Week of September 21, 2015

The Week Ahead:

Happy Sunday!  I hope you all have enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend and were able to spend some time with family and friends.  Welcome back to our fifth grade teachers and students from Barrier Island!  We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures.  A huge thanks to all of our chaperones for making this trip possible.  I know it is one of the highlights of our student’s fifth grade experience!

Curriculum night was a great success!  We had a wonderful turn out, and I have heard nothing but good things about each and every one of your classrooms.  I know this made for a long day for all of you, but thank you, thank you for taking time away from your own families to better help the parents of your students.  I believe the payoff will be tremendous!

pumpkinPlease take a moment to read the Choice Literacy article below.  This article spoke to me for lots of reasons.  One of the many reasons it struck a chord with me is that I recently have gotten my own lesson from bees.  My children decided that they wanted to grow  pumpkins in our backyard.  I said, why not, nothing else grows back there, certainly not grass!  Guess what, pumpkins actually do!  We have a whole patch of pumpkins growing in our backyard!  We saved our seeds from our Halloween pumpkins last year and planted them this summer.  I was a bit skeptical, but you would not believe the crazy pumpkin vines I have growing in my backyard!  They have lots of large yellow flower blossoms on them, which made me think we were going to have lots of pumpkins.  Luckily, my dad knows a bit about farming and was at our house this summer checking out our pumpkin vine.  I was marveling at how many pumpkins I thought we would have due to the fact that this gigantic vine had so many blooms on it.  He was quick to tell me that no matter how many blooms I had that without any bees we wouldn’t have a single pumpkin!  I hadn’t really thought about that.  You see, the bees are what pollinate the flower and allow it to actually turn into a pumpkin.  My kids and I began to look for bees constantly, hoping that they would show up to pollinate our pumpkin blossoms.  Sure enough, they came, and guess what…we have a real pumpkin and three more potential ones in the works!  Thank goodness for those bees, for without them we would just have a giant vine!  This reminds me of teaching and learning.  You all are like the bees, “pollinating” your students so that they can flourish and grow into what they are meant to be!  Have a wonderful week!


Lessons from Bees

For so work the honey-bees, creatures that by a rule in nature teach the act of order to a peopled kingdom.

William Shakespeare
A few years ago, my dad noticed a swarm of bees in the shape of a hive dangling from a tree outside his upstairs office window. At first, he was terrified and hesitant to go outside, but after contacting a local beekeeper to relocate the hive, his perspective changed. After a few hours with an expert, he wanted to share his newly gained knowledge of bees with everyone he met.

He would hear me sneeze and say, “Did you know that eating locally sourced honey is the best way to work up an immunity to local pollens?”

A fly would buzz past lazily, and he would jump at the chance to say, “Good thing that’s not a bee! Remember when I had that swarm of thousands of bees? You know, they were swarming there with the queen while other bees scouted out a new location.”

After hearing Dad’s bee facts over the course of several years, my disdain for these stinging insects began to grow into admiration. Bees really are fascinating, and I think they have a lot to teach us.

Here are five of my favorite bee facts and what they taught me:

1. Honey production is reduced when a bee colony is without a queen. When a queen bee dies, the rest of the bees in the hive become unsettled and disorganized until a new queen is found. Bees need strong leadership, just like teachers and students. We have all experienced the effects of a breakdown in leadership, whether it was our own leadership in the classroom or on a building-wide level. Strong leadership is key.

2. When bees collect nectar, they are gathering for the good of the colony. They store the nectar in crops in their throats and carry it back to the hive. Working together produces more honey. As teachers, we can easily fall into the trap of working in isolation. When we can find ways to pool resources and collaborate, we can work more efficiently. Working together is more effective than working alone.

3. Bees communicate by dancing. When a scout returns to a swarm of bees, it dances to demonstrate the quality of the new location. Dancing is a joyful form of communication. We often become so entrenched in our daily routines that we forget to focus on what matters. Remember to share joy.

4. Bees sting when they feel threatened. Humans are often the victims of uncomfortable stings without even intending to pose a threat. Often as educators, we displace our response to the pressure of mandates and standardized tests and end up stinging innocent victims, unfortunately sometimes including students. Think before you sting.

5. Bees create honey, which is the only food that includes all the nutrients required to sustain life. Honey contains water along with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It is such a simple food, yet holds so much power. We, too, need to simplify in our classrooms, to focus on the essentials that sustain the readers and writers in our care. There is power in simplicity.

Bees provide so many lessons about communities and groups.

Christy Rush-Levine
Contributor, Choice Literacy

The Week at a Glance:

Monday, September 21st:

Tuesday, September 22nd:
Juli out of building at PowerSchool Meeting
Wednesday, September 23rd:
NO SCHOOL!  Enjoy!
Thursday, September 24th:

Friday, September 25th:
4th Grade Pirate Parade at 8:30

Looking Ahead….
October 1 – 1st Grade Field Trip to Children’s Theater
October 2 – Elem Spirit Friday; Staff Flu Clinic
October 5 – Parent Advisory Meeting at HS – 7:30p.m.-8:30p.m.
October 7 – 5th Grade PoC Field Test; Staff Meeting – Baby Shower for baby D’Esterre
October 8 & 9 – 1st Grade Fairy Tale Ball
October 13 – K-7 Lottery Open House 9:30a.m. and 7:00p.m.
October 16 – CSD Homecoming!
October 21-25 – Community HS Musical – Pippin
October 21 – K-7 Staff Meeting
October 23 – Elementary Night at HS Football Game
October 28 – K-5 Parade of Fiction
October 29 & 30 – Teacher Workdays – Optional Parent/Teacher Conferences
November 2 – Parent Advisory at HS at 7:30 – Cybersafety Guest Speaker
November 3 – K-7 Lottery Open House 9:30a.m.
November 4 – K-7 Staff Meeting
November 6 – 7th Grade Rube Goldberg Exhibition (MS Gym); 3rd Grade Bones Performance (MS Black Box)
November 11 – Veteran’s Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
November 13 – 6th Grade Greek Day
November 19 – 2nd Grade Performances
November 20 – Africa Day
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Holidays – NO SCHOOL


Teaching Tips:


I had been reading Better than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management (Smith, D., Fisher, D., and Frey, N. 2015)

They discuss two important factors of an effective learning environment: relationships and high-quality instruction.  “When students have strong, trusting relationships both with the adults in the school and with their peers, and when their lessons are interesting and relevant, it’s harder fro them to misbehave.” (Smith, D., Fisher, D., and Frey, N. 2015 p. 2)

  • Students want teachers to take them seriously.
  • Students want to teachers to challenge them to think.
  • Students want teachers to nurture their self-respect.
  • Students want teachers to show them that they can make a difference.
  • Students want teachers to point them toward their goals.
  • Students want teachers to make them feel important.
  • Students want teachers to build on their interests.
  • Students want teachers to tap their creativity.
  • Students want teachers to bring out the best in them.

Think about this quote from Frederick Douglass:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s