Week of May 16-20

Dear Staff,

A huge thank you to all of you who took time away from your family and friends to spend time growing with us as #jedieducators this weekend!  To those of you who could not make it know that you were missed.  On Monday we will have our seniors coming to spend time in classrooms and then they will have a special end to our day.  They are very excited about coming back to visit the place where they spent most of their childhood.  Many thanks to those of you who are hosting one of our seniors.  We are very excited to see how the day goes and are hoping that this will be a new tradition at CSD!

Don’t forget EOG’s are this week.  We will need all hands on deck as we help these special little people make their way through this test.  Taking this test for the first time or for the 5th time can be very scary and cause lots of anxiety for many of our students.  Please don’t hesitate to call on us if you need help, and remember we want to keep this as stress free as possible for our students.  A huge thanks to Angela for training everyone and kicking our testing season off without a hitch!

The Choice Literacy article below was one that I can relate to at this time of year.  I hope you all will take a few minutes to read it and remember to take care of yourselves during this busy month of May.  We hope that you all have a wonderful week and know that if there is anything we can do to help in the coming days don’t hesitate to call on us!  May the force be with you!



Taking a Break

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.

Alan Cohen

It’s late spring, the time of year for teachers when routines are set. Our classroom dynamics are humming along smoothly, our students are progressing well, and parents are feeling comfortable with us. It’s all good.

But us? The teachers and literacy leaders? We are tired.

Because even though this time of year is a time when everything should be settled, there’s still a lot going on. I am certainly feeling it as I slog through required state assessments, oversee the crescendo of writing and reading projects, and deal with student behaviors that started small but have now built into real problems. I’m managing all the stuff happening right now while simultaneously planning for next year. Which is why I am tired. We are all tired.

Inspiration is hard to find. Our typical ways—professional reading, collegial sharing, observing other teachers— have waned a bit. We don’t have the energy to keep up on the reading, thinking, and talking that inspires us and keeps us sharp. Which is why we have begun to build a stack of articles—physical or virtual—that we’ll get to later. We push big projects to the back burner. We collapse on the couch at the end of long days, putting ourselves to sleep watching mindless television. We do not dig into our school bags and enthusiastically read student writing, seeking the next best insightful comment they’ve written.

This is the time of year we halfheartedly consider a career change.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay when a few weeks pass without a stop to visit our favorite blogs. It’s okay that we don’t merrily highlight our way through a new book on literacy instruction this month, or eagerly try a new instructional strategy, or launch a brand-new unit of study with our students. It’s okay to relax a little this time of year and trust that the routines we’ve built will carry us through. We can still push our students with the gentle prodding we know will work, given how well we know each one of them. We can lean on our colleagues as we always have and enjoy the trusting relationships we’ve built with our students’ parents.

The professional reading will still be there this summer, when our energy is restored. Let’s be gentle with ourselves now.
Jennifer Schwanke
Contributor, Choice Literacy

The Week at a Glance

Monday, May 16:

Senior Take Over Day  11:30-2:30

2:30 Parade for Seniors

Tuesday, May 17:

4th Stone Mountain
5th Grade Science EOG

Thursday, May 19:
May 19 – 3-8 Reading EOG

Friday, May 20:
May 20 – 3-8 Math EOG

Looking ahead:

May 24 – 7th Grade Ropes Course:  Knight, Keys, Ream, McMillan
May 25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course: Tornberg, Robinson, Hof, Siadak
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 26 – 2nd Grade Bare Book Sharing
May 27 – Kindergarten Screening
May 27 – K-7 Report Cards Due to Admin for Editing
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 by Marianne:

Why I Love Our Community

by Robyn Jackson
It is said that you are the sum total of the five people you hang around the most.

If you hang around five really smart people, you’ll probably become incredibly smart yourself.

Hang around generous people, you become more generous. Hang around people who are making a difference? You’ll make a bigger difference yourself.

So, I am very careful about who makes it into my inner circle. After all, your tribe in many ways determines your trajectory through life.

I’ve always said that the members of the Mindsteps Community are some of the smartest, most generous people on the planet.


I loved learning at the retreat!  Here are some simple, great reminders....

If you give students a box of stuff and let them create this happens…



If you remind students to stop and look at the stars (and use the cool app Sky Guide) this happens….


And if you let them play in nature this happens…


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