Sunday, January 5, 2014

Jumping back in

Principal ponderings...

Over the break, I jumped back the pool that is.  I've always been a swimmer and when I was a teacher, I often swam several mornings a week before school.  I have fallen out of the habit, but this break gave me the opportunity to get back into the water.  There is something so relaxing about swimming back and forth up and down the lane.  I can tune out the rest of the world while I'm in my underwater world.  While I was swimming I couldn't help but think of how swimming reminded me of one of my other favorite activities...reading!  Let me share with you my top 4 reasons for why swimming is just like reading:
1. Swimming is a skill that takes time to master, but once you know how to do it, you never forget.  When I dive into a pool, I no longer have to think about what I'm going to do, my body responds automatically.  Reading is also a skill that we all had to take time to master.  But now that we know what to do, we can read wherever and whenever we want, and we really don't have to think about how we read anymore.  But what we should remember is that our students are still learning to read and have not yet mastered this skill, but with our help, they will.
2. There are all levels of swimmers.  When I swim at the Y, there are young kids just learning to put their faces in, there are ladies who like to sidestroke and chat while they do their laps, there are college students home on break who effortlessly swim a mile in under 30 minutes, and there's usually a retired fellow walking his way halfway down the lane and then floating on his back for the rest of the lap.  Everyone may be at a different level, but they can all enjoy swimming.  Similarly, there are all levels of readers.  Our students may pick up reading very quickly or it may take some a little longer, but the ultimate goal is that they can all enjoy reading at their own level.
3.  When I am swimming, my mind has a chance to wander.  Even though I'm in the pool, swimming up and down the lanes, I can be somewhere else entirely in my mind.  In fact, I often try to count how many laps I've done, but because I start thinking about all different things, I lose count...a lot.  And that's the great thing about reading.  When you are into a book, you can be in the classroom, but the book can take you to all sorts of places.  You can get lost in a book.  Hopefully during the second half of this school year, our students will have an opportunity to lose themselves in books during independent reading time.
4. Swimming is one exercise where you can do more with less.  You get minimal impact on your joints, all you need is a pool and a bathing suit, and you get a great workout.  Plus it definitely helps relieve stress.  And reading is an activity where you can do more with less.  All you need is a book, the perfect reading spot, and you can escape.  With one simple book, you can learn something new, you can laugh out loud, you can gain a new perspective.  As readers, our students will have the ability to do more with less.  While swimming can build muscles, reading can build minds.
Happy new year and here's to a great 2014!  Let's all jump back in with your young readers!

Currently reading:
Well having 2 weeks of vacation/quiet time in the office meant that I did a lot of reading!  I will just share a few books that I read over the break.  I enjoyed reading Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli.  The author does a great job of telling the story from the 2 different perspectives of twins.  I also read My Life as a Book.  This is a great book to recommend to a reluctant reader because, well, it's narrated by a reluctant reader!  I spent the morning of New Year's Day in bed reading The Tiger Rising.  This is a sad story about 2 different children who are dealing with loss.  Kate DiCamillo is an interesting author to me.  One of my favorite books of all time to read aloud is The Tale of Desperaux.  And now that I think about it, that is another book that deals with loss, but in a different way.

Do any of you use Goodreads?  It is a website that allows you to keep track of books that you have read, want to read, are currently reading, etc.  It also allows you to connect with other readers and authors.  One feature they have on their site is a reading challenge where you can set a goal for how many books you want to read for the year.  On January 1, I set a goal for myself.  I am going to try to read 200 books this year!  It's a lofty goal, but I'm all about setting high expectations and striving for them!  As I read and record books, the Goodreads site keeps track for me.  How about any of you?  Have you thought about setting a reading goal for yourself?

Events this week:
Welcome back!  Hope everyone enjoyed the extra long vacation!
Monday - We have several new students starting today!  Here are the teachers who will have new students in their classes: Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Riley, Mrs. Margolius, Mrs. Cragg, Mr. Rider, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Crowley.  If you see one of the new faces, please welcome them to our school.
Tuesday - Mrs. Hoke's class will be going to the Groton library
Wednesday - 4th grade chorus in the gym @ 2:25, School Council meeting @3:30 in the library
Thursday - Dr. Bent visits the school in the morning

Great things I noticed last week (before the break):

  • Mrs. Miln's 2nd graders were participating in a book swap, how fun!  Students brought in a wrapped used book from their house, and then all the books were put into the middle of the circle.  Every student got to open a present...a new book to take to their house!

  • Mrs. Cahill got into the spirit on Wednesday for tacky holiday outfit day.

  • Shivani was our fabulous Principal for the Day.  She had a full day of doing classroom walkthroughs, recess duty, helping in the cafeteria and reading to a kindergarten class.  She even met with the assistant superintendent to talk curriculum!  She was definitely tired by the end of the day
  • Here is a sample of the beautiful singing by the high school students who visited us on Friday.

Check it out:
Just something to make you smile on a Monday! :)

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