Sunday, December 7, 2014

Put your oxygen mask on first

Principal ponderings...

Last year I wrote a blog post about remembering "me time."  You can reread that post here.  So clearly, I need to take my own advice!  I am beginning to make more time for taking care of myself in order to successfully finish out this pregnancy and keep baby and mama healthy until the arrival.

It is also that time of year when I need to remind all of you to take care of yourselves so that you can take care of your students effectively.  Students know when we are stressed.  They can read our emotional state and will react to it accordingly.  If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed or you have let your job consume your's ok to stop and take a deep breath.  Do some quiet meditating.  Say some positive affirmations out loud or in your head or even write them down.  Do something just for you.  Remember that your students need you to be functioning at 100% for them so do whatever you need to do for yourself so that you will be there for them.

Hmm...maybe try one of these 50 Ways to Take a Break?

Currently reading:
The advantage of being told I need to work less and rest more...more reading time!  I know I have been reading more picture books during the month of November.  Looking forward to getting back to reading MCBA books.  Lately, I have been reading a book for my birthing class homework....Hypnobirthing.  Definitely interesting and hoping it will help me have a gentle, calm birth.
I am still working on Capture the Flag.  And I'm thinking the next book on my night stand that I will pick up to read is Doll Bones.  

Events this week:
Monday - Hour of Code Day...see Phyllis's email for the schedule of the events throughout the day
Tuesday - FR and SU Kindergarten teams meeting with Grace and Sharon from 12:45-3:15 in the conference room, School Council meeting @ 3:30 in the library
Thursday - Students will be delivering holiday baskets to Groton seniors, District-wide half day, dismissal at 12:15, multi-part series PD begins
Friday - Last day to submit toys or clothing for our Giving Tree project

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Students in computer lab...not using technology!  I saw 3rd graders doing some coding activities in preparation for Hour of Code.
  • I popped in Mrs. Potter's and Mrs. Smith's class and heard several students recite poems that they had memorized.  Working on those presentation important category under ELA Common Core, speaking and listening.
  • Holiday Fair was a huge success!  I enjoyed listening to all of the grade level concerts.  The students looked so nice in their holiday outfits, and they did such a great job performing.  Way to go Mr. Wiesner!

Check it out:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giving Thanks

Principal ponderings...

Last week I wrote about being thankful with my list of 100 things I am thankful for.  This week I want to talk about giving thanks.  It's one thing to be thankful, it's another thing to actually give thanks to people.  As educators, I know we have many students who we have had an impact on, but there are also many people who have had an impact on us over the years.  We may have had an amazing teacher when we were in school, we may have had a professor who inspired us, we may have worked with a mentor or a colleague who helped shape us, we may have had an administrator who we connected with.  My question is...have you ever reached out to that person and thanked them for what they did for you?

As teachers, I know we work with so many students and once we send them on to other schools, we don't always get to hear how they end up.  Last year, I was completely surprised when a former student of mine from VA found me and sent me an email.  He was a student I worked with when he was in high school, and when I moved to MA I always wondered...whatever happened to him?  Did he make it or did he drop out?  I am happy to say he is now married, has a little boy and is happily employed.  When he wrote to me he said that he felt like I was the one teacher who cared about him.  In fact, I taught him at a private school and actually talked with him about how maybe that private school was not the best choice for him.  He informed me that because of me, he switched to public school for his last two years, was able to take courses that interested him and ended up pursuing a career in technical drawing.  He was always sketching and doodling in his classes!  I can't tell you how happy it made me feel to know that I had had an impact on this student and years later he took the time to send me a message and thank me.

I have a friend of mine who I lived with during our first year out of college.  Several years ago I got a letter in the mail from her.  She had made a decision to send a card out each year to one woman who had had an impact on her life.  I was excited and honored that she included me on that list.  Her kind words about my strength and dedication to helping others were unexpected but greatly appreciated.  I still have the card and pull it out to reread what she wrote.

Words of gratitude are very powerful.  When we thank others who have inspired us or helped us along the way, we give that person support and inspiration to keep doing the great things they have done for us.  I challenge all of you to give thanks.  Put your thanks in writing and send someone who has inspired you a letter, an email, a sticky note.  Not only will you feel good, you will be making that person's day as well!

Who has inspired you as a teacher?  Have you ever thanked them?

Currently reading:
Since it's the last day of November, I have a few more picture books to share with you that I have read recently.  I had to make sure and read How To Babysit a Grandma since I read the grandpa version already.

I read another great math picture book called Zero the Hero.  Zero does become the hero in this book when his other number friends end up running into trouble with the Roman numerals.
I know many of you have read First Day Jitters to your students.  I read The Last Day Blues.  Definitely a good one to read on the last day of school!
I went to the Shrewsbury Library on Saturday.  I was excited to find a new non fiction book on the shelf.  It's a book called So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures.  Since The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favorite books, I am looking forward to reading more about it and about F. Scott Fitzgerald.  
I need to be doing some serious reading during the month of December.  I have 40 more books to go to reach my goal of reading 200 books in 2014.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Events this week;
**Dianna and Liz will be having 15 minute para meetings throughout the week.
Monday - Report card entry on iPass will be closed so that pdf files can be run and sent to teachers.  Then they will be reopened in case any adjustments need to be made.  Liz will be hosting Dr. Rodriguez's Strategy Committee meeting from 3:30-5:30.
Tuesday -Dr. Rodriguez visits FloRo in the am, PTA touring new families at 10:00
Wednesday - Office staff, nurse and guidance providing breakfast in the staff room, Half day, 12:15 dismissal, evening conferences, PTA will be providing dinner for teachers/specialists, report cards will be available on iPass for parents in the am
Thursday - Half day, 12:15 dismissal, afternoon conferences
Friday - Deadline for submitting team grant requests to the PTA...make sure you submit one so we don't lose that money!
Saturday - Holiday Fair at the PAC from 10:00-2:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Mrs. Guernsey's class made an amazing banner for us to display in the front banner.  You can tell they put a lot of thought and effort into it.  Love that it is one of the first things people will see now when they walk into Florence Roche.
  • FloRo Spirit Day was a huge success on Wednesday.  We had a visit from our new school mascot, Flo!  Thank to the PTA for purchasing the mascot costume and to our PTA President for being willing to wear it around school for the morning!  Flo and I walked around to all of the classrooms and the look on the kids' faces was priceless.  So nice to see everyone in the building smiling!  Flo will be making another appearance this Saturday at the Holiday Fair.

Check it out:
Great message about educating with heart: