Week of May 23rd

Happy Sunday!  We hope you all have enjoyed a restful weekend, after a crazy week of rain and EOG testing!  A huge thanks to all of you for making it go so smoothly.  The count down is on to the last few days of school.  Are you ready?  I know I am still in shock as to how we could possibly be in the month of May, much less the end of it.  Take time these last few days of school to enjoy your students and celebrate all that you have accomplished together this year.

Don’t forget that we will have free summer staff child care on Thursdays this summer if you are wanting to work in your room. A sign up will be coming soon with more information about this.

Please make sure you have collected all classroom books and materials from students ASAP.

New Staff Training – If you were new to CSD this year but were unable to attend New Staff Training last year, we ask that you attend this year. We will be meeting the week of June 27 Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and we do offer free childcare for that week. All longtime CSD staff members are welcome to join if you want to help or just get a reminder of what it is we believe is important as we assimilate new staff members into the culture of CSD. We ask that you email admin f you are attending any or all days so we make sure to have enough food.

Lastly,  please take a few moments to read the article below.  Much of it made me smile thinking about this crazy but exciting month of May!  Also, if you haven’t seen this awesome video of Candace Payne, the woman wearing the Chewbacca mask, take a few moments to watch it.  It is nothing but pure joy, just what we all need in these last few days in our sprint to the finish!


For Teachers, May is the Cruelest Month
By David B. Cohen

Teachers understand the cruelty of springtime. It’s just too much. Especially May.

May is the month of looking back. Year-end projects give our students opportunities to show what they’ve learned, to celebrate growth. Portfolios are assembled. We take stock of our students’ progress, and our own as well, reflecting on the year that’s about to end. As we begin cleaning up, each bulletin board and folder and box reminds us of the work we’ve done this year. Yearbooks arrive. Final assessments and final exams are prepared, if not completed. Graduations too. We celebrate with our retiring colleagues, and recall not just this year but many years gone by.

May is the month of looking ahead. Next year’s class lists and teaching assignments are assembled – always subject to change. Classroom shifts and staffing developments mean it’s already time to pack up some boxes in anticipation of moving. Having noted what worked or didn’t work this year, we’re already modifying lesson and unit plans for next year. Summer plans, personal and professional, need to be finalized. New curriculum must be reviewed and developed. New hires are already identified in some cases, and so we begin orienting them to the school, providing information and resources. Summer school teachers are already receiving communications and instructions about their next assignment.

May is the month of holding on. We’re holding on to students and classes for whom we’ve developed such affection, such appreciation of their efforts and growth. We’re holding on to ambitions (or maybe illusions), that we still might get through this final unit, complete this final project. We’re holding on to whatever rules and routines help maintain order when everyone is feeling anxious. We’re grabbing at the loose ends, hoping to tie up a coherent conclusion for our classes. We’re holding on to our sense of humor, and hopefully, our sanity.

May is the month of letting go. Our students are about to move on, to the next grade level, the next school, the next phase of life. We can look down the rosters, name by name, letting them go with a sense of deep pride and satisfaction in what we’ve accomplished together. Or, in some cases, letting go has a bitter and disappointing feel, recognizing that we haven’t met our goals with every student. “The best laid schemes” of last summer and fall went often awry – and we make our peace.

May is the month of chaos. Days are getting longer, and hotter. Some schools are still taking standardized tests. Stress builds up among students, parents, and teachers, all mindful of how few days remain, few opportunities for students to complete work and raise grades, lack of time for teachers to assess and return student work. Each day seems to bring a final something – final chance to submit make up work, final performance, final game, final publication, final exam. Last day to return library books. Last day to retrieve items in lost-and-found. Then it’s time to select next year’s club leaders, editors-in-chief, class officers. Mustn’t forget A.P. exams and proms, league finals, senior ditch days. Field trips, class picnics, team dinners. Coffees and luncheons to thank teachers and volunteers, acknowledge PTAs and school site councils. Students, clean out your lockers, and teachers, your classrooms.

May is the cruelest month, full of dread and delight, energizing and exhausting.

