Week of March 14

The week ahead…

Dear Staff,

Happy Sunday!  We hope you all are enjoying the extra bit of daylight that today brings as we spring forward!  The Choice Literacy article this week was just what I needed!  The past few weeks I have often found myself questioning the work that I do!  I am betting that this happens for many of you this time of year.  The true madness that March brings can bring us all to our knees. 🙂  This beautiful article is a great reminder about finding the passion and never settling.  This life journey that we are all on together is truly an amazing one and I am honored to be on it with all of you!  Have a wonderful week and know that spring break is just around the corner!

Leslie, Marianne and Juli

PS~ Break a leg to the 5th graders who perform their opera this week!  Huge congratulations to the 5th grade team, specials teachers and all the 5th grade students for the countless hours they have put into bringing this story to life.  I can not wait to see the magic happen! 🙂


Don’t Settle

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.

Steve Jobs
Recently, I stumbled across a quote that instantly resonated with me as a parent, teacher, and school leader. It comes from the late great Steve Jobs:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

I am lucky enough to live the truth of these words every day. I truly love the work that I do, and I’m grateful every day that I get to do it. Of course, like many people, my journey was not a linear one, by any stretch; in fact, I seemed committed to making my path about as crooked as it could possibly be. In finding my way, I worked in prep kitchens, strawberry fields, retail gift shops, and even the silent, cold, lonely world of the corporate office of a large fast-food chain.
But a series of stops, starts, and serendipitous decisions led me to work teaching and leading literacy initiatives as a principal. It’s perfect for me—I relish all the joys and difficulties, challenges and celebrations.

I like what Mr. Jobs says so much because he’s not just recommending that we find something we love to do. Most of us understand why that is important. Instead, he takes it one step further by urging us to keep looking until we find what we love.

Don’t settle.

What wonderful words of advice. They can apply to anything—relationships, hobbies, where we live, how we spend our time. And they can apply, too, to our work as teachers of literacy. We can use those words when guiding students in their reading and writing work. We can tell them, don’t settle when you are searching for books and authors that you love. Don’t settle when trying to write something that encapsulates what you really want to say in the best possible way. Don’t settle for a vague understanding and mastery of your reading and writing. Keep looking, keep reading, and keep writing.

Don’t settle.

Because, as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
Jennifer Schwanke
Contributor, Choice Literacy

The Week at a Glance

Monday, March 14th:

Tuesday, March 15th:
Garren Opera
Teckenbrock to Huntersville Oaks
Wednesday, March 16th: 
Beth Knight Teacher Leader
K7 Teacher Appreciation St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon
K-7 Staff Meeting – Movement in the Classroom
Thursday, March 17th: 
3rd Grade Charlotte Walking Tour
Whitley Opera
Garren Student Arts Registration – 8:30 a.m.
MS Musical Lion King Jr (7pm)
Friday, March 18th: 
MS Musical Lion King Jr (4:30/7:30)
Whitley Student Arts Registration – 8:30 a.m.

Looking Ahead….
March 19 – MS Musical Lion King Jr (2:00/4:30/7:30)
March 22 – Carr Opera
March 24 – Randolph Opera
March 25-April 3 – SPRING BREAK
April 4 – Classes resume; *EOG Test Prep Window Begins
April 5 – Parent Advisory 8:30 a.m. at HS
April 8 – 4th Grade to Children’s Theater
April 8 – MS Pep Rally at 1:30 in MS Gym & CSD SPIRIT DAY!
April 12 – 2nd Rescue Ranch Field Trip (2 classes)
April 14 – 3rd Grade Davidson Walking Tour
April 14 – Drama EOY at lower school K/1
April 15 – 8th Practicum Dance Party for K5
April 18-April 22 – Earth Days K-5
April 19 – 2nd Rescue Ranch Field Trip (2 classes)
April 20 – 6th/7th Dance Class Sharing
April 22 – 6th UNCC Botanical Gardens
April 22 – CSD Golf Tournament
April 25 – K7 Teacher Appreciation Cinco De Mayo Luncheon
April 29 – Teacher Workday
May 6 – 6th UNCC Botanical Gardens
May 7 – Spartan 5K & Half Marathon
May 10 – 1st Rainforest/Endangered Species Science Fair
May 12 – Kindergarten Oceans Play
May 13 – May 14 – CSD Staff Retreat
May 17 – 4th Stone Mountain
May 17 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – 3-8 Reading EOG
May 19 – 3-8 Math EOG
May 24 – 25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 25 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Parents & Family
May 26 – 1st Hiddenite Mine Field Trip
May 26 – 4th Economic Fair
May 26 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Open to Public
May 27 – Kindergarten Screening
May 27 – Teacher Workday; Optional Parent Conferences
May 30 – Memorial Day HOLIDAY – No school
May 31 – 3rd Kool Kats Cafe
May 31 – 7th Change Project
May 31 – Kindergarten Water Day
May 31 – State of the School Address
June 1 – Last Day of School
June 2 – Graduation
June 2 & 3 – Teacher Workdays

NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey

The NC Teacher Working Conditions survey that is done in NC every two years will go out March 1.  Please make this a high priority for all lead teachers.  CSD always has 100% participation and this is an important part of the feedback we get as a school and as a state.  Admin will deliver your codes sometime this week, so be on the lookout…. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful feedback!

EOG Test Prep

Believe it or not, EOG Test Prep time will be here before you know it.  Please keep the following timeframe in mind as you prepare lessons in the weeks to come.
-Week of May 16th is 3-8 EOG Testing.
-Spring Break  is March 25-April 3; Classes resume April 4.  *The week of April 4th is the beginning of the 6 week test prep window.
-EOG pre-test/diagnostic testing should be done prior to Spring Break.  Admin will be sitting down with all teams to discuss results and formulate plans for differentiated instruction once pre-testing and data analysis are complete.  Please let us know if you need any assistance prior to that time.  We are always happy to help!

