Thursday, June 12, 2014

Branching Out HIGHLIGHT: FREE Fun Things to Do in and Around Houston

Branching Out is a weekly publication presented by SBISD to encourage students and parents to read this summer.  Each week we'll highlight interesting articles or information here. For more, visit and bookmark the Let's Try Reading blog.


FREE Fun Things to Do in and Around Houston

Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States. It has over 2 million citizens, but that doesn’t count all of us who live just outside of Houston. I know that the adults hate the traffic problems that occur because the city is so large, but there are many benefits to living in Houston. The greatest benefit is that there are wonderful things to do here. Many of those fun things don’t cost any money.

Free Things to Do in the Houston Area:
Discovery Green is located downtown near Minute Maid Park. Check out their web site ( because events change regularly. Through June they will have a children’s writers’ workshop every Saturday. All children are welcome.
JPMorgan Chase Tower Observation Deck is located at 600 Travis in Houston. It is the high-est public observation deck in Houston. The building is 75 stories high, but the observation deck is on the 60th floor. The elevator is so fast that it only takes a minute to reach the 60th floor. Go on a clear day and enjoy the view.
Hermann Park is a wonderful place to spend a day. This is the park’s 100th birthday. They have done a lot to update the park. The lake is lovely. You won’t be able to resist the play area. There are 2 water areas to run through. They have also added some interesting art throughout the park. Bring a lunch and enjoy the day out of doors.
Waugh Street Bridge Bat Colony is just north of Allen Parkway and south of Buffalo Bayou. A colony of about 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats live in the gaps under the bridge. They come out at dusk looking for delicious insects to eat. Be patient because sometimes they are a bit late.
Art Car Museum is not your typical museum. It is at 140 Heights Boulevard. You will have to see this one. It is wonderful. You won’t believe the art that can be created using an automobile.
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is right beside Memorial Park. While it is very close to downtown, you won’t know it during your visit. There are miles of trails to hike, interactive exhib-its that allow you to touch the things that interest you. It also has a garden built to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. If you like nature, try this one.
Port of Houston has a free 90 minute boat tour of the port. You can tour the channel coming up close to the enormous freighters that come into our ports. A guide will share information throughout the tour. The tour is free, but you must make a reservation.
Free Thursday happens at many of our art museums. Check with the museum that interests you for their free days.
Public Library is always free. Many of them have special activities for the summer. It is a great place to cool off, sit in a quiet spot and read.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Find the Zone, Branching Out & A New Blog

We encourage you to FIND THE ZONE.

Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) believes that literacy is critical for students to be successful in their learning and in life. Because of this belief SBISD has developed a new initiative called Find the Zone.  The initiative's goal is to empower all partners in student success (parents, educators, community members and students) to find their 'zone of excellence'.

From new professional development opportunities for staff,  to the development of new resources and tools for parents and students that align with instruction, Find the Zone's goal is ensure all our students are encouraged to read, inspired to learn and engaged in achieving more than they think possible. We believe everyone has a role to play in supporting the student educational experience and we invite you to be an active participant!

We're Branching Out

This summer SBISD is launching two publications for parents as part of SBISD's In the Zone initiative. The first is Branching Out. Branching Out is a weekly newsletter for parents and students designed to encourage summer reading. The second is a blog called Let's Try Reading.

The purpose of Branching Out is to provide resources to parent so they can keep their elementary students reading during the summer. We'll be posting materials, including these newsletters, to the Parent Toolkit all summer long. We encourage you to bookmark and visit this site, as well as the Let's Try Reading blog, for tips and ideas that will keep your student reading all summer long.
Links & Downloads: 

Highlight from this edition - The Flat Stanley Project

Take a look inside this month's Branching Out and you'll find a wealth of activities to kick off this summer. One in particular may be of's the Flat Stanley Project. Read about it and then join the fun all summer long!    

Visit the Let's Try Reading Blog:

Below is a link to the Let's Try Reading blog that's published in conjunction with the Branching Out summer series. Visit  and bookmark this new blog!  We will spotlight postings found there as the summer unfolds. For more information about summer reading, visit the Let's Try Reading - Good Readers Read Blog.