Monday, June 8, 2015

Better Learners

Principal ponderings...
Do you recognize this quote?  I shared it with all staff back in August when we came together at our first staff meeting.  Now that we are two weeks away from finishing up another school year, the question is...did our students learn better?  Think about your classroom, the experience each of your students had this year.  Did you challenge them?  Were you setting high expectations and watching them rise to those expectations.  I hope that you started the year with a growth mindset for your students, seeing all of the potential in them.  And in these last two weeks hopefully that growth mindset is still there...what can they still achieve?  Remember, it only takes five days of intervention to change brain matter.

Hmm...have our students had choice?  Well if you think about what we have done in reader's workshop, going away from everyone reading the same book to focusing on giving students the freedom to choose what they want to read during independent reading time...then yes, they have had a lot of choice this year!  It is amazing to see how students have jumped up three or more levels during the year.  But what is even more amazing is walking into a classroom, hearing a teacher say it's time for independent reading and then hearing kids actually cheer!

Think about each of your students.  Have you made each one of them feel significant?  What was it that you did to let them know that they were an important member of the class?  Everyday that I walk into my office, I read the question on my door that says: "Do our students know they matter to us?" Hopefully you can think about each individual child that you work with and your answer to this question is yes.

Our students will be better learners if they are receiving feedback from us on a regular basis.  They need to know what they know and what they don't know.  They also need to know how and what they can improve upon on.  The only way they will know these things is if we give them regular feedback.

So hopefully as you have been doing all of the things in the above quote, you have created better learners.  The good news is we still have two weeks left to work on all of these items.  Whether it's our second to last Monday of the school year or the last ten minutes before they board the buses and we wave them off to summer, let's make sure that we are challenging our students, giving them choice, letting them feel significant, giving them feedback, and making sure they know they matter to us.  Because today they are better learners, and tomorrow they will be even better learners.

Currently reading:
The daughter of a friend of mine decided to have a book sale in her yard on Saturday.  She was selling a whole bunch of her that she could go buy more books!  Of course, I wanted to support that.  I stopped by and filled a box with tons of books that I will be donating to our field day book swap.  Before I turn the books over to the swap, I read a bunch including:
Bunny Loves to Read: Cute book about how bunny ends up convincing her animal friends about how great reading is.

Zoomer's Summer Snowstorm: A good book to read on a hot day and cool you off!
Betty Bunny Wants Everything: The bunny in this book has to learn the hard lesson that she can't get everything that she wants.

Events this week: 
Tuesday - 4th grade classes visit the Groton Library @ 10:30, School Council meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Middle school assistant principals speak to 4th grade @ 1:15 in the cafeteria, final staff meeting @ 3:30 in the library, School Committee meeting @ 7:00, HS Library, 4th graders doing the pledge

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Our library design committee met last week.  We have a designer who we are working with thanks to a donation from one of our parents.  I am so excited about the possibilities that we are being presented with!  Looking forward to a transformed learning space!
  • Mrs. Pierantozzi's students were moving around the room and solving all different kinds of math problems!
  • Mrs. Riley's 1st graders were sharing all of the amazing facts they learned after working on their American symbols projects.
  • Mrs. Benkley's class was busy working on writing stories.
  • Mrs. Hoke's students were running their own morning meeting.  Students were helping each other to identify proper nouns in the morning message.
  • Mrs. Potter's and Mrs. Smith's students were brainstorming their summer reading book recommendations.
  • Kindergartners were demonstrating their amazing knowledge and understanding of King Ed.
  • Mrs. Clark's class was working together to solve some fractions problems.
Check it out:
Check out this list of 100 Best Chapter Books:
Interesting article I read this weekend:

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