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Two Literacy Strategies!

I came across two great literacy ideas this past week!

The FIRST comes from a video on the Teaching Channel (a fantastic resource we’ve posted about before).

The strategy?  Something called “Keep it or Junk it” – a way to teach students how pull out the most important ideas from a text.  Although the video is from a 5th grade classroom, I urge everyone to take a look — you’ll find some great ideas on how to get students more involved as leaders in their own learning.

Summary is traditionally the bane of the reading teacher’s existence.  Maybe this can demystify it just a bit.  Enjoy!

Keep it or Junk it

The SECOND is a simple picture — lots of potential for our primary teachers.  Word family eggs — I see an easy, high yield workstation!


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Ms. Pantoja Video!

As you all know, Ms. Pantoja is HISD’s March Employee of the Month.

Check out this video!  Congrats, Ms. Pantoja!

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Greatness of Gallegos | 2 March 2012

March is upon us, STAAR and Stanford/Aprenda are just right around the corner, and the grind is getting to us all!

Yet, even as time is racing by, we need to take time to pause and recognize the AMAZING teachers and staff we have and the IMPRESSIVE work being done by our students.

A massive shout out goes to Ms. McBride, Ms. Espinosa, & Ms. Finley for going above and beyond to help our 4th grade students in these crucial, final 12 days before their STAAR assessment.

Family Literacy Afternoon was a resounding success!  Thanks to all who contributed — especially Ms. Ryans, Ms. Garcia, Ms. Tate, and the entire curriculum committee.

Ms. Gardea was just commenting the other day on how awesome the display cases look right now.  Shout out to Ms. Frazier, Ms. Henderson, Ms. Sparks, and Ms. Ortiz for showcasing our students’ work in a creative way!  Be sure to check them out!

Shout out to our 2nd and 3rd grade teams for doing an outstanding job implementing the Laser i3 program.  The 2nd grade unit on butterfly life cycles and 3rd grade unit on plants and pollination is challenging our students to think critically about science in an inquiry-based way that is new to both the students and teachers.  Pop into their rooms sometime this week to see more!

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Great Mental Math Video

Take a look at this awesome video on a great mental math routine from The Teaching Channel.  Decomposition, Splitting, and Jumps of 10 are something than can used from 1st through 5th!

Mental Math Strategies

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Greatness of Gallegos – PK/K Edition

Shout out to Ms. Sparks for her Alphabet Bucket activity.  Students choose a clothespin with upper/lowercase letters on them.  They identify the letter, the letter sound, and a word with that beginning letter – then they pass the bucket!   Great mini-activity that the students really enjoy!

Shout out to PK and Kinder for their Chinese New Year activities earlier this week.  Way to integrate current events and cultural studies into your day!

Shout out to our Kinder teachers and students for their amazing growth on Stanford & Aprenda!  Comparing this year to last, we made great strides on both tests.  Translation?  On average, our students are two months MORE READY for 1st grade regular than last year (in reading) and a staggering two years and four months MORE READY for 1st grade bilingual math than last year.  Wow!

Stanford Reading Growth

Stanford Math Growth

Aprenda Reading Growth

Aprenda Math Growth

+ 0.2

+ 0.1



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Urgency Update – How many days ’til STAAR?



4th Writing

36 & 37

5th Math


5th Reading


3rd & 4th Math


3rd & 4th Reading


5th Science


1st through 5th Stanford


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The Teaching Channel

This resource may be the best collection of teacher-resource videos I have ever seen.  It is absolutely amazing – useful, well organized, and, best of all, free!

But don’t take my word for it.  Spend some time on the site.  If you find a video that really resonates with you, post the link as a reply to this post.

In the meantime, check out this video about Morning Meetings – you’ll be glad you did.

Morning Meeting


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