“They’re going to be standing still like statues and when you press the button, then they’ll talk.”
These were the instructions given by veteran teacher Cobette Riza to the parents and community members before they entered The Wax Museum presented by Clarendon Elementary’s third grade class.
The Wax Museum was the culmination of a research project that lasted for six weeks.
“In our social studies TEKS there are many historical figures that have contributed to the growth, the expansion, formation of different sizes and kinds of communities,” Riza stated. “Students are required to know about those individuals. So, we take that and we do a research project with it. Instead of just scratching a little bit on each person, we have the students become experts in one person.”
The annual research project is a joint effort between third grade teachers Jennifer Robinson and Cobette Riza.
“We have done a cross curricular research project each year that I have been here and been teaching with Mrs. Robinson,” Riza, who has been at Clarendon four years, said. “We started with more of a science-based research project with animal research. Then we changed it up and decided to do historical figures.”
The project started with each student picking a topic.
“We have the stack of books that Mrs. Smith in the library has helped us gather, any that I have, and any Mrs. Robinson has,” Riza explained. “We set them out on the desks, on my table, on the stools, and they go around the room.”
While students had different reasons for choosing their topic, it all started with picking someone they did not know much about.
“I didn't really know anything about her,” Zane Cruse said after choosing Anna Ochoa. “I really like astronauts and the picture on the book was about an astronaut. I didn't really know anything about her and it would be fun to learn about somebody new and somebody I’ve never heard of.
From there, some choices were made because of the pictures.
“When I saw the picture, it was actually pretty cool,” John Holt stated about President John Adams. “He had a cool childhood. His father was a farmer and a craftsman. He was the president. There were lots of things cool in his life.”
Others connected to something they knew.
Sam Walton was really interesting to me because he was the founder of Walmart,” Hunter Caison explained. “I like Walmart because it has lots of stuff. I thought it would be really fun to see like what his story and life was like.”
Then began the research. The students used books, encyclopedias, and the Internet to find out more information about their famous person.
“I go through this process with my own person and model,” Riza stated. “My person was Harriet Tubman. I modeled how to gather information using the table of contents, the index, and then ways to find out information on the Internet.”
The students did a lot of work on their famous person.
“We had to go on the Internet and use our books to learn about them,” Kate Williamson, who choose Amelia Earhart, explained. “We had to write our bibliography, interesting facts, lots of story, and introduction. We had to put it on our backdrop. Then we had to do the pictures, the timeline, and that’s it. And the costumes, also.”
Some students really enjoyed writing.
“There was a lot of typing and writing, but at the same time it was fun, too,” John said.
Some did not.
“I never really liked writing because it was kind of boring,” Hunter stated. “You know you had to write words. My hand got tired. It was really, really not fun.”
Others enjoyed using their creativity.
“I think my favorite part was doing the backdrop,” Ella Estlack, also known as astronaut Sally Ride, said. “I just like creating it and seeing it all come together.”
The costumes were also a source of creativity.
“We got this painters suit and we spray painted it orange,” Zane explained. “Around the sleeves and legs, we got black duct tape. We put some patches on there like NASA, the American flag, an actual mission patch, and the NASA logo. We got this motorcycle helmet and we spray-painted it white. We put a bunch of stickers on there.”
Part of the preparations included practicing for the wax museum.
“The wax museum is not the first time they say this information,” Riza said. “The first time that they say it out loud is the day that they’re graded. And then we have a practice run of the wax museum for the other grade levels. Just one more time to get it out and get those nerves out.”
Some students are still nervous after their presentations to the class and the other grade levels.
“I’m a little bit nervous,” Ella said. “Because I was thinking, like, what if I forget.”
The objectives of the project went beyond history.
“Yes, we want them to the content of why this person is a great American and what is their importance in history, we want them to know that,” Riza explained. “Also, they need to know the research process. From here on out they’re going to be finding out information and need to know how to go about doing that using the appropriate materials. The bigger picture is learning how to find out about something and presenting that information through writing, orally, and multimedia.”
In the end, the students learned about history and research, overcame their fears of public speaking, and had fun doing it.
“I think I got this and maybe I can do pretty good on it,” Hunter stated. “Yes, I’m pretty much nervous but you know you’ve just got to go through it and do your best.
Raising animals and stock shows are a way of life for senior Hannah Hommel and her family. From early morning feedings to late afternoons and evenings spent grooming, handling, and exercising various pigs, steers, and heifers, the family works together to prepare their animals for a trip to the show barn and then the sale ring.
“We’ve always been involved in showing,” Hannah’s father, Chad Hommel stated. “I started when I was young. Laura, [Hannah’s mother], showed pigs all through school. We considered it our family vacation because the whole family would go and show.”
The pinnacle of that family heritage occurred when Hannah won the Breed Champion Duroc pig at the San Antonio Stock Show this February.
Hannah showed her first animal, a heifer, in third grade at the Donley County Stock Show, a show she has participated in every year since that first time. At that show, she competed against her brother Tres.
“I got Reserve and Tres beat me with Grand,” Hannah said of the experience. “You could show your heifer for two years so I showed that heifer the next year and I got Grand and Tres got Reserve.”
In the following years, Hannah went on to show steers, heifers and pigs with a decided preference for pigs.
“[My favorite animals to show are] pigs because you don’t have to blow dry them and mess with their hair like steers and heifers,” Hannah said. “All you have to do is wash them and walk them. Also, steers are moody and can be mean sometimes.”
Choosing to raise a show animal is a venture that requires an investment, not only for the student, but also for the parents.
“It’s a lot of time and money,” Chad explained. “They’re so busy in school that I do all the feeding. With missing work and paying for motel rooms and food. It’s not a cheap hobby, that’s for sure.”
In order to show at the major stock shows, Hannah had to have a pig for each show since each one that performs good enough to make the sale must be sold at that show. The county show was the only exception.
“At first, I had nine pigs because my dad wanted backups just in case one died,” Hannah said. “When it got close to the San Angelo show, I only had four.”
Hannah took her animals to the Donley County Stock Show and four other major shows in San Angelo, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin.
While the shows are in the spring, the commitment to the animal actually starts much earlier depending on the animal.
“We start buying pigs in October. It’s close to six months depending on when we first start buying pigs to the very last show we go to,” Ag teacher JW Clark stated. “We try to have a plan on where we’re going to show before we ever buy a pig.”
After the animals are purchased, they are put on a feeding plan to control their weight gain.
“We’re looking at the growth of the pig,” Clark explained. “Is he going to be a tall pig or is he going to be a short pig? That’s going to control if we’re going to feed him to be a heavyweight or if he’s going to be in the lightweight division.”
Along with the feeding plan, is the day to day exercising and training the pigs to show and walk where they are directed.
“For pigs it’s just getting them out and walking them. We get them in a routine,” Chad Hommel said. “The endurance in a pig has got to be built up. A lot of times it takes 15 or 20 minutes for a judge to decide and if your pig doesn’t have the endurance that he should he’ll get tight, lock up and quit.”
For steers and heifers, the commitment time is much longer with the optimum age for showing them being 15-20 months old.
“You have to be really dedicated to show steers. Those animals are actually being bought anywhere from the middle of February until April,” Clark explained. “You’re getting rid of them as soon as you’re ready to buy the next ones.”
They also take more work on a daily basis as they must develop a bond to the people handling them.
“Steers are a ton of work,” Chad said. “You have to work with them every day until you get them where you can handle them.”
But just training the steer or heifer to halter and lead is not the only work involved. They must also be groomed, especially if the plan is to go to the Fort Worth Stock Show, the premiere show for cattle, where the condition of the steer or heifer’s hair is a major consideration.
“Grooming is an everyday deal when you show them at Fort Worth,” Chad explained. “You’ve got to wash and blow dry them and keep that hair clean and growing. You’ve got to have that hair looking good. It needs to be long and thick.”
The reason? To hide flaws and make the steer or heifer look better.
“It makes them look thicker, bigger, wider,” Chad continued. “If you can get about 3 or 4 inches of hair, it just makes them look like a whole different calf. You can hide a lot of their defaults if they have a lot of hair, too.”
Hannah’s success this year did was not due to luck or having good stock. It was the culmination of years of practicing and training in showmanship.
“When Hannah and Tres were first showing, they’d just go out there and follow the pig and wherever the pig walked that’s where they went,” Chad said. “But the last four years, as she’s aged, her showmanship has really stepped up and this is really showing in the show ring and how she’s placed and how she’s doing, making sales and everything.”
Showmanship can mean the difference between winning or losing in the ring, especially in the big shows.
“It’s a presentation at that point,” JW Clark agreed. “When you’re in that top end, whether it’s in class breed or in the grand drive, it’s how well can you present your animal because everybody’s got a good one at that point. You can show yourself into winning or you can show yourself into losing.”
As with anything that succeeds, there is a plan. And that plan starts with choosing which stock shows to participate in.
“We usually try to hit San Angelo, San Antonio and Houston,” Clark stated. “San Antonio is where the money’s at. In Houston it’s easier to make the sale as long as they can place in the class. They have a good chance of making about $700, $800, or $900. We do San Angelo because it’s smaller and it’s close to home. It’s easier for these younger kids to go and try to compete there rather than go to a place like San Antonio where there will be anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 barrows go through the ring in five days.”
But while making the stock show sale is the main objective, it is not the most valuable lesson learned by competing.
“The biggest thing that I want kids to take away from showing is the responsibility that comes with the fact that something else is depending on you. You have to make sure you are up at a certain time and feed it, get to school, and know that you are going to have to go home and wash it, care for it, clean its pen, and feed it again. The responsibility alone is major,” Clark added.
For those students who are going to pursue a career in agriculture and ag industries, there is an added reward.
“The other benefits are the people you meet there,” Clark continued. “You’re not just meeting lifelong friends, but you’re meeting gentlemen and women in industry that are going to remember the kid that was there helping other people, who was taking care of his animal and doing it right.”
Across the US are millions of dollars in scholarships available to students involved in agriculture. For Hannah, who won a $10,000 scholarship in San Antonio as breed champion, that gave her the opportunity to attend college.
“I didn’t know about it until my dad said something about it,” Hannah said. “I was kind of scared since my dad is the only one that’s working now. It really did take a load off. To have a $10,000 scholarship is amazing.”
After being in San Angelo and coming to school on Friday for a scheduled half day, the Clarendon students and sponsors loaded up animals and equipment and began their trek to San Antonio. After more than eight hours on the road, they arrived at the show grounds to take their place in one of the multiple lines waiting to unload.
“We got there between 10:00 and 11:00 and had to wait in line all night,” Hannah stated. “We got in the barn the next morning at 5:00 to unload. We just slept in the pickup because we couldn’t check in to the hotel until 3:00.”
After a weekend of taking care of her pig and exploring the exhibits, Hannah’s turn to show came Monday morning. After winning her Duroc class, she competed for the lightweight division and won. Her fans went wild.
“We were actually getting ready to leave that Monday that she was showing,” JW Clark explained. “We were late getting out of town because every time she would walk into the ring, we’d stop and watch the livestream on our phone. When she was named the champion lightweight, I was jumping up and down, going crazy.”
Then it was into the pen to wait for the heavyweights to compete. When the time came, she entered the ring to compete against the winner of the heavyweight division for the Duroc Breed Champion.
“I was nervous,” Hannah declared. “I went in there and they put me in a little pen before I saw the judge. He pulled me out and then he waited a couple of minutes and penned me back again. Which was really good. Then he pulled out his top eight and he had little poker chips with a number on them. He placed everybody and he was looking around like who do I give this last chip to. When he gave it to me, I thought I got second or third but it had first. It was super exciting.”
