Mar 24, 2017

Friday Focus - March 24, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
  • 1st graders checking out the cutest pet contest choices and then writing an opinion paper about why they think their favorite pet should win. Nice way to tie in a school even to writing!
  • College students visiting classrooms to talk about what it is like to be in college.
  • Students researching a college and creating a college pennant with the information they learned.
  • Students exploring occupations of interest to them. 
  • Students researching a famous person of interest to them, including if and where they went to college. 
  • Students exploring college/career/military tracks and completing their college applications.
  • Students asking staff (other than their classroom teacher) what college they went to. 
  • The many ideas that were generated for college promotion at last week's PD day were amazing and definitely warrant a committee for this next year so this can be a part of our culture all year next year!
  • A SMOOTH start to Forward testing with our 4th graders that is due to the preparation in classrooms leading up to this. 3/5th grade-you should know that there were NO technical issues (**knock on wood**) so it should be smooth when you start testing too!
What an Awesome week!!!

Upcoming Events:
Today (Friday): the MEGA state send-off for youth wrestling, MS forensics and FBLA. Talk about #DodgelandPride!!  
--Just a reminder that I'll be out of the building today (through Monday) for the ASCD conference in California.
Spring Break - Enjoy, Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate!!!!!
Tuesday, April 4th -end of 3rd Quarter (Can you believe it?!)
Wednesday, April 5th - GRADES DUE!
Friday, April 7th - report cards distributed

Mar 16, 2017

Friday Focus - March 17, 2017

 This is a page out of one of our first grader's non-fiction books that was shared at their end of unit celebration. This student wrote all about her favorite! The picture just makes my heart so happy, because it just sums up how I feel about Dodgeland. I have told many parents that I personally want to help make sure that we have the best school, because my own kids go to school here too. You may not know this, unless you've already had one of my kids, but when we come to class placement meetings each spring, I don't choose my child's teacher. Why? Because I feel the same way this first grader Dodgeland you will have a good teacher. Trust me! 

Thank you for your dedication, your sense of urgency for learning, and your continued commitment to learning and growing to make this the best school for our students!

Events Next Week: March Madness Week 
Monday - 8:10 short K-5 assembly to kick-off March Madness. Please make sure to have a college shirt on (yes...jeans all week too)!!!
-3:10 - optional EP Documentation Log work time with help in the IMC

Tuesday/Wednesday - 4th graders will be taking the Forward exam for Science/Social Studies in the mornings. Please make sure students are quiet in the hallways on that side of the building.

Friday - I will be out of the building...I am slightly guilty to share that I'll be in sunny California, however, it's not a lavish vacation. I will be at the ASCD conference that is packed full of amazing learning! I am going to be there as an author/presenter, because I have a book being published by ASCD this May.
*I'm pretty sure we will have a couple of state send-off's next week...more details will be coming.
Happy Spring Break!!! 

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*I'm super excited about March Madness week and the impact we can have on building big dreams for our students now to have them on track for college readiness. I hope that you share my same enthusiasm and the role that you can play in being our students' biggest champions for their future!
If you need some new brain breaks, how about a Badger brain break with March Madness? Here's where you can find them:
Badger Brain Break - Can't Stop the Feeling Wisconsin Badger student-athletes Matt Aronson and Gabby Comunale of men's and women's swim & dive know how to freestyle out of the pool and they can't stop the feeling!  
You can find several other Badger Brain Breaks HERE (each video features a couple of Badger athletes)

*Planning ahead for after Spring Break: treat this as post Christmas break and put in your plans to review procedures. You know they're going to need it to get back on track (you probably already see the need now)!

*Hot off the press news (from Watertown Daily Times):

We received a grant from John Deere to implement Project Lead the Way next year! Mrs. O'Toole and Mr. Klueger will become our in house trainers over the summer. For those of you who expressed interest earlier this year, I will be trying to set up some school visits so you can also go and see PLTW in action. If you forgot what that is (I know our conversations about this were quite a while ago), here is a brief overview to see what Project Lead the Way is: What is PLTW? An Overview

I also recently blogged about what I learned from coaching robotics, the innovative things you are doing in your classrooms and my excitement for PLTW here: Innovation, Problem-Solving and Learning from Failure: Is it Really in Your School?

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Schools Try to Establish College Going Culture

Mar 9, 2017

Friday Focus - March 10, 2017

A principal friend shared this song with me that has become my favorite song...

There is so much meaning in this song for different situations in life, but I feel like it says so much about our work.  I recognize how hard you all work to make our school the best place for our students...
There are some long days with extra meetings or extra work you take home, because you want to be fully planned and ready for the next day for what your students need.
You might face road blocks or rough spots with a student that is challenging you with behavior or isn't getting it academically, but you keep responding by trying something different that might work. And no matter what, you just keep doing great things for our students. You each have a special passion for your work with kids and together we make an incredible team. We are never alone.  So...keep fighting the good fight! : )

Events Next Week:

Monday - start of the cutest pet contest
 NO staff meeting : ) Instead, please take a few minutes to complete this survey to be used for my professional reflection/evaluation component: Principal Survey

Friday - Staff PD Day (agenda will be sent out by Monday-plan for lots of team/work time)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*I know everyone is getting excited for Spring break...both you and the students!! Let's try to remember to keep things as normal as possible to keep the students as normal as possible.  If you are counting down the days, then they probably will too and it may result in undesirable behavior and attention in the classroom.
*Google came out with a new "Team Drive" feature in Google Drive. The "DES Staff Handbook" google folder is now in the Team Drive for "Dodgeland Elementary School Staff."

This is just like the old version of our shared folders drive in our school network, but in google drive, the documents from a Team Drive are easily shared and won't be removed if the original creator leaves. This will be a great way for us to organize curriculum documents and then know where to find them! I'm sure there's more to learn, but that's all I know for now.
If you do not see this in your Google Drive, please let me know so I can make sure you're added.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Make Conferring a Habit

Mar 2, 2017

Friday Focus - March 3, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
  • Several great buddy class activities/reading times to go with Dr. Seuss week. It is fun to see so much excitement for reading!
  • A great turnout for Family Reading Night filled with an author presentation, book making, bookmark making, reading game, great snacks and of course...reading! Way to go Read Across America committee!
  • 2nd graders celebrating the end of their informational writing unit with their published pieces sorted into different rooms for books about sports, books about animals and books about other topics.

Events Next Week:
Monday - Mentor/Mentee meeting at 3:15 (for 1st year teachers)
 -I will be out of the building during the day at CESA 6 with Mrs. Huelsman and Mrs. Madsen for the Title 1 Schoolwide workshop
Thursday/Friday - I will also be out of the building for a conference (I apologize for being out 3 days and hope I can still keep up with everything!) 

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*A student note will be going home next week about our first ever cutest pet contest. You'll see that it will result in a donation to the Human Society. This is being planned by some of Mrs. Peterson's students who read about this in their book club and wanted to organize it for our school. 

*Thank you again for your help with the graduation year pictures. I am also trying to put together a special video for our students to promote college awareness. If you know any Dogeland graduates that went to college or are still in college, please share this with them: Dodgeland Alumni College Promotion My hope is to figure out a time during March Madness week (March 20th) that we can have a brief assembly to share this with students. Remember....this is when you get to wear your jeans all week if you also wear a college shirt and talk about college. If you don't have any, I know Dunhams usually has t shirts cheap for many colleges. 
Please share if you have any other ideas to add to March Madness and college promotion!

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!

Feb 24, 2017

Friday Focus - February 24, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Students revising in writing partners, giving each other a "glow" and a "grow." It was great to hear students also asking their partner specific questions like, "How does this sentence sound?" "Do you think I should take this part out, what do you think?" Their conversations were amazing to hear!
*Reading mini-lesson on making inferences about characters, using their schema in 2nd grade. Students first identified things the character did and said, then applied their schema to make an inference.
*Students working on building their oral reading fluency by taking turns timing each other to see how much they could read from a passage in one minute, made a small mark, then reread for a minute to see if they could read more words and did this 3 times. Everyone grew with each rereading minute which helped make the point to them that the more they read, the better readers they become!
*I was a part of several parent/teacher conferences that had concerns to be shared, but each started out by sharing the positives and gains that have been made so far this year.
*I am already starting to see some of the ideas learned from the One Best Thing get started!  The google doc of ideas shared on Monday can be found HERE.

Events Next Week: Read Across America Week
Wednesday: Graduation Year grade level pictures in the elementary gym
8:30 3rd
8:45 1st
9:00 K
9:15 4th
9:30 5th grade
9:45 2nd

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Our schedule of classes to rotate for Celebrations announcements is completed. If you'd like to have your students come down again, please sign up HERE.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*How To Break Free of the Dreaded Teacher Slump

Feb 16, 2017

Friday Focus - February 17, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Student scientists learning about volume, mass, density, and buoyancy with hands-on experience. what a great way to sneak in the measurement standards that usually come in the math book after the state test!
*Writing celebration -students were listening to each others' pre-recorded essays that they had read to publish them.
*Students on a top secret mission to spread kindness throughout the school.
*Students working together on a special mission to solve puzzles to be able to unlock the #breakoutEdu box.  If you're wondering what #BreakoutEdu is, check this out: Introducing BreakoutEdu
*Many 5th grade student leaders to run the JRFH table and chess tournament during recess. It's amazing to see these young leaders in action!

Events Next Week:
Monday - PD Day -PowerSchool will be shut down on Monday to switch to a new server so you will be unable to do anything in PS.
Tuesday - Thursday - Seals on Wheels will be be providing dental services to our students this week
Thursday - Mid Quarter and PT Conferences. Please send home mid quarter reports for those you are not meeting with for conferences.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*A Few Ideas to Teach Inference

You can read about this HERE

Feb 10, 2017

Friday Focus - February 10th, 2017

Events Next Week: Box Tops Battle Week
Monday - Staff Meeting 3:10
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday
Thursday - Badger Attire Day
Friday - Students can bring $1 for JRFH to have a stuffed animal

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
  • Monday's staff meeting agenda includes the next step of coding from the Tech Ninjas. Please bring your laptop or iPad. We will also be talking about the Feb 20 PD day. 
  • As always, please make sure that your class Valentines party is just 1 event and not the entire day. There are many ways to integrate the Valentines theme into different subjects, but if you turn it into a party day with a movie and treats all day, you will get crazy little Valentine monsters! 
  • As I'm not coming out of my ACCESS testing cave (and February's worst sinus infection/cold) I'm excited to get back into classrooms! I am also planning to meet with individuals in the summative year to discuss your SLO's. You can expect an email from me soon to try to schedule these. 
  • As you complete mid year F&P benchmarks, please add them to the google doc. (I have a script in it the google doc that sends me an email when you update it so I can add them to Educlimber.)
  • It seems we have every virus/bug going around...take care of yourself! Get plenty of rest and take your Vitamin C!
Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Grass Greener, Whiter Snow - a great reminder for our own mindsets