Can’f find the time to teach science? Come learn how literature can jump start your next Science Lesson!

Join Cynthia Holcomb, as we take a look at life science using engaging picture books that address the PK Guidelines and TEKS for organisms, ecosystems, and life cycles. Each story will be followed by Pk Guidelines and TEKS-aligned science activities and investigations, as well as strategies to promote literacy skills. Science is so much fun when you can find it right in your bookshelf!

Science Book Frenzy: Looking at Living Things Pk – 2nd Workshop ID: SP1940876

March 4th, 2019


Register Here:


CIRCLE Activity Collections – FREE whole and small group lessons!

Did you know that CLI Engage has FREE lessons with videos and scripts to show you how to implement them?
Three collections of activities are available in English and Spanish from the CLI Engage dashboard. Visit the activity collections to find engaging activities to support skill development in your classroom, and to share with families. Activities support language, literacy, social-emotional, mathematics, and science skills. Each activity is matched to a specific age group. Infant and toddler classroom activities are very flexible, focus on promoting the quality of language and sensitivity of the caregiver, and provide useful tips and suggestions for helping children understand new words and concepts. PreK/kindergarten activities incorporate the same goals but are structured around a standard lesson cycle, with teacher tips and extensions to enrich implementation. Scripting is included, providing example dialogue for what a teacher might say to introduce the activity, model the objective, and scaffold children’s responses. Finally, our family collection includes activities that are designed or adapted for parents and caregivers to support skill growth using everyday materials in the home environment. Many activities also include a demonstration video for teachers/caregivers to see the activity implemented with high quality.

·    PreK/K Classroom Activity Collection for Teachers

·    Infant/Toddler Classroom Activity Collection for Teachers

·    Birth to Six Home Activity Collection for Families


NEW Resources from TEA for your Dramatic Play Center

TEA has created two new resources to support your Dramatic Play Center:

Dramatic Play Support Documents – Resources include vocabulary cards, recipes, and appointment sheets that can be used with each new theme or set up for your dramatic play center. Vocabulary cards are available in English and Spanish. Click here

Dramatic Play Activity Sheets  – provides ideas on things to add to your dramatic play center such as a laundry machine made of cardboard, sorting clothing visuals, sock matching, etc. Click here – Right hand column under Resources

STEAMing Questions – Dr Jean will be at Region 13 in 6 days!!

STEAM Principles – From Dr. Jean’s Website

A primary goal of STEAM is to help children develop critical thinking strategies. Critical thinking is open-ended, complex, and can have multiple responses.  It’s getting children to think independently and to think outside the box.

From the moment of birth children take in information, respond to information, use that information, and begin to think critically.  Children (and adults) use critical thinking every day!

When children solve problems… When children make comparisons… When children make decisions and think about the consequences… When children make connections… When children evaluate… They are developing critical thinking skills.

Educators and parents can nurture critical thinking skills in many ways.

Encourage curiosity.  Give children interesting materials, time to explore, and freedom.

Invite children to ask questions and evaluate how they could do something differently.

Encourage children to “think out loud.”  That will give you insight into where they are and where you need to lead them.

Provide opportunities for children to work with others and talk about ideas.


Model researching, reading, and other ways to gather information.

Demonstrate problem-solving skills with every day issues.  Talk about solutions and steps to take to solve those problems.

Respect children’s answers.  Judging or criticizing their responses will inhibit their creativity and unique perspective.

Ask WHAT questions. What happened?   What do you think will happen if…?  What would you do?   What will happen next…?

Want to know more?? Join us October 16th

Workshop ID: FA1840293

$150 – Space is limited so sign up soon!

*Fee includes make and take materials and handout packet

Last days of our Early Bird Special for Dr Jean – Full STEAM ahead in Early Childhood (Pk-1st)

Tue, Oct 16, 2018 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Get ready for a Fun Filled Day! Use Code EARLYBIRD10 to save 10% until September 30th.

And don’t for get to bring some items for the make and take – we will provide the rest!

Teachers need to bring:

  • Cardboard paper towel roll
  • 1 empty food boxes, such as a cereal box or cake mix box
  • Stapler
  • Twig from a tree (8″ and 1/4′ diameter)

What is STEAM?

Steam Principles – From Dr. Jean’s Website 

STEAM is a reflection of what we know from brain research and current trends in the field of education.

