Monday, December 16, 2019

Dear Teacher...

Principal ponderings...

Dear Teacher,

I hope you enjoy your winter break and have time to rest.  I know how hard you work.  I also know that my child is just one in a class full of kids.  But she is my baby.  She will always be my little girl.  I know you are helping her learn to read, solve math problems, ask questions, find answers, and make friends.  Honestly, I just hope you are helping her become the amazing person that I know she will grow up to be.  I know that she sometimes makes bad choices.  I know that she sometimes says she doesn't care or that she would rather be outside.  I know that sometimes she clams up and doesn't share her feelings and then other times she over shares her emotions. I know that she sometimes knows how to push all of your buttons.  She has had a lot of practice doing that at home with us as well!

We just hope that you see her.  We hope that she is not just another name on your class list.  We hope that you take the time to pronounce her name correctly and take the time to look her in the eyes when you are talking to her.  We hope that when we aren't with her during the day, you are.  We hope that she is just as excited on the 86th day as she is on the 1st day.  We hope that she is not afraid to be herself and that you encourage her risk-taking just like we do at home.  We hope that whatever emotion she is experiencing on any particular day, she feels comfortable to share her feelings with you instead of keeping them bottled up inside.  We hope you celebrate her mistakes and challenge her successes.  We hope you help her develop a sense of pride in who she is and who she is becoming. 

You work so hard everyday and have so much responsibility resting on your shoulders.  Each child in your class has an army of supporters and advocates in their corner.  For some kids it's a small army of one single parent.  For others, it's a bigger army of parents and extended family.  No matter the size of the army, we know that all those advocates add up to a lot of pressure on teachers to help each little human become the best they can be.  It's exhausting just thinking about that.  And you wake up every day and welcome that exhaustion.  And you probably go to bed everyday thinking about how you have to wake up and welcome that exhaustion tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. 

Know that we see you working hard and we appreciate you.  And we are always going to wish that our child gets your very best.  Because we think she deserves the very best every single day.  Thank you for caring for my kid.  Thank you for helping her shine.  Thank you for recognizing her potential for growth, understanding she is a kid who makes mistakes, helping her become a good human, and for loving her and learning with her through this whole growing up thing.

Happy holidays!  Enjoy your winter break.  Know that you are making a difference and that we are counting on you to keep going strong.  Thank you for choosing this career, which is certainly a labor of love.

Every Parent

Currently reading:
I finished the book I was listening to, definitely enjoyed it and will certainly take a look at that author's other titles.  (My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry)  I am also still finishing up Other Words for Home
I am excited to start listening to Shouting at the Rain by Linda Mullaly Hunt.  

I have a giant to be read pile that I am looking to tackle over the winter break.  Don't forget about our book swap this Friday. While the students are swapping books in the gym, the adults can get in on the book swapping fun in the conference room.  Bring a book, take a book, bring a pile of books, take a pile of books!  Hopefully everyone will find something good to take home over the break.

Events this week:
Monday - Flannel and Jeans Day! Motoko visiting Mayo 5th graders, Bedtime Story @ 7:30
Tuesday - Frozen Puzzle Day! UDL PLC @ 8:00, CST Meeting @ 8:30, District K Meeting @ 3:30
Wednesday - Bling it On Day! Patty @ Team Chair Meeting, Motoko visiting Mayo 5th graders,
Thursday - "Lettuce" Celebrate Day! Liz @ Curriculum Meeting 7:30-10:00
Friday - Jammie Day! Paws Pantry, Book swap for students during specials time, book swap for staff in the conference room!

Great things I noticed last week:
  • What a pleasant surprise I found on the back of my office door!  1L had created this beautiful kindness tree with so many lovely notes to me.  It certainly made my day. 
  • The Holiday Concerts were amazing!  Here's a video compilation of some of the pictures and video snippets from both of the shows...

Check it out:
This interesting video was shared with me last week.  Definitely worth the 10 minutes to watch and think about what is important in education...

Monday, December 9, 2019

It's a Beautiful Day in the Mayo Neighborhood...

Principal ponderings...
After seeing the new movie about Mr. Rogers over the Thanksgiving Break and all the posts and stories about Mr. Rogers recently, I was inspired to share some of his wisdom in this space.  I did also experiment after reading this post:
I pulled up an episode, one of my favorites, and watched part of it with my daughter.  It was the one where we learned how crayons were made.  She was fascinated and I was brought back to my childhood in an instant.  I can't help but agree with the many writers who have shared how Mr. Rogers simple, calm demeanor and his willingness to talk about tough topics with kids (and adults), is maybe what we need more of today. 

