Monthly Archives: January 2014

MS Weekly Staff Memo – January 26, 2014

Great Things I Noticed This Week

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Upcoming Events

Monday, January 27th: (Tacky Spartan Day – wear crazy socks and hats)
5th Grade Arts Visit – 9:00-11:00
Charter Peer Review w/ NCDPI and Corvian – 1:00-4:00
Writing Workshop w/ Dr. Brian Kissel – 3:30-5:30 (Collander/Pagan’s room)

Tuesday, January 28th: (Blue Spartan Day – wear Spartan wear)
Alternate Schedule this day…Click here for details.
Lottery Open House – 9:30-11:00
Pep Rally – 2:15-3:00
*No Advisory

Wednesday, January 29th: (Helpful Spartan Day – dress as a super hero and bring canned good)
Joy registering 8th graders for HS all day in Juli’s office.
Cyber Safety Parent Workshop – 6:30 p.m. – *Adults only – no kids please.

Thursday, January 30th:  (Sleepy Spartan Day – wear p.j.s)
Joy registering 8th graders for HS all day in Juli’s office.
Kathleen McMillan Teacher Leader
6th Grade Band Performance for Parents – 9:30 a.m.

Friday, January 31st:
Joy registering 8th graders for HS all day in Juli’s office.
8th Grade Practicum – Souper Bowl Fundraiser

Looking Ahead….
February 3 – MS Report Cards due for admin edits today
February 3 – Parent Advisory – 7:30 at High School
February 4 – Joy registering 8th graders for HS all day in Juli’s office.
February 5 – MS Staff Meeting
February 6 – 1/2 Day; 1/2 Teacher Workday
February 7 – 6th Grade SLC’s; Teacher Workdays
February 10 – Jupiter Report Cards emailed home today
February 10 – Writing Workshop Session 2 w/ Dr. Kissel – 3:30-5:30 in Collander/Pagan’s room
February 12 – Ed. Leadership Seminar  Meeting – 3:30-4:30 at MS
February 17 – No School – President’s Day Holiday
February 20-23 – Les Miserables Performance at HS
February 24 – CSD Lottery
February 26 – Admin Team Planning Day
February 26 – NWHTYS Book Study (last one)
Feb 28-March 2 – MS Musical – Dear Edwina
March 3 – Parent Advisory – 7:30 at High School
March 7 – MS Show Choir Competition
March 21 – Teacher Workday; 7th Grade SLC’s
March 28 – 8th Grade Dance
April 3 & 4 – 8th Grade Finance Park
April 11 – 1/2 Day; Early Dismissal – Spring Break begins
April 11-22 – SPRING BREAK

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips

Report Cards are due for admin edits on Monday, February 3rd.  Please send me your trimester narratives asap so I can load them into Jupiter.

Thank you for helping me to hold kids accountable for treating our building and other school items with care.  I thought our student body talk went well, so hopefully things will improve.  Lots and lots of supervision is the key.  Thanks so much for your help with this!

Cell phones… I keep hearing that cell phone use is rampant in the student bathrooms.  Can you please address this with your advisees in morning attendance and remind them that phones are to be off and stored in lockers (or book bags that ALSO should be stored in lockers) until 3:15.  Thank you!

Thought-Provoking:

A few years ago, I discovered the work of Brene Brown.  For those of you who don’t know her, she is a self-proclaimed “researcher/storyteller” who has spent her career studying the causes and effects of fear/guilt/shame and most importantly, vulnerability.  Her work is outstanding and has had a big impact on me, both personally and professionally.  This weekend, I ran across this short video snippet where Brene talks about the difference between empathy and sympathy.  It struck a chord with me as I think it ties right back into the backbone of Dr. Boyer’s work.  In the Basic School, Dr. Boyer states, “After completing our research, we concluded that the most essential ingredient of a successful school – the one idea that holds it all together – is best described by the simple word ‘connections.’  An effective school connects people, to create community.  An effective school connects the curriculum, to achieve coherence.  An effective school connects classrooms and resources, to enrich learning.  An effective school connects learning to life, to build character.”  Connections.  That is what it all boils down to.  So as I watched this video clip and listened to her explanation, I was struck how connection plays into the determining factor between empathy and sympathy.  As you watch this, think about how this principle plays into your relationships, not just with your students, but also with their parents and your colleagues as well.  Alfie Kohn has often stated the the single most important thing we can teach (thereby meaning model) for our kids is empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  This is easier said than done, but it’s certainly worth a shot.  So let’s all be mindful in the upcoming week, and in these moments let’s ask ourselves – Am I feeling sorry for that person (and perhaps harboring judgement) or am I consciously trying to feel what that person is feeling and then looking for a way to help them (without judgement)?

 

You know you're a teacher when...you have your

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – January 20, 2014

Great Things I Noticed This Week

Watching from a distance as a teacher showed middle school students how their brains work

Witnessing a teacher with a self-proclaimed “gift of gab” work his magic as he communicated beautifully with a non-profit organization on ways we can collaborate with the community at large in order to promote the learning and character development of our students

Reading an incredible email dialogue between a teacher and a student on a piece of literature they are reading together – truly stunning!

