Week of March 27, 2017

Happy Sunday! We hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and were able to enjoy the beautiful weather!  A HUGE thanks to our auction team and to all of YOU for the VERY successful auction last night.  It was so much fun and lots of money was raised for our school!  Yay!  We couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful donations made by your classrooms and by the wonderful teacher experiences that all of you offered.  Thank you for donating your time and talents to benefit CSD!  Also, congratulations to Erik D’Esterre and his amazing middle school cast on the success of Bugsy Malone!  I am always blown away at the talent of these young adults.  Congratulations!

A few weeks ago Amy Fisher posted an article on Facebook about morning work that really made me stop and think about how I would do things differently if I were in the classroom. I also attended a workshop at our Fresh Take conference on STEM activities where the presenters talked about putting out tinker trays in the morning instead of traditional worksheet type morning work as well. All of this really set my wheels turning to the many different possibilities of rethinking how we start our student’s days. What if we had out rigorous, problem-solving, creative, collaborative challenging activities first thing in the morning that really hooked students and made them want to come into our classrooms and get started with their learning right away? How would this help set the tone for the day? Would this help cut down on tardies? Does it get students so engaged in their thinking right away that their minds are off and running from that start? This is something that I promise you no worksheet will ever provide! This article also talked about the importance of allowing students choice. Having several options out so that students choose what speaks to them. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like the perfect way to start my day! I can promise you that the thought of coming in to a stack of worksheets does not sound exciting to me as an adult, I feel certain it does not sound very appealing to a child. Morning is when most of us are fresh and ready to go, why not allow students time to explore their passion and creativity? I have provided the link to the article Amy posted below. I hope that you will read it and it will spark some new ideas for you. Remember, you don’t have to do everything this teacher did. You can start small, if all of these ideas seem overwhelming pick one and try it! You don’t have to wait until next year to do this, try one tomorrow or next week. I promise your students will love you even more for it! 🙂 Maybe you even choose one of the activities to try along with them. Children love watching their teachers try new things, even if it doesn’t work out, those can be some of the best lessons we ever teach them! Let us know if you try any of these ideas or have other ideas to share. I would love to know if you see a difference in your students. Have a fantastic week!

http://mrdovico.blogspot.com/2017/02/rethinking-morning-work.html

 

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 27th
Carr to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, March 28th
Hosse Opera Dress Rehearsal
Walker to Children’s Theater
Love and Logic Parenting Class with Marianne – 8:30 in 6th Grade Art Room
Wednesday, March 29th
Admin Planning Day – Admin off campus all day
Sara Keys Teacher Leader
Hosse Opera
Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
Thursday, March 30th
Walker Opera Dress Rehearsal
Thompson to Huntersville Oaks
Washam to Williams Place
Friday, March 24th
Walker Opera
5th Grade to Children’s Theater

Upcoming Dates
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 5 – K-7 Staff Meeting
April 7 – 16 – Spring Break
April 17 – Classes Resume
April 17 – Earth Day – 4th Grade
April 18 – Earth Day – 3rd Grade
April 19 – Earth Day – 1st Grade
April 19 – 4th Grade to Old Salem
April 19 – Special Olympics
April 20 – Earth Day – 2nd Grade
April 20 – K to Children’s Theater
April 21 – Earth Day – 6th and 7th Grades
April 24 – 6/7 Dance Dress Rehearsals
April 25 – Kids Are Worth It Book Talk for Parents – 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. MS Black Box
April 26 – 6/7 Dance Sharings
April 26 – Teacher Appreciation Grab and Go Lunch
April 26 – MS/HS Band Performance – 7:00 p.m. at Pine Lake Auditorium
April 27 – Earth Day – Kindergarten
April 28 – 3rd Grade Walking Tour
May 6 – Spartan 5K and Half Marathon
May 10 – K-7 Mandatory Staff Meeting – EOG Training w/ Angela
May 12 – CSD Retreat; Teacher Workday
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives
May 16 – 5th Grade Science EOG
May 18 – ELA EOG – Grades 3-7
May 19 – Math EOG – Grade 3-7
May 18-19 – 2nd Grade to Rescue Ranch
May 23 – 3rd Grade Poetry Slam
May 24-25 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
May 24-25 – Holocaust Museum
May 26th – Kindergarten Screening; Required Teacher Workday
May 29 – Memorial Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
May 30 – State of the School
May 30 – 7th Grade Change Project
May 31 – Last Day of School (5th Grade Moving Up) (6/7 Dance)
June 1-2 – Teacher Workdays
June 1 – CSD Graduation at Belk Theater