Active Learning – Teaching is what the teacher does.  Learning is what the student does!  Key elements of active learning include student activity and engagement in the learning process.  Students are not passive, but are “doing things” and are excited about learning.  The more senses you activate the more likely the message will get to the brain.

Interdisciplinary – There is a WHOLE child who needs to learn in the WHOLE way.  You can’t separate learning into little pieces, but you must connect reading and writing across the curriculum and challenge children to apply math, science, technology, and engineering skills in ways that are meaningful and integrated.

21st Century Skills – Cooperation, collaboration, communication, and creativity are the four “C’s” for skills children will need to be successful in the future.  STEAM provides real life experiences for children to develop those skills.

Inquiry Hour – This trend is based on Google’s Genius Hour where employees have time to focus on personal projects and interests.  Project based learning where children have choices, carry out learning activities, and then present results to classmates are compatible with goals of Inquiry Hour.

Intentional Teaching –  This means acting purposefully with a goal in mind. Intentional teachers set up activities and the environment so that students can accomplish those goals.
Note!  Many educators support incidental learning where children can explore and discover on their own. Intentional teaching is more focused and teacher-directed.  It’s important to balance both in the classroom.

Playful and Challenging – It’s critical to provide children with opportunities to learn and develop cognitive skills, but it also needs to be fun.  Play is a child’s work.

It is the PROCESS, not the PRODUCT, when children are engaged in STEAM activities!

We want children to THINK!


Want to learn more about how to support STEAM in your classroom?

Join us October 16th, 2018 

Workshop ID: FA1840293

$135 – with Early Bird Discount Code – EARLYBIRD10 until September 30th, 2018 – Space is limited so sign up soon!

*Fee includes make and take materials and handout packet

School Supply Drives in Central Texas

Please share with families in need or sign up for volunteering options!


Austin Partners in Education connects the community to the classroom and supports over 120 schools in AISD schools with programs in tutoring, mentoring, and college and career readiness. It also collects in-kind donations for the schools.

DONATE: Donations are accepted throughout the school year, with a special emphasis on school supplies during the summer months before the start of school. Donations will be distributed to any AISD school that is in need. Donations can be dropped off or pick up can be arranged. Also, take a look at their list of school wishes. You can see a list of schools in AISD and see – and fulfill – their needs. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dawn Lewis at, 512-637-0983.


For approximately 20 years, Austin nonprofit Manos de Cristo has held its Back-to-School program, which helps thousands of Central Texas elementary school children each year. The program prepares 2,000 low-income students for the school year by providing each child with two sets of new clothing, socks, underwear, and a brand new backpack filled with school supplies. This year, help from the community is needed to continue the program. The Program costs the nonprofit $60,000; they are looking for funding to ensure the program can continue.

DONATE:  Just $60 per child underwrites the cost to provide a child with two new sets of clothing, socks, underwear, and a brand new backpack filled with age appropriate school supplies. To make a donation, visit Manos Back to School Program.

VOLUNTEER: Manos’ Annual Back-to-School distribution day will be held July 30 – August 3, at the 1701 Vargas Road, Austin, TX 78741 (IDEA Montopolis). Sign up via Volunteer Spot for shifts: Morning 7:45 a.m. – 11 a.m. shift or afternoon shift from 10:45 a.m. – 2 p.m. Opportunities include welcoming clients, entertaining children, helping students select clothing and supplies, and cleaning up. They’d love someone to volunteer to take photo or video and bilingual volunteers to help with registration.

PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Monday – Thursday, July 30 – August 2, 8 am – 2 pm, or Friday, August 3, 8 am – 11 am, while supplies last, at IDEA Montopolis, 1701 Vargas Rd, Austin, TX 78741.  Community volunteers will help 400 children each day through the program. Visit Manos de Cristo for more information.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Manos de Cristo, or contact Lily Lombardi at 512-628-4202 or at


DONATE: More than 1,000 Communities In Schools (CIS) students will need school supplies when school starts back. Children who face challenges such as poverty, violence, homelessness, and hunger shouldn’t have the added burden of starting school without basic supplies. You can help! Your donation of $20 will provide a CIS student with a backpack and supplies. Click here to donate. Donations can also be dropped off at the CIS Central Office located at 3000 South IH-35, Suite 200, 78704, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Accepting donations until Aug 3, 2018.

Supplies will be distributed on the campuses where CIS has programming (63 in Central Texas) for students enrolled in CIS. To find out if your child’s has CIS program at his or her school, contact your school’s office.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Communities in Schools of Central Texas


On August 4, Austin ISD will host the 11th annual Back to School Bash Celebration and Safety Fair from 12 pm – 3 pm at the Palmer Events Center. Almost 150 community and district organizations will offer exhibits for AISD families to learn more about the services and programs that can help students enjoy a safe and successful school year. More than 11,000 people are expected to attend and AISD is providing free shuttles that run every 30-45 minutes from locations throughout Austin.

VOLUNTEER: AISD raises money to purchase the supplies via corporate sponsorships, but volunteers are needed on the day of the event to help with crowd control, lost and found, and other strategic areas. Bilingual volunteers are preferred, especially speakers of Arabic, ASL, Burmese, Farsi, Mandarin, Pashto, Spanish and Vietnamese. Find volunteer slots and sign up here.

PICK UP SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Free backpacks of school supplies will be available to students in Austin ISD, while supplies last. The event will also offer presentations on safety and educational best practices; nurses from Dell Children’s/AISD Health Services to provide free vaccinations (families must present student shot records), and Kids Vision for Life Central Texas to provide free vision exams and eyeglasses.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit AISD Back to School Bash


DONATE: Round Rock ISD currently has over 13,000 students who qualify for free basic school supplies. Monetary donations are now being accepted for Round Rock Partners in Education Foundation. Donation levels are designed to meet both corporate and individuals’ giving budgets. Individuals might want to “adopt” a student ($10 per child) so they may receive a bag of new school supplies. Donate here.

VOLUNTEER: Volunteer opportunities are available for Back to School Celebration on Sunday, August 5, taking place at the Dell Diamond 3400 East Palm Valley Blvd, in Round Rock, 78665. There are two volunteer shifts for each volunteer area. Sign up on SignUp.

PICK UP SUPPLIES: The Back to School Celebration, held in partnership with the Round Rock ISD, Round Rock ISD Partners in Education (PIE) Foundation, Round Rock Police Department, Round Rock Police Foundation and Round Rock Express Baseball Club is set for Sunday, Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Dell Diamond, 3400 East Palm Valley Blvd, in Round Rock. Students within the community will receive free school supplies, food and wellness checks while supplies last. The entire event is free and will also include live entertainment, sports clinics, vendor booths and so much more! Additional access to community service opportunities and Round Rock ISD resources will be available.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Marianne Reap, RRISD PIEF at 512-464-5600, or visit Round Rock Education Fund.


VOLUNTEER: The school supplies have been ordered and will be packed on Sunday, August 12, starting at 12:30 pm at Dell Jewish Community Campus on 7300 Hart Lane, 78731. The schools will pick up the supplies. The organizations raised funds for school supplies for more than 1,400 homeless children in Del Valle, Manor and Austin ISDs. Light refreshments will be provided and there will be some activities for the kids. Children, adults and seniors invited. Sign up to volunteer here. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Pankil Matalia at or visit Hindu Charities for America.


DONATE: It would be great to have donations before school starts on August 8, SafePlace will accept donations through the end of August. All donations will go to the students living in our Emergency Shelter and Supportive Housing Units, and are also available to the children who participate in SafePlace counseling programs, or whose parents are part of counseling and prevention programs.

Donations of supplies may be dropped off at SafePlace’s Donations Warehouse or you can view their Amazon Wishlist to have them sent directly.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit SafePlace to see the list of supplied needed and learn where to drop them off.


Salvation Army hosts more than 100 children in their emergency shelters in Austin, many of whom arrive at the shelters with just the clothes on their backs. You can help provide the supplies and clothes they need to start school better.

DONATE: Any amount helps. Your dollars go to buy tissues and colors, socks and jeans, and everything in between. Click here to donate.  You can also purchase from the Salvation Army’s Back to School Registries at Walmart and Amazon.

VOLUNTEER: Host a school supply drive! Send an email to or call 512-604-5910 before August 1 to arrange it.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Salvation Army Back to School Drive


The Travis County Sheriff’s Office and Travis County ESD #5 are collecting school supplies for the 2018-19 school year. Donated school supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

DONATE: See the list of items needed and the seven locations accepting donations on the Travis County’s website.