Watching as a teacher became a learner and summoned the courage it takes to take risks and dive head first into this “messiness” we call learning

Seeing a teacher set a personal goal and achieve it outside of the classroom.  What an inspiration and what a great way to model character traits such as dedication, self-worth, confidence, and perseverance for our kids.  Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, January 21st:
9:30-11:30 – Juli will be in meeting with DPI representative on CSD K-8 Campus

Wednesday, January 22nd:
8:00-10:00 – Admin Team Meeting
11:00 – 1:00 Teacher “Soup-er” Luncheon provided by parents
11:45-12:15 – Electives Team Meeting (Please go enjoy your “souped” luncheon first!)
3:30 – 4:30 NWHTYS Book Study Meeting (through Chpt 6)

Thursday, January 23rd:
Joy registering 8th graders for HS at MS in Juli’s office all day

Friday, January 24th:
Joy registering 8th graders for HS at MS in Juli’s office all day

Looking Ahead….
Joy registering 8th graders for HS at MS in Juli’s office on (1/29, 1/30, 1/31, 2/4)
January 27th – 5th Grade Arts Visit (9-11)
January 28th – Last Lottery Open House (9:30-11:30)
January 28th – MS Winter Sport Pep Rally – (2:00-3:00) *No Advisory – Alternate Schedule this day
January 29th – MS Cyber Safety Parent Workshop – 6:30-8:00 in MS Black Box
January 30th – 6th Grade Band Performance for parents – 9:30
January 31st – 8th Grade Practicum Souper Bowl Fundraiser
February 6th – 1/2 Day; 1/2 Teacher Workday
February 7th – 6th Grade SLC’s; Teacher Workdays
February 17 – No School – President’s Day Holiday
February 20-23 – Les Miserables Performance at HS
February 24 – CSD Lottery
February 26 – Admin Team Planning Day
Feb 28-March 2 – MS Musical – Dear Edwina

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips

Please remember to not send students to my office for behavioral reasons without first notifying me.  Oftentimes, I am either tied up with another situation or I am not in my office.  In this case, the students are then never addressed as I was not aware they were sent to see me.  If you need my assistance, please know I am more than happy to help as soon as I possibly can.  Either walkie me or text me and I will be back in touch the moment I am available.  To review more tips about sending kids to Juli or Dana, please click here.  Thanks so much for your help with this!

Thought-Provoking:

I happen to run across this segment over the weekend, and it got me to thinking about some of my past interactions with students as a classroom teacher.  It’s very easy to make assumptions that are just flat out inaccurate.  Watching this reminded me of a time I called a kid out for “doodling” in my class.  Not knowing any better, I assumed that he/she was “checked out” and not paying attention to my earth-shattering instruction (insert sarcastic smirk).  🙂  I think this clip offers valuable insight that is worthy of revisiting.  

The Higher Purpose of Doodling

Inspirational:

On this very special day, I hope you’ll take some time to think about Dr. King’s life and the legacy he leaves behind.  As teachers, we can only hope that his lessons permeate our classrooms.  Here is a collection of some of his most famous words.  Take a moment to read, reflect, and ponder what his messages mean for us as educators. http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/454112-martin-luther-king-jr-quotes-33-quotes-on-education-courage-love-racism-violence-and-service/IMG_3549

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – January 11, 2014

Great Things That Happened This Week

Baby MylaThis week, we have two big personal events to celebrate!
#1 – The birth of Myla Keys!  She entered the world late Thursday night weighing in at 6 lbs, 2 oz, and measuring 19 inches long! Congratulations to Sara, Greg, and the rest of their family!  Myla is just precious and we are so excited about her arrival.  Sara, you have lots of eager babysitters over here, but we’ll see what Grandma Marilyn has to say about that. 🙂

Christy and Holly#2 – Holly Friar was able to come home this week!  After a multi-day stay at Children’s Levine Hospital, Holly was finally cleared to come home on Friday.  Christy, you are an inspiration to all of us.  We love you and your sweet family dearly!  We are so grateful for Holly’s recovery and will continue to send good thoughts of healing and comfort her way.  CSD is just not the same without either of you, so we look forward to having you both back at school soon!

Upcoming Events

Sunday, January 12:
High School Dancers to perform Nutcracker Selection with the Lake Norman Orchestra at Charles Mack Citizen Center @ 3:00 p.m.

