Sep 22, 2017

Friday Focus - September 22, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*A mini lesson on retelling a story and then students practiced retelling a different story in partners.
*Students focused on reading, stopping to jot down big ideas and details while referring to their "readers thinking marks" chart.
*Students practicing math facts cards in partners with a timed routine so they each took 2 minutes, switched, then got right back to the class math lesson.
*Students recording videos of songs they created for digital citizenship (can't you just hear the song "SpamBusters" to the tune of Ghostbusters?!)
*Students presenting their comic strips to teach lessons learned in digital citizenship.

Events Next Week:
Monday - 3:15 EP Training in IMC (PPG, SLO, Surveys)
Tuesday - I will be out of the building for a training
Wednesday - 4th grade data mtg
Thursday - Packer Attire day (ok Bears/Vikings fans, you're allowed to participate too!)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*All staff: please remember to move, scan and interact on recess duty. If you're all chatting in a huddle, then there's a lot of ground for Mr. Lange to cover in supervising. He's close to superman, but he can't see them all! ; )
*The October calendar/newsletter goes home next Tuesday. Even if you didn't sign up for an article, please let me know (SOON!) if you have anything that can add to it to show the great things happening at Dodgeland! This could even just be a picture with a sentence about it.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Creating a Growth Mindset in Your Students

Sep 15, 2017

Friday Focus - September 14, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Students working together in partners/small groups to discuss digital citizenship questions.
*Many classrooms digging right into the Lucy Units of Study for Reading and applying their new strategies right away on the carpet.
*Students having so much fun with new recess activities -- pretend fishing from a bench (so cute!) and having a blast with the parachute.
*A parent of a new student shared with me that she has never seen her son so happy to come to school...he is so excited about iPads, learning in fun ways (not just worksheets) and that the teachers are all so nice! Another new parent shared that she couldn't believe she got a phone call home that was just to welcome them to our school and share something positive about her daughter. All those little things make a difference!
*An activity that blew my mind to make the point of how important our mindset/self talk is. You'll get to see this next Wednesday at our staff meeting.

Events Next Week:
Sometime during this week we will have our first Fire drill to practice.
Monday - Picture Day -Marie is working on a schedule. We will also have a new Dodgeland mom helping out as a volunteer.
*Start of fundraiser - good news, NO assembly to rile your class up! I will have a video to show your classes on Monday. Please make sure to show it in your room before sending home the packet on Monday.
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday -with a  fruit and yogurt bar to start your day off right (sponsored by Katie Najarian at Horace Mann)
*elem staff mtg 3:10 in IMC. Agenda includes: Educlimber discipline log entries (bring laptops)
*5th grade data meeting
Friday - I will be out of the building for most of the day at CESA 6
*Popcorn Friday starts!

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:

  • A change for noon indoor recess: Just an FYI that if we have indoor recess during the noon hour the elementary gym will be divided in 2 for a different activity on each side of the divider. The 3-5th graders will also have the option of going to the gathering area to quietly play board games on the floor. (4K teachers--they will be done before your PM kiddos come to school).
  • I know you are all working to build relationships with your students and you know how important this is for our students who challenge you the most. A principal in my PLN shared this post that really resonated with me: Relationships Matter. I find this to be brilliant and want to offer you the same: if you ever want me to cover your class so you can meet 1:1 with a student that is having an issue, please just let me know.
  • Here's a new Badger Brain Break: Bailando!

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*6 Questions to Ask Your Students on Day One (although I don't think it's too late to ask!)

Sep 10, 2017

Weekly Memo for Week 2

My apologies for this memo not coming out until today. In the future, this will be back to the regular Friday morning post so you can have information to plan for the following week.

Great Things I Noticed Last Week:

  • Classroom community building activities, such as: a snowball fight/share, Guess Who about classmates, Escape activity, partner interviews, etc.  You all have such great ideas to build a trusting classroom community in which students feel emotionally safe to learn and take risks together!
  • Mission Possible to start the year out with secretly spreading kindness, so students build the internal pride for doing good deeds without having to get anything in return. 
  • Students reading letters from last year's students about what to expect this year and how to be successful. 
  • Students starting to build reading/writing stamina.
  • Teachers helping out with building lunch routines/procedures the first few days, as well as extra hands with lunch/recess hallway transitions. Thank seems we never have enough for this to go smoothly!
Wow, this is going to be an incredible year!!!

Events this Week:
Monday - Boy Scouts presentation in the IMC during noon recess for K-2/3-5
  -Mentors PLC meeting at 3:15 in IMC
Tuesday - 5/6th grade Trojan Jr Football game at 6pm. If you want to cheer for our 5th graders, this is the last home game to do so
Friday - Elementary shirt orders/$ are due today

The following week...
Monday, September 18th is Picture Day and the start of our fundraiser (don't worry-no assembly this year!)
Wednesday, September 20th staff meeting

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
  • Just a review--if it's information you can read and we don't have to take up precious staff meeting time, it will be in this section of each week's memo, so you are responsible for reading the info. : )
  • Bus duty - students get to start playing on the blacktop in the morning this week! It is ok for students to run on the blacktop at the end of the day (they do at recess).
  • If you are given flyers/handouts on a Monday or Tuesday in your mailbox--they should go home on Tuesdays please. We tell parents to expect any office news/mail on Tuesday Newsday. Eventually, we'll get to knowing the "youngest child" count, but we're not ready for that yet. 
  • Please remember to read the daily student announcements in your room each day...and to send birthday students to the office to pick out a birthday book!
  • If you started using iPads, have you started talking about the Code of Conduct for Technology? 
  • Check-In on Launching Writers Workshop:

    • Do you have materials figured out and placed in easy to access spots? Do your students know where they are?
    • Have you started teaching those routines that will help keep the mini lesson mini and the active engagement efficient/effective? This includes transitions to the carpet (possibly assigned carpet spots), teacher cues to signal your writers, partners for the active engagement, etc. 
  • Do you want a Writing Strategies book? Let me know if you are hoping to get one. I will be submitting an order this week.
  • I promise this is probably the longest the "Nuts & Bolts" section will ever be!
Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!

Sep 1, 2017

Ready or not...Let's go! (Must read nuts&bolts for day 1)

It's almost go time! Always doesn't matter if you have been in your classroom for 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. When students enter your door on Tuesday, it will be their first. The awe of what you have on your walls will last minutes. The feeling they have when they look into your eyes and you make them feel safe, cared for, and excited about this year is what they will always remember. So, go get it! Change lives! Make it awesome!

Some answers to your questions on the quick check in survey:

  • Where's the lunch menu? 
    • I will have the calendar/menu/newsletter in your mailboxes to send home on Tuesday.
    • It is in the student announcements (a link will always be in Marie's staff announcements and it is in our elementary team drive).
    • I don't see it on the website yet. 
  • When is bus duty? 
    • Same time as last year. 7:35-7:50 and right after school. If you are willing to add extra helping hands to help direct students the first day on the blacktop or always helps!
  • Where do students walk with those hallway lines? On the dotted line. They are out a bit in the hallway so students aren't dragging themselves on the wall (didn't that drive you crazy?!)
  • Where are student/parent handbooks? OOPS!! I'll get those ready. That's another task that Sarah used to always do. If you think of something else I'm missing, just let me know!
  • What is the testing schedule this year? This was put in your mailbox with the packet of schedules on blue paper this year. You can also find it HERE.
  • Bus route info? We don't have bus route info yet, but as soon as we receive it, it will be in your mailboxes. 
  • Can schedules and sign ups be in google drive? Yes, they are all still in the Team Drive named Elementary School Staff, then in the folder for DES Staff Handbook. I just double checked access and added a few of you who weren't able to access. If you still can't find it, just let me know and I can point you in the right direction. 
  • Are you done with your to-do list?  Haha, very funny!!! No. 
Just a reminder on first week:
Recess Rules Orientation outside with Mr. Lange (teachers: please stay with your class)
9:00-9:15 5K
9:15-9:30 3rd grade
9:45-10:00 2nd grade
12:20-12:35 1st grade
1:15-1:30 4th grade
1:45-2:00 5th grade

Lunch Procedures Orentation with Mrs. Johnson (teachers: please stay with students).
Tuesday Wednesday
9:15-9:30 1st grade 9:15-9:30 2nd grade
9:45-10:00 3rd grade 1:45-2:00 5th grade
10:00-10:15 5K
1:45-2:00 4th grade

Aug 16, 2017

What you've all been waiting for...

Wow, I can NOT believe how close the start of the year is...and I'm NOT ready!!! I know I say that every year, but this year I really mean it.  If you read my welcome back letter (or have stopped in to chat) then you know about Nathan's baseball accident. The poor kiddo ended up having 6 surgeries to repair/close off nasal arteries.  We were in and out of the hospital with a total of 13 days (12 nights) and our times in between at home were much like having a brand new infant in the house, because he had to have around the clock care. The good news is *knock on wood* he is on the mend with a new 3 day record of no bleeding and we will hopefully only return to UW Madison for his follow-up appointment. Through this crazy experience I reflected on lessons I learned and how I connected them to our work, which you can read about HERE if you're interested.

Oh, and by the way...this all happened during those golden weeks of the summer that I had planned to get everything accomplished for school. I think that falls under Murphy's Law, right?

So, if you're wondering if X, Y, or Z is ready...nope, it probably isn't, but it's on my list and I appreciate your patience with me!

What I DO have for you right now is.... Schedules!

On my memo site, the schedules are up (under the tab for Schedules)! These are also available to you in your google team drive (Dodgeland Elementary) in the folder "DES Staff Handbook." Some notes for you about the schedules: 

  • There is a google spreadsheet for all schedules pertaining to teachers and a spreadsheet for support staff schedules. At the bottom of each spreadsheet you can find a tab for each separate schedule.  They are not fancy/pretty schedules being in this format, but they are easily accessible.  
  • Please do not laminate them just yet.  I'm not planning to change anything, but I'm realistic that additional eyes looking at them will find mistakes that have few pairs of eyes may have missed. You will get copies of all of them in our first week back. 
What about your classroom schedules for reading, writing, math, WIN, etc?
  • You will make your specific classroom schedule for each subject, but please try to stay within the core schedule framework (for some of you with odd specials times, I know this is not likely). 
  • Please try to follow the minutes of: 60-90 minutes reading, 45-60 minutes writers workshop, 60+ minutes math. Yes, science/social studies can be every other day or even just one subject for a unit and then switch to the other subject for a different unit. 
  • Do NOT change your WIN time. Mrs. Huelsman is working on our Title 1 SchoolWide intervention plan and we will be using the WIN time!

