Week of April 17, 2017

Dear Staff,

We hope you all enjoyed a restful and relaxing spring break!  I know it is always fun to unplug and spend precious time with family and friends.  We hope you all were able to do something to recharge and fill your buckets.  The next few weeks will be the sprint to the end.  It’s hard to believe that the end of the school year is upon us.  April is considered to be National Poetry Month, so don’t forget to read lots of poetry with your students!  April 27th is Poem In Your Pocket Day.  Don’t forget to have your students write or bring in some of their favorite poems to share.  This is always such a fun day to celebrate poetry!  If you are on twitter the hashtag to use for this special day is #pocketpoem.  You can follow along and see how other educators are celebrating the art of poetry.  There are several websites and ideas that you can use to help you plan your celebration.  Below is a link to a website I found with a few good ideas.  Don’t forget that you writing poems along with your students is an excellent way to model for them, as well as show them how you experience the struggle and celebration of writing.  The article below from Choice Literacy beautifully illustrates this point!  I hope you enjoy it, and  Happy Poetry Month! 🙂

http://www.poetry4kids.com/news/ten-ways-to-celebrate-poem-in-your-pocket-day/

Also, don’t forget we will have lots of visitors in the building this week as we jump right in to the interview process.  Please remember that it is very important and helpful to have your feedback as we make hiring decisions over the next few weeks.  Please make sure you fill out the feedback sheet and return it to us if you have information you would like to share about a candidates interactions in your classroom. Thank you in advance for your help with this process.  Have a wonderful week!

Teachers Writing
The desire to write grows with writing.

Desiderius Eramus
Last year during the last week of school, I met with a group of fourth graders, and we talked about why they felt like writers in their classrooms. My question to them was simple, and I put it on a piece of paper in front of them: “What makes you feel like writers in this classroom?”

Because my job spans grades, I’ve known many of these students for several years, so I have watched them grow, evolve, and develop as writers. Trust me when I say that some of them would never have said they were writers until this year. Some of them didn’t like writing until this year. Some of them did what they could to avoid writing until this year. Therefore, I really wanted to know what made the difference in their classroom.

For a little while, they scratched their heads, trying to figure out answers to my question. And then one student said, “It’s because Ms. C. writes with us.” The floodgates opened, and I couldn’t document their responses fast enough. They kept saying why her writing mattered, and I kept scrawling on my piece of paper. My original notes were an assortment of different ideas, but later as I read their comments, I could organize them into categories of related concepts.

Some of the statements had to do with the sense of validation they felt:

It shows you’re not giving an assignment for the sake of giving an assignment.

It proves the fact that we’re all students and all teachers.

Other statements had more to do with the inspiration she provided–the bar she set for them:

I want to do it as well as she does.

It makes me want to do it better.

Seeing her think, seeing that she cares about her work, helps me think in my own writing.

She shows us the fun of writing.

And another set of statements reflected the sense of community they felt as a result of sharing their writing lives:

Her writing shares stuff about her we wouldn’t know otherwise.

We teach each other how to learn and be good friends.

I put Ms. C. herself on the spot and asked her why her writing life mattered to her as a teacher. Some of her reflections made right in that moment are so important:

I appreciate the struggle of time. When I draft and I can’t get the word, I realize how much I want that word, and I develop and then teach different strategies to learners.

It makes me mindful of what learners need to write.

I can be more supportive because I know what it’s like to have a defined writing block.

Whenever I have a chance in my coaching work, I weave in the importance of our own writing. Yet I have never had such a conversation with children about how much their teacher’s writing mattered to them. Straight from the mouths of students — our writing models, motivates, and inspires.

Melanie Meehan

Contributor, Choice Literacy
Melanie Meehan is the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, Connecticut. She has many fictional works in progress and blogs with Melanie Swider at Two Reflective Teachers and is a contributor to Two Writing Teachers.

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders:

Staff Retreat Survey – Please make sure you complete it by clicking here!  Remember that room and board are covered but we do ask that you come if you sign up so that we don’t waste funds on spots not taken! All full and part time staff members are invited and we do hope you will be able to attend this important annual event in the life of our school community.  This year we have invited a guest speaker team who will help us explore the notion of Broadening our Perspectives and we anticipate that it’s going to be an amazing weekend that will lead to better things at CSD.

Announcement:  We are VERY excited to announce that after a year of research conducted by parents and staff members, we have decided to take our carpool dismissal to the next level.  We will spend the next week finalizing things on the back end before actually starting to pilot the program (in tandem with our current walkie system) on Monday, April 24th.  In the meantime, all staff members need to know how to log in to the program.  Below are step-by-step instructions.  Please take a few moments over the course of the next week to login with your team and to view the Vimeo tutorials (links below).

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen.
In the bottom lefthand corner, click on school login.
Enter your school email – Ex:  jgardner@csdspartans.org
For now, your password is 123456
On the righthand side of the screen, click on “Training Videos.”  Notice they are password protected (password given on the screen).
OR…. you can view the training video by clicking here:
Staff Training:   https://vimeo.com/206536492        password:new2017
We thank you, in advance, for your patience as we transition to this new program.  We are confident that we will ALL love this new program once it is up and running, but as with any type of change, we will all be on a learning curve for a few weeks.  Thank you for trusting us and for knowing we are constantly looking for new and better ways of serving our children.  We look forward to the next steps in this process!  Stay tuned…

Week-At-A-Glance

Monday, April 17th
Admin conducting interviews all day
Sapp to the Pines
Hosse to Huntersville Oaks
Earth Day – 4th Grade
Tuesday, April 18th
Admin conducting interviews all day
Earth Day – 3rd Grade
James to Laurels
Davidson Library Visit
Juli out
Wednesday, April 19th 
4th Grade on Old Salem Field Trip
Special Olympics
Earth Day – 1st Grade
Holshouser to Huntersville Oaks
3rd Grade EOG Parent Meeting – 6:30 in Mrs. Washam’s Classroom
Juli out
Thursday, April 20th
K Field Trip to Children’s Theater
Earth Day – 2nd Grade
Fisher to William’s Place
Nature Matters Film Showing – 7:00 in HS Black Box
Juli out
Friday, April 21st
Earth Day – 6th/7th Grades
Juli out
(HS Prom)

Upcoming Dates
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

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