Here are a few of his nuggets that I hope to use with our students and my own children...

What did you learn from Mr. Rogers?

Currently reading:
I am still working on Other Words For Home and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry.  I also spent time reading the latest Life Magazine edition focused on Mr. Rogers. By the way, did you see our new magazine rack in the library?  Thanks to donations from parents we will soon have lots of magazines for our students to look through during library time.

Events this week:
Monday - National Christmas Card Day!  Write a note for a colleague!  Motoko, writer in residence visiting 5th grade, 9:30-10:45 - Gr 3-5 concert rehearsal in the gym, 1:45-2:45 - K-2 concert rehearsal in the gym, School Council Meeting @ 4:00
Tuesday - Extra email from Liz today! Gr 1 & 2 Fit Club @ 8:00am
Wednesday - Hot cocoa, coffee, and candy canes!
Thursday - Holiday Party after school at the Hurley House! Gr 1 & 2 Fit Club @ 8:00am, Optional Staff Wellness Check from 8-11 in Deb Bixby's room, Winter Concert for School @ 2:00
Friday - Hugs and Kisses Day! Winter Concert Gr 3-5 for parents at 10:00, Winter Concert K-2 for parents @ 2:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • You will see Motoko in our building over the next month.  She is a Japanese storyteller who is also our writer in residence, working with 5th graders to write folktales.  Loved listening to her meet with the whole grade and do some storytelling and then loved the question she discussed with each class. 

  • When this is the view from your office window and you have already had two snow days and it starts snowing more on a Friday afternoon...aaaggghh! 
  • But you have to love the smiling faces that were happening during recess after all of the snow! 

  • I loved listening in on your stories during Friday's staff meeting.  Hope you got some great "gift cards!" 

Check it out:

My cousin shared this post with me and I just love it.  I have not read all of them, but enjoyed skimming through these positive news images from 2019:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Time for the 10 Days Before Winter Break!

Principal Ponderings...

Wow, that was a lot of snow!  Hopefully everyone enjoyed the extra long Thanksgiving Break.  Can't believe we only have 13 days until winter break.  But that's 13 days to do amazing things with kids!  Since we only have a short time, let's make every moment count.

And while you are taking care of our kids, I have come up with some special days to hopefully help take care of all of you!  Here's our 10 Days Before Winter Break.  I was inspired by some winter movies:

I included many favorites from our house.  What are your favorite winter movies?

Currently reading:
I am enjoying listening to the book My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry.  It's told through the eyes of a 7 year old girl.  I liked the review that said it's about life and death and the right to be different. 
I also started reading a new book written in verse called Other Words for Home.  It's the story of a young girl who has to leave her home in Syria to move to the United States.

Events this week:
Monday - Snow Day!  Look, our 5 day weekend turned into a 6 day weekend!
Tuesday - Snow Day!  Round 2.  How about a 7 day weekend?!
Wednesday - Motoko - Writer in Residence spending the day with 5th grade (Scholastic Warehouse Sale is happening starting today in Clinton!)
Thursday - Liz @ MSAA Board Meeting, Gr 1 & 2 Fit Club @ 8:00am, SLPs, OTs and Psychologists out of the building from 11-3
Friday - Staff meeting @ 8:00am, SPED team meeting @ 2:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • I popped into art with 3rd graders and watched them use a black wash over their colorful pumpkin drawings. 
  • KL was the highest earning K class for the spell-a-thon so we had a fun game party! 
  • 1B was the highest earning 1st grade class so we had a rainbow loom party! 
  • 5O was the highest earning 5th grade class so we had a gimp weaving party! Many of them had to help me learn how to do it.  

  • It was fun to see staff finding tricky turkeys around the school...some lucky winners even got to spin the prize wheel! 
Check it out:
Are you aware of the site DonorsChoose?  This is a great way for teachers to get resources for their classrooms.  You can create a post for a special project or supplies that you want for your class and then people donate to your project.  Check out the site and let me know if you want help trying to set something up:
Another popular way for teachers to get things for their classroom is to create an Amazon wish list and post on Twitter using the hashtag #clearthelist.
During this time of year, people are always looking for ways to give back and often companies will match donations.