Feb 16, 2018

Friday Focus - February 16, 2018

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*After 4th graders individually presented their research report to the class, students were highly engaged in asking follow-up questions. They came up with great questions to find out more.
*After 5th graders dug in to different pieces of non-fiction text, the teacher acknowledged the reality that many of the students in class did not enjoy reading non-fiction, however, it was because as the text becomes higher level, the structure of the article and vocabulary becomes more difficult. It was emphasized that the better students become at identifying the structure of non-fiction, the better they will become at reading it and likely enjoy it more.
*3rd graders digging deep into the characters of their books, sharing evidence to back up their statement of why they thought their character was brave (or kind, or confident...)
*I sat in on several conferences...while I recognize most of tonight's conferences were students that there are academic concerns for, I sat in on many that started out identifying the student's strengths.

Events Next Week:
Monday - Professional Development Day
Tuesday - hat day $1 for AHA
Wednesday - MidQuarter reports to be sent home (if not already shared at PT conferences)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
  • You've heard from Dr. Thompson previously about the work that is coming out of the Greater Watertown Health Foundation to support school initiatives. One of the committees in their Every Child Thrives campaign is focusing on attendance to impact student learning that and I'm very excited about what this will bring for our district next year to support our work. Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Nehls and I are on this committee and are currently working on possible goals and incentives for improving student attendance next year and would like to gain classroom teacher input. If you have some ideas or want to be a part of this discussion, please let me know. We will be scheduling a meeting in early March to gain input. 
  • When logging minors/majors in Educlimber, please make sure to specify the date/time.  When you enter an incident, it automatically makes it be the date/time you are entering this. We want to have accurate information, so we can look at trends to see if there are any patterns in when behaviors happen.  
Blogs, Tweets & Pins....Oh My!!!

*Teacher-Student Relationships: A Little Thing with a Big Impact - the link will take you to Greg Wolcott's website, but if you scroll down you'll find his recent article in the ASCD journal. I look forward to our continued learning together on Monday!

Feb 9, 2018

Friday Focus - February 9, 2018

Events Next Week: Workout Week Attire for AHA (Happy Hearts for you!)
Monday - Mentors meeting in IMC
Wednesday - Just Dance for Happy Hearts Dance Party for $1 at noon recess (Teachers-just imagine how cool your students would think you are if you joined in for this fun...so would your heart!)]
Thursday - P/T Conferences 4-7:30 (Please bring a change of clothes so you are dressed professionally for these)
Friday - $1 Stuffed Animal for JRFH

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
Just some reminders from Mr. Lange's Trojan Way Update:

  • Please remind students that iPads should be shut off (not powered off, just screens off) when transitioning in the hallways. Please stop and have students show you the right way if they need practice on how to walk in the hallway without looking at their screen. If it continues to be an issue after practice, reminders, then it can be written as a minor (tech violation).  We are trying to instill that student iPads are learning tools, not toys!
  • If we have morning bus duty inside, please do not allow 5th graders to sit on the stage. They haven't been making poor choices on the stage, but their boots are dripping salt/water on the front of the stage, causing staining on the paint that doesn't look nice. 

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Some Small Ideas to Help Students Self-Select Books Better (by Pernille Ripp)

Feb 2, 2018

Friday Focus - February 2nd, 2018

Events Next Week: All week--Jeans for AHA ($10 cash donation, or $15 to also be wear workout attire the following week!)
Tuesday - I'll announce students of the month in the morning (please get your names into the google doc)
Wednesday - staff mtg at 3:10
Friday - $1 hat day for JRFH

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Please welcome Mrs. Wieneke as our new special education aide. For many of you, she will be a familiar face, because she is a Dodgeland parent.
*It's almost P/T Conference time again...please let me know if you have one that you would like me to attend so I can get it on my calendar.  Please also make sure to let me know if you have any students that you have major concerns with and would be considering possible retention. 
*I've seen some great pictures on class Facebook pages and some Dojo pages...f you happen to share some great pictures on your Class Facebook page that you would like to be re-shared to the school page, please let me know. It is a quick and easy way for the school Facebook page to spread the awesome things your students are doing (and I don't always get to check your class pages).
*Wednesday's staff meeting will be to share information with you regarding upcoming March Madness and ACP (Academic and Career Planning) lessons to be coming from Mrs. Breselow. 

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My
*Looking for a new class transition idea while practicing content? Check this out: Managing Transitions

Jan 26, 2018

Friday Focus, January 26, 2018

Well, I didn't get to be in classrooms much this week, but I have to say it was great to see many of you start out Monday with class community building activities. I was impressed to see one of the things you learned from Friday's PD day implemented on your first day back after our students had been out of school for 3 days, or as Greg said, for the "Significant 72."  Here's the post he mentioned in his keynote: Significant 72

Events Next Week:
Wednesday - Theater performance (Treasure Trove of Conservation Cove) in the multi-purpose room K-2: 10:00-10:30, 3/4: 10:45-11:15

EP Training 3:15 (Mid-Year SLO/2nd surveys)

Friday - National Wear Red Day
 2nd Qtr Pride Assembly 2:30

Nuts & Bolts:
I just want to share again, our Professional Learning goals:

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*A Teacher's Regret
*Push, Don't Pity Students in Poverty

Jan 19, 2018

Friday Focus - January 19, 2018

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Students excited about their MAP growth...I'm always amazed about how many students excitedly tell me this news during lunch or in the hallways.  You have done incredible work to develop their growth mindset and pride in their hard work!
*2nd graders over the top excited to show me their published "how to" books! They pointed out their features like table of contents, bold words and the glossary. They are such experts!
*You might not believe this, but I had 3 students tell me while waiting on parking lot duty after early dismissal that they wished they could stay at school, because it's more fun...and they wished we had school on Friday!!!

Events Next Week:
-I will be out of the building Monday afternoon-Tuesday to present at a conference 
Wednesday - Report Cards to be distributed 

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Please add your On a Roll recommendations to the Google Doc (this is in the elementary team drive if you forget where to find it) and include a parent invitation for the Pride assembly when you send home report cards. 
*3-5th grade teachers - please send home invitations for students that make Honor Roll. Just as 1st quarter, you do NOT have to add them to a google doc. I will go through report cards to make the certificates and save you that extra step. 
*If you have anything to share in the February newsletter, please get it to me by Friday. Even just pictures/blurbs are great to highlight the awesome work happening in your classroom!

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*Not a blog post this week, but the question...What if a student's behavior turned out to be their greatest gift in life? Another principal I'm connected with shared this and I LOVE this question!

Just what if...What if the behaviors we try and change are the same behaviors we admire and encourage in adults?

Take a look at the video and be inspired: Be a Mr. Jensen

Pat on the back...let them write kind things about each other or a reward for a job well done!

Jan 12, 2018

Friday Focus - January 12, 2018

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
Unfortunately, this has been one of those weeks that I didn't get into classrooms (with covering the front office and my absences), but I know I missed out on great learning happening. Just like our parents, I still got to see some glimpses into your classrooms through your class Facebook and Class Dojo posts. Never give up an opportunity to share the great things happening in your classroom!

Upcoming Events:
Today - Finals Geography Bee for 4-8th grade. We will NOT be having celebration announcements at the end of the day due to this event. So please take time in your class to reflect and celebrate together---go ahead and pick your favorite class song to dance to! : )
Thursday - last day of the quarter, Early Dismissal, no AM recess, Lunch is 11:00-11:30/11:30-12:00.
Friday - PD Day - Please see the agenda sent out by Dr. Thompson. This should be a great day of learning! : )
Monday, Jan 22 - grades due by 7:30am
Wednesday, Jan 24 - report cards distributed

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*The Friday Celebration schedule has been updated (if you haven't gone yet, you've been pushed back on the schedule). After March 9th we will be in need of more classes signed up to finish out the year. You can sign up in the google doc HERE (which is in the team drive).
*Reminders for report cards...as always, there should be no major surprises for parents. If you've got a student with sliding grades, please call home to discuss. In Powerschool--no blank grades or *asterisk*. Instead use P (pass), because it generates errors.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*I just finished reading the book Fostering Resilient Learners and absolutely loved it. Our students from trauma seem to increase everyday and this just helps build your toolbox for the mental health needs in the classroom. This blog post gives a good summary of the book: Foster Resilient Learners, a Must Read . If you'd like to borrow my copy, just let me know.

Jan 5, 2018

Friday Focus - January 5, 2018

Great Things I Noticed this Week:

  • 1st graders reading non-fiction books, stopping to record key terms on to post-it notes that they recognized as important about their topic to become an expert on.
  • 2nd graders reading non-fiction books, stopping to record important details to highlight about their topic as they prepare to be a an expert "museum guide" to share what they know about that topic and to make it interesting for those that will tour their museum (in their classroom!).
  • Students in multiple classrooms creating academic, social and personal goals for 2018 to finish the year strong.
  • Many students who were SO excited to be back in school, because they know this is a safe place with people who care about them! (Yes, I also noticed some who struggled, because we know this is the only place where there are expectations and structure placed on them, but together, we will work to get them back on track with success!)

Events Next Week:
Wednesday - I will announce students of the month (please add your students to the google doc)

MAP testing window is January 9-26th. I'll send out a specific MAP reminders email with details.

A future event to add to your calendar- Wednesday, Jan 31st Energy Conservation Theater performance (K-3 10:00-10:30, 4/5 10:45-11:15)

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes: 
*Reading Logs follow-up - thank you again for your discussion this week. In our DES Staff team drive I created a folder called "Lucy Literacy-idea share for assessing students." Within that folder is one document started just to share any ideas (and please do!), but you can also add any documents to that folder as well. As I stated in our meeting, I think this is just the beginning of many future discussions at grade levels and whole staff about how we are assessing and determining where are readers are.  I know that as you read Lucy it can be overwhelming, but remember that it is mean to be a source for professional learning for you to build your toolbox of literacy wisdom and help guide you in your decision making as you decide not only how to teach your mini-lessons, but also to differentiate and meet your readers' needs individually and in small groups.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*This was already in the packet shared with you at our meeting, but here's the online post: Reading Logs are Valuable Tools.