Monday, March 27, 2017

Inspiration from my Edu-Hero!

Principal ponderings...
This past week, I had the chance to see one of my edu-heroes speak at the MESPA Conference.  This was a conference where elementary principals from across the state had a chance to come together and learn from each other.  I am on the Board at MESPA and helped to organize the conference.  I was so excited when we were able to schedule Todd Nesloney to come and give the keynote.  Todd is a principal of an elementary school in Texas, and he is also one of the co-authors of the book Kids Deserve It.  I wish I could share everything he said to us with all of you, but I definitely don't remember everything word for word.  I am pasting in some of the tweets that I wrote and others as he was speaking.  I literally could not type fast enough, and there were moments when I was tearing up because his message is so important - we have to do everything we can for every kid and make sure that we are connecting to each of them.

You can read through some of these tweets or you can go directly to the chat page and read everyone's posts from the conference: #MESPAchat
This video is a must see for educators we must provide authentic experiences for children #mespachat #kidsdeserveit
— Julie Vincentsen (@jvincentsen) March 23, 2017

I could add so many more, but this is enough for now.  Hopefully some of the comments will make you think and maybe you will want to go to the link and read more!  If you want to borrow a copy of the book Kids Deserve It, I have a few!  It's a quick read, but important read.

Currently reading:
At the conference I just attended, they were having a used book sale.  I might have picked up a few books or maybe actually a whole box of books!  I am excited that I got a copy of Fish! This is a quick read all about bringing energy, passion and joy into the workplace everyday.
And I also picked up the book Fish! Tales which is real life stories about people using the Fish! philosophy. 
Events this week:
Groton FD Safe House all week during gym classes. 
Monday - Make sure all report card info has been inputted into SchoolBrains
Tuesday - Report cards available to parents in the afternoon
Wednesday - NRWA Presentation in Kindergarten, SPED teacher PD with Kelly and Karen - 9:00-12:00, 3rd grade chorus @ 2:25, Liz and Zoann at JFK Library for writing workshop
Thursday - 2nd grade field trip to the New England Aquarium
Friday - Liz and Dianna at SLT from 8:30-10:30

Great things I noticed last week:
  • Ms. Kinneen hosted parents all week in gym class and there was lots of jumping! 
  • On Thursday evening, the 1st graders entertained us with their singing and poetry reciting. 
  • I caught some of Ms. Hoke's and Ms. Johnson's students diving into books during independent reading time. 
  • Thanks to everyone for donating food for our community drive!  Loaves and Fishes was grateful for the donations! 
  • While I never got a chance to pop in and see them in action, Mr. Smith's class had fun doing their math stations this week. 

Check it out:
Check out this blog post by Peter Reynolds about his book about about Amazing, Delightful, Happy Dreamer

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Little Writing Inspiration

Principal ponderings...

If you remember, back in February, I told all of you about how I was going to challenge myself to participate in the March Slice of Life Challenge.  I wrote about in this post in case you forgot and wanted to read about it again.

So now, it's the middle of March and I am proud to say that I have made it more than halfway through the writing challenge.  I have written a short slice of life story every day so far.  Some days, like today, I don't exactly produce a lot of writing, but I at least sit down and devote some time to writing. And now I can see the finish line, have to keep writing.  Good news is that now, it is part of each day for me.  I can't let a day go by without working on a slice of life story.  If you want to read any of my posts, you can find them here.

Besides getting me to write, the challenge also encourages you to read what others write and comment on their posts.  I know I have loved seeing what people have to say about my writing, and I enjoy getting inspiration from what others write.  There are also some classrooms across the country where students are writing a slice of life story each day.  I thought I would share some individual posts as well as links to some classrooms in case you want some inspiration to do more of your own writing!

Classroom bloggers:
Here are some 3rd grade bloggers in NY!
Here are some 5th grade bloggers in Saudi Arabia!
Here are some 1st grade bloggers:

I am going to paste in a few links to other blogs.  It's hard to choose because there are so many people blogging.  This is going to be a rather random list!
Individual bloggers:

If you want to learn more about the slice of life challenge and getting educators and students to write everyday or check out other daily posts, check out the website

And now maybe you are inspired to do some of your own writing?

Currently reading:
I have had this book for a while and have heard many teachers and students recommend it.  I am finally starting to read it!  A Snicker of Magic is one of the MCBA books this year.  Looking forward to getting into it more.
I have also enjoyed skimming through the book Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White.  I just love Melissa Sweet's artistic talents, and this book not only tells the story of an awesome author, but it is visually appealing to read it.

Events this week:
**Parents are invited into gym classes this week to join in the Jump Rope for Heart activities.
Tuesday - Grade 1 chorus practice 12-1:15 in the PAC, School Council Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Grade 1 school show @ 9:30 in the PAC, 4th graders doing the pledge at School Committee Meeting @ 7:00
Thursday - Liz @ MESPA Conference, District-wide half day, dismissal at 12:15, no lunch served, multi-part series in the afternoon, 1st grade concert @ 7:00
Friday - Staff attending the Blueprint for Educational Excellence National Institute
**Reminder that report cards will go live to parents the following week.

