Monday, February 24, 2014

Website update

It's time to update your website home page! See some great examples of updated sites below.
Lawrence Elementary
Ready for March and the Bluebonnet Luncheon!
Terry Middle School
Can't wait for Divergent!  March is almost here!
Added subject links that search the OPAC!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Activity Report Due February 24

Note: If you are reading this post via email, please click through to see the embedded information below.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

STAAR Webinars

A couple of weeks ago I posted information about some STAAR webinars that were being offered by Region 10. I had them labeled for elementary only, but after watching the one about inferencing last week, I realize that they are really for all levels. 

A couple of my take aways/applications from the one I saw were:

1. The ELAR STAAR test is not a reading comprehension test - it is a WRITING ANALYSIS test. Our students must see how reading and writing are connected. The examples and details provided by the author are what help the reader infer and understand the text.

2. There are many types of inferences. Good readers are inferring all the time. See examples of inferences readers make below:

3. If we are working on making inferences with students, we need to make our "I will" statements more specific depending on the type of inference we want students to make. For example, a lesson frame might be:

We will listen to the story of Strega Nona and discuss what happens when Big Anthony doesn't pay attention.

I will identify the cause of the problem in the story and tell my partner what the effect of the problem was.

If you really want to understand more about the STAAR test and the level of teaching that must be done in order to prepare our students to be successful, I highly recommend these Region 10 webinars. The ones that have already taken place are archived at

Monday, February 17, 2014

District Technology Plan

Just wanted you to be "in the know" about future initiatives regarding technology in the district.  The following projects are being planned to enhance student learning and skill development.

  1. Pre-K and K--5 iPads per classroom to support skill development and TA TEKS
  2. Grades 1-5--4 laptops per classroom to support intervention and TA TEKS
  3. Grade 6--1:1 iPads to focus on science, social studies and TA TEKS
  4. Grades 6-8--5 laptops per math classroom to support TTM and TA TEKS
  5. High School BYOD--5 devices per classroom to supplement student devices
  6. High School Library-- technology refresh
We will keep you informed as we find out more information regarding timelines, professional development, curriculum support, etc...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finding treasure

Dorling Kindersley / Universal Images Group
Don't you just love it when you open an email or click on a link and find an absolute treasure?

That's what happened today when I opened an email that had been posted to the AASL listserv. A librarian was looking for books that could teach the concept of problem and solution. The person who answered her question provided SO MUCH more than that.

Here's what she said:

Using a “book”  or “passage”  to teach a principle is  often called,  a “mentor text.” There was a group of librarians at AASL13  in Hartford who had compiled a GREAT list of mentor texts on different curriculum topics. 

Here is the URL: 

  When you follow their index on the left down to “problem and solution”  they have a full page for you: 

Wow! This wiki is an absolute treasure trove of book titles that can be used to teach pretty much every reading comprehension skill and literary device known to man.

You're gonna want to share this one!

Friday Food for Thought: Library expectations

Some librarians have been wondering what we are looking for in terms of posted library expectations when we do our walkthroughs. There are a couple of different ways to approach this.

Sometimes a campus develops a school-wide set of behavior expectations and those are posted everywhere, including in the library. Here's an example of this type of signage:

Cannaday Elementary

If there aren't any campus-wide expectations in place, librarians are free to develop their own guidelines for behavior, but we're not talking about traditional classroom "rules." Library expectations are generally based on these ideas:

  • the library is a community space that is shared with others
  • in a shared space, users of that space must demonstrate respect/consideration for other people and take care of the facility and the materials
  • the library belongs to everyone, so everyone has a responsibility to help take care of it

We've seen several examples of library expectations that reflect these ideas around the district:

Kimbrough MS

Mackey Elementary

Horn HS

Berry MS

If you don't currently have expectations posted, think about the best way to simply convey to students how you'd like them to treat materials and people in the library and go from there!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

MISD Bluebonnet Program Update

MISD students have voted and named 10 Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the School Bus by John Grandits as their favorite from the current list of Texas Bluebonnet Award nominees.

MISD favorite

2nd place
3rd place

Here are other stats from this year's Bluebonnet program:

94% of our elementary schools participated

38% of 3rd-6th grade students voted

Thanks for all the work you do promoting this reading program with our students. The state winner will be announced soon and the award presented at the Texas Bluebonnet Award luncheon on April 10 in San Antonio.

