Monday, December 14, 2015

Every Kid Has a Story

Principal ponderings...
Each time I ever applied for a job, I rewrote my cover letter.  But I always kept the same quote in all my different cover letters.
        "Every child has a story to tell, and within that story is the secret to reaching her or him as a                learner.  Children's stories are windows into their uniqueness and clues on how to connect the 
         child and the curriculum."
                                                              --Herb Kohl
I loved that quote because it summed up my belief about working with kids.  Each student has so many stories.  Their stories make up who they are.  Sometimes we know some of their stories and sometimes we don't know their stories at all.   Getting to know each child's unique stories can help us make those important connections.  

I was thinking about children's stories and I started thinking about my own siblings and their unique stories that made up who they were.  My sister had lots of unique stories.  One of the earliest school related stories I remember happened when she was maybe in kindergarten or first grade.  She had taken a test and had let the majority of the test blank.  My mom was called in my the teacher to figure out what was going on.  They decided to ask my sister why she didn't answer most of the math problems.  She had answered the first one and the last one.  Her explanation...well, they were all asking the same thing so I did the first one and the last one because clearly you would know that I know how to do that whole page.  That was part of my sister's story.  She was never one to waste time or effort if it wasn't needed.

I will share another sibling story.  This one is about my brother Phil.  One day at school around Christmas time, they were working on a project.  Everyone in the class was making a reindeer face.  Everyone had a triangle piece of construction paper.  Everyone had two circle eyes.  Everyone had a red nose.  Everyone's reindeer looked the same.  Everyone, except my brother.  While the rest of the class had followed the directions and had a front view of a reindeer's head, my brother had decided that he wanted a side view of his reindeer.  So he only used some of the materials and had a final product of the side of the reindeer's head.  We were brought up in a house where creativity was encouraged.  So my brother's stories often involved thinking outside of the school box.

And my final story to share involves my other brother Carl.  This story actually happened when he and my brother were in daycare at a center.  My brother did not like going to the center.  So one day, he planned an escape.  He had a ziploc bag of goldfish.  He went and got my other brother and then proceeded to try to walk out of the center to go home.  He had decided that the best thing to do was bust out and run away.  Thankfully his plan did not work.  My mother was arriving for pickup around the time that he was trying to escape.  This story definitely sums up my brother.  He does not always like being told what to do.  Even as an adult, he continues to try to be someone who does not have to work for anyone.  He is also someone who loves being close to home.  And he is very close to and cares about my other brother...which is why all those years ago, he was not about to escape daycare without his little brother!

These are just a few stories, they all have many, many more, but my point is that each student in our school is made up of lots of stories.  By getting to know these stories, we can better understand our students.  We can connect with them.  We can connect them to the curriculum.  

My question this have you learned about the unique stories of each student in your class?  How has this information helped you better understand how to teach them?

12 Days of Giving continued....
Monday - Surprise Prize Giveaway Day!  Dianna will be giving away prizes throughout the day.
Tuesday - Cupcakes make everything better...I will be baking some yummy cups of cake for all of you.
Wednesday - Staff Breakfast...who likes breakfast pizza?!
Thursday - Check your staff room mailbox...I will be leaving you a special surprise.
Friday - Inbox Zero...No email from me all day today and no email all weekend!  Woohoo!

Currently reading:
I finished listening to Tuck Everlasting.  It is such a good book to listen to.  I recommend getting the audio version or reading it aloud to some of the upper grades.  It's also a great book to just use a portion of when teaching writing.  The figurative language is phenomenal!  We celebrated my daughter's birthday this weekend and surprise, surprise...she got lots of books!  My favorite was the set of classics in board book form that you got from her aunt.  Can't wait to read all these with her!
Of course, I am pretty sure her daddy will enjoy reading this new set with her...

Events this week:
Monday - Last Latin class @ 3:30
Tuesday - High School Band Performance in the PAC @ 9:30, School Council meeting at 3:30
Wednesday - Jackie Reis, Media Relations Coordinator for the Commissioner, shadowing Liz in the morning, Staff Meeting @ 3:30, School Committee Meeting @ 7:00 - School Improvement Plan presentation
Friday - High School Chorus Performance in the PAC @ 9:30

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Students and staff have given so much to our community service drive.  I didn't get to grab a picture of our Student Council prepping the baskets and sorting, but they have been getting everything ready to distribute this week.
  • Students enjoyed participating in Hour of Code activities in the lab and the library.  
  • On the half day, paraprofessionals across the district participated in a variety of professional development, including this one on executive functioning hosted by our very own Dianna and Maureen.

  • Teachers have been enjoying the 12 days of giving...Friday we had lots of people in comfy clothes! 
Check it out:
Sue had shared this post that a teacher had found, I wanted to share it again...positive math mindset!
And a great clip from Kid President...Life is Like a Comic:

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