Weekend Newsletter: March 24, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • No birthdays!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, March 26, 12:35 pm: Grade 1 (student placements)
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2:05 pm: Grade 4 (NJSLA)
  • Wednesday, March 27, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, March 28, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Friday, March 29, 1:20 pm: Grade 3 (student placements)

EVENTS

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Once again, please use our color printer only when absolutely necessary. New cartridges were just installed. At this point, for this school year, I don’t have any additional money set aside for more ink.

CURRICULUM CORNER

So many of you are already doing amazing things on Instagram to let others know what’s going on in your classrooms.  And, in talking to our parents (and students), I can tell you that this work is making a significant impact!

So, once again, here is the listing of everyone on Instagram, and please let me know if anything needs to be updated. Also, here is an article from NAESP magazine (National Association of Elementary School Principals) – Telling Your Story by Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis – that beautifully communicates why we need to take charge of the information coming out of our classrooms/school.

“Don’t ever give up the opportunity to tell your story.” – Tony Sinanis

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Weekend Newsletter: March 17, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • Friday, March 22: Happy Birthday to Michael Horgan!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, March 19, 12:35 pm: Grade 1 (student placements)
  • Tuesday, March 19, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, March 20, 10:50 am: Grade 2 (student placements)
  • Thursday, March 21, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, March 21, 1:20 pm: Grade 3 (NJSLA)

EVENTS

  • Monday, March 18 – Friday, March 22: Grade 3 OLSAT Testing
  • Tuesday, March 19, 11:00 am: Lockdown Drill
  • Wednesday, March 20, Afternoon: A-Team Meeting – Ross out of the building
  • Friday, March 12: PLCs – Kindergarten in the morning, Grade 2 in the afternoon
  • Friday, March 22: Grades 3 & 4 Author Visit – Katey Howes
    • 10:30-11:00: 4A/4V
    • 11:00-11:30: 4O/4M
    • 12:35-1:05: 3R/3B
    • 1:20-2:05 (1:50): 3H/3W (until 1:50)
    • 2:05: 4D

—————

  • Tuesday, April 23: Bus Evacuation Drill
  • Tuesday, April 30, 3-7 pm: Art Show
  • Thursday, May 16, 5:30-7:30 pm: Adventure Venture (formerly, Invention Convention)
  • Monday, May 6 – Friday, May 10: NJSLA Testing

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • If you have several IEP students in your classroom, and you need time to do current levels for their IEPs, we can talk about possible release time if you think it’s necessary.
  • So far this year, some of our teachers have been kind enough to let students use their rooms for indoor recess. In third grade, Mary Huff and Elana Rohrbacher. In fourth grade, Sharyn DeGregory, Kris Ottomanelli, and Jess Vangelas. At this point in time, to give these teachers/classrooms a break, we’re looking to change up some of our classrooms. If we can use your room for indoor recess (even if it’s just for one day of the three day rotation), please let me know. Then we can talk specifics.
  • If you’ve “checked out” books from the Faculty Room and you are no longer using them, please make sure to return them. This includes copies of The Space, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, etc.

SHOUTOUTS

  • Shoutout to Karen Sterinsky, Christina Wortmann, Nancy Gambuti, Lisa Straubinger, and Michelle Ortiz for facilitating Edcamp sessions during our first Edcamp-style Faculty Meeting!
  • Shoutout to Jess Vangelas and Nancy Gambuti for always moving forward and for attending the Rutgers PBL Summit!

CURRICULUM CORNER

This weekend I was in the middle of putting together a Genius Hour template (how I spend my free time), and I came across the electronic resources from Genius Hour by Andi McNair (the book that was distributed last year). Here is the link to the resources. And, shoutout to those who are already implementing Genius Hour with your students, as well as those who have been engaging students in makerspace activities! So inspiring.

“It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais

Weekend Newsletter: March 10, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • Tuesday, March 12: Happy Birthday to Anne Marie Kugelman!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, March 12, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, March 13, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, March 14, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, March 14, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, March 11: PLCs – Grade 3 in the morning, Grade 4 in the afternoon
  • Monday, March 11, 3:15 pm: Faculty Meeting. Click here for the agenda.
  • Tuesday, March 12: Ross out of the building (Rutgers PBL Summit with Nancy & Jess)
  • Wednesday, March 13: Grade 3 Field Trip
  • Wednesday, March 13, 10:00 am: Fire Drill (moved from Monday)
  • Friday, March 15: Read to Make a Difference – Midway Point
  • Friday, March 15, Morning: Ross out of the building
  • Friday, March 15: Special Lunch – St. Patrick’s Day Bagels
  • Friday, March 15, 3:00 pm: Trimester 2 Report Cards Available

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • So far this year, some of our teachers have been kind enough to let students use their rooms for indoor recess. In third grade, Mary Huff and Elana Rohrbacher. In fourth grade, Sharyn DeGregory, Kris Ottomanelli, and Jess Vangelas. At this point in time, to give these teachers/classrooms a break, we’re looking to change up some of our classrooms. If we can use your room for indoor recess (even if it’s just for one day of the three day rotation), please let me know. Then we can talk specifics.
  • If you’ve “checked out” books from the Faculty Room and you are no longer using them, please make sure to return them. This includes copies of The Space, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, etc.
  • If you have yet to schedule your Art Appreciation sessions, please do so sometime this week.
  • If you have yet to fill out the Job Preference survey, please do so sometime this week.

