as they go through life. Students will be sent home a paper Dream Board in their Friday Folder as an OPTIONAL assignment. If students choose to complete and turn it in to their teacher, Mrs. Hougham will display the Dream Board  in the school to inspire others before sending it back home. 

Stay tuned for more EGGI Week activities next week! 

Message from Chess Club
The Spicewood Chess Club is now accepting new students.Registration open until Friday January 13th. Please go here for registration and information:

Science Fair Registration
Science Fair is coming up soon (January 23-26), 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 23. 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 cover short 2 hour shifts from Monday, 1/23, through Wednesday, 1/25. 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.

Save the Date - One World, One Night Event
Would you like a chance to travel the world without buying a plane ticket? Mark your calendars for the "One World, One Night" celebration on Tuesday, February 21, from 5:30pm-7:30pm. This Spicewood event gives our students and their families a passport to different cultures around the world! At the festival you will find tables hosted by fellow Spicewood parents sharing their cultures by exhibiting artifacts, traditional clothing, teaching crafts and providing culinary samples. Each year the number of participating countries grows and we encourage all cultures at Spicewood Elementary to consider participating in the One World, One Night event. For more information and to sign up to participate, please email 

Adopt the Garden - Volunteers Needed
We are looking for families to "adopt" the garden for a week to help us keep it growing for the students and teachers at Spicewood throughout the year. Responsibilities are easy - light weeding & watering several times during the week, depending on the weather. Specific instructions will be emailed before your week begins. Spots are filling up quickly, so don’t delay, sign up today at

Follow us at to see how the teachers use the garden, how you can help out and how the garden grows throughout the year.


Wednesday, January 11
5:00-8:00PM   4th Grade Spirit Night at Noble Pig (Hosted by PTA)

Monday, January 16
MLK Day- No School

Thursday, January 19
6:00PM   PTA General Meeting 

Friday, January 20
5th Grade Mustang Express to CVMS
WatchDOGS Friday

Monday, January 23- Thursday, January 26
Science Fair

Wednesday, January 25
6:00-7:00PM   Science Fair Family Viewing Night

Thursday, February 2
Spring Individual & Group Picture Day

Friday, February 3
WatchDOGS Friday 

Wednesday, February 8
5:00-8:00PM   2nd Grade Spirit Night at Moonie's Burger House

Thursday, February 9
6:00PM   1st Grade Music Concert

Friday, February 10
Art Volunteers in the Classroom