Sunday, September 9, 2012

It all starts with the FOUNDATION

I've met with many new parents over the last 4 weeks, spoken at orientation and met with our PTO.  My message to all groups has been very simple, that is, the goal at Warner Elementary has three main parts.  These parts are, 1) educate all students 2) safety for everyone 3) create a love for learning.  Inside each area I'm sure I could get much more descriptive, but on the surface these would be what I believe our main goals to be.  I state this for a reason, we just completed our first week of school and I can still vividly remember my days in the classroom.  My primary goal early in the year was to build our classroom/school FOUNDATION.  I would focus on management, procedures, routines, norms and my expectations.  Sometimes I felt stuck with certain classes, these would be the challenging groups.  Whenever I had a challenging group I had to "plan" different approaches.  My lesson plans early in the year were filled with more management and team building activities than educational activities.  I always felt the stronger my FOUNDATION, the better my school year would be.

The beginning of this year has been pretty good, all things considered.  We are adjusting to new technology, we are dealing with construction, we are figuring out new schedules and we are getting to know all of our new students.  In all, we have 68 new students.  This number is huge!  I do realize this includes many kindergarten students, but that number is still high to me.  I have spent a lot of time this past week reading IEP's, calling previous schools, and chatting with teachers.  New students are a part of school that I accept, but figuring out the needs always takes a bit of time.

I've been really pleased with the staff, our PLC model is helping our new grade level teachers get acclimated.  Our new para pro's are confident and willing to help anywhere that is needed and the mood around the building has been positive!

Things to discuss this week:

Fall Festival Sept. 25th
PTO meeting participation (grade level reps, building rep, etc...)
5th grade camp
Constitution Day Sept. 17th
First TEAM meeting Sept. 25th

Week of Sept. 10-14
Happy Birthday on Saturday, Sept. 8th to Jenn Schaible

Monday, Sept. 10:  Ben will be at the "Focus" school meeting in Dearborn
Tuesday, Sept. 11:  3:45 brief staff meeting in library to discuss Fall Festival
Tuesday, Sept. 11:  7pm PTO meeting
Wednesday, Sept. 12: Happy Birthday to Kristy Soper
Wednesday, Sept. 12:  PLC Morning Assembly with grades 3-5 8:45 in cafeteria
Thursday, Sept. 13:  Happy Birthday to Colleen White
Thursday, Sept. 13:  CP Federal Credit Union Presentations begin at 9am

Great things noticed our heard:

Sid using the word "loquacious" in Miss Hinkley's class!
I've already heard six teachers tell me they "love" their class
The construction workers outside commented to me that we had really great kids, they are polite and well mannered!  (Love hearing this)
No major issues in the lunch room or recess area after one week!  This is a testament to teamwork, let's keep it up.
Watched an excellent YouTube video in Mrs. Shearer's class on not giving up in the face of adversity.  Great message for 5th graders.
Mrs. Holton's mom and sister stopped in, I chatted with Becky's mom for a bit.  What a wonderful lady, if you ever want to hear good stories she has em'.
Thank you to Mrs. Struck's class for surprising me on Friday morning.
Way To Go Faith L. in 5th grade, Faith completed the Allegiance 5K this past weekend.
Finally, congrats to Natalie and Mr. Lenhart for being the first two riddle solvers.

Articles Worth Your Time:

Top 40 Corporate Blogs
Eric Johnson's verdict on homework...
Happy Grandparent's day (Sept. 9th is Grandparent's Day) Blog on Grandparenting
Connecting iPads and Reading in the classroom
Diane Ravitch with an interest take on evaluations (I agree with this blog)
3 Ways to Give Yourself a Lift by CoolCatTeacher
Chicago Teachers Strike? (This is an ugly situation)
20 Simple Class Management Ideas

Videos Worth Your Time:

Lee Crockett discusses change and technology.

Focus on the bright spots, not the weaknesses.  (This video really made me think of how I approach my own life, my boys and other things.)

This is not exactly flipping a classroom, but this is a start.  I love the idea of video story problems.  Check out this vimeo video by Ben Rimes.  Ben teaches in Michigan, over on the South West side of the state.  This lesson is on Oreo Permutations.

Oreo Permutations

Who's that goofy guy in orange?

1 comment:


    I want to repost this link that you posted above. What a great article! I'm going to try doing the gratitude journal on Sundays. It sounds like a wonderful way to start the week. Thanks for this, Ben!