Teaching Tips with Marianne

I found this link and blog and found it quite resourceful for spelling:

TRT Videos ~ Intro to Spelling

Here is a blog post of misspelled words:

Conquering the “Dirty 30” Misspelled Words #1

In this post, I’m going to talk about spelling but for more difficult words or working with weaker students, you’d do them as puzzles.Contact me for the puzzle pieces pdf.

Your students may prefer another way to split the syllables but I’m doing it the way I prefer. There’s more on syllables in the TRT for Teachers, the little book of strategies for classroom teachers. (cheap & short!)

You can also go here for links to posts and videos about this spelling method.

Straightforward Words – This means each word can be spelt by saying it clearly and focusing on remembering double letters and the individual bits of code rather than trying to recall the entire word by sight. “Saying it clearly” means slightly over-pronouncing to hear the individual sounds. So accommodation would sound like “a” “kom” “oh” “day” “shun” – with the short a at the beginning and the o over-pronounced as a long sound. In begin you’d over-pronounce the “ee” in be.

Where the letters are in bold, they spell a single sound or an ending. When the letter is also underlined, it’s part of a split digraph.

Counting syllables should only every be done by lightly tapping on the table. I like to use a separate finger for each sound so I can count them.

Here’s the script:

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.38.33 AM


accommodation    5 syllables    a /ccomm/o/da/tion

because    2 syllables   be cause  – The au is the same as in August and/or Australia, depending on accent, and se is a very common way to spell “s” & “z” at the end of a word: cheese, house. There is no reason at all to resort to elephant themed mnemonics.

beginning    3 syllables  be/ginn/ing  cf be/gin Let the English department explain doubling. You just need to point out that it’s one n in begin and 2 in beginning.

believe  2 syllables  be/lieve   ie for the “ee” sound requires memory but ve is very common for “v” at the end of words: have, give, glove Standard English words don’t end in v alone but some informal words do, (luv, guv), so it’s a tendency rather than a rule.

ceiling  2 syllables  cei/ling   The only thing to remember in this word is the ei and there’s no magic trick to make it happen. Some people like the “i before e rhyme” but it’s not a trustworthy rule so I avoid it.

(decided)  decide 2 syllables  de/cide  Most of your students will know what a “split digraph” is. In this word, the ie is split around the d.

I prefer to deal with the -ed and -ly words by removing the endings and spelling the roots. Even the busiest science teacher has time to explain that you’ll never see an extra e before the -ed (decideed) and that -ly goes on quite happily without changing anything.

(definitely)   definite 3 syllables This word demonstrates why you should have your students saying the words clearly out loud before they spell them. The spelling pronunciation has been over-corrected to “dee fine ate” and so it gets spelled wrong all the time. To get it right, they can either say de/fin/ite  (with all short vowels) or you can bundle it up with fi/nite and get them to say both de/fin/ite and in/fin/ite with long /i/ sounds in the 2nd and last syllables. Ask your students which way will help them get it right.

disappear 3 syllables dis/app/ear

(disappointed)    disappoint   3 syllables  dis/app/oint

(extremely)      extreme  2 syllables ex/treme

friend 1 syllable  friend   Without the r it’s fiend Learn the two at once.

(immediately)    immediate   4 syllables imm/e/di/ate. I like ate as an ending so it can be grouped with separate, climate, accurate, etc. Again, ask you students what will help them more?

necessary    4 syllables ne/ce/ssa/ry People think this is tough to spell but there are only two things to remember: the first “s” is spelt with a c and the second “s” is spelt ss.

neighbour   2 syllables neigh/bour This is only tricky if you’re trying to reel off 9 letter names. Instead, 2 syllables:  neigh – eigh like in weigh and weight then bour our like in colour (Or, or like in color if you’re reading this from the U.S.A.) So that’s 4 sounds to remember rather than 9 letter names and, really, only 2 of the sounds require concentration.

nervous   2 syllables nerv/ous  –ous as in fam/ous,  gener/ous, adventur/ous

When there’s a meaningful ending, I’ll force the syllable splitting. i.e. I prefer to say ner/vous, but nerv/ous preserves the meaning.

opportunity   5 syllables opp/or/tun/i/ty There’s nothing difficult about this word if you take it syllable by syllable. This is a good time to point out that I don’t advise saying “look for words within words” unless it’s a root like finite. That’s because a student might hear “tune” in opportunity and add an e. It’s best to concentrate on hearing the sounds and remembering the symbols.

quiet   2 syllables qui/et

quite   1 syllable quite

The act of counting syllables will ensure students will never again mix up the visually similar quiet and quite. Get them to say the word clearly, counting the syllables, and they can’t get it wrong.

receive   2 syllables re/ceive  See ceiling and believe

(surprised)   surprise   2 syllables sur/prise or sur/prise Again, let your students decide which they like best. Is it easier to remember the split vowel and s as “z” or i by itself and se as “z”? They also have to remember that the “er” sounds is ur in this word. Feel free to leave it to the English teachers to explain the meaning of -sur.

until  2 syllables  un/til  I don’t know why this word is on the list. It’s like writing in and cat. I imagine the misspelling comes by adding an extra l at the end. The simple answer is that *usually* it’s ll at the end of a single syllable word but one l when the word has 2 or more syllables: till but until, full but mindful (any ful), wall but narwal, bell but decibel.

So that’s 21 of the 30 most misspelled words at GCSE. They are all conquerable with consistent strategies – using ears first, then eyes to make best use of limited memory.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s