Monday, March 9, 2015

The Sound of Learning

Principal ponderings...
I have been away from blogging for a little bit so I definitely battled a little writer's block this weekend as I sat down to write my first post back from maternity leave.  I have missed writing so I am excited to get back in the habit.  On Sunday afternoon, I sat in the audience of the Assabet Valley Master Singers concert, listening to my husband and sister-in-law sing.  They were part of a large community choir, joined by another local choir group, a full orchestra and a soprano soloist.  They were performing Annelies which is a work based on Anne Frank's diary and music written during her lifetime.  It was a beautiful and moving concert.

As I sat in the audience watching everyone on stage, I couldn't help but think of the similarities to what I saw in your classrooms as I returned last week.  I know that my husband and the other members spent many weeks rehearsing.  You have put many months of work into your classrooms and your students' learning.  During the rehearsals, smaller groups worked together, just like you have pulled students into smaller groups or sometimes one on one.  There were so many different singers, musicians, abilities up on stage.  Of course, you could group them by soprano, alto, bass, etc.  You could also group them by singers and musicians.  You could even group them by veteran singers, novice singers, and shower singers!  In fact, my husband had been told by the director to make sure to sing into the ears of the man in front of him because he tends to follow his own tune. :)  I'm sure you can think of a few learners like that in your classrooms!

You deal with your own variety of singers, or learners in your classroom in each day.  Everyone of them is learning in a different way, at a different rate.  And you are all the ones directing, conducting the curriculum.  After being out for a while, when I stepped into classrooms, I could see that all of your rehearsals are paying off.  Students are engaged, active, excited, learning.  Keep making that beautiful music because the sound of learning coming out of your classrooms is amazing.

Currently reading:
Just as I am gradually easing back into work, I am gradually easing back into my reading habits.  I have clearly had to make some adjustments since now my reading time usually involves juggling a baby or finding in between time when she is sleeping (which she was not doing much of last night!).  And of course now my reading also includes lots of board books like Baby Faces or Giraffes Can't Dance.  I was excited that Cynthia Lord sent me an advance copy of her new novel coming out in May.  I had two weeks to read it and then pass it on to someone else to read.  It is called A Handful of Stars.  It involves blueberries, a small town pageant, a blind dog and an interesting friendship between three girls.  I definitely recommend it when it comes out.
 I also read Counting by Sevens.  This is a story about a girl who could certainly be described as being on the spectrum or at the least...a little odd and rather interesting group of people who come together to help take care of her.  Such a great book!  Read it!
Events this week:
Tuesday - School Council Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Kindergarten literacy meeting @ FR 12:45-3:15, 1st grade and multi-age chorus practice @ 2:25
Thursday - Curriculum half day, dismissal at 12:15, PTA General Meeting @ 7:30
Friday - Term 2 ends, grades will be open for teachers, para meeting @ 9:00, first grade and multi-age chorus practice @ 2:@5

Great things I noticed last week:
  • Everyone welcomed me back with such enthusiasm that it made my first days back a little bit easier.  I'm glad I was n't forgotten!  The students had lots of questions for me about the baby, including "do you have a babysitter?"  They are certainly thoughtful!
  • I noticed the great chart that Dianna put out in the front lobby where people are listing things related to growth mindset.  Mrs. Pierantozzi had a great discussion with her students about this topic, and then they added to the list!
  • We had standing room only at our kindergarten orientation on Thursday evening.  Lots of new faces coming to Florence Roche next year, along with many younger siblings.  The K team and Lorinda were on hand to answer parent questions and get to know the future members of our community!
  • Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Potter tried to bring some spring onto campus with their students.  They painted flowers in the snow with water bottles Friday afternoon.  Hopefully soon we will see the real thing instead of all this white stuff!
  • Thank you to Mark Coronis for encouraging his peers to share positive actions that you are all seeing each other do throughout the week.  It is so important that we all take time to recognize the amazing work done each and every day at our school.
Check it out:
As I quickly approach a birthday that ends in a zero, I found this list of 41 things I know about education interesting:
And here is a quick blog post with good suggestions about teachers using their own writing to add in instruction:

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