Sunday, April 26, 2015

Showing Up

Principal ponderings...

Eight weeks is all that is left of this school year.  Eight short weeks.  As the weather becomes nicer and the countdown until summer vacation begins, it becomes a little bit harder to focus on the task at hand...providing the best education every day for our students.  The first step is showing up.  There are days when our substitute list is frighteningly long.  My goal is that we finish out the school year with staff present every day.  It was a tough winter with lots of us battling colds and the flu.  Let's hope that we can all finish the year healthy.  The only way we can do what's best for kids is by being present, being in front of them, showing up every day to teach them and to learn with them.

But we need to do more than show up.  While the first step is being here, the more important step is being here for them.  Our students need to know that we are here for them, we are supporting them, we want to see them succeed, we have high hopes for them.  We need to always remember that we are here for them, not the other way around.  They are not here for us.  They deserve to get 100% from us.  Yes, we need to do more than just show up during these last eight weeks.  I would say we should strive to finish even stronger than we started.  In a post last year, I mentioned some amazing brain research that proved that in only 5 days of intervention work with a student, the brain can actually be changed!  Lucky for us, that means we can do so much more in the last eight weeks.  We can keep changing brain matter!

How will you make sure that you stay focused on this task?  Set some high goals for yourself.  Maybe there are some students that you have not connected with as much this year.  Make those connections happen over the next few weeks.  Maybe there are some students who are still struggling with the curriculum.  Figure out how to get through to them in these last few weeks.  Maybe there are some parents that have not followed through with helping their children.  Reach out to those parents and continue to try to bridge that home school connection.  Maybe there are students who have met benchmark.  Push them to go beyond that.

The first step is to show up every day.  That's the easy part.  But we know we need to do way more than just show up.  How will be here for each and every one of your students during these last eight weeks?

Currently reading:
Since I took the week off, I had more time to do some reading of the new books that I purchased at the book fair.  I loved Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library!  It's a great book to get kids talking about reading, book titles and the library!  Kids who read this book will enjoy the clues and puzzles that they have think about to try to help the characters solve.
I also started reading Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  It is the author telling stories of her childhood.  The book is written as a series of poems about different experiences in her life as she grew up in both Ohio and South Carolina during the 1960s and 1970s.  So far, it is a phenomenal read.  Here's an example of one of the poems in the book where she is talking about  her sister:

                            the reader

                            When we can't find my sister, we know
                            she is under the kitchen table, a book in her hand,
                            a glass of milk and a small bowl of peanuts beside her.

                            We know we can call Odella's name out loud,
                            slap the table hard with our hands,
                            dance around it singing
                            "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain"
                            so many times the song makes us sick
                            and the circling makes us dizzy
                            and still
                            my sister will do nothing more
                            than slowly turn the page.

Events this week:
Monday - Author visit (see schedule listed below)
Tuesday - Curriculum and Instruction strategy work day
Wednesday - 4th grade canoe trip presentation at the PAC @ 10:00, Kindergarten chorus practice in the gym @ 2:25
Thursday - 2 students will be 'Principal for the Day' (winners from the holiday fair), K & 1st grade Buddy Bench presentation in the gym 9:30-10:00, 2nd-4th Buddy Bench presentation in the gym 10:15-11:00
Friday - 2nd grade Eyes on Owls program @ 9:30

Schedule for author visit:
9:30-10:20 - 1st grade/half day K in the PAC
10:30-11:30 - 2nd grade in the PAC
12:40-1:20 - full day K/half day K in the PAC
1:30-2:45 - 3rd and 4th grade in the PAC

Great things I noticed last week:
Mrs. Lanctot's class was working together to clean up a space outside of their classroom where they can do some reading outside!

  • The 3rd grade teachers tried out a great reading activity.  They had their students choose a book to read and discuss in a book club.  The book clubs were made up of students from different classes.  Each teacher oversaw different book groups in their room so they actually got a chance to have many different students from other rooms come into their classrooms.  Ask a 3rd grade teacher about what they did...would be a fun way to do book clubs!
  • SU and FR teachers came together for a joint staff meeting to begin looking at potential new math curriculum.
  • Several of the 4th grade classrooms hosted an invention convention in their classrooms to demonstrate their inventions that utilized simple machines.  I am always amazed at the ideas that come in each year!

Check it out:
Loved this graphic that I came across:
And here is a great video clip about an interesting design concept for kindergartners in Tokyo:

Interesting post about a teacher deciding to not thrust her rules on students, but to have students be a community of learners who decide on consequences together:
Are you still not convinced about the benefits of Twitter?  Then read this:

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