Weekend Newsletter: November 16, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • Saturday, November 24: Happy Birthday to Diane Rosini!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, November 20, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, November 20, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, November 21, 10:50 am: Grade 2

EVENTS

  • Monday, November 19, 9:45 am: Grade 3 Walking Field Trip to Old Tappan Borough Hall
  • Wednesday, November 21, 9:00 am: Grade 1 Thanksgiving Show (entire school)
  • Wednesday, November 21, 10:30 am: Grade 1 Thanksgiving Show (parents)
  • Wednesday, November 21, 11:30 am: Thanksgiving Feast, Grades K-2
  • Wednesday, November 21: 12:30 pm dismissal (no lunch)
  • Thursday, November 22: Happy Thanksgiving!

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Here is the District Incident Report form (same one as before). When there’s a significant incident that needs documenting, this form should be filled out and handed into me on the same day as the incident.
  • Here is the updated document of students who can’t be photographed.
  • Here is the most current Schedule E. To the best of my knowledge, everything is up-to-date. If anyone wishes to make a permanent change, I need to approve of it ahead of time.
  • For certain Google documents to which you will most likely need to refer back, I recommend adding them to your drive. (Once the doc is open, go to File menu > Add to my Drive.) This way, when you want to access the file at a later point in time, you won’t have to search through your email.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

Thank you to everyone for working hard to make our Fall Conferences a success! Looking at the calendar, Spring Conferences start on April 22 (with Grade 4). For the spring, I encourage you to look into student-led conferences. Here are two articles from Edutopia that can help. If you’d like to discuss further, let me know.

“I am convinced that the best learning takes place when the learner takes charge.” – Seymour Papert

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Weekend Newsletter: November 9, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • Wednesday, November 7: Happy Birthday to Lacey Wang!
  • Tuesday, November 13: Happy Birthday to Cindy Petrocelli!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, November 13, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, November 14, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, November 15, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, November 15, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, November 12 – Wednesday, November 16: Grade 4 Conferences
  • Tuesday, November 13, 9:30-10:30 am: Budget Meeting – Ross out of the building
  • Wednesday, November 14: New Principal Orientation – Ross out of the building
  • Thursday, November 15, 11:00 am: Fire Drill
  • Friday, November 16: Trimester 1 Open for Grading

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • Wednesday’s Fire Drill has been moved to Thursday, same time.
  • Our November 19 Faculty Meeting has been rescheduled for November 26 at CDW. The Bergen County School Safety Task Force is facilitating the meeting.
  • Here’s a listing of everyone actively using Instagram. If you’re missing, please let me know. I think it would be a great idea for all of us to follow and learn from each other!
  • Here are the books being ordered for the professional library in the faculty room. If you have questions about any of these books, just ask:
  • On Monday, Dr. Sullivan will be sending out a laptop replacement survey. Please complete it by November 30.
  • If you’re using Phonics First, we are looking for our syllabication guides (should be 3) and diagnostic assessment guides (should be 2). If you have any of them, please let me know.
  • If you’re using Phonics First, and you’re in need of materials, please let me know.
  • Please make sure Spanish is being taught at least once a week, and accordingly, it should be in your lesson plans at least once a week.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

It truly blows me away to see so many of us actively using Instagram to share what’s going on in our spaces. Thank You for putting yourselves out there. Here’s an article that dives into the importance of telling our stories. (Some of you met Tony Sinanis, one of the authors, at the Scholastic conference in Connecticut.)

“Our charge is to rewrite the narrative in education so everyone understands all the awesome things happening in our schools!” – Joe Sanfelippo & Tony Sinanis

Weekend Newsletter: November 2, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • No birthdays!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, November 6, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, November 6, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, November 7, 10:50 am: Grade 2

EVENTS

  • Monday, November 4 – Wednesday, November 7: Grade 3 Conferences
  • Monday, November 5: Cardboard Challenge, 1:00-2:00 pm (see below)
  • Tuesday, November 6: Family Reading Night: Picture Book Month
  • Wednesday, November 7: A-Team Meeting in the afternoon – Ross out of the building

Cardboard Challenge

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • We’re in the process of putting together a professional library in the faculty room. Please let me know if you have any book requests and/or if you’d like any books pertaining to a certain topic. (I plan on making a bulk order within the next few weeks.)
  • We’re also in the process of creating a system for a few parent volunteers to come in on Fridays to take care of some of our clerical tasks. Here’s how it would work: A bin will be placed in the office. Throughout the week you can place in the bin your materials (e.g., sheets of paper that need to be laminated), along with directions, attached with something like a paperclip (e.g., “Please laminate!”), and your name. On Fridays, the volunteers will take care of the work and drop off your item(s) in your classroom…Before we get going on this, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please let me know.
  • If you’re using Phonics First, and you’re in need of materials, please let me know.
  • Please make sure Spanish is being taught at least once a week, and accordingly, it should be in your lesson plans at least once a week.
  • Our November 19 Faculty Meeting has been rescheduled for November 26 at CDW. The Bergen County School Safety Task Force is facilitating the meeting.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