Her dad shared the excitement.
“That was a big deal,” Chad said. “There was around 480 Duroc pigs there and to get picked first out of that many. It’s kind of like winning the lottery, it’s not a simple thing to do, that’s for sure. I knew we had a good one and I thought we could win her class and I thought we might could win the lightweight deal but I didn’t think we could beat the heavyweight. That really shocked me when we beat the him to win whole Durocs. That was something special there.”
But the excitement did not end with winning the breed champion. It continued at the sale on Friday. Hannah described the event.
“I walked up there and the auctioneer asked me if I lost my mom to cancer and I said yeah I did. He said this young lady is Hannah Hommel and she lost her mom to cancer. He asked how many times have you made to sale here and I said just once. Then he started pointing at people. And he kept saying I’ll get you to $20,000, just wait. He pointed at 22 different people and they each gave me $1000. That was probably the best part.”
No story about Hannah would be complete without talking about her mom, Laura, who passed away last summer after a long battle with cancer.
As the teacher at Clarendon’s Functional Living Center and working with special needs children for many years, Laura had an impact on many people in Clarendon. She was also heavily involved in FFA and 4-H, both with her children and her students. For those who knew her, Laura had the knack of getting things done. Besides being full of life and mischievousness, the wicked witch cackle on Halloween and water guns on the last day of school come to mind, Laura had a passion for stock shows. And her greatest passion was, of course, her children.
“She would be so excited, she would be the one yelling in the stands,” Hannah said. “I knew she was there and she was happy for me. She was the one that made us go work with the pigs and made sure we walked them almost every day.”
Chad Hommel also agreed that showmanship was important to Laura after winning many state contests for showmanship as she was growing up.
“She probably pushed them to be out there more than I did with the animals,” Chad stated. “And showmanship, she really pushed that on the kids because she was quite the showman. Her dad always gave her the sorrier hogs because she could show them better than her brother. She had quite a few buckles. She was quite the showman.”
It was easy to see that Laura’s influence went beyond just lessons in showmanship.
“[She taught me] to be responsible,” Hanna explained. “When we started doing better she made sure that we were out there. She showed me that this was important, this is just not something we do for fun. They’re important to us. They’re not just an animal. It’s part of our life.”
While Laura may not have been in San Antonio in person, her spirit was definitely felt.
“Having her there, that would have been icing on the cake,” Chad added. “Somebody put word out at the sale about Hannah losing her mom this year and that helped out a bunch. Laura probably had something to do with that. Laura’s been here all this year helping Hannah because she’s had a heck of a year. We made the sale right off the bat at the state fair in October with a steer. She won a champion at one of the bigger jackpots in Texas and had a breed champion there, then this. Then she won the young lady of the year. That all comes from her mom. Her mom instilled all that in her.”
Hannah said it best.
“I just missed her.”
Hannah plans to use her proceeds from the sale and the scholarship to pursue a career in radiology in the future.
“I’m probably going to go to school here in Clarendon and get basics and then go to Amarillo to finish it,” Hannah said.
She will also have the opportunity to continue to work with animals and be around her family.
“My dad’s going to start raising pigs and baby pigs are cute,” Hannah added. “That’s why I want to stay here close. To help him out and still be there.”
Certainly, a good end to a hard year for the Hommel family as they wait for the next generation and the chance to participate once again in stock shows as a family.
While this article is focused on Hannah Hommel, she was not the only student from Clarendon schools that participated at the San Antonio Stock Show this year. We would like to acknowledge their participation, what they showed, and how they placed.
Payton Havens, cross barrow, 9th place
Caton Grahn, Duroc barrow
Isaac Dunham, cross barrow
Calder Havens, cross barrow
Jodee Pigg, cross barrow
Brock Hatley, cross barrow
Koyt Tucek, cross barrow, 7th place
Koyt Tucek, steer
Harrison Howard, cross barrow, reserve lightweight division
Harrison Howard, steer
Presley Smith, steer, 4th place
Grant Haynes, steer, 2nd place
Parker Haynes, steer
Maloree Wann, Duroc barrow, 2nd place
“Oh my gosh, we were cooking a gingerbread man and he got away!”
