Monday, October 24, 2016

Small Moments = Big Impact

Principal ponderings...

I shared this video clip titled, "Every Opportunity", with you at the beginning of the year.  But I wanted to write again about the importance of all of those little connections we make with students each day, so I thought it would be a good idea to share this video again...
This month, I accepted a challenge to work alongside our cafeteria staff and serve lunch to our students.  I am so glad I put this on my schedule this month!  It was definitely a great experience to see the kids' faces when they saw it was me serving up their pancakes.  Yes, it was breakfast for lunch, a FloRo favorite!  One student said, "If you are serving us lunch, who is the principal right now?  Who is running the school?"  Good news...the school runs itself!

I certainly loved connecting with the students in a different way while serving lunch, but I have to admit the best part of that day was connecting with the ladies who work in the cafeteria.  My lesson learned from my experience was that I have not connected with them, and I need to.  It takes so many different people to "run the school", and each person plays an important part in the lives of children.  In the very brief down time between one grade leaving the cafeteria and another coming, I had a chance to hear a great story from one of our lunch ladies.  She said that one day she watched one of our 2nd graders go to the milk cooler and discover that a container was empty and there was some cardboard that needed to be removed before students could get to the rest of the milk.  Without being asked, he took the cardboard out, walked it over to one of the ladies at the register and then went back to getting his lunch.  The lunch lady went up this student at the end of the lunch and asked if she could speak with him.  His first thought was that he was in trouble, and she said he got bright red.  But he was not in trouble.  She thanked him for taking the initiative to help clean up the milk cooler without even being asked.  She let him know that she noticed what he did and she appreciated him.  As we were talking about this incident, she turned to me and said, "Do you know that now, every time that cardboard needs to be emptied, that student does that?  We have never asked him to do it for us.  He just decided that he was going to help out whenever he saw that it was needed."

This is a simple story of a quick interaction that happened on one random day.  First of all, I realized that if I never came down and spent time behind the counter in the cafeteria, I would have never known that this happened.  Secondly, that lunch lady could have not said anything to that student.  Would he have continued with his random act of kindness?  I am thinking possibly not.  That one small positive interaction had such a big impact.  Now think about how many other small moments happen throughout the day between adults in the building and our students.  Think about the ripple effect of those positive interactions.

On Saturday morning, I was lucky enough to spend the day with Ellen Potter, Angela Smith, Bev Clark and Patti Montague.  We were attending a conference for teachers put on by teachers where the focus was "elevating and celebrating effective teaching and teachers."  The keynote speaker was a math teacher from New York named Jose Vilson. (You can follow him on Twitter @JLV!)  His message was a simple one, yet so important.  He talked about how important it is for us to be active listeners with our students.  He said, "Students are people first and students second.  Show them you care as often as possible."  Just like in the video clip that I shared above...we need to remember to take every opportunity to engage in a positive and meaningful way with our students.  I know it is not always easy.  I know there are times where we get frustrated.  I know a lot of times we feel like we have to rush through the day, and there are times that we need to remind each other to stop and be in the moment.  

We may forget all of our different small moments and interactions with students, but they don't forget.  Our students remember those interactions.  And those small moments can have a huge impact on a child's morning, day, week, school year.

What small moments will you have this week?  How will you show our kids that you care?

Currently reading:
Thanks to Mr. Smith for letting me borrow Goodnight Goon.  As we approach Halloween, this was a fitting book to read this week.
I am excited to be part of a November Voxer book study that will be focusing on reading and discussing the book Mathematical Mindsets.  

Events this week:
**Literacy-o-lanterns being brought into school to display in the library.  Staff - feel free to paint one if you want!
Monday - K ELA session 9:00-11:45 @ FR, 1st grade ELA session 12:30-3:15 @ FR
Tuesday - Some staff at day 2 of CPI training
Wednesday - Workout Wednesday! Principal Coffee with parents @ 9:00 in the cafeteria, 2nd grade ELA session 9:00-11:45 @ FR, 3rd grade ELA session 12:30-3:15 @ FR, Grade 4 chorus in the gym @ 2:25
Thursday - 4th grade ELA session 9:00-11:45 @ FR
Friday - Spirit Day - 'Dress as Your Favorite Book Character!', Liz and Dianna at SLT @ Prescott from 8:15-11:30

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Mrs. Lanctot's 1st grader had fun leading seminars during Writer's Workshop!
  • Teachers had some fun trying out while talking about student engagement and math instruction at our staff meeting. 
  • Thanks Mrs. Cahill for the bulletin board.  What zone are you in today? 
  • I caught some kindergarteners working in small groups to practice copying and keeping the beat.  They even let me join in with a group! 
  • Mrs, Roundtree's 4th graders were talking about adding dialogue into their narratives, specifically focusing on using quotation marks. 
  • On Saturday, Ellen and Angela represented FloRo at the ECET2 Conference in Cambridge.  Their presentation focused on the co-teaching model. 
  • On Sunday, the PTA sponsored a great Halloween Hoopla with a Trunk or Treat and parade!  

Check it out:
I thought this was a great read:
And if you want to hear more about Saturday's conference check out this post:
A quick little post with helpful hints about small groups instruction in writing:

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