Nov 17, 2017

Friday Focus - November 17, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*I was so impressed with our students behavior at the Veterans Day assembly last Friday...starting from shaking hands/thanking our veterans all the way to their attentive listening throughout the assembly. Many of you saw I had to leave early for a student issue, but I got to see a recording of their singing and was amazed. I also heard a couple of students tell me that they liked the song they sang, because the words made them think about soldiers who died for our country.  Thank you for the time you each took to prepare our students for the assembly and the meaning behind it!
*I don't know if you realize this, but I think ALL of our students are working on non-fiction text right both reading and writing. I have seen so many classrooms in which students are learning new strategies each day for reading non-fiction that go hand-in-hand with writing non-fiction. Just think about the deep connections our students are making to become stronger readers and writers!

Events Next Week:

Happy Thanksgiving Break (Wed-Fri) - Please take time to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy your families, because I know you've been spending a lot of time here taking care of your classroom family!

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Just a reminder that moving forward, each month we will focus on a character trait with PBIS and our student of the month recognition will be specifically for that trait. I know we're getting a late start, but when you add your names for November, please nominate a student for demonstrating Kindness.
*Some of our students are already telling us that it's that time of the year...when stress from home with winter and holidays on their way affects them in ways that we don't alway realize. It could be overhearing the adult conversations about money to buy winter gear, arguing over where they will be for Thanksgiving, etc. Many of our students will enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving break filled with family and good food, but think of how many of our students would rather be at school than at home for five days. Just around that corner is the countdown to Christmas...another major stressor in their lives. Some of our students will be feeling the adult stress of everything that has to get done before Christmas, they might hear threats that "Santa won't be coming." For students in these situations, we are likely seeing the affects of this on them manifest in their behaviors/emotions.  We can't control what's happening in any of our students' lives, but we can control our classrooms to still be consistently structured (to not add more chaos to their days) and show them the caring relationships that they may not be getting at home right now. 

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Maybe Next Year
*3 Things Teachers Focus on in High Poverty Classrooms that Get Real Results

Click HERE for the link

Nov 10, 2017

Friday Focus - November 1, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*5th graders SO engaged in listening to their read-aloud book, that they asked for it to pause several times so they could jot down what they were thinking about the text. I don't think I have ever seen students so engaged in thinking about reading before!
*4th graders making personal connections to a non-fiction topic so they could make a commitment to read it...and then they did with eager curiosity as they dug into different topics!
*Students writing positive comments to others in their small group to recognize what they noticed in their writing.
*4K students starting out their day with calming yoga and breathing. (Ok, let's be real, I think I could start everyday that way!!)

Events Next Week:
Friday - Dodgeland Pride Assembly starting at 2:30
(I can hardly believe there's no other events this week, whew! Breathe.)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
  • Please talk to your students about the Pride assembly so that any new students will know what to expect and for all to review behavior expectations. 

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Great blog post on all those issues with Writing Unit of Study that seems to go on forever: Units of Study that Go On Forever: Solving Predictable Problems
*Are you feeling stressed? Me to. I came across this post just when I needed it: Building Resilience, Preventing Burnout What action are you going to take to keep yourself energized?

Nov 3, 2017

Friday Focus - November 3, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Several teachers walking students through the process of rereading math word problems, stopping to ask questions reread for understanding: What is this problem about? What is it asking? What information does it tell us? Let's act what is happening.  These are all great strategies for students to learn how to keep rereading for meaning, those close reading skills that apply to math!
*Great collaboration for WIN...I've seen students excitedly changing rooms for "what they need." We know that in order to close the gaps and raise our higher students, we have to provide ALL of our students with the instruction that they need at their level. 
*Students in writing partners, providing each other with feedback and questions to help each other revise their writing to add in descriptive details.

Events Next Week:
Monday - grades due by 7:30 am

Wednesday - 1st quarter report cards distributed
- fundraiser pick up 3:00-5:30

Thankful Thursday - you can be thankful for jeans in place of our casual Friday since you need to dress up for Veterans Day.

Friday - Veterans Day Assembly starting at 9:30.  Please dress professionally on Friday as we will have many community members in our building for this event.
-No AM recess

Our 1st Quarter Dodgeland Pride Assembly is Friday, November 17th at 2:30.

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Please review behavior expectations with your students before taking them down to the gym for the Veterans Day Assembly. Please also make sure to be there prior to 9:30 so they are not waiting for us to get started.  
*For 1st Quarter awards: I will share a google doc with you for On a Roll.  For Honor Roll there will NOT be a google doc. I am just going to go through all of the 3-5th report cards after their final reprints on Wednesdays to determine certificates. Please make sure to send home an invitation to the assembly for those that you know make Honor Roll (or On a Roll, or a Specials Award).

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Change the World, or Simply Maintain It? great post by George Couros

Oct 27, 2017

Friday Focus - October, 27, 2018

Great Things I Noticed this Week:

  • 3rd graders identifying examples of figurative language in their good fit books and then applying them to their writing as well. I love seeing how well Lucy Units of Study for Writing and Reading align for our students to build deeper understanding!
  • Kindergartners adding details into their writing so they have more than one sentence to tell their story (yes, that's right, with just less than 2 months our kinders are writing that much!)
  • Several staff members helping out in different ways to assist with some very challenging student issues. It really does take a team and although these situations are stressful, it is a reminder that for some of our students, our school is the safest and caring place they have.

The state run for the Girls Cross Country team will be at 10:45. They are currently ranked 1st in the state! You do NOT have to go the gym...they will run through the elementary halls first, but 4/5th grades will have to move down the hallway to line up for this route...
The team will start at the elementary office and turn right at the computer lab and heading toward PreK - K wing, turning left and proceeding through the grade 1-2-3 wing, turning right at the gathering area toward the 4-5 wing, turn left and then back past the elem office.

Events Next Week:
Wednesday - elementary staff meeting at 3:10 in IMC
Friday - end of 1st Quarter (grades due Monday, Nov 6th at 7:30am)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
  • Today's the last call to send me any pictures/blurbs for the newsletter to highlight the great things happening in your classroom!
  • Please make sure NOT to dog any doors open during the school day...use your fob. The only door that is exempt from this is the door by 2nd grade for recess, which will have a fob soon.
  • Wednesday staff meeting agenda includes: Ms. Abegglen on a Tech Integration update and Mrs. Kurer sharing information with us about SLD referral criteria. 
  • Update from the PBIS all are doing a great job at logging minors/majors in Educlimber. One area our students are still struggling in is hallway transitions for recess/lunch:
    • K-2 transitioning from lunch to recess. Even though we are using 5th grade hall monitors to assist, they are still loud and rambunxious in the halls. If you are able at this time, please feel free to step out in the hall to help monitor/remind K-2 students of The Trojan Way.
    • 3-5 end of lunch. The longer they wait in those lines past 12:25 the more issues that start to happen in line, even from some of our students that you would least expect. We can prevent this by picking up on time and transitioning them back to class with a sense of urgency for learning.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*In It For the Long Game - a great post/reminder about the struggle you encounter when you're trying to help turn that uninterested reader into a reader. 

10 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back

Oct 20, 2017

Friday Focus - October 20, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:

  • 4th graders debating an opinion of a character in their book, citing evidence from the book. I was so impressed with their level of engagement and respect of other's opinions during these discussions. 
  • Kindergartners demonstrating their number sense during math time, while knowing the difference between the terms vertical and horizontal, plus knowing that great big word subatizing!
  • Did you wonder why students are bringing iPads to PE? I was amazed to see that they are recording their data (How many push-ups, how may laps?) into the numbers app to track their progress. 
  • One of our families will be moving just outside of their district, but parents talked to me to find out how to open enroll even if they have to drive their kids each day because they want to make sure that they continue making the great progress that they are making at Dodgeland. 
Events Next Week:
Monday - Optional EP Meeting (this isn't a training, just a support/work time) 3:15 IMC
Wednesday - Picture Retake Day

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*During P/T conferences I had this video playing in the hallways: What happens in the first 10 minutes of school? You are more than welcome to share this with your class to talk about the importance of being to school on time.
*I know I probably don't have to remind anyone of this (because you all say how much you lack time to teach what you need to), please make sure that any special Halloween classroom activities/parties are just an event and not a half-day ordeal. The more you get out of the regular routine, the more your students will get out of the normal routine and you're likely to see more behaviors. 

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Great blog post: On Limiting Choice When do you give your students choice?


Oct 13, 2017

Friday Fundamentals - Oct 13, 2017

Sorry everyone, all I've got is just the basics for this Friday Focus...or the Friday fundamentals!

Events Next Week:
I see nothing on the calendar (am I forgetting something??!!)

Picture Retake Day is October 25th - we'll have handouts for that on Tuesday

If you have a newsletter article or even just pictures with a sentence about your picture to highlight the great things your class is doing, please send them to me by Friday.  

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
For those of you on your summative year, I would like to schedule a short time to meet with you to discuss your SLO and PPG over the next few weeks. The easiest way to do this (to avoid email back and forth) would probably be to just check with Marie and she can add you to my calendar. We will only need 10 minutes tops (unless you have other things you'd like to discuss). 

Oct 6, 2017

Friday Focus - October 6, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Student conferences to allow the student to create an individual goal for both reading and math and math this year. Research has found that 50% of student achievement is dependent on the student's control, so it is critical to have conversations like this to give student voice and ownership of their learning!
*2nd graders leaving the library begging to read their new books. Music to my ears!
*Students rereading math word problems for comprehension, stopping to sketch diagrams to make sense of the situation and then referring back to the final question of the problem. Some of those word problems are tricky and comprehension is key!
*School spirit!! Not only do our students love it, but I think they love it even more when you all join in the fun!

TODAY: With how many new students we have, please make sure to talk to your class about what to expect at the Homecoming Assembly and how to show the Trojan Way as we sit/participate.  Please leave your class early enough to be sitting for the 1:15 start time. We do not want the assembly waiting to start for us!

Events Next Week: Get some extra sleep this weekend, take your vitamins and pack your favorite healthy snacks to keep your energy up!
Monday - P/T conferences
Tuesday - Vision Screening, P/T conferences
Wednesday - Bonus Workout Wednesday (I know you'll want that after 2 nights of P/T Conferences)
Friday - Professional Development (agenda will be emailed out soon)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*For P/T Conferences next week:

  • Thank you in advance for sharing the Title 1 Teacher/Student/Parent compact (they will be in your mailboxes by Monday morning).
  • Keep track of your attendance turnout to share with Marie afterwards.  
  • Please try to stick to your schedule so that parents aren't waiting in the hallway for too long. It would also be a good idea to post a sign like this one on your door:

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*October Badger brain break is HERE
*Do you want some new ideas for transitions and build vocabulary? Check out the ideas in this video: Ms. Noonan Managing Transitions
*Protecting Student Writing Time