SHOUTOUTS

  • Shoutout to Lisa Straubinger and the Author Committee for all of the time and effort that went into Thursday’s author visit!
  • Shoutout to Allyson Dunn and Ms. Hanh for letting me teach Phonics First in their classroom on Friday!

CURRICULUM CORNER

This website/resource on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) was sent to me by one of our parents. As the website indicates, February was Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Awareness Month. But, either way, the resources provided serve as a solid starting point when working with our students.

Weekend Newsletter: March 1, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • Friday, March 9: Happy Birthday to Al Natoli!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, March 5, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, March 5, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, March 6, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, March 7, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, March 7, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, March 4: Beginning of Read to Make a Difference
  • Tuesday, March 5: David Knight, our Prudential representative will be in the faculty room during lunch for open enrollment for the NJEA Endorsed Disability Insurance and the NJ School Administrators Disability Insurance Programs.
  • Tuesday, March 5: Family Reading Night: Reading Takes You Places
  • Wednesday, March 6, Afternoon: A-Team Meeting – Ross out of the building
  • Thursday, March 7: PTO Sponsored Author Visit – Phil Bildner
    • 9:15-10:00 pm: Grades 2-3
    • 10:15-11:00 pm: Grade 4
    • 1:30-2:15 pm: Grades K-1
  • Thursday, March 7: Special Lunch – Po’ Boys and Beignets (Baviello’s)
  • Friday, March 8: Trimester 2 Ends
  • Friday, March 8, 6:30 pm: Family Bingo Night

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Smart watches, much like cell phones, should not be used in school. Students should leave these devices at home. (This message has also been communicated with parents.)
  • If you are going to initiate a lockdown from your room (using the code on your phone), make sure to drop the phone after dialing the code. If you immediately hang up, the lockdown will deactivate.
  • Here are this year’s budgets for Ed-Data (same as before). Orders are due Friday, March 29.
  • Here is information regarding the NVCC Speaker Series.
  • The School Store is now open (again) for business. Items ordered by March 22 will be delivered by April 8.

SHOUTOUTS

  • Shoutout to Michelle Ortiz, Lisa Straubinger, Michele Kaldrovics, and Lacey Wang for already putting up sessions/sticky notes for next Monday’s Edcamp-style Faculty Meeting! I can’t wait to see what additional sessions are offered.
  • Shoutout to Amy Brown, Lisa Straubinger, and Doris Clark for setting up and facilitating Read to Make a Difference and last Wednesday’s assembly!
  • Shoutout to Karen Sterinsky, Allison Collucci, Susan Wrynn, Christina Wortmann, Kristen Acheson, and Nancy Gambuti for their work last Thursday with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)!

CURRICULUM CORNER

Over the past few weeks I’ve been involved in some talks about Guided Reading, and also how the Fountas & Pinnell model compares/contrasts with the Reading Workshop conferring model (which is something I’m still wrapping my head around). From what I’ve experienced, Guided Reading ends after Grade 2 or Grade 3 (depending on the school), but even after these grade levels it’s still good practice to facilitate Guided Reading with struggling readers.

Here is a 13-page document that encompasses what Guided Reading is all about. And here’s a mini table of contents for the document:

  • pages 1-6: pages from Fountas & Pinnell’s Guided Reading book, which define Guided Reading and then lay out the teacher’s role and the student’s role, before, during, and after the reading process
  • page 7: a one-page self-assessment for getting started with Guided Reading
  • pages 8-13: a more detailed self-assessment for Guided Reading

“Asking students questions after reading is a form of testing, not teaching.” – Irene Fountas & Gay Su Pinnell, Guided Reading

Weekend Newsletter: February 22, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • Sunday, February 24: Happy Birthday to Debbie Neustein!
  • Sunday, February 24: Happy Birthday to Ramon Pichardo!
  • Wednesday, February 27: Happy Birthday to Bonnie Valentin!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, February 26, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, February 26, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, February 27, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, February 28, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, February 28, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

Seuss Week

  • Monday, February 25, 3:15 pm: Faculty Meeting. Click here for the agenda.
  • Wednesday, February 27: Boxtops Collection
  • Wednesday, February 27, 10:30 am: Lockdown Drill
  • Wednesday, February 27, 1:30 pm: Assembly – Read to Make a Difference/Read Across America
  • Thursday, February 28: Ross out of the building (NGSS Professional Learning)
  • Saturday, March 2: Read Across America Day

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Smart watches, much like cell phones, should not be used in school. Students should leave these devices at home. (This message has also been communicated with parents.)
  • If you are going to initiate a lockdown from your room (using the code on your phone), make sure to drop the phone after dialing the code. If you immediately hang up, the lockdown will deactivate.
  • Here are this year’s budgets for Ed-Data (same as before). Orders are due Friday, March 29.
  • Here is information regarding the NVCC Speaker Series.

