UIL Concert Contest and Bulldog Relays

Yesterday, the Eustace Bulldog Band competed in the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest at Canton. In the concert contest, the band plays three musical selections and is rated by a judge on overall performance. In the sight reading section, a band receives a piece of music that they have never before played. The director has a certain amount of time to go over the selection with the band, and then the band plays the selection for a judge.

In both the concert and sight reading section, the EHS band received a Division II rating. This is the second highest rating that a band may receive. I want to thank our band directors, Todd Felty and Crystal Heidel and all the members of the band for all of their hard work in preparing for this contest. A video of the concert portion of the contest is on the Eustace ISD YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/EustaceISD.

Yesterday was also the annual Bulldog Relays. There were four divisions in the meet: JV Girls, JV Boys, Varsity Girls, and Varsity Boys. In the JV Girls Division, Eustace won with meet with a total point count of 232. The JV Boys finished second behind Mineola by 1.5 points. The Varsity Girls won their division by scoring a total of 147.5 points. The varsity boys finished second behind Mineola with a total point count of 125 points.

Congratulations to all the participants on their strong showing in yesterday’s meet. A special thank you to all the workers and volunteers that helped make the track meet a great success. A copy of the entire results package is attached at the end of this post.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Bulldog Relays 2014

STAAR Season: Make Fill-in-the-Dot Fun!

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

While the state and the nation continue to challenge teachers to promote higher level thinking, use project-based learning, and integrate technology into instruction, the mandated tests for measuring student achievement remained unchanged. So, the challenge for teachers is double-edged: make all these great changes to our instructional methodology without causing a ripple in the testing continuum! ARGH!!!

So, here is a great idea from a high school Algebra teacher to keep the fun in this fill-in-the-dot world!
She created STAAR warm-up questions and inserted QR codes that contain hints or definitions to help the students along. These codes not only help students with content, but they add an element of technology fun to this usually mundane format at the same time. Way to go for creative thinking, Ms. Traughber!!

Think in Pictures with Pic Collage

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

Need a new way for students to experience and learn vocabulary words? Let the students think in pictures! There are many apps that can do the job, but here are two great work samples from 1st graders created in Pic Collage using Google search. “A picture is worth a thousand words!”

Chili Supper and Auction and This Week


We had a great turn out to the annual FFA Booster Club Chili Supper and Auction on Saturday. There was plenty of great food and numerous items to bid on in the auction. There are some pictures of the event attached at the end of today’s post.

There were 16 pots of chili entered in the Chili Cook Off, Sherri Purselley placed 3rd, Thomas and Sunny Goodell placed 2nd, and Adam Davis placed first. Each of the top three winners received a very nice apron.

I want to thank Danny Davis and all of the officers and members of the Eustace FFA Booster Club for their hard work and preparation to make this such a success for our FFA program. Your sacrifice is greatly appreciated!!

This Week

Monday – MS Track at Eustace – 3:45; JV and V Baseball at Athens – 4:30; Boys and Girls Golf at Cedar Creek Country Club

Tuesday – Varsity Softball at Scurry – 6:00

Thursday – 1st Grade Family Reading Night; Report Cards; UIL Concert Contest – 2:30 Canton; Bulldog Relays at Eustace; Softball at Mildred Tournament; Varsity Baseball at Grand Saline Tournament; JV Baseball at Athens Tournament

Friday – High School Career Day; Varsity Baseball at Grand Saline Tournament; JV Baseball at Athens Tournament

Saturday – Varsity Softball at Mildred Tournament; Varsity Baseball at Grand Saline Tournament; JV Baseball at Athens Tournament

I hope everyone has a great week!


Sherri Purselley - Third Place in Chili Cook Off
Sunny Goodell - 2nd Place Chili Cook Off
Some of the desserts available at the Chili Supper
Auction Items

Educator Dress Code: Pants Now Required!

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

There is a new dress code for all 21st century educators: Pants are now required!
In short…there is no more “flying by the seat of your pants”. Please keep them on at all times!

Yes, this may be a little tongue-in-cheek, but you know what I am talking about. We all have either known, currently work with, or may even describe ourselves as this kind of educator. There are many expressions that these educators use when describing their approach to teaching:

  • flying by the seat of my pants
  • spur of the moment
  • winging it
  • off the cuff
  • playing it by ear
  • improvising
  • off the top of my head
  • thinking on my feet

This philosophy or strategy for educating our 21st century learners can no longer fly! This doesn’t mean that great things can’t happen this way, but there is now much more room for failure when this is an educator’s primary modus operandi.

For example, even if a teacher uses technology only at the substitution level in their classroom, the following issues may arise:

  • is the technology/equipment available?
  • have websites been tested on the school’s filter on a student access level?
  • has the material been vetted for school viewing?
  • is the app even on the device to be used?
  • are any updates needed to run the specific site or app (Java anyone?)?
  • does the tech support team know of a more appropriate/better tool or site to use 

Now, let’s say that we moved past substitution and actually delved into the deeper, processing layers of instruction. This demands even more from educators:

  • what TEKS will be covered in this PBL unit?
  • what is the driving question? (Wow, these things can be really difficult to write!)
  • what elements should be included in the rubric?
This deeper instructional process demands preparation, but it is a front-loaded process. Once the prep work is done a great teacher then magically turns into facilitator, and the students propel the learning process forward from that point.

We no longer live in a textbook world where we simply turn the page, move onto the next unit, and consider the year’s curriculum complete if we make it to the right chapter of the book. Life and classrooms have enough surprises even when well-managed and well-planned. So, leave “flying by the seat of your pants” for life’s surprises and for the unexpected discoveries that students will make when involved in a channeled learning environment. Great teaching requires thought, planning, and preparation, so we all need to follow the dress code, and “keep your pants on”!

Love to fly by the seat of your pants but think you are a totally awesome teacher???
I have a question for you:
If you don’t know what you really want to do, what you really want the kids to take away, what your primary objective is for the day, and how that will be measured…..then how do you measure success?
Of course class was “successful”! After all, you survived and “pulled it off”. Congratulations!
Try planning for a change. It is much more difficult to claim success when you have lofty plans! There is suddenly a “teacher rubric” to meet.
If you are awesome now, try planning and be “awesomer”!! Your students will thank you for it!

Board Meeting Last Night

Last night the Eustace ISD Board of Trustees met in regular session. The meeting started at 7:00 PM and was held in the High School Library.

The meeting started by a presentation from High School staff members Stan Sowers, Phyllis Bice and Gwen Orr over certification classes and dual credit classes offered through TVCC. Representatives from TVCC were also present to provide information and to answer questions. Kelley Townsend, Gayla Roberts, and Sharon Barrett were the TVCC people at the meeting. Eustace ISD would like to thank the TVCC personnel for taking the time to be at the meeting.

Actions taken by the board included:

  • Approved minutes of previous Board meetings.
  • Approved the financial reports as presented.
  • Approved the 2014-2015 School Calendar as presented.
  • Approved the request for State Waivers for Staff Development Days and for Early Release Days.
  • Approved revisions to the Special Education Handbook.
  • Approved moving the date for the March Board Meeting to Thursday, March 6.
  • Accepted the resignations of Deidre Lancaster and Amanda Jones.
  • Approved the Substitute List as presented.
  • Approved the extension of contracts for Janice Beasley, Assistant Superintendent; Mack Saxon, Director of Special Programs; Heath Ragle, Athletic Director; Dianne Shaffer, Primary Principal; Robert Reeve, Intermediate Principal; Truman Oakley, Middle School Principal; Stan Sowers, High School Principal.
  • Accepted Student Transfers as presented.
  • Adjourned

Text Messaging Fun…

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis
I just learned about iFaketext during TCEA 2014.

iFaketext is an iPhone text message screen shot generator.  I have to admit, it fun playing with this tool. It is very easy to create and provides various ways to share the screen shot, with services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, embed links, and the list goes on. When the fake test screen shot is generated, iFaketext has the look of your preferred service carrier.  iFaketext looks completely real as you can see from my screen shot below…

This tool can be used to promote appropriate Netiquette, checking for understanding, creating a chat with a historical figure or book character, explaining a math process or science lab results.  The options are endless.  I hope you take some time to play and find your own use for this fun tool.

Board Meeting Tonight

Tonight, the Eustace ISD Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM and be held in the HS library. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. 

The Board will hear the following reports

  • RevTrak
  • School Report Cards
  • Property Tax Values 2013
  • DEIC Meeting
  • Update on Enrollment

The Board will consider action on the following items:

  • Approve minutes of previous meetings.
  • Financial Reports for January.
  • Certification Classes and Dual Credit Classes for 2014-2015.
  • 2014-2015 School Calendar
  • State Waiver Days for 2014-2015 School Year – Staff Development Waivers & Student Early Release Days
  • Revisions to Special Education Handbook
  • Consider Moving Date of March Board Meeting to Thursday, March 6

The Board will enter closed session to consider issues related to personnel and staffing, to review evaluations and consider contracts for Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Athletic Director, Director of Special Education, Campus Principals, and to consider student transfers.

Any action taken on closed session items will be made in open session.





Lurk and Learn!

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

Last week someone tweeted out an old blog post from Steven Anderson that I had never seen before, and it was liberating! The post, entitled The Power of the Lurker, expressed what I had believed and shared with my teachers for some time now: it is OK to lurk and learn!

Last year, one of our district technology goals was to get our educators involved in developing a PLN. I created a presentation in which I encouraged everyone to “spy” first. I even gave them a spreadsheet of direct links to chats to get their feet wet before creating a Twitter account.

However, I felt a certain amount of guilt. Was I falling short in getting these teachers fully involved by providing an “easy out”? In the end, I supposed that “those that will, will, and those that won’t, won’t” be engaged in the social networks that feed this new, fast-paced, ever-changing world of education.
At least they have had a taste and been provided an opportunity..
So, I thank you Steve Anderson!

Below are the slides from my original presentation on getting “SASSY” :

Pictures in these presentation slides are from Phillip Martin.