Refreshed, Rejuvenated, Renewed
Boy did I feel like it was a whirlwind Friday, Feb. 14th. Having the delay, getting stuck in my driveway, and then just trying to get turned around and get kiddos home, I didn’t even say goodbye to most of you and wish you a great vacation. To me, February 14th was a blur, then to top it off, Scott and I drove for another 2 hours, roads basically clear north of us, to Ottawa to skate the canal. (It was lovely, to say the least).
I don’t know about you, but I loved every bit of vacation. I loved to be able to plan, read, write, and be in my home. But now, reality is set and yes, I am at my desk writing. I know that we have a lot to do in such a short amount of time before our next break. And yes, those dreaded State Exams will be upon us in a few weeks.
But, let’s remember to embrace our kids when they come back. Remember that it’s not only the academic curriculum, but the social and emotional curriculum that is also important. Our kids may have a hard time adjusting again after a week off, so don’t forget to review routines and procedures.
Suzy Gosh shared on the RC website in her blog some ways to make up for lost time because they lost so much time over snow days. I thought these four things were worth a share:
- I’ll be working with my students’ energy levels. They spent their days off sledding, watching movies, and playing video games. It’s not realistic to expect them to shift right back to doing focused work for long stretches of time. I’m breaking up lessons into bite-sized chunks and planning plenty of breaks and energizers. I’m also giving them chances to be quiet and work individually—after days of playing alone or with just a few siblings, re-acclimating to the social aspects of school can be challenging, especially for introverts.
- We’re definitely revisiting expectations. We never really got back into the routines of school after winter break, and I need to spend some time getting class procedures back in place. Some of this will be done with quick questions and reminders: “Who can remind us what it will sound like in here during reading workshop?” or “We have five minutes left. Think about what you need to do before you will be ready to line up. Make a plan for how you will get those things done in time.” For routines that really aren’t working, I’ll use Interactive Modeling to reteach.
- Students need opportunities to reconnect. Each time we came back after days off, I saw students making beelines for their friends and noticed how much they whispered during lessons. They’d missed each other! I’m honoring their need to talk and rebuilding our class community by choosing Morning Meeting greetings where each person greets many classmates and Morning Meeting shares where everyone has a turn to talk. I’m also planning lessons and activities that provide opportunities for students to chat at other times of day.
- I’m getting creative with my planning. “We missed so many days! We’re behind!” I’m fighting that instinct to cram in all the curriculum we missed as quickly as possible. I know that teaching things faster and trying to push more into the school day is not the answer. Instead, my teammates and I are looking at units and seeing how we can combine objectives or shift lessons to make them fit new timeframes. We’ll double up in some cases, for instance, by having students do reading for our Ancient China unit during reading workshop. I’m also using every opportunity to integrate academics into our Morning Meetings. That way, even if we move through the instructional part of a unit quickly, we’ll still be practicing, reviewing, and reflecting on what we learned for weeks to come.
Enjoy the week! Vic
- Bus Duty for Feb24-Mar 7 Team 2: Mindy Backus, Pam Mahay, Denise Croasdiale. Upcoming bus duty: Mar 10 – Mar 21: Team 3: Jessica Serviss, Teresa Kiechle
- Our 3-5 Honor Roll Assembly is rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 27 @ 8:20a.m.
- Welcome back Megan Weldon!
- The 100th Day of school is Feb. 26th
- Our PTO Scholastic Book Fair is from 2/24 until 2/27
- The East Side AR Night is this Wednesday from 6:00p.m. to 7:30p.m.
- The East Side 3rd Grade Hoe-Down is this Friday, 2/28 for Grades 2-5 students
- There will be a staff meeting on March 3rd @ 2:45pm in room 31
- A math night for parents will be held at East Side for grade PreK-2 on Monday 3/3 and at West Side for Grades 3-5 on Wednesday, 3/5 all starting at 6:00p.m.
- The District Tech Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, 3/5
- Congratulations to Sarah and Pat Pawananon on the birth of their new addition to the family, little baby girl Mali Lynn!
Things in the Blogsphere
- My friend Starr Stackstein guest blog on Peter DeWitt’s blog about “Falling in Love with Words.” Take a peek.
- Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error, details her objection to the CCSS in her speech to the Modern Language Association. Diane is giving a free lecture at Syracuse University at 7:30p.m. April 1st.
- Teach Thought put together great pictures in the blog “What the iPad Has Done to Education.”
- Join us on #NYEDChat on twitter Monday 2/24/2014 @8:30p.m. Check out Carol Varsalona’s blog here.
Things in the Twittersphere
Hidden Finnish Lesson #1: Children must play. Sufficient time to play every day in school, balanced curriculum, music, arts, fun for all.
Fear mongering re: #CommonCore is a wasteful distraction. Fact is, America’s kids will benefit from aligning & increasing standards.
Best thing we can do for new teachers…take them to visit communities, recreation centers, laundromats, etc…where kids live! #satchat
App of the Week
If you haven’t heard of Remind101, then here is something that will really help with notification for parents. Remind101 is a FREE, yes I said, FREE, texting tool that you set up for folks to give texted reminders to your parents or students’ phone. It’s very simple. You go to the Remind101 website , create an account, and the program gives you a phone number. There is no need to use your own phone number, your own text, etc. Once you get an account, you can create a class. For example, I have two classes on my account, one titled East Side Staff Snow Tree and East Side Parent Snow Tree. The program creates a code for folks to sign up by texting to the given number and putting the @… class code into the message and voila, the parent or student has subscribed to your class. If you are using your computer web based link, you can create your messages in the message area and even schedule the text to be sent later. You can also link your class to twitter and tweet the message out as well. The beauty of Remind101 is that this is just a reminder message text or alert for parents. There is no sharing of phone numbers. you will not see parent phone numbers, and they will not have your phone number. The only thing you see on your end is the name they used to texted in to the program. You don’t have to worry about getting texted from your parents or students. Remind101 also has an app feature in both iTunes and Google Apps stores. (This is how I text out that we are on a delay, on my phone, in bed after I get that 5:00a.m. call.) I have 105 parents signed-up for our Remind101 text alert for the East Side. That is AWESOME and the best thing, it’s all FREE. I like free. I have received many compliments that this is the best thing, not getting phone call, just a text and doesn’t wake up the entire house. Also it’s great when we close early or cancel after school activities. Parents are thankful that we text them the information. If you get anything from this blog, this is the app to start using. Enjoy!
The New York Times had this editorial about the Common Core and its implementation.
This collection of maps tells a great deal about the world in which we live and can lead to all sorts of discussions. Maps are a kind of text, too!
Here are some cautions about sugar and some suggestions for avoiding it in school.