CURRICULUM CORNER

On February 11, a group of us visited Stony Lane Elementary School in Paramus, where we spent the morning learning with the school’s principal, Tom Marshall. Here are some of our takeaways, and please pick the brains of those who went on the visit! (For those who attended, thank you for taking the time to record your takeaways for the benefit of others.)

“Isolation is now a choice educators make. If you feel alone, it is because you are not willing to connect.” – George Couros

Weekend Newsletter: February 8, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • No birthdays!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, February 12, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, February 12, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, February 13, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, February 14, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, February 14, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, February 11, Morning: Paramus Site Visit
  • Monday, February 11, 3:15-4:15 pm: Faculty Meeting. Click here for the agenda.
  • Monday, February 11, 7-11 pm: Ladies Night Out
  • Tuesday, February 12: Special Lunch – Lunar New Year
  • Tuesday, February 12, 2:15 pm: Grade 1 Community Helpers
  • Wednesday, February 13, Afternoon: A-Team Meeting – Ross out of the building
  • Thursday, February 14, Afternoon: Ross out of the building
  • Friday, February 15: Trimester 2 Open for Grading
  • Friday, February 15, 9:00 am: Fire Drill (rescheduled from last Friday)

Seuss Week

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • We’re looking for board games for students to play during indoor recess. If you have any that can be used, please let me know.
  • For Valentine Day parties, students are welcome to bring non-edible treats. Please remember, no food or candy is allowed.
  • The School Store is now open (again) for business. Check it out!
  • Rutgers is having its next Project Based Learning Summit on March 12 (some of you went last year). If you’re interested in going, please let me know.
  • Columbia University is having its next Teachers College Saturday Reunion on March 16. If you’re interested in going, please let me know.

SHOUTOUTS

  • Shoutout to Nancy Gambuti and Lisa Straubinger for taking risks in planning for a K-4 coding curriculum for our students!
  • Shoutout to Dr. Da Giau, Cindy Petrocelli, and Lisa Straubinger for working to finalize the plans for our library makeover!
  • Shoutout to Grades 2-4 for working to finalize our Writing Workshop learning targets and walkthrough tool!

CURRICULUM CORNER

I recently finished reading the new Lucy Calkins book, Leading Well. One of the chapters that resonated with me was Chapter 12, which focuses on feedback. Here are parts of pages 177-178 from Chapter 12 (a 2 minute read, at most), which discusses how to convey confidence in someone while also giving him/her feedback. From this short excerpt alone I had a few aha moments (as indicated by my highlighting), and I do think this is an area in which I can improve.

“These two messages need to be front and center in your feedback. I see you. I believe in you.” – Lucy Calkins, Leading Well

Weekend Newsletter: February 1, 2019

BIRTHDAYS

  • Monday, February 4: Happy Birthday to Mary Huff!

TEAM MEETINGS (For Grades 2-4, please be prepared to discuss our Writing Workshop learning targets and walkthrough tool.)

  • Tuesday, February 5, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, February 5, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, February 6, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, February 7, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, February 7, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Tuesday, February 5: Family Reading Night: Love Your Library Month
  • Wednesday, February 6, 9:00-9:45 am: Abracabully Assembly, Grades K-2
  • Wednesday, February 6, 10:30-11:15 am: Abracabully Assembly, Grades 3-4
  • Friday, February 8, 9:00 am: Fire Drill

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • ASAP, if you haven’t already, please send to Lisa a picture of yourself reading at home!

Ross Reading

  • If you’ve yet to sign up to Hang with Mr. Cooper, please make sure to do so (if you want).
  • We’re looking for board games for students to play during indoor recess. If you have any that can be used, please let me know.
  • For Valentine Day parties, students are welcome to bring non-edible treats. Please remember, no food or candy is allowed.

SHOUTOUTS

  • Shoutout to those who took a risk and put themselves out there by sharing out during Monday’s Faculty Meeting!
  • Shoutout to our Grade 1 teachers for making valuable use of Wednesday’s PLC time by digging into their math practices!
  • Shoutout to our Kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers for getting into each other’s classrooms to observe Phonics First!
  • Shoutout to Elana Rohrbacher for getting into Christina Wortmann’s room to observe Literature Circles, and to Christina for putting herself out there!
  • Shoutout to Lisa Straubinger for arranging for several classrooms to video chat with authors for World Read Aloud Day!

CURRICULUM CORNER

As everyone starts to spend more time in each other’s classrooms (highly recommended), it’s inevitable you’ll also be giving each other feedback. That being said, I think it’s important to take a look at what feedback is and is not. (And I know I can use some help in this area.) Here are my two favorite pieces on feedback:

“Students [and adults] can learn without grades, but they can’t learn without timely, descriptive feedback.” – Rick Wormeli