Over the past few weeks, for one reason or another, I’ve been a part of several conversations involving academic standards, curriculum, and textbooks, and the different roles each one plays in teaching and learning. Last May I wrote a blog post – It’s the Learning, Not the Lessons! – which details the relationships between standards, curriculum, and textbooks, and how we can intentionally move away from textbooks to more student-centered learning. (Even if you teach without a textbooks – art, gym, music, etc. – much here will still apply.)

“Few textbooks are designed around a series of defining experiences, yet well-designed experiences is the only way to make ideas real.” – Grant Wiggins & Jay McTighe, Understanding by Design

Weekend Newsletter: October 26, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • No birthdays!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, October 30, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, October 30, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, October 31, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, November 1, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, November 1, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, October 29 – Friday, November 2: Kindergarten Conferences
  • Tuesday, October 30: Sara Franco’s class, Field Trip to Stokes Farm
  • Wednesday, October 31: Halloween Parade (more information upcoming)
  • Thursday, November 1: Evacuation Drill (more information upcoming)
  • Thursday, November 1: Night Conferences

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • On Monday, Shary Paparazzo will be joining us as an aide in Lacey Wang’s classroom. Laura Herdling will be moving to Michele Kaldrovics’ classroom, full-time.
  • We’re in the process of putting together a professional library in the faculty room. Please let me know if you have any book requests and/or if you’d like any books pertaining to a certain topic. (I plan on making a bulk order within the next few weeks.)
  • We’re also in the process of creating a system for a few parent volunteers to come in on Fridays to take care of some of our clerical tasks. Here’s how it would work: A bin will be placed in the office. Throughout the week you can place in the bin your materials (e.g., sheets of paper that need to be laminated), along with directions, attached with something like a paperclip (e.g., “Please laminate!”), and your name. On Fridays, the volunteers will take care of the work and drop off your item(s) in your classroom…Before we get going on this, if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please let me know.
  • Going forward, to the greatest extent possible, I’m going to try to have lunch with students in my office every Friday. Periodically I may be asking for teacher input regarding which students could benefit from the extra attention.
  • Once again, the school store is open for business!

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

Here are three math-related resources, meant to be consumed in order:

“If teachers do not seek out and value students’ ideas, students may come to believe that mathematics is a body of rules and procedures that are learned by waiting for the teacher to tell them what to do.” – John Van de Walle, Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics

Weekend Newsletter: October 19, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • Saturday, October 20: Happy Birthday to Christina Wortmann!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, October 23, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, October 23, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, October 24, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, October 25, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, October 25, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, October 22: Pajama Day for all students and staff
  • Monday, October 22 – Friday, October 26: Grade 2 Conferences
  • Tuesday, October 23: Fire Drill, 10:00 am
  • Wednesday, October 24: Bus Evacuation Drill (more information upcoming)
  • Thursday, October 25: Halloween Assembly led by the Old Tappan Police Department, 12:50 pm

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • If one of your students should be sitting out for a portion of recess (e.g., 5 minutes at a bench), prior to recess, please directly communicate this information to at least one of the student’s recess supervisors. Keep in mind, supervisors change depending on recess being outdoor or indoor.
  • I think it would be fun/educational to bring in Abracabully for an assembly. Take a look and let me know what you think!
  • If you’ve yet to complete your SafeSchools training, please make sure to do so.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

CoffeeEDU 2018-10-28

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

As a teacher, one of the books I heavily relied upon for reading comprehension was the second edition of Strategies That Work, which features about 60 lessons based on these strategies: monitoring comprehension, activating and connecting to background knowledge, questioning, visualizing, inferring, determining importance in text, and summarizing and synthesizing information. Here’s my workbook, which should make these lessons a whole lot easier to implement. (There are a few copies of Strategies That Work in the library.)

“Explicitly teaching comprehension strategies remains one of the key principles of reading achievement, and the flexible use of comprehension strategies allows readers to hurdle the background knowledge gap when reading challenging text.” – Stephanie Harvey & Harvey Daniels, Comprehension & Collaboration

Weekend Newsletter: October 12, 2018

BIRTHDAYS

  • Saturday, October 20: Happy Birthday to Christina Wortmann!

TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, October 16, 12:35 pm: Grade 1
  • Tuesday, October 16, 2:05 pm: Grade 4 (Dr. Sullivan will be here to help us analyze/discuss PARCC scores.)
  • Wednesday, October 17, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, October 18, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, October 18, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

EVENTS

  • Monday, October 15: PLCs – Grade 3 in the morning, Grade 4 in the afternoon
  • Monday, October 15: Faculty Meeting. Click here for the agenda.
  • Monday, October 15 – Friday, October 19: Boosterthon
  • Monday, October 15 – Friday, October 19: Grade 1 Conferences
  • Tuesday, October 16: Picture Day. Click here for the schedule/information. For indoor lunch, we’re using the same supervisors as we did for the Book Fair. If for some reason this doesn’t work for you, please let me know.
  • Wednesday, October 17: Active Shooter Drill, 11:00 am
  • Wednesday, October 17: A-Team Meeting in the afternoon – Ross out of the building
  • Thursday, October 18: Ross out of the building
  • Friday, October 19: Boosterthon Fun Run

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • We just experienced our first flex week for related services. Here are some of our successes, and we look forward to the next flex week starting November 5. Please reach out to the related service providers with any thoughts you may have.
    • push-in, extensive one-on-one work with a struggling student (to support transfer of skills)
    • whole class lessons on inferencing and summarizing
    • adjustment of group dynamics to meet individual needs
    • scheduling flexibility allowed for the providing of make-up sessions for students in need
    • direct services across multiple settings (e.g., homeroom and specials)
  • For homeroom teachers, please make sure your Boosterthon meters are hanging up in your classrooms.
  • On Tuesday, October 16, Matt Voliva (from Lincoln) will be available for staff in the Faculty Room during lunch.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

CoffeeEDU 2018-10-28

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

When it comes to initiatives (for lack of a better word), it’s easy to fall into the trap of “one and done.” For example, “Last year, flexible learning spaces were so important and now there’s no mention of it!” That being said:

Throughout the year we’ll look for additional ways to support our work with flexible learning spaces. (And, if you have any ideas, let me know!)

“Shaping attitudes and the behaviors they inspire is the ‘holy grail’ of space design.” – Scott Doorley & Scott Witthoft, Make Space

Weekend Newsletter: October 5, 2018

NEXT WEEK’S BIRTHDAYS

  • No birthdays!

NEXT WEEK’S TEAM MEETINGS

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2:05 pm: Grade 4
  • Wednesday, October 10, 10:50 am: Grade 2
  • Thursday, October 11, 10:05 am: Kindergarten
  • Thursday, October 11, 1:20 pm: Grade 3

NEXT WEEK’S EVENTS

  • Monday, October 8: 12:30 pm dismissal, no lunch
  • Monday, October 8: Professional Learning, 1:30-3:10 pm. Click here for the agenda.
  • Tuesday, October 9: Fire Department Visit, 9:00-10:00 am. Four groups from the fire department will be visiting our classrooms for 10-15 minutes each. Kindergarten classrooms will also get to experience their fire truck. (I talked to them about our classroom schedules, so they know they’ll have to visit certain classrooms at certain times.)
  • Tuesday, October 9 – Wednesday, October 10: Phonics First Professional Development, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 11: Boosterthon Assembly, 9:45 am
  • Friday, October 12: PLCs – Kindergarten in the morning, Grade 4 in the afternoon (more information upcoming)

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • By Friday, October 12, please let me know who your two grade level representatives will be for the NGSS cohort.
  • For conferences, I realize not all parents will be able to make it in during your scheduled/offered time slots. Please start by offering your designated time slots and then go from there.
  • If you’d like to be pre-approved for home instruction, please let Ross know, and we’ll get you on a Board Meeting agenda.
  • As a reminder, the School Store is now open for business! Water bottles ($3) and magnets ($5) are in-stock, and they can be purchased whenever you’d like.

UPCOMING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

Of course, if you’d like to attend any of these events, please let me know!

CURRICULUM CORNER

On Friday, September 28, a group of us attended an all-day session on makerspaces, facilitated by Laura Fleming. Our group included Allison Collucci, Nancy Gambuti, Lisa Straubinger, Lacy Wang, and myself. The day was educational and fun, and thank you to the group for putting yourselves out there and moving forward for your students. Here’s a look at Laura’s slides:

“Without the voice of the learners, makerspaces are nothing more than a bunch of stuff in a room.” – Laura Fleming, The Kickstart Guide to GREAT Makerspaces