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Thankfully the snow day did not mess up the scheduled Play Preview on Wednesday.  Students got to see just a glimpse of what they would see in the show "Beauty and the Beast."
  • Teachers had fun solving some math problems in our afternoon word problem workshop session with Karen Gartland. 
  • I had fun hanging out in kindergarten one morning - It's amazing what these kiddos will come up with unifix cubes! 
  • A big thank you to the PTA, especially Linda Lee, for organizing Community Reader Days at FloRo!  I had fun going over to Boutwell Friday morning and reading a story to Miss Sheri's class. We even had some furry friends come and listen to stories! 
  • I brought Emerson to the Sunday performance of "Beauty and the Beast."  Our 3rd and 4th graders did an amazing job singing, dancing and having fun on the stage.  Kudos to all of the kids involved in the play! 

Check it out:
Here's a short post I just stumbled across today - all about reminding us to save time for play

Monday, March 13, 2017

There are no bad kids

Principal ponderings...

I came across this image this weekend and it made me stop and think.  So now I am sharing it with you in the hope that I will get all of you to stop and think about this statement: 

There are no bad kids.  

Do you share that mindset?  If you think differently, can you stop and think about the impact of that statement?  And when thinking about this idea, how does that change your thought process when working through issues that come up throughout the day?  How does that mindset support or guide your interactions with each child?

The next time a child makes a bad choice, please stop and think about this statement: There are no bad kids.  They are simply trying to communicate their feelings and needs.  

How are we responding to them?

Currently reading:
I spent the weekend with family down on Cape Cod.  We visited a cute little book store in Brewster and of course I had to add to my collection!  Emerson enjoyed reading the picture book A Greyhound, A Groundhog.  We have a greyhound so she was convinced that the book was all about Tom, our greyhound.
The other picture book I purchased is called Antoinette.  This book is written by the same authors who created the book Gaston.   This book is about a dog discovering what her special talent is and how she uses her talent to help a friend. 
I was also excited to purchase a signed copy of Wolf Hollow.  I have heard great things about this book and am looking forward to diving into it. 

Events this week:
Tuesday - Nashua River Kindergarten presentation
Wednesday - Para meeting @ 9:00, Play Preview in the PAC @ 2:15, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - 2nd grade field trip to Peacock Players, Community Reader Day!
Friday - Community Reader Day!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday - FloRo students put on a production of Beauty and the Beast

Great things I noticed last week:

  • I caught some 1st graders working with Audra and doing some recording and creating using the iPads. 
  • Mrs. Clark's class was having fun filming their weather reports and using the green screen. 
  • I enjoyed popping in during some 2nd grade mini concerts in music class - lots of talented musicians! 
  • Family Literacy Night was so much fun!  Lots of families came and played literacy games, read books together in tents, wrote stories, and won books and even a Kindle!  Thanks to the PTA for supporting this event. And thanks to Grace and Holly for all of their hard to prepare for the event.
  • Apparently it was "bring your own sippy cup" to our leadership team meeting on Friday! :)

Check it out:
A short read to go along with my post this week:

Don't forget about our community kindness drive that the Student Council is organizing this week...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Book Lists

Principal ponderings...

In keeping with the theme of spreading the literacy love for the month of March, I thought I would post some book lists to give you some ideas of books to read for yourself or read to your class or recommend to your students.

This blog post has a list of books that are "favorite first novels to read aloud with kids":

It just wouldn't be a list of book lists if I didn't include one about Oprah's Book Club:

Here is a list of picture books that are coming out in 2017:

Check out these winners on Goodreads...these were voted the best middle grade and children's books:

Just came across this 50 books for teachers for professional development:

We always need a good laugh; here's a list of 46 hilarious books guaranteed to make you laugh out loud:

Currently reading:
I was excited that I had an Amazon credit from some returns that allowed me to purchase some new books!  I started reading the stories in the book Flying Lessons and Other Stories.  This book is a collection of unique stories celebrating diversity written by many different children's authors.

I also began reading a new professional development book that I am enjoying so far: Your School Rocks, So Tell People: Passionately Pitch and Promote the Positives Happening on Your Campus. 
I am looking forward to diving into another PD book I purchased.  It's called Escaping the School Leader's Dunk Tank: How to Prevail When Others Want to See You Drown.  The authors of the book are actually moderating the #MESPAchat this Wednesday so I am looking forward to learning more from them.

Events this week:
 Monday - Elementary Curriculum Committee Meeting, 12-3
Wednesday - 1st grade chorus practice @ 2:25
Thursday - Curriculum half day, dismissal at 12:15, Family Literacy Night from 6:00-7:30
Friday - Liz and Dianna at SLT in the am @ Prescott

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Check out the new bulletin board that Mrs. Fulreader created!  Let's talk about respect! 
  • Students and staff had fun dressing up for Dr. Seuss days!  Crazy sock day, Hat day and Green day! 
  • Music class with kindergartners and drumming on containers!? I want to be in that class! 
  • 4th graders enjoying some awesome yoga time! 
  • Mrs. Fournier's 3rd graders had fun doing this STEM activity where they had to make the longest chain they could using only one piece of paper. 
  • I had so much fun watching our principal for the day, Alisa, going into all of the classrooms.  She was definitely a great leader! 

Check it out:
We should not be taking recess away from any of our students.  But don't just take my word for it...take a look at some of these articles: