Monday, June 12, 2017

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Principal ponderings...
We have made it to the last full week of school!  There was a lot of work, a lot of struggle, a lot of new ideas, a lot of successes.  It's important to take some time to think back over the year and reflect.  As the image above says, right now, if we take time to look back, this year is fresh in our minds.  It's "closer" to us right now.  If we wait until August to think back on the year, we will most likely forget parts.  Here are a few questions and reflection prompts to get you thinking about the year, to help you look in the rearview mirror.

Reflecting on the 2016-2017 school year, I am proud of...

2 ideas/new learning/experiences I will take with me into next year are...

Something I wish I had done differently...

Ways that I have grown professionally this year...

Now see if you can picture a particular student for each of these prompts, and think of what you learned or how you will grow as an educator as a result of your interactions:
Think of a student that challenged you...

Think of a student that made you proud...

Think of a student that you felt lucky to teach...

Think of a student that made you better...

Think of a student that you will miss...

This year our theme was #bringthejoy.  So as you look through the rearview mirror, do you see moments of joy that happened throughout the school year?  What brought you joy this year?  How will you continue to bring the joy next year? 

I really do enjoy these last few days, thinking back over all that has been accomplished.  Thinking about where we all were on the first day and how we have gotten to this point right now.  I also think about what did not work and what are ways to make changes for next year.  I like to think about all the new innovative experiences that our students had and how we will have even more new and innovative experiences next year.  And I am looking forward to growing myself professionally even more this summer, taking time to read, write, connect and reflect.

Once you are done reflecting on the year, be sure and think ahead to this summer.  How do you plan to be mindful over the summer break and rejuvenate yourself?

Currently reading:
I am so close to having more time for more week and I will be tackling my piles!  In the meantime, I have read a few blog posts, like this one from Donalyn Miller:
And here is a document containing the 2017 choices for reading lists in case you are looking for some suggestions:

Events this week:
Monday - Meet the Teacher night for new K students, 3:30-4:00
Tuesday - 3rd grade library trip, ELL Dinner at MSS Cafeteria 5:30-7:00
Wednesday - GDEA Social and Retiree Recognition 4:00-5:00 at The Tavern
Thursday - 4th grade Moving Up Ceremony @ 9:30 in the PAC
Friday - Field Day! End of the Year Party at Maureen's house

Monday - Last day of school!  9:30 Assembly in the PAC, 10:30 Step Up to new classrooms, 12:15 dismissal
Happy Summer!!

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Kindness Ninjas are leaving notes all over the school! 

  • Mr. Wiesner had students and staff dancing in the aisles at the 3rd grade concert!

  • Mr. Rider's class and Mrs. Wenz's class put on a fabulous performance of The Three Little Pigs.
  • Our first SU/FR 4th grade mixer was a huge success!!  Thanks to the PTA and the SU APT for organizing this fun event.  The 4th graders were able to mix and meet friends that they will in class with next year at the middle school!

  • The 3rd grade concert was hopping on Thursday night! 
  • Students had the chance to check out lots of creative projects completed by some of our 3rd graders. 

Check it out:
A teacher's plan to keep writing over the summer:
Questions to help you reflect on writer's workshop:
And this might put a smile on your face...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Beaches, BBQs, and Books!

Principal ponderings...
Summer vacation is so close.  Only a few more weeks and everyone will be off enjoying time with their families, relaxing, having backyard BBQs, maybe traveling to a nearby beach.  And there will be lots of time to read!  I don't know about you, but for me, summer means I actually have time to sit and read a book while dipping my toes in the pool or sitting in a lawn chair next to a campfire.  In preparation for my favorite summer activity, I have been gathering quite a to be read pile.  Some of the books are professional development books.  Some of them are children's lit or young adult books.  And some are simply for pleasure reading.  I thought I would share some of the books I plan to read this summer...

Start. Right. Now. : Teach and Lead for Excellence by Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas
I just love how this book is broken down into 4 key focus points...excellent leaders and teachers know the way, show the way, go the way and grow each day.  I wish I could start this book right now but it will have to wait a few more weeks.

Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing by Ralph Fletcher
Considering the fact that our theme this year was #bringthejoy, I love that the back cover of this book says "Want to help writers grow?  Then bring the joy!"  Yes, so looking forward to getting lots of ideas from this quick read.

The Enemies of Excellence: 7 Reasons Why We Sabotage Success by Greg Salciccioli
This book was one I heard about on an educational podcast I listened too and I of course ordered it right away.  It's a quick read, but one that offers advice for leaders to not fall into the traps that many in leadership roles fall into.

The Coach Approach to School Leadership by Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, and Kathy Perret
I am very excited that this book should be arriving in my mailbox any day now.  Looking forward to reading this over the summer and chatting with one of the authors, Jessica Johnson, since she is someone I am connected to through Voxer!

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
I have heard great reviews about this book.  Although I also know that this is a book that I might need to read with a box of tissues.

wishtree by Katherine Applegate
So this book is not available until September, but I figure I will put it out into the universe that I want to read it and maybe somehow it will come to me this summer! You clearly can't go wrong with a book from the author of The One and Only Ivan.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book is a must read for me this summer.  It addresses current issues such as racism and police violence.

Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Since Amy recently passed away, I have been buying up all of the books she has written.  I am looking forward to finishing this book which is a quirky take on a memoir.  It's full of all different observations of life and shares ordinary and extraordinary ways we are all connected.

What's on your summer reading list?

Currently reading:
Since I just spent time sharing some of my summer reading list above, I am not going to add anymore in this section.  But I will share a link for the MCBA books for next year because you know I will be adding some of those to my list as well!  Fortunately, some of them I have already read.  If you have not read Fish in a Tree yet...get busy!
I also plan to re-read Wonder this summer with the movie coming out in November.

Events for the rest of the year:
**I am probably missing some events, let me know and I will add them!  Also, just a reminder that we have Dianna Fulreader, Laura Taylor, and Kristen Kinneen chaperoning the DC trip so we will have Ivy Mitchell subbing in K and Sue Hilbrenner subbing in gym from Tuesday to Friday.

Monday - Grade 3 rehearsal in the PAC @ 9:30-11:00, Crowley/Green field trip to Williams Barn in the afternoon
Tuesday - 3rd grade school show @ 9:30 in the PAC, 4th grade mixer with SU on the back field from 10:30-1:00, Liz @ Crisis Team Meeting 1:00-3:00, School Council Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Liz @ DESE Meeting from 9:30-12:00, K chorus practice @ 9:30, 8th graders reading to 1st graders at 9:10, 4th grade library trip @ 10:30, 3rd grade Williams Barn trip, Final staff meeting of the year from 3:30-4:30, Retirement Party 4:30-7:30 @ Salt and Light
Thursday - Middle School principal visiting 4th grade during lunch, 3rd grade concert @ 7:00
Friday - Curriculum half day, dismissal at 12:15, 1 hour will be reflection on multi-part and 2 hours will be math discussion

Monday - Meet the Teacher night for new K students, 4:00-4:30
Tuesday - 3rd grade library trip
Thursday - 4th grade Moving Up Ceremony @ 9:30 in the PAC
Friday - Field Day! End of the Year Party at Maureen's house

Monday - Last day of school!  9:30 Assembly in the PAC, 10:30 Step Up to new classrooms, 12:15 dismissal
Happy Summer!!

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Always love when I have visitors to my office!  This 1st grader was super proud of the work he had done. 

  • Kindergartners were having way too much fun finding all sorts of bugs and other things in the river water.  They enjoyed the enrichment program from the Nashua River Watershed Association!
  • The FloRo Movie Night was a great success!  Families came prepared with chairs, blankets and snacks, and everyone seemed to enjoy watching Sing! 
  • And of course I love this shirt that this 4th grader was wearing during extra recess!  I need it in my size!