PICK UP SUPPLIES: School supplies will be distributed on Saturday, Aug 4, from 10 am – 12 pm, at the Travis County ESD #5, Manchaca Fire Rescue, 665 FM 1626, Austin, 78747.


The Future of Education Depends on Social Emotional Learning: Here’s Why

Article from EdSurge

Social and emotional abilities are said to be indicators of how well a person adjusts to his or her environment, adapts to change and, ultimately, how successful she or he will be in life. In fact, core development abilities such as conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness and agreeableness can be as or even more important than cognitive intelligence in determining future employment. Despite these competencies being related to consequential life outcomes, it can be challenging for educators to find effective ways to prioritize, teach and assess social and emotional skills.

Developing these core life abilities through social and emotional learning (SEL) is critical to a child’s development, as it directly correlates to success and happiness as an adult. For many children, school is the only place where any deficiencies in these abilities can be addressed before they become active members of society.

Combining these skills with academic development creates high-quality learning experiences and environments that empower students to be more effective contributors in their classrooms today and in their workplaces and communities tomorrow.

Is SEL worth the investment?

According to “Ready to Lead,” a report for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) based on a national principal survey on how SEL can prepare children and transform schools, there is data to support the importance of embedding social and emotional development in schools. The report cites a 2011 meta-analysis that found that students who receive high-quality SEL instruction have achievement scores on average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction.

However, the benefits of SEL do not end at graduation. A recent study from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)looked at five primary social and emotional skills—open-mindedness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion and agreeableness—to determine which are the strongest indicators of success. The study revealed a lack of SEL regularly correlated with unfavorable outcomes such as an increased chance of unemployment, divorce, poor health, criminal behavior and imprisonment.

To further justify the advantages of SEL, the report shared that advances in neuroscience imply developing SEL skills in kindergarten “can have long-term academic benefits on students’ reading and vocabulary, including in high poverty schools, suggesting that SEL may assist in closing achievement gaps.” It also stated, “researchers at Columbia University concluded that for every dollar a school spends on social-emotional learning programs, it sees an eleven dollar return on its investment,” indicating the investment in SEL is worthwhile.

The development of these skills has shown overall positive results, including better academic performance, improved attitudes, behaviors and relationships with peers, as well as deeper connection to school, fewer delinquent acts and reduced emotional distress (student depression, anxiety, stress and social withdrawal).

When it comes to translating those skills beyond the classroom, the OECD explains that subjective well-being can be defined as having a positive mental state; when reviewing the impact of SEL on adolescents, the results—which mirror findings from adult samples—indicate more ties between SEL skills and life satisfaction than between cognitive skills and life satisfaction by nearly 10 percent. Emotional stability appears to be the most relevant of the top SEL skills that correlate to life satisfaction, with consciousness and extraversion showing relevance in job and life satisfaction.

How do teachers feel about SEL?

According to the CASEL report, “Ready to Lead,” interest in and support for SEL are high among teachers and school administrators. Principals, specifically, are eager for the expertise, training and support necessary to effectively implement new programming. The survey findings state that while a majority of principals (97 percent) believe teaching SEL skills in school will improve student behavior, learning and development, only 35 percent report their school has developed a plan for teaching students social and emotional skills. What’s more, only 40 percent of principals anticipate it will improve academic performance, which is an indicator of the disconnect between SEL support and implementation.

A United States national teacher survey called “The Missing Piece”, a report for CASEL, supports the idea that teachers widely endorse SEL. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed believe that SEL skills are teachable and that the curriculum can benefit students from all backgrounds.

When will SEL become a priority?

Although the vast majority of education stakeholders agree SEL is important, it has remained on the sidelines while education leaders have instead focused on academics alone—as opposed to the development of the whole child.

Given the support that SEL has in the education community, it may just be a matter of time before it is widely adopted. Developing an emphasis on SEL in schools will lead to a more supportive space for students to freely share their creative ideas, shamelessly ask questions and learn academic concepts while building lifelong skills. The widespread advancement of SEL will require a gradual and grand shift in pedagogy. In the process, we can forge a more well-rounded education system to produce more socially responsible citizens who are better prepared to work together to build communities, nations and, ultimately, a better world.