M-DCPS link
Office of ESE

What's New Archive for 2010-2011

Thanks for the Memories...

Dear Pre-K SPED Teachers:
Yesterday (June 8, Retirement Open House) was quite an amazing day – It was so wonderful to get to see so many of you and get our final hugs (and cries) in before you leave for the summer.  Once again, I must say,  I will leave M-DCPS knowing what an unbelievable pre-k family we have all been a part of and I will take a part of each and every one of you in my heart to the mountains. Keep giving your kids the world, one memory at a time – I know you will. And thanks for giving me all the memories that we have shared throughout the years .
Keep in touch... Wishing you well – With warmest regards - Roni

5/24/11 - The Links for Children and the Links for Families pages have been updated with a great site for online cause and effect activities. Thanks to Marla Willis for the link!

5/12/11 - Check out an Extreme Makeover, Pre-K Edition in the Idea Gallery. Thanks to Lorie Machado Tarrio for the idea!

5/9/11 - Wonderful gardening photos from Scott Lake Elem. added to the Photo Gallery - thanks Ms. La!

4/28/11 - Click here for the Children's Trust Summer Programs Guide.

5/9/11 - IMPORTANT change for BDI-2 scoring. The Chronological Age Calculator in Appendix U has been changed - please use the link below and delete any old link you may have saved in your Favorites:

Pearson Chronological Age Calculator

4/25/11 - Andrea Manash from William Lehman Elem. contributed visuals for a great Dr. Jean activity - check it out on the Boardmaker Downloads page.

3/29/11 - "Welcome to our School" - Open House" Power Point is now available in ENGLISH with SPANISH translations. You will also find it in the Teacher Handbook, Appendix Y. Thanks go out to Sandra Lopez from Village Green Elementary!

2/23/11 - The REVISED Temporary Instructor/Substitute Day for Assessments Form for POST-TESTINGhas been added to the Teacher Handbook, Appendix G3.

2/4/11 - New literacy resource added to the BELL page and the Teacher Handbook, Appendix S: Alphabet Knowledge.

2/3/11 - Photo labels for the water table area have been posted on the Science page - thanks to Michelle Skalski from Tropical Elementary.

2/3/11 - An updated version of the Flip Chart Boardmaker files are available to download. Thanks to Laura Seminario for all the nice changes!

2/3/11 - A new interactive storybook is available on the Boardmaker Downloads Interactive Storybooks page, contributed by Laura Seminario and Maria de la Vega.

2/3/11 - The Science page and the Boardmaker Downloads have been updated with communication boards for water exploration. Thanks go to Mary Olson at Gulfstream Elementary for this contribution.

2/2/11 - New photos of Eva Filgueira's Inclusion class at Miami Springs Elementary have been added to the Photo Gallery - check out her beautiful learning environment!

2/2/11 - Thanks go out to Jorge Mendez at Claude Pepper Elementary for sharing many super visually structured tasks (as part of the TEACCH curriculum). Check out his photos to get new ideas for your class in Teacher Handbook, Appendix M1.5.

11/30/10 - We've added a NEW Science page - check out all the cool science experiences our teachers have shared so far. Use the "Curriculum" button on the left bar to find the Science page and all of our other curriculum components.

10/25/10 - New link for video resources added to the Speech and Language page and to the Links for Familiespage. Thanks Dolores!

10/7/10 - 9/29/10 - Check out a great new idea in the Idea Gallery from the crew at Claude Pepper Elementary.

9/20/10 - OnlineCOR.net
link will now be available in Appendix U - Assessments

9/13/10 - The Temporary Instructor/Substitute Day for Assessments Form is now posted in Appendix G-3.

9/9/10 - Lots of great contributions today

'' The Pre-K Stars Keep on Shining! ''
(we keep getting more good news all the time...)

Laurissa Kendrick, paraprofessional in the Pre-k SPED Reverse Mainstream class at Royal Palm Elementary was chosen as Paraprofessional of the Year. Then, she was one of four finalists for Paraprofessional Support Staff of the year for Region IV. She later received First Runner-Up. We are very proud of all of her achievements!

Annie Strozier-Gipson, para in the Inclusion class at V.A.B. Highland Oaks Elementary, has been chosen as one of four Region 2 finalists for Paraprofessional/Support Staff of the Year!

Congrats to Elvia Hernandez for being selected as Rookie Teacher of the Year for Liberty City Elementary. She teaches in our Reverse Mainstream class.

Alexandrie Louis was recently selected as Scott Lake Elementary's Paraprofessional of the Year.  She is a para in our Reverse Mainstream class.

Marbella Servin has been voted Paraprofessional of the Year at Redondo Elementary for her service in our LEAP class and is the Region V Finalist!

Danibel Hiraldo, Inclusion teacher at V.A.B. Highland Oaks Elementary, was selected as Teacher of the Year for her school.

Alicia Baugh, teacher in our ASD class at Norwood Elementary, was selected as Rookie Teacher of the Year.

And one more heartfelt announcement from Susan Ramsey at Gulfstream Elementary...

"I just wanted to brag a minute about the great gal I work with, Susana Cardona. The paraprofessional of the year committee met and selected three nominees for Para of the Year and she was one of them. These nominees were presented at school today and although she did not win, I still wanted you to know that she is awesome at what she does."

THANK YOU Susan! I think we all feel this way about the special Paraprofessionals who add so much to our program!

.....Congratulations to all for all you do for our program, your students and your families!


TeachSmart Early Learning System in Pre-K SPED Classrooms 2010-2011

The results are in from the TeachSmart selection committee! The teachers listed below were selected to receive a Teach Smart Early Learning System for their classrooms based on an application process and their consistently high level of curriculum implementation. In addition, please take the time to read the outstanding application we received from Danibel Hiraldo of Virginia A. Boone Highland Oaks Elementary. In her essay below, Danibel captured the benefits of this technology but also described how she would use the system in her classroom with such imagination and passion! Well done, Danibel and congratulations to all!

Danibel Hiraldo, V.A.B Highland Oaks Elementary
Delia Katz, Tropical Elementary
Carol Talley, Village Green Elementary
Linda Alvarez, Norland Elementary
Christina Redero-Gonzalez, Claude Pepper Elementary
Jonelle Dougery, Zora Neale Hurston Elementary
Stephanie Rad Quintana, Air Base Elementary
Eva Filgueira, Miami Springs Elementary
Javonie Wilcox, Orchard Villa Elementary
Jorge Mendez, Claude Pepper Elementary
Joanna Love, Palm Springs North Elementary

Application Essay written by Danibel Hiraldo:

The TeachSmart Learning System and Activity Bundle are designed to meet the needs of all learners, regardless of their ability. It encourages differentiated instruction for diverse learners, including students with special needs, role model students, gifted learners, and those with behavioral/emotional concerns. I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to the Smart Board in an adjacent classroom and have witnessed first-hand what an incredible tool it is. The look on the students’ faces and their progress throughout the school year says it all. 

Because it is a large touch screen with vivid colors, loud sounds, and clear speech, it will capture the attention of those children who have a difficult time attending to task, appeal to those with low vision, and even those who have limited hearing. Those students with a language/speech delay listen to the words spoken clearly and learn the correct pronunciation of words. The interactive touch screen also allows students with fine motor delays and decreased muscle tone to participate in the activities without needing the use of a mouse. An adaptation to the touch screen can be to use a tennis ball or finger puppet to move the figures on the screen for those who are having difficulty with their hand/finger. Even children with impulsivity and short attention span will feel motivated to be part of the activity and will actively wait their turn on the “big computer”. Imagine the excitement of wearing the cool elephant finger puppet and moving the teddy bears into the house as we count “1, 2, 3. Three bears.” The vertical movement of the board allows shorter children and those with physical delays to have access, as well. The board easily slides up and down, so that everyone is in reach. 

Within the Activity Bundle, the activities are structured according to developmental levels: emerging, developing, developed, and extension activities. This allows the teacher to work on a specific skill, while ensuring that all students’ needs will be met. They have also included a wide range of academic activities: math, language arts, science, social studies, and writing. These activities extend the lessons that we’re learning within the classroom and are correlated to the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) standards.

It goes without saying that the system can be incorporated within many parts of the daily routine. It can be used during Phonological Awareness with the Rhyming Word Families lesson, during Math Small Group with the counting (one-to-one correspondence) lesson, and even during Greeting Circle by creating your own monthly calendar and Question of the Day tally chart. The opportunities are endless.

After reviewing the many activities offered, I have chosen to focus on using the system during a Shared Reading activity. With each bi-weekly big book, there is a theme or main idea that we focus on. I will focus on the bookGrandpa, Grandpa by Joy Cowley, which introduces students to the ocean and marine life. When connecting the smart board to the Internet, a wide array of possibilities opens up. I can visit the National Geographic website and show the students photos and videos of the ocean and ocean animals on the bigger screen. How neat would it be to hear the sounds a whale makes, to watch a video of swimming dolphins, and to see pictures of underwater scuba diving? There are also related activities in the Activity Bundle (software). Under the Free Play category in the Doodles Corner, the students can draw their own sea animals and write words to their drawings by using the included color markers. Within the Stories category, students have the pleasure of creating their own story. There are multiple backgrounds to choose from, where students can let their imagination run wild and tell a story about what they see, hear, and feel. I will show them the ocean background and listen as their oral language and vocabulary develops further. I can take this activity one step further by using the included microphone and the Smart Recorder to record their stories, and share those stories with their classmates or their parents.

Because all of these activities are seen on a large interactive touch screen, most of the students will be focused and eager to learn. For those having some difficulty, accommodations can be made, such as using a tennis ball or finger puppet to move the figures on the screen and sliding the board lower for a closer reach. The students can use the board in a large group setting, in a small group, individually, with a teacher-directed activity, and with a child-directed activity. This is also an ideal time to practice our social skills curriculum. In a group setting, the students can practice “giving” and “accepting” the tennis ball or finger puppet from a friend. This teaches them to share and wait their turn.

Not only is this an excellent teaching tool, but it can be used as a way to measure student performance. Within the Assessment category, I can measure student learning in various aspects, such as in Letter Recognition. I can also use the Smart Recorder to record the student’s actual voice and how they performed on the test. Imagine how useful this would be during a parent conference. For the parent to hear their own child’s voice would be amazing. I would also create electronic portfolios for each student, where I can record their progress throughout the year with pictures of their artwork, sound clippings of their story telling, videos of their drawings, and assessments. This portfolio can then be placed on a CD. What a great gift to give parents at the end of the year!

With each passing generation, there is an increasing emphasis on technology. Think back to our grandparents’ generation where computers hadn’t been invented yet to present day where computers are used in our daily lives. Whether you’re checking your email, creating reports on word documents, or chatting on Skype to a family member overseas, technology plays an integral role in our education, career, and personal lives. Therefore, technology should be used in the classroom on a regular basis. In a pre-k classroom, students should be introduced to and exposed to the computer through enticing educational websites. These websites can be interactive, such as Riverdeep and Starfall, or informative, such as National Geographic and the Miami Metro Zoo site. Technology is a great teaching tool and a great extension to hands-on learning activities.

As a pre-kindergarten teacher, it is my job to instill a love for learning in my students and to prepare them for the world ahead of them. In order to do so, students need to be introduced to the wonders of technology. An excellent opportunity would be through interactive touch screens that are motivating, engaging, and accommodating to all types of learners. With a good foundation and genuine interest in learning, pre-kindergarten students will be prepared and ready for what the future brings.  


I want to call your attention to some new Boardmaker downloads on the website.  If you came to the Opening of School Meeting, you may have seen the beautiful BELL Shared Reading Book Summary Board designed by Michelle Skalski (see below).  The basic symbols (character, setting, etc.) are  available on the website and now Michelle has contributed some story specific symbols for 6 titles - with more to come.  To download them, go to the Boardmaker Downloads > BELL Shared Reading page and look for the files marked NEW!  Enjoy

A Great Start for the 2010-2011 School Year!

Welcome back to all of you! We saw some of you on Friday, August 20 at our Opening School Preparation Day - we had a fantastic turn out - over  100 Pre-K SPED teachers participated in our Pre-K SPED building. The energy was fantastic! Check out the slideshow of photos from the event. And have a great year! A BIG THANKS to Christina Redero-Gonzalez for taking all the pictures! Opening of School 2010-2011Power Point file .pdf file

Our good friend Julio Suarez from Maya Angelou has updated the PELI Assessment Summary Chart from Appendix U to reflect scores 3 times per year. He also contributed a PELI Scoring Booklet with room to score 3 times per year!

Annemarie Daruna of Greenglade Elementary contributed this PELI Student Profile Sheet.

9/9/10 - The Action Plan Form (for Mentoring or Technical Assistance feedback) has been added to Appendix X.

9/3/10 - The wonderful "Pre-K Math in Motion" book by Violet McNamara is now posted on the Boardmaker Downloads pages: Activity Specific and Interactive Storybooks. ENJOY!

8/26/10 - Remember that all emails and Weekly Briefings sent to teachers by the Pre-K SPED office are archived on the Emails and Weekly Briefings page, which is accessed by the pop up menu on the "For Teachers" button on the left hand navigation bar of every page.

8/26/10 - All documents in the Directory are up-to-date for the 2010-2011 school year. Updates from now on will be noted in red.

8/23/10 - The "front section" of the Teacher Handbook is now posted.

8/17/10 - The Pre-K SPED Professional Development Calendars have been posted in the Teacher Handbook Appendix G.

Quick links:

2010-2011 PD Calendar

Required PD for NEW Pre-K SPED Teacher

8/17/10 - This year we will be using the OnlineCOR - a web based version of our COR software. More details will be sent out to all our teachers as soon as we have them, but in the meantime, check out the website - it includes a "Tour" and "Webinars" to satisfy your curiosity. OnlineCOR.net