Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Power of Pronouns

Principal ponderings...

Yes, I was an English major who actually enjoyed learning about parts of speech and grammar.  Yes, I have a secret desire to become an editor - a job where I get to read books all the time and edit mistakes.  And yes, I am a huge fan of mad libs.  But none of these statements explain the meaning behind the title of my post.  Take a look at the following sentence and see what happens when you plug in different pronouns.  How does the sentence change?

______ (They or We) should figure out how to help _____ (my, our) students because ______ (I, we) need to make sure the needs of all of _____ (my, our) students are met.

Pronouns are small, but mighty little words.  While it's true they are simply words used in place of nouns, pronouns are important, and our sentences would not be the same without them.  When we are talking about education and classrooms and students, it's important to choose the right pronouns.  

It can't be about me and you; it needs to be about us and ours.  

We have to be careful not to always fall into the trap of I am planning this and 
my classroom needs that.  

Instead of thinking I can do it on my own or you don't have the same group of students as me...We should be looking at how his or her classroom management strategies can make all of us better, and their student growth data trends can push us all to make changes in our practice. 

If you are thinking why am I feeling overwhelmed and not able to help all of my students...let's figure out how we can support each other and make improvements for our students.

In the district, we have to move away from thinking in terms of us and them and move towards thinking we are responsible for their future.

This isn't my school.  It isn't your school.  It's their school.

And they need us to do everything we can to give them the best education possible.  

Which pronouns will you be using this week?  
Will it be all about me and you or will it be all about them?

Currently reading:
I am listening to an interesting story on my drive to work.  It's called Rooftoppers, and it's about a little girl who survived a shipwreck and how she is trying to find her mother.  The young main character, Sophie, is a book lover raised by a man who found her and is also a book lover.  So far, it's an enjoyable book to listen to.
I just finished My Happy Life.  This book is great on so many levels.  First of all, it is an early chapter book, with very short, easy chapters that some early readers who really want to read chapter books could certainly handle.  It is simply written, but handles difficult subjects like the loss of a parent and friends moving away.  I like how the School Library Journal reviewed it, saying, "The difficult subjects are handled gracefully, allowing children to realize that happiness comes and goes, and that everyone has hardships to face."
I am excited to be part of another online book chat.  I am rereading The Book Whisperer.  Donalyn Miller is so great.  If you haven't read this professional book yet, I am pretty sure there are copies available in the curriculum office to borrow.  I came across a cute picture book in my local library called Previously.  It goes through lots of famous fairy tale characters and talks about what they were up to previously!
**Don't forget March is Reading Month!  (Even though...every month is really reading month!)

Events this week:
Monday - ELA/Math curriculum day for 3rd grade, Zumba with MaryKaye at 3:30 in the gym!
Tuesday - ELA/Math curriculum day for 4th grade, Variety Show practice in the gym after school
Wednesday - Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss!  Shadow a Student Day! Liz will be shadowing a 3rd grader all day! Play preview @ 2:15 in the PAC, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - Kindergarten Orientation @ 6:30pm
Friday - 1st grade chorus practice @ 2:25, Performance of GDCE's Seussical, the Musical at 7:00 in the PAC
Saturday - Performance of GDCE's Seussical, the Musical at 7:00 in the PAC
Sunday - Performance of GDCE's Seussical, the Musical at 2:00 in the PAC

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Check out our new comfy seats that are in the library now!
  • I popped into Mrs. Riley's class and caught her 1st graders working on identifying adjectives that they could add to their writing.
  • Ms. Johnson and Ms. Hoke's 2nd graders were practicing their listening skills and discussion skills in non fiction book clubs.
  • Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade teams had ELA/math curriculum days with the coaches, and I was able to sit in for a little bit with kindergarten.
  • I enjoyed pulling up on the rug and sitting next to this 1st grader who was reading all about penguins during independent reading!
  • I was excited to open up my mail and find these books.  I ordered them for our school council members.  Looking forward to some small group book chats!

Check it out:
Watch this video clip!  Simple, yet powerful message to students.  This project had teachers selecting one student to tell them why they think they are important and that they are "the reason they come to work each day." 
Check out this new feature on Scholastic...students can write their own book reviews and read book reviews written by other students!
Can't remember if I shared this article with you already: Becoming a Math Person: about how you can help students develop a math mind.

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