The chase began when cafeteria worker Katrina Leeper announced the dilemma to Ms. Russell’s prekindergarten class in January.
In the following weeks, the gingerbread man was spotted several times by the principal, the librarian, the nurse, and the cafeteria ladies. But even though they tried, he eluded capture because he was so fast.
Elementary principal Mike Word reported his experience.
“I just saw him running down the hall yelling, ‘You can’t catch me. I’m the gingerbread man.’”
In the prekindergarten classroom, thirteen-year veteran teacher, Shethelia Russell, encouraged the hunt.
“Oh my gosh, guys, we’ve got to trap that gingerbread man!”
Russell has been doing a project based Gingerbread Man unit in her PreK class for the last six or seven years. The idea came when watching other classes read The Gingerbread Man at the beginning of the school year and while searching for a January project.
“In December everybody’s doing Santa, and I know a lot of people do gingerbread during Christmas,” Russell explained. “I just thought, you know The Gingerbread Man is so much fun, let’s do something else with it.”
The story was introduced using characters placed on a flannel board.
“With the flannel play I have more working room to use the vocabulary I want to teach the children,” Russell stated.
Over the next few days, the students heard multiple versions of The Gingerbread Man through different literature such as The Gingerbread Girl and The Gingerbread Baby. They also learned of different ways to trap the gingerbread man.
“We’re just incorporating all this literature into this one story,” Russell said. “One of the stories tells how a little kid made a gingerbread house and caught the gingerbread man. One story is how the fox outsmarted the gingerbread man. The children are seeing how to solve a problem through the introduction of a story.”
But the unit was not only about the story. Math, fine motor skills, problem-solving, writing and technology were all incorporated into the unit through games, Play-Doh, puzzles and iPads that were gingerbread themed.
“It’s fun for the kids,” Russell remarked, “but here’s a lot of PreK skills that we’re learning.”
Even simple physics was covered when the class began to make their traps and discussed how traps and mechanisms worked.
“We work on our trap in a collaborative group as one of our stations that we do,” Russell explained. “They average about two hours through two weeks working on their trap and they have to collaborate with their group.”
During the building of the trap, Ms. Russell facilitated the ideas and got the needed supplies.
“I do not tell them what to do, I am just simply an observer,” Russell emphasized. “I may say, ‘Hey, do you think that’s going to work? What about this, what about that?’ I use a lot of questioning strategies to try and get them to think more in depth of how they’re going to make their trap.”
After completing the traps, the groups presented their trap to the class. Even then, learning continued.
“Most of the time the other kids in the other groups are saying, ‘Oh that’s such a good idea. Man, we wish we had done that in our group,’” Russell said. “The kids are actually learning a lot from each other even while we’re sitting there and making the traps.”
The children took the traps and put them in four predesignated locations in the main building. The library received a trap because the gingerbread man likes to read; the nurse’s office because he would break his leg; the cafeteria, because, well, a gingerbread man has got to eat; and the principal’s office because he was going to get in trouble. Every day after that, the students checked their traps and found notes and cookie crumbs as evidence that the gingerbread man had visited their trap and escaped.
In order to keep the unit fresh, Ms. Russell adds new aspects every year.
“Every year I feel like I’ve added something new into it, just based on the children’s interest. Just something different, something that’s unique to each group of kids.”
This year the focus was on the process of writing.
“One of the things that was new this year was that we wrote a note to the gingerbread man, because the gingerbread man had written us a bunch of notes,” Russell added. “We talked about how the gingerbread man must like writing and must like reading notes. In the note that we wrote, there were a lot of our sight words in it. We would go every day to lunch and read that note and talk about the sight words on that note.”
Another surprising aspect was also new this year.
“He liked Skittles,” Russell said. “All the kids wanted to make and put Skittles on their traps because they thought the gingerbread man loved Skittles.”
As with all good plot lines, the story ends with the culprit being caught. School nurse Debbie Thompson called with the news.
“Oh my gosh, the cafeteria ladies said they caught the gingerbread man and they cooked him! Come and get him.”
The class trekked to the cafeteria to see the gingerbread man for themselves.
“We got him! He was reading your note and we put this bucket over him and we threw him in the oven,” the cafeteria ladies exclaimed.
Ms. Russell described the event.
“The cafeteria ladies put on a big show. The kids were just waaa, waaa and going wild. It’s pretty fun and we ate him.”
And how did the gingerbread man taste?
“He tasted good,” Mr. Word said.
While Ms. Russell works to make learning fun, this project was really centered on the imagination and creativity of the students.
“What I really want people to know is it’s not about what I do for this project,” Russell explained. “This is a project that the kids do. This is really focused on what they can do and their little skills and their little imaginations and how their mind works. It’s about what they can create.”
And in the end, Ms. Russell said it best.
“I think it’s amazing fun.”
Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Exciting things are happening in the Headstart class as the students blast off into outer space to look for the cow. From boarding the shuttle to exploring the moon to building a land rover and space probes, the class is learning math, science, literacy, gross motor skills, and social skills.
Headstart teacher Fran Stidham developed the idea of heading off into space after reading the nursery rhyme to her students.
“One thing in the PreK guidelines is to ask a lot of ‘what if’ questions and prediction questions,” she explained. “We were predicting what happened to the cow and one kid said ‘the cow’s in space.’ We evolved a whole story just sitting on the carpet about the cow being in space and what that means.”
From there she spent several days preparing the centers around the space theme. Using some online resources, Stidham created a space shuttle with an instrument panel, pilots seat, gears and widgets, a command center, and a jet pack for exploration. In this center she and her paraprofessional Anessa Woodard spent a couple of days in guided play with the students.
“We had dry erase sleeves and markers and they used their marker and to trace a line for their flight path,” Stidham said. “There was also a checklist. They checked the gear, counted the passengers on the plane, choose their flight plan, and typed in their code. If it broke down, they used the little hammer and the gears and widgets to fix the shuttle. They could use their jet pack to go off and explore the moon and use their binoculars to look for the cow.”
But the center is not just about a shuttle ride, it is about learning.
“When I do a big center like that I always make sure there’s reading, math, and science,” Stidham explained. “I also try to have social/emotional skills such as playing together, interacting and having to share. That’s why there’s only one jetpack, they have to share it. Sharing is a big deal in Headstart.”
From the shuttle the students moved on to the parts center. There they used many assorted parts to build land rovers, space probes, dinosaurs, and many other objects.
“One student wore a dryer vent for half hour one day as an arm,” Stidham recalled. “He would go around and we would push his button and he would make his arm extend. We talked about length, we talked about robots, and what you could use a longer arm for.”
The purpose of the parts center was to help develop gross motor skills by using construction and deconstruction. It was also used to help the students learn to work together.
Besides the shuttle center and the parts center, Stidham also created a research center for exploring, measuring and weighing moon rocks. The exploration done by the students helps fulfill the PreK guidelines for math and science. It also helps fulfill overlapping guidelines set by Headstart and ELOF, Early Learning Outcomes Framework.
Even though the preparation for class is time consuming, Mrs. Stidham really enjoys teaching Headstart students.
“I feel like I’m where I should be,” she remarked. “I enjoy the PreK kiddos, and I enjoy the Headstart kids especially. They have a lot of love to give and they are a sponge. They want to learn.”
The centers in Headstart are constantly changing in order to keep learning fresh and interesting for the students. The space themed centers, one of the longest lasting, will be up for approximately two weeks before the four-year-olds began to get tired of it. But there are always centers to encourage playing and exploration.
“Kids learn through play. That’s why having centers and free play in the classroom at age four is very, very important,” Stidham said. “You have to give them the opportunity to apply the things they are naturally interested in and also the things that you’ve taught them.”
So, after space is explored, Headstart will be on to the next unit and the next topic designed for learning, exploration, and discussion.
How do we improve our students’ learning? How do we push to improve the way we educate our students when we already do a good job? How do we tell if our students are really being prepared for life beyond high school?
With the high stakes faced by school districts in today’s world, many educators are looking for ways to answer these questions. Schools are not only faced with preparing students for standardized testing and accountability. They must also prepare them for life.
In society today, just a high school diploma does not guarantee a person a living wage. Most careers require some kind of post-high school education, whether it is at a university, community college, trade school, or a certification program. And most educators realize that what really matters is preparing students for wherever their career decisions lead them.
This year CISD committed to an integrated program called Instructional Rounds. Based on medical rounds used to train doctors, instructional rounds uses classroom observation, networking among educators, and improvement strategies.
While all three aspects are present on each campus, instructional rounds combines the elements in a way that guides the professional development for the teachers and to collect data regarding a needed area of improvement. It is this combination that makes rounds a powerful tool.
The first step for the network of educators is to define the problem of practice for the campus. This problem of practice is something the group wants to understand more deeply and on which they want to focus.
For Clarendon, that initial network consists of teachers, support staff and administrators from all three campuses. The group met in June to receive training on how to implement instructional rounds. During this time, the group discussed the areas in which they would like to see student improvement. They pinpointed the problem of practice to center around depth of knowledge and questioning by students and teachers for all campuses.
Next are the classroom observations. The network forms smaller groups of three to four people which visits several classrooms and observes instruction for about 20 minutes at a time. Their purpose is not to “fix” or “critique” the teachers. Their purpose is only to collect data about what is happening in the classrooms for a particular campus. They are not looking at what happens in the classrooms in general, they are looking at their specific and identified problem of practice. The observed teacher is never discussed or critiqued.
In Clarendon, they are looking at the types of questions posed not only by the teachers, but those asked by the students. They are looking at how many of the questions are open-ended as opposed to closed. They are also gathering data as to how many of the questions show higher order thinking as opposed to procedural or basic knowledge questions.
During the debrief time after observations, the groups gather to disseminate the data they have collected. At this time, they qualify the instances of the problem of practice and then count the number of times they occurred. Charts and graphs are created and displayed where all the educators can see the results of the data, without reference to any particular teacher or classroom.
Another part of the debrief is for the network to discuss their findings and how that impacts the problem of practice. They also discuss what happens next. They can make suggestions for professional development or a change in procedure if needed. They can then start to develop the improvement strategies for the campus or district.
One result of this process is to help teachers quantify what is happening on their campus. This information can then be used to identify campus strengths and weaknesses.
Another is that the observing teachers have an opportunity to see what happens in other classrooms and how other teachers conduct business. The observers can then use that information in their own classrooms.
But perhaps the most powerful result is the opportunity for educators who usually work in isolation, to talk about education in their school. As they talk about what is happening in the classrooms, they also gain a collective definition of what should be happening. They get a unified vision of what they want their school to be like. It gives the people who work most closely with students a voice in the solution and a stake in the outcome.
To be the most effective, instructional rounds are a continual process. It becomes a part of how the school operates. When one problem of practice is identified, quantified, and addressed, the next one begins. In this way, the district continually pushes to improve instruction.
For the third year, Superintendent Mike Norrell recognizes the Servant Leaders at CISD. Each month, one student from each grade level is chosen by the teachers and principals as an outstanding example of student leaders. These are students who serve and help others, show respect, are courteous, and have a positive influence in the classroom and the school. The program is designed to recognize those students who show these qualities and to encourage other students to exhibit them also. As servant leaders, CISD students can have an impact on the school, the community and the nation.
March Servant Leaders:
Kinley McClelland, 3rd; Braxton Gribble, 1st; McKynna Williams, 2nd; Bryce Williams, 5th; Gracie Ellis, 4th; Laityn Hanks, Kindergarten
AJ Woods, 6th; Josh Dunn, 7th; Emeri Robinson, 8th
Kaylin Hicks, freshman; Nathan Shadle, senior; Zoe Adams, junior; Samara Johnson, sophomore.
February Servant Leaders:
Back: Ella Estlack, 3rd; Bella Neal, 5th; Autumn Beall, 4th. Front: Brilynn Bruce, 1st; Justus McAnear, 2nd; Isla Overbeeke, Kindergarten.
Brianna Williamson, 6th; Rhett Caison, 8th; Anthony Martin, 7th.
Jessica Lowrie, junior; Maritza Mercado, sophomore, Brooke Duncan, freshman; Kade Hunsaker, senior.
Back: Shaun Childress, 3rd; Josie Murillo, 2nd; Jaymi Mitchell, 5th. Front: Korbyn Jones, 1st; Carlos Vaquera, Kindergarten.
Back: Emberly Gonzalez, 7th; Isabella Martinez, 8th. Front: Rowdy Eytcheson, 6th.
Roxie Adams, freshman; Tanner Burch, sophomore; Shiann Cook, senior; Brandalyn Ellis, junior.
Emma Christopher, Kindergarten; Paxton English, 1st; Aiden Word, 5th; Presley Smith, 4th; Kennedy Halsey, 2nd; Kinslee Hatley, 3rd
Emmalyne Roys, 6th; Josiah Howard, 8th; Davin Mays, 7th
Front: Aubrey Jaramillo, freshman; Mattee Johnson, sophomore. Back: Brandon Santos, junior; Zack Caison, senior.
|Back: Amour Jones, 1st; Kassie Askew, Kindergarten; Anna Balogh, 3rd. Front: Addison Havens, 2nd; Whitney Williams, 4th; Grant Haynes, 5th.||Braden Bond, 6th; Emily Gonzalez, 7th; Brock Hatley, 8th.||
Back: Trent Smith, sophomore; DaQuawne Oliver, senior. Front: Jenci Hernandez, junior; Armani Jackson, freshman.
|Back: Rylan Thomas, Kindergarten; Talise Overbeeke, 1st; Sequoia Weatherton, 2nd. Front: Riley Jantz, 5th; Parker Haynes, 3rd; Kyler Bell, 4th.||Elyza Rodriguez, 6th; Elijah Lee, 7th; Samantha Clendaniel, 8th||
Back: Gracie Shadle, freshman; Blake Keith, junior. Front: Harmond Drenth, sophomore, Justin Christopher, senior.
|Top to Bottom: Hunter E, 5th; Bruce C, 2nd; Trystan R, 3rd; Kaleb M, 4th; Clara C, 1st. Not shown: Quinn J, Kindergarten||Back: Aleyah W, 7th. Front: Aiden C, 8th; Anthony C, 6th.||Back: Tate P, senior; Aaron R, freshman. Front: Hayleigh B, sophomore; Sandrea S, junior.|
10 – 4th/7th Writing, 5th/8th Math, English I EOC
11 – 5th/8th Reading
12 – English II EOC
13 – Final day for all STAAR make-up tests
7-11 – Algebra I, Biology, US History EOCs
14 – 3rd/4th/6th/7th Math, 5th/8th Math Retest
15 – 3rd/4th/6th/7th Reading, 5th/8th Reading Retest, English III EOC
16 – 5th/8th Science, Algebra II EOC
17 – 8th Social Studies
18 – Final day for 3-8 STAAR and EOC make-up tests
25-28 – Algebra I, Biology, US History EOCs
25 – English I EOC
26 – 5th/8th Math Retest
27 – English II EOC, 5th/8th Reading Retest
29 – Final day for 5th/8th STAAR and EOC make-up tests