Monday, January 13:  (Dana and Kathleen out working on Digital Safety Night Presentation)
9:00 – MS Parent Workshop Series:  Achieving Balance Between School, Home, and Extra-Curricular Activities (Music Room)
11:15 – Grade Level Team Meetings – Juli will meet with 8th grade about 9th Grade Registration
12:00 – Juli, Shane, and Dorothy – Conference Call with Mothering Across Continents regarding Global Classroom participation

Wednesday, January 15:
9:00 – K-8 Lottery Registration Open House – *Remind students that visitors will be touring building around 11:00 at conclusion of presentation.
11:30-12:15 – Science Vertical Team Meeting
3:30 – K-8 Staff Meeting – Topic: Mindset – Location TBA
7:00 – K-8 Lottery Registration Open House

Thursday, January 16:
Teacher Leader/Admin on Call – Beth Knight

Friday, January 17:
rising 9th Grade Dance & Drama Placement
8:00-9:30 – Drama Placement – MS Black Box
1:00-4:00 – Dance Placement – Dance Davidson

Looking Ahead….
January 20 – No School – MLK Holiday
January 22 – Teacher “Soup-er” Luncheon provided by parents
January 22 – 3:30 – NWHTYS Book Study Meeting (through Chpt 6)
Joy registering 8th graders for HS at MS in Juli’s office on (1/23, 1/24, 1/29, 1/30, 1/31, 2/4)
February 17 – No School – President’s Day Holiday
February 20-23 – Les Miserables Performance at HS
February 24 – CSD Lottery
February 26 – Admin Team Planning Day
Feb 28-March 2 – MS Musical – Dear Edwina

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips

Please see email reminders I sent for you to share with your Advisory on Tuesday.  Thank you!

Last chance to attend an Open House is this Wednesday evening at 7:00 at K-8.  We encourage all staff members to attend an Open House annually (or at least every other year) to be reminded of what we tell prospective parents prior to registration.  This is a great way to keep your classroom practices ‘in check” with CSD philosophy.

Professional Development

As we enter this season of reflection (upcoming 6th grade SLC’s, rising 9th grade registration, registration for next year’s art classes, rising 8th grade math placement, etc…), I thought this blog had some great reminders to offer about the characteristics of effective feedback.
http://www.teachthought.com/learning/20-ways-to-provide-effective-feedback-for-learning/

Inspiration/Thought-Provoking/Fun

Hack-schooling – what a concept!  This is an 11 minute video that has been making its rounds on the social media circuits.  You may have seen it.  I find this 13 year old’s insight to be mind-blowing, and so much of what he describes runs a direct parallel to what I think we are hoping to accomplish at CSD.  So as you listen to his message, I hope you are inspired.  I hope you question what it is we are doing at CSD and spend some time thinking on how we can better accomplish our mission.  Logan gave me a lot to think about, and I hope he does the same for you.

 

 

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – January 5, 2014

Designs-for-Kids.-Happy-New-Year-2014-n-4

Happy New Year!  It was a delight to see everyone back and at ’em last week.  Now that we’ve eased into the new year with two days, a full week ahead doesn’t seem so bad, right? 🙂  But bundle up.  It’s going to be C.O.L.D.

Upcoming Events:
Monday, January 6th:
3rd Quarter of Explore Electives Begin – Thanks, Kathleen, for all of your hard work on this.
11:15-12:15 – 6th Grade Team Meeting with Juli and Dana – We will discuss the upcoming 6th Grade SLC’s.
3:30-4:15 – Sara Keys’ Baby Shower – Welcome Baby Myla who is expected to arrive any day now!
7:30 – Parent Advisory Meeting at High School – Focus Topic – Religion in Public Schools

Wednesday, January 8th:
11:15-12:15 – Holiday Staff Luncheon – ENJOY!
3:30-4:30 – Ed Leadership Seminar Teacher Leader Discussion

Thursday, January 9th:
Teacher Leader – Dorothy Pagan

Looking Ahead….
Our last Lottery Open House of the 2013-2014 school year will occur on January 15th at 7:00.  We encourage all staff members to attend one of these sessions annually to be reminded of of the CSD Mission and Vision.  Reminding ourselves of CSD’s core beliefs in this manner can be very inspiring and serve as a great professional tool for reflection and goal-setting.  When was the last time you attended an Open House?

Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips
Bulbs – Did you know that Promethean replacement bulbs run about $250-300?  Please try to conserve the life of your bulb by hitting “no show” on the remote when you are not actively using the board.  It takes a deliberate attempt at forming a new habit on our part to do this, but if everyone trains themselves to be aware of when we are not using the boards and when we could click “no show”, we could potentially really elongate the life our bulbs, thereby saving the school lots of money.  Thanks for your help with this!
images

We will email staff and post on the crier if we have a delayed opening or school cancellation due to winter weather.

 

 

Professional Development:

This week’s PD is two-fold.  First, take a few moments to ponder how happiness and learning are connected.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/happiness-learning-connection-rebecca-alber
Then take some time to reflect on happiness in your own classroom:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/simple-ways-cultivate-happiness-schools-elena-aguilar?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=blog-cultivating-happiness-repost
Interestingly, all of these things fall on my “do more of in 2014” list.  🙂

And Just for Fun…
I’m sure most of you have already seen this, but it’s worth watching again.  I giggle every single time.

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