Week of March 20, 2017

 

 

Dear Staff,

Do you recognize these faces?  They are some of the amazing cast of the CSD HS musical Mary Poppins.  I hope that you were able to see one of the shows this weekend, as it was truly outstanding!  The photo that you see above was taken by Charity Helms, CSD mom and staff member.  She captioned it, “The Seniors.”  Wait, what????  Seniors???  As blown away as I was by their performance, I was equally blown away at the realization that all of these beautiful and talented young people are seniors!  Weren’t they just on the K/1 hall?  This is our first class of students to go from kindergarten through 12th grade.  That in itself is very exciting!  As I watched them on stage this weekend tap dancing, singing, acting, even at one point flying thorough the air–yes, really flying, I was reminded at truly how far they all have come since they entered our doors as young five and six year old students.  Some of these students were painfully shy when they were young, some of them were defiant, some were considered not great test takers, and yet here they all are putting on one of the most professional plays I have seen. Truly, it was breathtaking to watch them and listen to them act and sing!

Earlier this week Juli and I did an open house for newly admitted families to CSD.  In the presentation we talk about how Dr. Boyer defines being a literate person.  He defines being a literate person not just in reading and writing, but in three areas.  They are reading/writing, numbers and the arts.  As I watched these seniors on stage I thought to myself how proud Dr. Boyer must be.  For these students, who we have taught K-12, are truly literate.  In fact, they are “practically perfect,” as Mary Poppins would say.  So kudos to you dear staff, because you are the ones who have helped them reach their full potential.  I know at the K-7 building we don’t always have the benefit of seeing them blossom.  However, you are the ones who help weed the garden, sprinkle them with kindness and shine down on them with love even when they are hard. They are nurtured and grow into these beautiful, talented and literate on so many levels, human beings who are going to do great and wonderful things in this world!  So as we dig into one of the hardest parts of the year I hope you will pull this picture back out and remind yourself of all the good you do on a daily basis.  I also hope that you will remember that as testing season kicks off that these faces once were third, fourth, fifth and even middle school test takers.  Some of them did really well and some of them didn’t, and look at them now…all practically perfect!  Remember to make it fun, that is what they will remember.  As Mary Poppins would say, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down!”  I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I leave you with one final quote from the play that was in our playbill:

“Anything can happen if you let it.  Sometimes things are difficult but you can bet it doesn’t have to be so, changes can be made.  You can move a mountain if you use a larger spade.  Anything can happen it’s a marvel.  You can be a butterfly or just stay larval.  Stretch your mind beyond fantastic dreams are made or strong elastic.  Take some sound advice and don’t forget it.  Anything can happen if you let it!”

-Mary Poppins

PS~ Take a few minutes and listen to the latest CSD podcast done by Marianne Coale and Amy Teckenbrock, “More Than a Test Score.”

 

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 20th
Juli out – at DPI meeting
5th Grade NC Check In
Session 4 ASE Begins
Tuesday, March 21st
Love and Logic Parent Class w/ Marianne – 8:30a.m. in 6th Grade Art Room
Schultz to the Laurels
Wednesday, March 22nd
Middle School Parent Meeting – 7:00 in MS Black Box
Thursday, March 23rd
Middle School Parent Meeting – 8:30 in MS Black Box
Hurlbut to Huntersville Oaks
Love and Logic Parent Class w/ Marianne – 7:30 in MS Media Center
Friday, March 24th

Upcoming Dates
March 22-25 – MS Musical – Bugsy Malone Jr.
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
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives

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 March 13, 2017

come into our lives for a reason

Dear Staff,
These are lyrics from one of my most favorite songs of all time – For Good from Wicked.  As I watched Paw Paw enter a room full of elementary aged children singing Happy Birthday to him this week, I was reminded of how much that dear man has taught me.  This week, I wanted to take a few minutes to honor our beloved Paw Paw in hopes that ALL of us will be inspired to achieve such greatness in our own lifetimes.

Love,
Juli

What Paw Paw Has Taught Me (Without Him Even Knowing It)…

Positivity

We’ve all had the same conversation with Paw Paw a million times, and it goes something like this…

“Paw Paw, how are you doing today?” 

“I don’t know.  Maw Maw hasn’t told me yet.”

Followed by…

“I’m great!  Why can’t we work seven days a week?  Every day just gets better and better.”

Now, we all know that Paw Paw is an 85 year old man, and I don’t believe for one second that everyday is “great.”  You can’t live that long and not have aches and pains (in your body and/or your heart).  The difference is – Paw Paw chooses his outlook.  Rather than letting his condition of wellbeing define him, he defines his own condition of well being.  Paw Paw has taught me that our outlook is a choice.  You can succumb to the aches and pains of your body and mind and let it bring you down, or you can rise above and change your mind about how you feel.  Then even better, you can spread your optimistic outlook on to others, which is exactly what he does each and every day as he moseys up and down our halls.  How different would our world be if we all had a “Paw Paw outlook?”

Slow Down

Speaking of moseying… Paw Paw has taught me how to slow down.  I go way too fast in life, and as a result, I miss a lot.  When I get behind Paw Paw in the halls, I’m forced to slow down and notice so much more.  I see the intricate details in a child’s artwork.  I actually take the time to read the words they’ve written.  I see a beautiful interaction between a child and their parent or another trusted adult in our school.  These are the things that matter, and if you’re going too fast, you might miss them.  And just for the record….Dan and I live just a couple of streets over from Maw Maw and Paw Paw, and Dan has often joked that whatever speed Paw Paw lacks on his feet, he makes up for when he gets behind the wheel.  So watch out!  🙂

Do Small Things with Great Love

To many, Paw Paw would not seem to be this big, important person in the world.  He is not known for finding the cure for cancer, for running a Fortune 500 company, or for winning a Nobel Peace Prize.  However, his influence extends far and wide.  I am pretty certain there wasn’t a dry eye in the house on Friday when the kids welcomed him into the building for his surprise birthday party.  Paw Paw has no biological children of his own, but he has made a lifetime of loving all kids (and people) with his whole heart.  Every trash can he empties, he empties with love.  Every toilet he has scrubbed, he has scrubbed with love.  Every rug he has vacuumed, he has vacuumed with love.  You see, for Paw Paw, I don’t believe it’s about what he’s doing – it’s about the why (which totally impacts the how).  He does those things with great love because he cares deeply about our school and the people in it.  He takes a genuine, sincere interest in the human beings he encounters, and then spreads his love like sunshine.  If you’re lucky, you know what it’s like to be engulfed in one of those indescribable, melt-your-heart Paw Paw hugs.  With his quick wit and his undeniable charm, Paw Paw steals the heart of all those he encounters – not the least of which is our very own sweet, little Ella Cobb.  The connection between the two of them is pure magic, and if we could bottle up that energy and sell it to the world, we would never have to fundraise at CSD again.  But we can’t…so we have to focus on what we can do.  And Paw Paw has reminded me that while I can’t be everyone’s hero and I can’t solve all the problems of the world, I can do small things with great love.

There are many, many other things that we could all add to the Paw Paw list, but I’m sure you agree that the best thing we can do is to find that “Paw Paw” inside of each of us and continue to pass it along to those we encounter, especially our students.  Thank you, Paw Paw, for showing us the way and for leaving each of us better than you found us.  You’ll never know the full extent of our love for you, but we will certainly try to show you each and every day.  Happy Birthday, young man!  We hope Maw Maw spoils you rotten and lets you eat whatever you want! 🙂

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 6th
Teckenbrock to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, March 7th
6th Grade Butterfly Project
Hoover to the Laurels
Love and Logic Parent Session w/ Marianne – 8:30 a.m. in MS
K-7 Open House for Waitlist and New Admits 9:00-11:00
Wednesday, March 8th
Posey to Huntersville Oaks
NO STAFF MEETING THIS WEEK
Thursday, March 9th
Love and Logic Parent Session w/ Marianne – 7:00 p.m. in MS
Friday, March 10th
3rd Grade to Charlotte Symphony
7th Grade Asia Day
ASE Session 3 Ends

Upcoming Dates
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
May 16th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives

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

Teaching Tips

As we head into our final training session for 9 Essentials Skills for the Love and Logic Classroom®  I wanted to remind us on all we learned throughout the year:

  • Neutralize arguing, begging and backtalk by using a one liner.
  • Delay the Consequence.
  • Provide a healthy dose of empathy before providing the consequence. Use your empathetic statement.
  • Use the Recovery Process when your classroom learning environment is being disrupted.  Do not stop teaching!
  • Develop positive teacher/student relationships by using ” I’ve noticed that ______. I noticed that.”
  • Set Limits using Enforceable Statements such as I allow students to remain with the group when they aren’t causing a problem.
  • Use Choices to Prevent Power Struggles.
  • Use quick and easy preventive interventions.

Our last session will focus on guiding our students to own and solve their problems!

 

 

Week of March 6, 2017

Dear Staff,

Happy Sunday!  It’s a short week this week, so I hope that you all will be able to use this time to get caught up, reflect and think about the next 53 days (according to my son 🙂 that are left in this school year.  It’s kind of hard to believe that we will only have our students with us for 53 more days, doesn’t seem like a lot to me, and they will go by in the blink of an eye.  When those 53 days are up what will your students walk out of your classroom and remember?  I know as I helped out at the middle school dance production last week the thought crossed my mind that these middle school students will walk out of their dance class and remember this experience always.  I shared with Sara that when I was in middle school I learned how to tinkle (like the Pick Up Stick dance in her show).  It was on a much smaller scale and in PE class that we learned how to do this, but it is something I remember having so much fun doing and still remember all these years later.  Last Wednesday, in staff meeting, one of the reflection questions in the Love and Logic session was who were your favorite teachers and why?  The teachers that came to my mind were the ones who let us do things that were outside the box, were kind and caring, yet had a strong command of the classroom.  My 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Johnson, came to mind.  I remember she always let us do the most amazing hands-on science labs.  We all looked forward to her labs.  She truly let us investigate and experiment for ourselves without telling us what the outcome would be.  One particular experiment comes to mind when my partner and I somehow created a concoction in a beaker with a lid on it.  Whatever we created had some sort of chemical reaction and the lid blew completely off of the beaker and the concoction landed on the ceiling.  I don’t remember that particular lesson, I don’t even remember what we combined to make it happen.  What I do remember is how Mrs. Johnson handled the explosion.  She herself did not explode.  She turned it into a teachable moment and we as a class discussed why this happened and the science behind it.  What could have been turned into a very embarrassing situation for two middle school students was handled in a way where the class learned from us (what not to do! ) and our dignity remained in tact.  She helped us save face in front of our peers, which is huge in middle school.  We walked out of her classroom feeling like scientist, not two students who messed up and were in trouble.  I will never forget her for that!  The Choice Literacy article below tells a similar story of creating classroom rituals.  I hope you will use these next 53 days helping students make memories that they will carry with them forever.  Have a fantastic week!

 

Secret Handshake

You have to trust someone before you can have rituals with them.
Rachel Klein

I am observing in Gigi McAllister’s fourth-grade classroom early in the year. Hannah and Cara are special guests for morning meeting – girls from a fifth-grade class who have come to teach Gigi’s students the secret handshake.

Gigi describes how a few students in last year’s class developed the handshake on their own and taught it to everyone in the class. The handshake was something kids did daily at random times. It is a quick but elaborate mix of fist bumps, high-fives, low-fives, and jellyfishes.

Gigi explains,“This handshake is only for students who have been in this class. Just think – someday when you are in sixth grade and you meet up with one of my students, you can share the handshake. Heck, in 40 years you might run into someone in Walmart who was my student too, and you can know for sure when you do the handshake.”

There is much laughter and concentration as students move through the meeting area, testing and perfecting the handshake among themselves. The energy and sense of fun is potent. The scene makes me think of what rituals any classroom has, and how few might be unique to that classroom. Yet those are what you’ll remember in 40 years when you are in the local grocery store reminiscing about a favorite teacher or class.

Teachers are famous for borrowing freely (and sharing generously) their best new ideas. Every class includes so many routines learned from others. There is not much that is uniquely ours. Yet those quirky rituals are what are remembered most fondly, not the routines students experience year after year. What’s the “secret handshake” in your room? What will students be carrying away that they remember as uniquely yours 40 years from now?
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, March 6th
Walker to Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, March 7th
AdvancEd Accreditation QAR Visit
Love and Logic Parent Session w/ Marianne – 8:30 a.m. in MS
Parent Advisory 7:30 p.m. at HS
Wednesday, March 8th
AdvancEd Accreditation QAR Visit
4th Grade to JA Biztown
K-12 Staff Meeting  at HS after school (Accreditation Results)
Girl Rising Documentary Showing – MS Gym – 6:00p.m.
Thursday, March 9th
7th Grade SLC’s
Teacher Workday – No School for Students
Friday, March 10th
Teacher Workday – No School for Students

Upcoming Dates
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
May 11th – Last Day of 6/7 Branch Electives
May 15th – Last Day of 6/7 Arts Electives

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