Math Expressions News:
  • You are all getting new teacher manuals. You can feel free to keep your old one to compare or if you'd like to part ways early on, I can take the old ones to see if Follett (used books company) wants them. These books can be stacked in the mailroom. 
  • The student workbooks also are new/different, so I can take any extras of the old version. 
  • You are all getting a Differentiation kit. It's a giant portfolio with materials inside, along with a large set of the differentiation cards. 
  • I'm hoping to get these delivered to your rooms next week to free up space in the office.  I just want you to know what new goodies you're going to be finding.  I will send info about workbooks/mathboards later. 

Jun 2, 2017

Friday Focus - June 1, 2017

Events for the Final Week (I can't believe it's already here!):
Monday, June 5th - grades due by 7:30am
*Added-Seniors graduation walk through the hallways at 2:35. See below for details
Tuesday, June 6th - recess carnival led by 7th graders
-I will be out of the building with the 5th graders on their college visit to UW Madison
Wednesday, June 7th - Report Cards distributed
Thursday, June 8th - The. Last. Day.
Assembly at 11:00, Picnic Lunch to start right after (11:30ish)
I will also email out a time for me to take K-2 and 3-5 into the gym for some extra fun, because I know we will likely lose many students at the end of the picnic and it will give you some extra time. 
Friday - Report and Planning Day

Sunday - Graduation is at 1:00pm in the HS gym. If you would like to come, all staff line up to shake hands with the seniors as they walk into the ceremony. Another great opportunity if you want to come and send them off to the next chapter in their lives. 

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Senior graduation walk details: This year they will be wearing caps/gowns for the full effect. I know that many of you had students from this class years ago and we are so fortunate to be under one roof to be able to see students grow even after they leave us in the elementary. This isn't a run, this is a walk so you have time to give high fives, handshakes and hugs. It is also such an incredible opportunity for our elementary students to see their future!
I will play an announcement with music to follow at 2:35. Please see the map below of the route they will take. 5K, 4th, 5th and Ms. Z's 4K will need to move down the hallways to be on the path. 

*Please add your Honor Roll/On A Roll names to the google doc so Marie and I can get certificates ready for the assembly. 

*Please make sure any unfinished items in your mylearningplan are complete: 
    • Click "Acknowledge" on any forms that are waiting for you to review.
    • If you do not submit your Alt. Comp form with the evidence of your pre-approved activities by June 15, the form will disappear for you to be able to do so.
    • Self-Score your SLO and hit submit. If you're not on your summative year, we do not have to meet to discuss this unless you want. 
    • All the other end of year reminders that were given to you before for the Effectiveness Project are HERE

May 18, 2017

Friday Focus - May 26, 2017

A HUGE thank you to the Fuel Up to Play committee for all of their work to bring us the Packer Football camp--it was a blast! It was so great to see all of our kids having such a good time, teachers enjoying the time with their students and getting to see our high school football players be such great leaders for our kids.  Thank you to everyone for being flexible with your lunch times and everything else that was affected.  Now we are already on to the Walkathon with more fun, exercise and making memories with our students!

Remaining Events for the School Year:
Monday, May 29th -No School (whew, take a breath!)
Week of May 30th - iPad Collection
Tuesday, May 30th - Bike Safety presentation 2:15
Wednesday, May 31st - Staff Appreciation Dinner
Friday, June 2nd - grade level app list due
Monday, June 5th - Report Cards due 
*Added-Seniors graduation walk through the hallways (Time yet to be determined)
Wednesday, June 6th - recess carnival led by 7th graders
Wednesday, June 7th - Report Cards distributed
Thursday, June 8th - 4th Quarter Dodgeland Pride Assembly, End of Year Picnic

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Who left that article in mailboxes about the biggest time killers, including judgement, gossip and negativity? It was me. It's very easy to become stressed at this time of year (believe me, I totally get it, my list is long too!) and I think we all might need a reminder to focus on the right work. Just letting you all know...hearing rumors and gossip is definitely a pet peeve trigger of mine and I confess to getting "cranky-pants" hearing it happening. Having times of Dodgeland family loss is also a time to put things in perspective and look at the big picture in life. Some of those little petty things to complain about are not such a big deal anymore when you look at life.

*Approved budget sheets were put in your mailboxes. The next step is purchase requisitions. : )

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*I absolutely love this blog post and the inspirational images to end the year strong: Finish Strong

Are you worried about what to do without your iPads? Maybe you'll find some good ideas here:
Turn any worksheet into an activity