McKinney ISD ALPHA Newsletter

In this newsletter:

  • 4th & 5th Curriculum Update
  • 3rd Grade Curriculum Update
  • K-2 Curriculum Update
  • Alpha Calendar of Events for May
  • Recommended Summer Reading
  • Summer Programs Article
  • 10 Strategies to Help Children Define Success for Themselves Article
  • Alpha Twitter

      4th & 5th Alpha Curriculum Update

Language Arts

Our 4th and 5th graders are continuing to work on play preparation in ALPHA ELAR. We are excited about our upcoming Shakespeare Showcase nights when students get to showcase their talents. Our students are working hard on developing props, backgrounds, scenery, and more for our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our cast is rehearsing and learning their lines. We have also been studying the words that Shakespeare provided and how he was a Lexicographer!


For most of the month of May, Science will be supporting the needs of Language Arts in regards to the upcoming Shakespeare play students will be performing later this month.

The last few weeks of Alpha, we will be focusing on student's individual needs and scientific interests, inquiry, logic and analytical reasoning skills, and critical thinking.


We are continuing work on our probability unit. In the last few weeks, students have been working hard to figure out probabilities and fairness of popular games. We have been discussing likeliness of events and continue to do so. Students have been tasked with creating a probability game that will be showcased at the probability fair. The probability fair is an opportunity for students to share with others what they have learned during this unit as well as their unique ways to apply their knowledge of the discipline. Games will be simple and carnival like, keeping with the Shakespearean theme that is happening here at Alpha.

            3rd Alpha Curriculum Update

Language Arts

This month, third grade students will continue to work on their self-selected “passion projects” during their ELAR time. Teachers have worked with students to narrow down topics of interest into manageable questions that are inspiring and motivating. During class, students will learn about their area of interest and create a presentation in order to share their learning with others. Learning is highly individualized, but all students are learning the valuable skills of inquiry, research, citing references, taking notes, organizing time, as well as evaluating and synthesizing information as they create their presentations. We are so proud of the third grade students’ efforts and are excited to watch them continue to grow this month.

Math & Science

We will be continuing our work in hands on equations. The students have displayed a lot of growth since week one; some students are able to solve for the value of x without manipulatives and we are working towards checking their answers using the order of operations. We have also introduced verbal word problems for hands on equations and will continue to use these in our unit.

                     K-2 Alpha Update

                             Mammalogist!!!! Mammalogist!!!! Mammalogist!!!!

K-2 ALPHA will spend the rest of the year studying the amazing mammals of the Amazon Rainforest of South America.  We always make awesome scientific models of each mammal, so Moms and Dads, be on the lookout for more amazing mammals coming home to live at your house.

As we looked up in the canopy of the Amazon Rainforest, we realized how many arboreal animals there are.  Slow, Slow, Slow Sloths, Loud, Loud, Loud Howler Monkeys, Beautiful Golden Lion Tamarins and Precious Pygmy Marmosets are just a few of the mammals we are exploring.

As we come down from the canopy through the understory to the forest floor, we will discover the ocelot and the jaguar.

We are having a wonderful year in the Amazon Rainforest and can’t wait to explore the African Savanna next year.

Have a great summer!

                   Mark Your Calendar

Monday, May 18  Galyon, Stallbaumer, & Williams Shakespeare Showcase Night

  • 4th & 5th Monday/Tuesday Cluster:  6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • 4th & 5th Wednesday/Thursday Cluster:  7:30-8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 19  Probability Fair:  All Monday/Tuesday Clusters

  • 11:30-12:20 in the Alpha Hallway.  Parents are welcome to attend.

Thursday, May 21 Probability Fair: All Wednesday/Thursday Clusters

  • 11:30-12:20 in the Alpha Hallway. Parents are welcome to attend.

Tuesday, May 26  Dey, Cortez, & Elston Shakespeare Showcase Night

  • 4th & 5th Monday/Tuesday Cluster:  6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • 4th & 5th Wednesday/Thursday Cluster:  7:30-8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 27  Dressel, Fawaz, & Collins Shakespeare Showcase Night

  • 4th & 5th Monday/Tuesday Cluster:  6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • 4th & 5th Wednesday/Thursday Cluster:  7:30-8:30 p.m.

Last Day of Alpha

  • Week of May 25-29:  Kindergarten, 1st, & 2nd
  • Tuesday, May 26: 4th & 5th Monday/Tuesday Clusters
  • Thursday, May 28: 4th & 5th Wednesday/Thursday Clusters
  • Friday, May 29: 3rd Grade

        Recommended Summer Reading

                     Summer Programs

Click for Summer Programs and Intensities by Kate Duey (Informational article on finding summer programs for gifted and talented students.)

                     Defining Success

                      ALPHA & Twitter

Alpha is now on Twitter.  Follow each class using the links below to see the great things that are happening at Alpha each day.  An easy way to discover the learning that is happening in each cluster is by searching Twitter using the Alpha hashtag, #misdgt. To be redirected to Twitter, click the #misdgt hyperlink or the picture below.

@mrsstallbaumer Mrs. Stallbaumer, 4th & 5th Science/3rd ELAR

@adwilliamsALPHA Mrs. Williams, 3rd-5th Math

@MsCortez10 Mrs. Cortez, 3rd-5th Science

@MrDeyELAR Mr. Dey, 3rd-5th ELAR

@alphaelar Mrs. Dressel, 3rd-5th ELAR

@GalyonMgalyon Mrs. Galyon, 4th & 5th ELAR

@KarenGreen5 Mrs. Green, Coordinator of Gifted and Talented

@fawaz4catlie Mrs. Fawaz, 4th & 5th Science