Week of February 27, 2017

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Dear Staff,

Happy Sunday!  I hope you all have been able to soak up some of this fabulous February sunshine!  Almost eighty degrees in February and I have to believe that the groundhog got it wrong this year….I’ve got spring fever for sure! 🙂  As we begin the month of March madness this week I am excited to celebrate one of my favorite days in school, Read Across America Day!  This Thursday, March 2, I hope that you will “grab your hat and read with the cat” in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  Whether you are six, sixteen, or sixty six you are never too old to celebrate the gift of reading!  I hope that you will grab a book, and read to and with a child.  I know I plan to visit lots of classrooms to read.  It’s always fun to see not only the kindergarten students celebrate Dr. Seuss, but students of all ages.

This week’s Choice Literacy article just happens to be on the topic of celebrating reading.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read the article below about how one fifth grade teacher got her students so engaged in a book that it turned into something bigger to celebrate than she could have imagined!  Enjoy your week, and happy reading!

Celebrating Read-Alouds

The fire of literacy is created by the sparks between a child, a book, and the person reading.

Mem Fox
One day before winter break, my classroom was filled with blue food. We had blue punch, blue Jell-O, blue tortilla chips, and blue chocolate chip cookies. Why the color-themed food? We were celebrating the end of a class read-aloud, Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief.

Typically I avoid any rewards tied to reading. I believe reading needs to be its own reward. When it is tied to external motivation, the desire to read typically disappears when the rewards are removed. So why on earth would I have a “blue-food party” in my classroom?

I think reading rewards and celebrating books are two very different things. We had been “celebrating” The Lightning Thief during the weeks it took to read this book aloud. The bulletin board on the back wall had become Camp Half-Blood, with a map of the buildings and areas created by students in the class. A small tree in the classroom had been named Thalia and she guarded the borders of our classroom, just as she did in the book. It wasn’t unusual to see orange shirts on my students during those weeks we read the book, to represent the Camp Half-Blood T-shirts. A few students began to make necklaces for the others with beads on leather lanyards like the kids at camp received. When fan fiction with the characters from the book began to pop up in writing workshop, I knew the class was fully immersed in the world Riordan had created.

As a reader, I get this passion for a story. I’ve read a book and fallen so deeply into that world that the real world I inhabit begins to look dull in comparison. I’ve driven down the road and thought that a character would like something I’ve seen, only to remember they are fictional. Some of my fifth graders have experienced this already, but many have not. Our read-alouds are the vehicles in to this world of loving books.

So when my students and I gathered together on a cold winter day in Illinois and I turned the last pages of Percy’s story, they munched on blue food all around them. One boy commented that Percy was right — blue homemade chocolate chip cookies really were the best. Another said she wished that we could have blue Coca-Cola like Percy did at camp. And they all let out groans when I said, “the end” and closed the book.

Reading aloud to our students provides the opportunity to celebrate reading for the sake of reading. We get to bond over a story without concerns about reading levels or ability. For that month in winter we lived and breathed the story of a demigod on his quest to save the world. By the end, we had celebrated our community and grown a little bit closer, thanks to the worlds that we inhabited – both in the classroom and in our heads. That’s something to celebrate.

Katherine Sokolowski
Contributor, Choice Literacy

 

We are begging you to PLEASE read and be familiar with our Accreditation document (see link below). As you look at your lessons for the Tuesday/Wednesday external visit days, please expect visitors and conversations.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7OJwJY6ufldS04xVmJvdTRvM0JMOW9PNXZib0ZROWN3RG9z

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, February 28
Renaud to Pines
Whitley to Huntersville Oaks
CSD Lottery, 4:00, HS Black Box

Tuesday, February 29
4th Grade Mountain Unit Sharing
Love and Logic Parent Workshop, 8:30
Sharp/Westbrook to Williams Place

Wednesday, March 1
4th grade to Children’s Theater
Hosse to Huntersville Oaks
K-7 Staff Meeting, 3:30

Thursday, March 2
Read Across America Day
Love and Logic Parent workshop, 7:30

Friday, March 3
Elementary Spirit Friday

Upcoming Dates
Feb 27 – CSD Lottery 4:00 – HS Black Box
Feb 28 – 4th Grade Mountain Unit Sharing
Mar 1 – K-7 Staff Meeting in Black Box
Mar 7-8 – AdvancEd Accreditation Visit
Mar 7 – Parent Advisory 7:30 at HS
Mar 8 – K-12 Staff Meeting after school (Accreditation Results)
Mar 9-10 – Teacher Workdays – NO SCHOOL
Mar 9 – 7th Grade SLC’s
Mar 14 – 6th Grade Butterfly Project
Mar 15 – K-7 Staff Meeting MS Black Box
Mar 17 – 3rd Grade Charlotte Symphony
Mar 17 – 7th Grade Asia Day
March 25 – CSD Auction
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume

Upcoming “BIG” Dates:

May 12-13 – Staff Retreat
Week of May 15 – EOG’s
May 30 – State of the School Address
May 31 – Last Day of School
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays

Week of February 21, 2017

Dear Staff,

I happened upon this beautiful Standing O Valentine letter that was written by one of our new fifth grade students this year.  She wrote it and gave it to her teachers.  I saw it hanging in their room, and as I read it, it brought tears to my eyes.  This… this is what it’s all about.  This is what WE are all about.  This is why we do what we do everyday, this is why even on our hardest days we keep coming back.  It’s not magic or maybe it is, maybe that human bond of having a real connection with someone, a relationship, is truly magic.  For this sweet girl it surely is, because she no longer fades into the background. Her teachers and her classmates have recognized her and made her feel welcomed and apart of something.  It is a lasting impact that will stay with her forever.  I share her words with you below and hope that they touch you as deeply as they touched me, and with that I say a sincere and deep thank you for making our students feel noticed.  Thank you for making them feel loved and important.  You are what makes CSD stand apart from the rest, you are the reason we have a wait list of over 3, 000, you are the reason parents and students love our school, you are the magic!

I was used to moving from school to school so I wasn’t really scared of the idea and reality of having a new school, but of the idea (and once again reality) of having a new teacher or teachers.  Some of my past teachers weren’t kind and I had started to perfect the art of fading into the background.  But when I came to CSD I felt welcome by not only student but teachers!  You were part of the reason I started to enjoy school and math, which I never had a problem with but always bored me so I didn’t use to work as hard on it as other subjects.  But when I started learning math here it was fun and I know you didn’t just snap your fingers to make me enjoy it.  You put energy, care, and enthusiasm into everything you do and that’s what makes it so fun!  Next year I’ll be in middle school and I don’t know if I’ll like my teachers or not.  All I know is that I will never meet a teacher as helpful, witty and kind as you!

All of you hold these words close to your heart because this is what you do on a daily basis.  Go and continue to make magic, for the children of this world need you now more than ever!

Much love,

Leslie

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, February 22
President’s Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
Tuesday, February 21
8:30 Love and Logic Parenting Class w/ Marianne
Coppola to the Laurels
Washam to William’s Place
Wednesday, February 22
K-7 Grab and Go Luncheon
Thursday, February 23
Kindergarten Gallery Crawls
MS Dance Dress Rehearsal at HS Black Box (Leslie at HS to supervise)
Friday, February 24
MS Dance Performances at HS Black Box (Juli and Marianne alternate being at HS to supervise)

Upcoming Dates
Feb 27 – CSD Lottery 4:00 – HS Black Box
Feb 28 – 4th Grade Mountain Unit Sharing
Mar 1 – K-7 Staff Meeting in Black Box
Mar 7-8 – AdvancEd Accreditation Visit
Mar 7 – Parent Advisory 7:30 at HS
Mar 8 – K-12 Staff Meeting after school (Accreditation Results)
Mar 9-10 – Teacher Workdays – NO SCHOOL
Mar 9 – 7th Grade SLC’s
Mar 14 – 6th Grade Butterfly Project
Mar 15 – K-7 Staff Meeting MS Black Box
Mar 17 – 3rd Grade Charlotte Symphony
Mar 17 – 7th Grade Asia Day
March 25 – CSD Auction
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume

Upcoming “BIG” Dates:
May 12-13 – Staff Retreat
Week of May 15 – EOG’s
May 30 – State of the School Address
May 31 – Last Day of School
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays

Week of February 13

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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We know you have all been working extremely hard on assessments, report cards and conferences. We commend you for your efforts as your love, care and concern for our students does not go unnoticed.

This week at parent advisory I was once again reminded of the importance of relationships.  In keeping with our mission and vision, relationships are the driving force in all that we do. The Basic School explains that to be true community, the institution must be organized around people, relationships and ideas.

I loved this reminder from Bright Side on How to Improve Your Relationships in 60 Seconds.

“Bright Side shares with you 15 incredibly simple techniques that help you build a long and happy relationship with your partner and strengthen relationships with your friends, children, colleagues, and even with yourself.”

Click here to read the suggestions!