Chewbacca Video


The Week at a Glance

*EOG make ups this week

Monday, May 23rd:
K-7 Yearbook Distribution

Tuesday, May 24th:
3rd Grade Stardome
Robinson to Huntersville Oaks
Kindergarten Bare Book Tea
7th Grade Ropes Course:  Knight, Keys, Ream, McMillan

Wednesday, May 25th:
7th Grade Ropes Course: Tornberg, Robinson, Hof, Siadak
6th Grade Holocaust Museum – Open to Students and Families
Washam – Teacher Leader

Thursday, May 26th:
4th Economic Fair
1st Hiddenite Mine Field Trip
2nd Grade Book Sharing
Fisher to Olde Knox Commons
6th Holocaust Museum–Open to Public

Friday, May 27th:
Kindergarten Screening
K-7 Report Cards Due to Admin for Editing
Teacher Workday; Optional Parent Conferences

Looking ahead:
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 – 9:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. at HS Black Box
June 1 – Last Day of School!!!
June 2 – Graduation
June 2 & 3 – Teacher Workdays


Please review the End-of-Year Checklist closely by clicking here:  https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1EYd5v3jlgXyrw8YVCffVmtnLyoUoyDmPWqroknrTx0o/edit?usp=sharing

Don’t forget to add your input for next year’s School Improvement Plan by clicking here:  https://docs.google.com/a/csdspartans.org/forms/d/1t1n0E-HAV3Ys9FCa8QF1P4P5-IAtC3k5HHRDaqFqhhQ/viewform

Math teachers in grades 4-7, please take a few moments to check out a potential new resource and give us your thoughts by clicking here:  http://greatminds.net/maps/math/home


Reminder:  Free childcare on Thursdays all summer for staff members who want to come and work at school.  Email coming in the next few weeks to reserve slots. 🙂

It’s that time of year when unsupervised students get into trouble.  PLEASE be on high alert and be very present in the halls and outside during recess.  Diligent supervision on our part can help our kids avoid big mistakes.  Thank you for all you do!

Teaching Tips with Marianne

Finishing the School Year Strong

Introducing the Idea of a Strong Finish

Students can reflect on these two questions, turning their answers into posters that can be hung around the classroom as reminders and shared with each other:

  • What are three things you can do to help finish the school year strong academically?
  • What is one thing you can do to help your classmates finish the year strong academically?

Students’ own unit plan: Have small groups of students identify a topic in which they have a high-degree of interest, prepare a full-fledged unit instructional plan on the topic, and then teach a portion to the class or to another small group. Allowing students to assume the teacher’s role can be a strong motivator near the end of the school year. Students should use whatever engaging instructional methods have been previously used in the class.

Other cooperative learning projects: If a student-created unit plan does not sound like a good idea for some reason, other cooperative learning lessons and strategies, including problem-based and project-based learning, can be a good alternative. Here’s my list of best sites.

Field trip?real and/or virtual: A local, or not-so-local, field trip can always be an energizer. Learning activities in the days leading-up to the trip that are specifically related to the trip?followed by reflections afterward?can provide a good week’s worth of engagement. Sometimes a “real” field trip can be challenging logistically and financially. But thanks to Web 2.0 technology, you can now have students create their own virtual field trips. There are manyfree websites that will let users easily create virtual field trips. Students can use these applications to visit places online, describe them, and show them to their classmates.

Other technology projects: In general, the end of the school year is a great time to take the leap and try out more technology integration in your classroom. Engage students with learning experiences that are a good fit with digital tools and techniques. Create online projects for “authentic audiences” where people other than the teacher can see and comment on them.

How Can Teachers Stay Energized?

The previous suggestions relate to how we can help our students stay focused. What can teachers do to keep their own teaching energy turned up? Here are a few ideas that are modified versions of what community organizers (I was one for 19 years) are often urged to do when they are feeling “burned-out”:

Work fewer hours: By this time of the year, “throwing time” at school doesn’t pay dividends. Cutting back on outrageous work hours per week can often result in feeling more energized in the classroom.

Read a stimulating book: Finding an intellectually-stimulating book (or article) on teaching and learning might get you excited to try out some new things?even though it’s the end of the year.

Watch an intellectually stimulating video on the Web: Watching one of the numerous short and thought-provoking videos on the Web from sites likeTED Talks, The Big Think, Ignite, Big Ideas Fest or Pop!Tech is another option. These videos are free and showcase presentations by people who are doing some of the most “cutting-edge” thinking and working in the world.

Write something useful for other teachers: Whether it’s a blog post or a lesson plan to be shared (or something else), forcing yourself to craft something public can keep your mind sharp.

Make a point to eat lunch?individually?with teachers you don’t know well, but are impressed with: It can be energizing to meet with another teacher and learn why they chose this profession, what they’ve discovered about teaching and learning, what gives them energy, and to hear their “story.”

Though we generally think of the word “end” as a conclusion, we should keep in mind it comes from the Greek word anti, which means “before.” While we might think we’re concluding the school year, we are really?much more importantly?setting students, and ourselves, up for what comes next.


End of the Year Activities Ideas


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