Week of April 11


Dear Staff,

We hope you all had a wonderful week back from spring break! Spring is definitely in the air! If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new baby birds and nests that we have around the school you are missing out. I hope you all took the time to read Kim Aichele’s emails about the the bird boxes and nests in our CSD gardens.  Kim is a wonderful resource to our school and I hope you all take advantage of the knowledge she has and so graciously shares with our staff and students.  I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the the baby birds and I have to say they are absolutely precious.  Make sure you share this information with your students.  We want them to be extra careful around our bird boxes, as these are precious gifts from nature that we are lucky to have around our school.  A fantastic learning opportunity!

April also means that it is National Poetry month!  On April 21st we will celebrate Poem in Your Pocket day.  I was fortunate to get to visit several classrooms last week and talk with them about this special day.  I also got to read the Poem In Your Pocket book as well.  I will be visiting the classrooms I missed in the upcoming week.  Please make sure that you talk with your students about brining poems in their pockets on April 21st.  They can be poems that they write or favorite poems from favorite poets that they would like to share.  Some of our students will also help me set up a display about this day at the Davidson Library.  Make sure you stop by to check it out over the next few weeks.  If students write their own poems and would like for me to post them on the CSD Crier I would be happy to do this.  This will be a fun reminder for parents to help their child find poems for the big day, as well as showcase what wonderful writers we have in our school.  Feel free to send me poems that your students have written and I will share.  Listed below is a link for more information about this special day.


On Monday we will have lots of visitors in the school.  We will be conducting interviews throughout the day.  Please make our guests feel welcome and if one of the candidates spends time in your classroom we would love your feedback on his/her  interactions with your students.  Feel free to use them as an extra set of hands so that you can notice any connections they make with your students.

Please take a moment to read this week’s Choice Literacy article.  I love the idea of taking a minute to shift the mood in the classroom.  Some great ideas to think about, especially when many of our students have “spring fever!”  Here’s to daffodils and sunshine. Happy spring!


The Mighty Minute

Good things, when short, are twice as good.

Baltasar Gracian y Morales

“I can do almost anything if it’s only for one minute.” My friend Darla was talking about abdominal crunches, and whenever I have to push through those or something similarly painful at the gym, I remember her words.

I can put up with almost anything for one minute, and when I’m doing something timed and difficult, I’m often amazed at how much effort can be packed into 60 seconds. One minute can change the tone of any classroom or meeting.

For the past few years, teachers have been using this principle with quick brain and body breaks with students to refocus, reconnect, and lift the mood in the classroom. Here are my three favorite uses of the mighty minute. Not surprisingly, none of them involve abdominal crunches.

You can tidy a lot in 60 seconds. The best quick tidy habit at home? According to Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project, it’s making your bed. Starting each day with that little bit of order ensures a tidy end. Every classroom can have a “make the bed” minute baked into the beginning or end of the day for ordering supplies, desks, tables, and displays.

A one-minute stretch does wonders for mental clarity and well-being. “Sitting is the new smoking” according to health professionals in terms of shortening life spans. There are all kinds of apps like Stretch Clock (http://stretchclock.com/) with built-in timers to get you and your students up and moving at regular intervals.

Finally, a minute of silence feels a whole lot longer than it is, and nothing calms a community down more quickly. In professional development sessions a minute of quick writing or silent reading often isn’t really about the reading or writing – it’s there to get teachers out of whatever is distracting them, and into the here and now.

Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy

The Week at a Glance

Monday, April 11th:
Full Day Classroom Visits and Interviews at K-7
Randolph to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, April 12th:
2nd Grade Rescue Ranch Field Trip
Chick Fil-A Spirit Night
Wednesday, April 13th: 
Siadak – Teacher Leader
Juli gone p.m. to Charter Peer Review (with Corvian)
Thursday, April 14th: 
3rd Grade Davidson Walk
Godwin to Olde Knox Commons
HS Drama Sharing in MS Black Box – 9:30 Kindergarten; 11:00 1st grade
Friday, April 15th: 
8th Grade Practicum Dance Party
MS New Admits Registration 8:00-11:00
6th Grade Speaker – 1:00 in MS Gym
7th Grade Hiroshima Presentation – 12:15 in Black Box