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, February 13
2nd Grade Sapp- Pines
5th Grade Teckenbrock- Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, February 14
Valentine’s Day!
1st Grade James- Laurels
3rd Grade Washam- Williams Place
Wednesday, February 15
5th Grade Holshouser- Huntersville Oaks
K-7 Staff Meeting-HWT K-3
Please bring a sample of writing
Thursday, February 16
Parent/Teacher Conferences/Workday
Friday, February 17
Parent/Teacher Conferences/Workday

Upcoming Dates
Feb 20 – NO School – President’s Day Holiday
Feb 22 – Grab and Go Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Feb 23 – MS Dance Rehearsals (ES classes will attend, schedule coming soon)
Feb 23 – Kindergarten Gallery Crawl
Feb 24 – MS Dance Performances (parents)
Feb 27 – CSD Lottery 4:00 – HS Black Box
Feb 28 – 4th Grade Mountain Unit Sharing
Mar 1 – K-7 Staff Meeting in Black Box
Mar 7-8 – AdvancEd Accreditation Visit
Mar 7 – Parent Advisory 7:30 at HS
Mar 8 – K-12 Staff Meeting (Accreditation Results)
Mar 9-10 – Teacher Workdays – NO SCHOOL
Mar 9 – 7th Grade SLC’s
Mar 14 – 6th Grade Butterfly Project
Mar 15 – K-7 Staff Meeting MS Black Box
Mar 17 – 3rd Grade Charlotte Symphony
Mar 17 – 7th Grade Asia Day
March 25 – CSD Auction
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
 
Upcoming “BIG” Dates:
May 12-13 – Staff Retreat
Week of May 15 – EOG’s
May 30 – State of the School Address
May 31 – Last Day of School
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays

Reminders:

Accreditation Evidences for QAR Needed ASAP:
As you know, our Accreditation 5 Year Renewal Visit is coming up on March 7th and 8th.  Part of the preparation for this visit entails collecting evidences that support our mission and vision and how they relate to the AdvancEd Standards.  We need a sampling of interdisciplinary “projects” or “units of study” from each of our grade levels along with a variety of student samples.  At your next team meeting, please pick a unit from your grade level (or loop) that you feel is an excellent representation of how we teach at CSD.  Some ideas for evidences include but are not limited to the following:

Scope/Sequences of Thematic Units of Study (think “tubs” – in fact, a tub could even be an evidence!)
Key Questions/Essential Questions
Specific Lesson Plans (think multidisciplinary station work, for example)
Scripts from class plays
DVD’s of past classes’ performances (I PROMISE to take good care of these!)
Programs from past performances
*Don’t forget work samples if you have them!
There is a box outside Juli’s office labeled “Evidences.”  Please place your team’s/loop’s selection in this box by February 15th.  Thank you!

Note from Joy:

Please take time to read this culminating report of our school interval review (see email entitled “Accreditation Report).  When the Accred team comes to CSD, they will spend two days in our school in an out of our K-12 classrooms and will certainly be asking questions about what we do and how we do it. The visit is in early March and we want to make sure everyone has time to read this document prepare for the external review team visit. If you are willing to be on the list of teachers who sit in on the teacher interview with the team, please let us know because this is a very important role as you are the voice representing our school teacher group.   Huge thanks to Erika Bowen for leading this effort. Thank you so much Erika! You have done a terrific job and we are incredibly grateful.

Teaching Tips:

We wanted to check in on your “experiments” using enforceable statements and choices within your classroom.  Please let us know if you need help brainstorming ideas and solutions!

Week of February 6, 2017

Dear Staff,

As you all know, Dr. Boyer defined “literacy” broadly to include words, numbers, and the arts.  One of his Core Commonalities is entitled “Response to the Aesthetic” and reads as follows:

All Basic School students understand that people responds to beauty and can be expressive in the arts.  They explore the rich variety of artistic expression, learning about the various works of art, recognizing the benefits of making art, and knowing some of the ways in which visual and performing arts have evolved in different cultures.

Let us take a few moments to celebrate the artists among us and the teachers who have so beautifully integrated these experiences into their classrooms.  Walking down our hallways and visiting the classrooms is a feast of beauty for the eyes and soul, and we thank you, THE TEACHERS, who make this possible!

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Week At A Glance:

Monday, February 6th
Report Cards due to admin for review
Garren to Huntersville Oaks
Teacher Preview Party Bookfair (after carpool)
Tuesday, February 7th
Scholastic Book Fair (in MS Media Center)
2nd Grade Kabuto Field Trip
1st Grade Children’s Theater Field Trip (Junie B Jones)
Parent Advisory at 9:00 a.m. in 8th Grade Spanish Room
Wednesday, February 8th
Scholastic Book Fair (in MS Media Center)
Thursday, February 9th
Scholastic Book Fair (in MS Media Center)
Hurlbut to Huntersville Oaks
Hot Chocolate Party at Book Fair
Love and Logic Parenting Class – 7:30 p.m. at MS Media Center
Friday, February 10th
Babysitting Night by Key Club at HS (in MS Black Box)

