Monday, September 30, 2013

Climbing mountains

Principal ponderings...
I think it is interesting when life and my professional world collide sometimes.  This happened this month as I have been reading the latest edition of Educational Leadership.  The topic is 'Resilience and Learning.'  The month of September has certainly been a test of resilience for me.  And with the Middlemiss family loss last week, the resilience of many staff in the building was put to the test.  I had been formulating in my head what I would write this morning, but before I could start, I had to notify everyone of Phyllis Maynard's loss.  And as I sit here typing, I am finding it hard to be resilient.

But I will hang in.  I have stood back up after being knocked down a few times.  I have no choice but to continue to try harder.  With so much recent sadness, I know it is difficult for all of you to remain strong; however, I do believe that together we will pick ourselves up and carry on.  Life has presented us with an extremely important teachable moment.  We want our kids to persevere, to keep going when the going gets tough.  One message that came from the Educational Leadership magazine is that "resilience is a process, not a involves how we move on a positive trajectory of success and health in the midst of adversity, trauma, and everyday stress."  As we work on getting through our September traumas and stress, let's remember that we are modeling resilience for our students.

So far, my favorite article in the magazine is titled, "I Can Climb the Mountain."  It talks about hope being an important component of resilience.  The author, Maddie Witter, discusses several practices that teachers can incorporate into your daily instruction to help students become more resilient.  She mentions things like building stamina, inspiring a growth mind-set, and incorporating lots of positive interactions.  I could relate to her discussion about climbing a mountain.  This summer, we did some hiking in the White Mountains of NH.  My husband is much better at hiking than I am and he is able to get up the mountains quicker.  I found that while I was hiking, I focused most of my attention on the hiking trail.  I tried not to really look ahead.  As I did this, and took one step at a time, the miles that we hiked seemed to go by faster.  Eventually, when we came to the clearing at the top of the hike, I did look out ahead and the view was absolutely stunning.  Witter says that students can climb mountains as well, as long as we help them "focus on the path, not the peak."

I am very glad to be saying goodbye to September today, and I'm looking forward to a fresh, new start in October.

Events this week:
Book Fair will be next door in Rm 136 all this week.
Tuesday - 4th grade from FR and SU will be working with reading coaches in the am, 3rd grade will be with them in the pm
Wednesday - 2nd grade will be doing reading work in the am, 1st grade will be in the pm, staff meeting at 3:30, guest speakers will be one of our new parents and Rachel Mead from the Groton Police
Thursday - Kindergarten will be doing reading work in the am, 6:00-8:00, evening book fair event sponsored by the PTA

Great Things I Noticed Last Week:

  • I walked into 3 different 3rd grade classrooms last week and everywhere I looked, kids were reading!  Teachers and paras were meeting one on one and talking about books and everyone else had their nose in a book.
  • Mrs. Potter was talking to her class about finding a comfortable spot in the classroom to read.
  • When I was in Mrs. Spiczka's class reading a story, the students were pointing out all the lively letters that they had already learned in the first month of school.
  • Mrs. Taylor's kindergarten students were fully engaged in a Scholastic News lesson being shown on the mimio board...all about Johnny Appleseed.
  • I did not see this with my own eyes, but I heard about it...Rob Crowley has been hosting his own Evernote trainings with teachers who are new to the evaluation model.  Thank you Rob!
  • Mr. Coronis has posted a post it note activity in the staff room.  People have been stopping by to jot down some nice thoughts about each other.  Thank you Mark!
  • Teachers have been talking about and working on their classroom libraries.  I am including some pictures that I snapped throughout the building.

Check it out:
A article about writing for an audience:
Here is a blog by a K teacher who has 1:1 iPads in her classroom:
Interesting presentation focusing on digital portfolios for elementary students:

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