Apr 21, 2017

Friday Focus - April 21, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:

  • Our 3-5th graders showed great focus, determination and persistence while taking their first round of Forward testing. I proctored a group of 5th graders during the writing session and was so pleased to see them applying the strategies that they have been learning/practicing in class.
  • 1st graders singing Japanese in music. You read that right...Japanese!
  • 4th graders took a break from state testing for a STEM project--designing an invention to pick up trash for Earth Day. I noticed students working together in their teams: problem-solving, asking each other questions ("What if we did..." "Well, how will that work?")
  • Dodgeland's Got Talent!  Seriously, the talent show was amazing!!!  A HUGE Shoutout to the Talent Show committee for all of their hard work leading up to this big night. A HUGE kudos to Mrs. O'Toole's mastermind behind the teacher act (seriously...how does she always come up with stuff?), Mr. Mane's artwork on the ghosts, and Mr. Muenchow's musical talents to lead our boomwacker band. It was so great to see some of our students' amazing talents. Some of them were such a surprise that I'm so grateful to get to see! I know that special events like this take quite a bit of work and can seem like "one more thing," but they sure do create such wonderful traditions and memories for our students and school community. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!
    • Please feel free to share the staff Ghostbusters act with your class, which you can find HERE.
Upcoming Events:
Today - 2:25 State Send Off for HS Forensics at your normal post

Monday - Optional EP training at 3:15 in the IMC. This will be a work time on your end of year SLO's and/or Documentation Log. I will be in there to assist/answer questions. If you are a great procrastinator like me, then going to this space/time may be what you need to get some of your work done in mylearningplan.

Tuesday-Thursday -State Forward testing continues for 3-5th grades in the mornings. Please keep hallways quiet. 

Friday - Grandparents Day for K-2 in the afternoon
-Budget requests for next year are DUE TODAY!!!!

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*A must read that I'm sure you can each think of at least one student that this pertains to: The Difference Between a Motivation Problem and a Discipline Problem

Apr 13, 2017

Thursday Throwdown - April 13, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:
*Love the Talent Show bulletin board featuring the students that will be performing...I can't wait to see them on the stage!
*First graders independently applying the math strategies they've been working on for a while, all on their own to different types of problems (like "make a 10" and "doubles plus 1"). All that hard work is paying off and building numeracy!
*When responding to a question with think/pair/share, the teacher asked for students to share a response they heard from their partner that helped them grow in their learning about the question. What a great way to encourage students to truly listen to each other to learn and have a growth mindset!
*One of our non-verbal kiddos said his first sounds this week! This was a HUGE deal for him and what was more incredible was too see his peers SO excited about his accomplishment. Our kids have such BIG HEARTS!!! His mom was so incredibly appreciative of all of his teachers' never ending commitment to helping him grow (and by teachers, I mean classroom, special ed, speech, aides, ALL of you!)

Events Next Week:
Monday - I will be involved in interviews in the District Office for most of the day
Tuesday - Thursday 3/4/5th graders will be taking the state Forward test in the mornings. Please keep hallways quiet!
Wednesday - Tornado drill in the afternoon (the state wide drill is Thursday, but we have a conflict with that...)
  6:00pm Blue Zones Kick-Off event hosted at Dodgeland. What is Blue Zones? Check this video out: Blue Zones Project Overview or this video that features our 5th graders! Blue Zones Project Walkability
Thursday - 4K Screening taking place in our 4K classrooms
6pm Talent Show (Yikes....we forgot to schedule a preview show for all K-5...that news may be forthcoming!)
Friday - 4K Screening taking place in our 4K classrooms

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*5 Techniques to Help Kids Relax
*Mindful Mantras for Teachers

Apr 7, 2017

Friday Focus - April 7, 2017

Great Things I Noticed this Week:

  • I couldn't believe how many classrooms I visited on Monday morning and students were right back into the groove and hard at work. You would have never known they had just had a full week off! 
  • Teachers taking time in each morning to greet students, welcoming them to class. Such an easy way to build relationships and start each day off positive!
  • Students reviewing their 3rd quarter grades and creating 4th quarter goals. What a great way to provide ownership and focus for the remainder of the year!
  • 2nd graders learning how to use Chatter Pix as a means of presenting information they would are learning as they read informational text. Seeing their laughter at what Chatter Pix can do was the best part of my day!

Events Next Week:
Monday - Staff meeting 3:10 (see below for agenda)
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday
Thursday - Boy Scout presentation during noon recess for K-4th graders (brief, not entire recess)
 2:30 3rd Quarter Dodgeland Pride Assembly
Friday - NO School

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Staff meeting agenda includes: Information from Mr. Lange on his new role/planning for next year and "hanging in with challenging students." You read that right. It's the time of year where behaviors can get even more challenging and we want to thrive for last quarter of the year, not just barely survive. I ask that you just come to the meeting with one student in mind, thinking about what is challenging. What is challenging for that student, for you and for his/her peers. Be prepared that you will NOT be sharing the name of the student. And if you have no students coming to mind, then you'll have to make up a fictional scenario. (If you just laughed at that, then you might be a teacher!)

*Here's a new Badger Brain break, could be perfect for Workout Wednesday! This one is featuring Banke Oginni – women’s track and Mariah Watts – softball!: May 2017 Badger Brain Break

*School Supply lists are due by April 17th.  Please be mindful of if there are any student supplies that haven't been used. And think about parents shopping for everything and how specific those details can be. I can tell you from my own experience that it is a pain to go to several stores to make sure you have all the right colors, sizes, etc.

Blogs, Tweets & Pins...Oh My!!!
*It's On Us

Apr 2, 2017

Welcome Back!

Raise your hand if you accomplished everything you set out to over Spring Break??? Me either:):):

I hope you're as refreshed and rejuvenated as I am to come back and ROCK 4th QUARTER!!!  Remember that for many of our students, coming back to school on Monday is better than being at home...our job is to welcome them back with smiles and open arms and make school amazing! I'm SO glad you're here to make Dodgeland that special place for our students! #CelebrateMonday (Yes...that's a real hashtag. Check Twitter if you don't believe me!)

Events this Week:
Monday - Brewers Opening Day attire!!
Tuesday, April 4th -end of 3rd Quarter (Can you believe it?!)
Wednesday, April 5th - GRADES DUE at 7:30!!!!
Friday, April 7th - report cards distributed
 *I will be out of the building with the Tech Ninjas and Robotics teams at the UW Madison Engineering Expo.

"Nuts & Bolts" Notes:
*Many of you may know that Mrs. Jaeckel had been working on classes to complete her degree at Moraine Park. Well, she did (Congratulations!) and is applying her new degree to a new position at CESA 6. Her last day with us will be April 20th. We are still in the works on figuring out recess supervision and other duties for the rest of the year. I'll let you know when I figure it out. 

Just wanted to share with you a couple of blog posts I wrote as I reflected on what I learned at the ASCD conference: 

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 place...school! 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 does...at 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