Upcoming Dates:
Feb 14 – Valentine’s Day and Celebrations!
Feb 15 – Staff Meeting (K-3: Handwriting Without Tears, 4-5; Loop Reflective Meeting, 6-7 Team Planning) *K-3, please bring a sample of handwriting from a student who struggles.
Feb 16-17 – Teacher Workdays
Feb 16 – 6th Grade SLC’s
Feb 20 – NO School – President’s Day Holiday
Feb 22 – Grab and Go Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Feb 24 – MS Dance Performances
Feb 27 – CSD Lottery 4:00 – HS Black Box
Feb 28 – 4th Grade Mountain Unit Sharing
Mar 1 – K-7 Staff Meeting in Black Box
Mar 7-8 – AdvancEd Accreditation Visit
Mar 7 – Parent Advisory 7:30 at HS
Mar 8 – K-12 Staff Meeting (Accreditation Results)
Mar 9-10 – Teacher Workdays – NO SCHOOL
Mar 9 – 7th Grade SLC’s
Mar 14 – 6th Grade Butterfly Project
Mar 15 – K-7 Staff Meeting MS Black Box
Mar 17 – 3rd Grade Charlotte Symphony
Mar 17 – 7th Grade Asia Day
March 25 – CSD Auction
Week of March 20th – EOG Pre-testing and Data Analysis to be completed by 3/27/16
Week of Mar 27 – 5th Grade Operas
Week of March 27 – EOG Review and Prep Begins
Mar 29 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Week of April 3 – 5th Grade Operas
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
 
Upcoming “BIG” Dates:
May 12-13 – Staff Retreat
Week of May 15 – EOG’s
May 30 – State of the School Address
May 31 – Last Day of School
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays

Reminders

Valentines:
Please make sure you are reminding your students to work on their class Valentines.  All Valentines should be signed by each student as well as edited by the parents.  Thank you for your help with this!

Report Cards:
Optional Parent/Teacher Conferences for the 2nd Trimester are scheduled for Feb 16th and 17th.  We would like to ask that all teachers have their report cards ready for admin to review by Monday, February 6th.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help with assessments.  Thanks for all you do!

Accreditation Evidences for QAR Needed ASAP:
As you know, our Accreditation 5 Year Renewal Visit is coming up on March 7th and 8th.  Part of the preparation for this visit entails collecting evidences that support our mission and vision and how they relate to the AdvancEd Standards.  We need a sampling of interdisciplinary “projects” or “units of study” from each of our grade levels along with a variety of student samples.  At your next team meeting, please pick a unit from your grade level (or loop) that you feel is an excellent representation of how we teach at CSD.  Some ideas for evidences include but are not limited to the following:

Scope/Sequences of Thematic Units of Study (think “tubs” – in fact, a tub could even be an evidence!)
Key Questions/Essential Questions
Specific Lesson Plans (think multidisciplinary station work, for example)
Scripts from class plays
DVD’s of past classes’ performances (I PROMISE to take good care of these!)
Programs from past performances
*Don’t forget work samples if you have them!
There is a box outside Juli’s office labeled “Evidences.”  Please place your team’s/loop’s selection in this box by February 15th.  Thank you!

Note from Joy:

Please take time to read this culminating report of our school interval review (see email entitled “Accreditation Report).  When the Accred team comes to CSD, they will spend two days in our school in an out of our K-12 classrooms and will certainly be asking questions about what we do and how we do it. The visit is in early March and we want to make sure everyone has time to read this document prepare for the external review team visit. If you are willing to be on the list of teachers who sit in on the teacher interview with the team, please let us know because this is a very important role as you are the voice representing our school teacher group.   Huge thanks to Erika Bowen for leading this effort. Thank you so much Erika! You have done a terrific job and we are incredibly grateful.

Teaching Tips

Here’s a nice article that summarizes this past week’s staff meeting on avoiding power struggles by giving kids choices.  As you read this and review our last staff meeting, take a few moments to think about ways in which you are empowering children by giving them choices.

“Everyone in this world wants some power and control over their own lives. Have you ever said “I feel like my life is so out of control”?  We feel stressed and anxious when we are out of control.

Just like us, children don’t like feeling out of control.  They like to have a say, they like to make decisions about their lives.  They want some power. When they don’t get power, they will fight for it.  This is when power struggles happen.

When you give a child choices, you give them a sense of power.  When you give a child a few choices that you are ok with, then they are more likely to comply with your request.  They feel good about feeling in control and you feel good because your child is doing what you want them to.  It’s a win win.”

You can read the complete article by clicking here.

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