Looking Ahead…. 
April 18-April 22 – Earth Days K-5
April 19 – 2nd Rescue Ranch Field Trip (2 classes)
April 20 – 6th/7th Dance Class Sharing
April 22 – 6th UNCC Botanical Gardens
April 22 – CSD Golf Tournament
April 25 – K7 Teacher Appreciation Cinco De Mayo Luncheon
April 29 – Teacher Workday
May 6 – 6th UNCC Botanical Gardens
May 7 – Spartan 5K & Half Marathon
May 10 – 1st Rainforest/Endangered Species Science Fair
May 12 – Kindergarten Oceans Play
May 13 – May 14 – CSD Staff Retreat
May 17 – 4th Stone Mountain
May 17 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 19 – 3-8 Reading EOG
May 20 – 3-8 Math EOG
May 24 – 25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 25 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Parents & Family
May 26 – 1st Hiddenite Mine Field Trip
May 26 – 4th Economic Fair
May 26 – 6th Holocaust Museum–Open to Public
May 27 – Kindergarten Screening
May 27 – Teacher Workday; Optional Parent Conferences
May 30 – Memorial Day HOLIDAY – No school
May 31 – 3rd Kool Kats Cafe
May 31 – 7th Change Project
May 31 – Kindergarten Water Day
May 31 – State of the School Address
June 1 – Last Day of School
June 2 – Graduation
June 2 & 3 – Teacher Workdays


Teaching Tips with Marianne

How To Have A Fun Classroom Without Extra Planning

If you’re a regular reader of this website, then you know that effective classroom management doesn’t have to be complicated.You don’t need elaborate charts. You don’t need an incentive system. And you don’t need to beg, bribe, or threaten students to behave.But what you do need is a classroom your students look forward to coming to every day. Along with an effective classroom management plan, this is where your power to influence behavior comes from.One way to get your students excited about your classroom is to make it more fun.Interactive lessons, activities, and learning games are great tools to stimulate learning and ratchet up enjoyment. I recommend them heartily. But they can be time-consuming and impractical beyond a few times a week.For the minute-by-minute reality of a working classroom, the best way to have more fun is…well…to have more fun.Does this mean you’ll have to risk losing control of your class for the sake of a good time? Does it mean your students will be wired and bouncing off the walls? Not in the least.What follows is a definition of classroom fun most teachers have never have heard of. And here’s the surprise: it’s a definition held by your students.

Let’s get started.

Classroom Fun (From Your Students’ Perspective)

It’s an attitude.

Having a good time with your students is an attitude. It comes from a desire to enjoy your job, to build relationships with your students, and to make your classroom a special, unique experience. There is no formal planning involved and it should never become a burden to you. It’s as simple as a smile.

It’s a mood.

One of the ways you can tell if a teacher has good classroom management is if the students are happy. Good behavior and contentment go hand-in-hand. This is true for a number of reasons, but it underscores the importance of maintaining a pleasant mood in the classroom.

It’s a feeling.

Your students don’t have to be sweaty and crimson-faced to have a good time. You don’t have to make your classroom riotous and chaotic. And you don’t have to be knee-slapping funny. In the hearts of your students, the warm feelings of safety, of being comfortable around you and their classmates, and of being part of an upbeat classroom is their definition of fun.

It’s a connection.

The simple act of making personal, no-strings-attached connections with students, through shared smiles and sweet laughter, will bring contagious joy to your classroom. You don’t have to be a comedian or a prankster. Just be open to having a good time with your students, and the rest will take care of itself.

It’s everywhere.

Despite how tough their lives can be, kids wake up ready to laugh. They’re built for it. And teaching presents so many silly, goofy, and absurdly funny situations that are just waiting to be noticed and taken advantage of. Keep your eyes and ears open so these wonderful moments don’t pass you by.

It’s in a story.

If you’ve read Dream Class, then you know how I feel about storytelling. Nothing I’ve ever done as a teacher has gotten more response from students or generated more fun, more mystery, more excitement, and more behavior-influencing rapport than telling a story.

It’s a choice.

You can’t have fun with your students if you don’t like them. Seeing the best in your students, enjoying who they are as people, and appreciating their sense of humor and unique personalities is a choice you make. Sharing a laugh or smile, particularly with difficult students, is so powerful. But it can’t happen if you dislike them or hold a grudge against them.

It’s reciprocated.

Students who are happy to be in your class, who like you, and who appreciate the organized, efficient, and fun classroom you’ve created, will jump through fire to pay you back. This law of reciprocation is a natural part of the human psyche. It’s powerful, behavior-changing stuff that few teachers know about or take advantage of.

It Means So Much

When you bring more student-defined fun into your classroom, your relationship with your students will grow closer, more trusting, and more influential. Your classroom management plan will have more leverage. Your students will appreciate you, want to please you, and desire to get to know you better.

All the things you’re working so hard to achieve with your students will improve as you get better at creating an environment your students love being part of.

Having an attitude of fun amidst the hard work you ask of your students is a simple little thing. But it means so much—both to your students and to your hope of creating the class you really want.

Thanks for reading.

Note: I wrote an article this week for Learnboost.com called 5 Simple Classroom Management Strategies. I hope you’ll check it out.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, please join us. It’s free! Click here and begin receiving classroom management articles like this one in your email box every week.


, , ,


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