Monday, September 7, 2015

Third time's a charm...or not.

Principal ponderings...
Not my dog Tom, but the message definitely fit my post!
Our Labor Day weekend started off on the wrong foot on Friday night when our not so bright greyhound, Tom, got sprayed in the face by a skunk.  And of course we did not realize that had happened until he had come back into the house...sharing the lovely smell with the whole house.  This is the third time since acquiring Tom that this exact thing has happened.  You would think that maybe, just maybe, he would have learned his lesson and would steer clear when the next black and white striped creature would cross his path.  Nope, I'm guessing that he will still continue to go running after skunks.  Maybe after a few more encounters he will figure it out.  For now, I'm going to keep my scentsy plug in candles handy, as well as the special ingredients for our skunk shampoo concoction.

My deja vu incident this weekend made me think of the first day of school this year.  I did something different...I showed up at a random bus stop and rode the bus into school with the students.  There were many surprised faces when they saw me sitting in a seat on the bus!  Yet, after the initial shock wore off, I think they forgot I was there.  And it didn't take long before the bus driver and I were reminding several friends to "sit down in the seat" or "keep your hands to yourself" or "don't lean across the aisle into the other seat."  It certainly did not take long for students to settle back into the routine!  At first, I thought...I can't believe that we are five minutes into the first bus ride of the year, and they are already forgetting the bus rules and expectations that we have discussed for the past several years in bus meetings and classroom discussions.

But then I remembered that for some students all you have to do is tell them your expectations and they will adhere to them religiously.  For other students, maybe they need a few reminders and then they get it.  But often students, like my lovable, goofy greyhound, need to be reminded more than three times and then maybe they also need for the expected behavior to be experienced several times and modeled for them a few more times and then maybe, just maybe, they will remember the behavioral expectations of school.

So remember that whether you have some 4th graders who have been here since kindergarten or some kindergartners who think they can do everything 4th graders do (or at least what they think 4th graders can do!), expectations still need to be taught and re-taught.  All of our students are still learning how to navigate this complicated place called school.  You are going to teach them how to solve math problems, write opinion pieces and discuss books, but you are also going to teach them how to be a student, how to be respectful and how to interact with their peers.  Just remember...they are going to run into a few skunks before they get it right!

**In memory of John Demoga - I wanted to add a note to my post about a very special man who I just learned passed away on Saturday.  John was a school psychologist and sped team chair that I worked with in Westborough.  His daughter ended up being one of my school psychologists in Leominster and now lives down the street from me.  John was an amazing guy.  He always had a smile on his face, and he had the ability to put nervous parents at ease in tough meetings.  John worked as a school psychologist for over thirty years in Westborough.  I had actually just attended his retirement party a few years ago.  I have watched people become more aware of ALS through the recent 'Ice Bucket Challenge' of the past few years.  But I became aware of it when I watched John live with ALS everyday.  Walking the length of the hallway was difficult and painful for him, but he did it.  And when it became too hard, he used a scooter to get from his office to the conference room.  And through all of the difficult times, John had a smile on his face and somehow managed to make everyone around  him laugh.  He was 61.  I am sad to say goodbye to a wonderful fellow educator who made a difference in the lives of children and families.  I can only hope to be half as brave as John was.

Currently reading:
I just finished I Will Always Write Back:  How One Letter Changed Two Lives.  This was a great story about pen pals, a girl from the US and a boy from Zimbabwe, who began as pen pals and became best friends.  Because they were connected in elementary school and wrote to each other, both of their lives were forever changed.  It is definitely a book that demonstrates the ripple effect of kindness!
I also read a new picture book that just came in the mail this week...Gaston.  This is a great book about the power of love and family as told through the perspective if two dog families.  I'm thinking I will add this to my read aloud list in classrooms this year!
As usual, I have a few professional books going at once, but one that I am focusing on right now is called Digital Leadership.  The author is Eric Sheninger, a principal who I have followed on Twitter for a while.  I'm looking forward to learning about "the strategic use of technology" and how it can help my leadership skills.

Events this week:
Monday - Happy Labor Day! No school
Tuesday - International Literacy Day! 
                    DR. Rodriguez visits FloRo in the am
Wednesday - Fire Drill @ 10:30
Friday - Liz and Dianna at SLT meeting in am
Looking ahead to the following week...
Staff meeting will be on Wednesday, Thursday is a half day and Open House is from 6-8 that night, grades 3-4 will be from 6:15-7:00, K-2 will be from 7:15-8:00, PTA Welcome Back picnic is Friday after school

Great things I noticed last week:

  • We had a jam packed first staff meeting.  Thanks Nurse Natalie for reminding us about our safety precautions!
  • Sue got us doing some sprint math and jumping jacks!  Looking forward to learning Eureka this year!
  • Love my graffiti reading wall that staff filled out during our scavenger hunt.  I'll be hanging this in the staff room for everyone to get some book recommendations.
  • Surprising students at a bus stop was a fun way to start the first day!

  • First day arrival everyone was buzzing with excitement!
  • You might not be able to see it, but this 2nd grader talked about and drew how hot the first day was a sweaty one but we all made it through!
  • I love our new library tables!  Thank you PTA!  Chairs are on the way!
  • Is it someone famous pulling up to Florence Roche?? What brought the paparazzi to school?  Kindergartners!
Check it out:
I know we are just getting started next week talking about writer's workshop, but this post might be helpful when thinking about info to share with parents:
Nice post about the importance of a classroom meeting area:
Here's a contest for your class to enter!  And the prize is books!  It's called the Be A Famous Writer Contest: or you can find her page here:

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