Mesquite Public Library 50th Anniversary

You are invited to join us this month as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary!

*  February 18, 2-4 p.m., RECEPTION at Main Library, 300 W. Grubb Dr.
*  February 20, 7 p.m., FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY Meeting (*Revisiting A Stake in the Prairie"), Main Library
*  February 17-22, FOOD FOR FINES (pay your overdues with food donations!)
*  February 7-27, enter DRAWING for prizes (Grand prize- Kindle Fire)
*  February 7-27, enter DRAWING for a chance to become our next READ poster celebrity!
*  New tote bags are now available for purchase to commemorate our anniversary.
 Proceeds go to the Friends of the Mesquite Public Library.

Also this month:
*  February 27, 6:30 p.m., *The Oldest Drum Beat in the World* presented by Baba Kwasi

For information on these and other library programs, call 972-216-6220.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Region 10 staff development opportunities - Spring 2014

from Terry Roper, Library Consultant
Region 10

Hello All,  Just touching base with you regarding professional development opportunities for librarians, library staff, and educators available to you as part of your membership in the Library Services Cooperative.  Remember, in addition to these sessions, membership entitles you to options including site visits, library program evaluation, and collection development assistance for private schools, charter schools and small districts as well as cluster or site training customized to your needs.

I have attached a flyer for the session on Feb. 21st as well as our Spring flyer but am adding some annotations below...

March 28—Teri Lesesne will be of interest to anyone interested in reading, new literature and free books!

April 28—Pat Miller will repeat her hands-on session for attendees interested in literature and literacy activities—attendees will receive a book as well as all the materials needed to hand-craft the tailored activities to enhance and deepen comprehension of popular children’s literature.  Great for PreK, K-3 teachers as well as library staff!

May 16—Nancy Jo Lambert will share her story in how she built her library website and the success she has encountered with parents, students, and teachers.  Nancy will discuss the content she adds to her site and the tools she uses on the website to tell the library story.  Check out her site at and then come armed with questions dealing with improving your library virtual presence.

June 12—Suzy Red will do her thing with Trials and Courage in Award Winning literature focusing on the newest Bluebonnet list.   Attendees must pay a $30.00 materials fee at registration.

We are working on a great summer list of sessions and, as always, appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and ideas you have to offer.

Thank you!

Click here for Feb. 21 flyer

Click here for the Spring flyer

Saturday, February 1, 2014

STAAR webinars from Region 10 (elementary)

This is a blog post from Kathy Shada for all 3rd-5th grade teachers. If you don't follow Kathy's blog, you might want to subscribe, so you will get the same info your teachers receive regarding the ELAR curriculum.

Welcome back to the second semester. Hopefully you have settled in for the second half of the school year and observed that all your hard work during first semester seems to miraculously have sunk into your students' heads over the break. We all know that along with looking forward to Spring Break, STAAR is weighing heavily on our minds as the testing dates draw closer every day.

I received an email yesterday announcing a series of webinars put on by Region 10. On the Road to STAAR Success is for teachers of grades 3 and up and explores both reading and writing. The webinars begin on Thursday, Feb. 6 and occur every Thursday through March 6 from 3:30-4:30. You may watch them live OR you may view them after the original airing since they will each be archived. Robin Fox is conducting each of the sessions and she is fabulous. I've attached to this blog entry the flyer with all the information . Please don't hesitate to call me if you need help with registering. I just registered for all five sessions and it's a breeze.

So choose one that you most need (Making the Reading/Writing Connection on 2/6, Making Inferences and Development of Ideas on 2/13, Vocabulary and Word Choice on 2/20, Summarization and Organization on 2/27, and Monitoring Comprehension and Revision on 3/6) or plan to watch all five. It's up to you.

This is a great opportunity to tweak your understanding of the standards assessed on STAAR reading and writing, to perhaps find that "magical" explanation or tool to help you get it across to those students who still don't get it, and to attend staff development in your jammies and fuzzy slippers while sipping your favorite beverage (if you watch them from the archive). 

I told you I wouldn't post often, only when I had something really important to offer, so, what can you infer about these sessions? If you inferred nothing, make sure you watch the session on Feb. 13! Happy viewing.