Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
On Monday and Tuesday, framed pictures that were drawn and painted by our children were on sale. Many proud parents purchased their child's art work to help continue to fund our incredible arts program. Art work by our children living in the Portside community was chosen to be displayed in one of the Portside Community buildings. Many days this week junior pianists played as we entered the building and one day during lunch this week, I walked through the entryway as one of our parents, Matt Hall, who plays professionally, was playing the piano while some children just listened and others danced and twirled to the popular tunes.
Each classroom prepared a themed basket that will be part of a silent auction at our culminating event on Friday night to raise additional funds. The baskets are AMAZING and a tribute to the way teachers value our arts program. On Friday night the children will come in droves with their families and totally immerse themselves in art activities while live music plays. This event is supported by our faculty and also by our PTA - the hardest working group around. I am always so appreciative of all the hard work that goes into making such a week happen and so thankful for the opportunity that our children have to see the breadth of the arts. Sometimes, in these test-heavy times, schools seem to forget that education is about educating the whole child and that we have a responsibility to pass on our love for the arts. I am so thankful that we have not forgotten. Arts education is alive and well at the Creek!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Haley's kiddos came dressed in recyclable materials. They were so excited to show off their designs! Their creativity was staggering! From recycling fairies to superheroes, the children certainly got the message. They started the morning with a book about recycling that would be just part of a larger collection of books on the topic that would be read during the day. Then it was outside for a recycling relay. Haley dumped a large pile of "clean" trash (is there any such thing?) and the children formed two teams. The first person in each line found something in the pile that was recyclable, ran to put it in the recycling bin after explaining to an adult what it was made of and then back to the next person in line. The kids learned so much including looking for the recycling sign!
Back inside, the children wrote letters to Mother Earth. In the midst of a Writing unit about persuasive writing, there assignment was to let Mother Earth know what they were going to do to make a difference. Some of the children took this very seriously and came in this morning telling us what they were going to be doing at home to help the Earth... and isn't that what this is all about? Jack's letter is a great example of what the children wrote.
April 22, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
- trying to get a late bus to run to our community of most at-risk students so that we can tutor them after school
- taking all of the Science and Social Studies books in the building and reallocating them so that every grade level has books for EVERY reader on their level on the content topics that are covered on their grade level
- a request for Math/Science teachers to learn non-fiction reading strategies while the Reading teachers requested the Science topics so that they can incorporate that content into their report writing
- a resource in addition to Music, Art and PE that would include Readers Theatre and Drama that could reinforce fluency
The list goes on and on with creative ideas and solutions. Next Wednesday the Admin Leadership Team will take that list that has been added to the wiki and go through every single suggestion. Many of the suggestions don't cost a dime! They just mean reallocating people or resources. Many of the ideas really ARE possible.
I guess this is what I love most about Chets Creek. We ARE going to make a difference. Thank you Richard Allington for pushing our thinking and for giving us, in a short and sweet summary, the best research has to offer us right now. We plan to use that knowledge to teach more and more children to read - just watch!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
(aka Faculty Lounge – yes we do have one!)
One of the things that makes the work easier is when FUN is built into the formula. That's one place that we have excelled at the Creek! We really do like each other (most of the time!) and often enjoy our off time together. Even so, it is important that the time that we spend together during the school day also offers time for fun and games. After we read the books Fish! and Fish! Sticks several years ago, the Principal opened up the Chets Creek Crab Shack for a one day annual fish fry modeled after Seattle's famous Pike Place Fish Market. Just like the Fish Market we strive for a place where you see energy, passion and a positive attitude every single day. We want to have that same connection to our work, to our peers and to our customers - our children and their families. Just like the Fish Market, we credit our joyous atmosphere and culture for our success. Each year we escape for those few minutes to the Chets Creek Crab Shack to enjoy grits, cole slaw and fresh fried fish with homemade desserts. It's just play and fun - with a gift for everyone! Ask Mrs. Mallon how she likes her new fish in a bowl or ask Mrs. Zawis how she likes her ipod nano? Or for a real treat ask Mrs. Ruark, a real Northern if it's worth it to eat a bowl of grits for a chance to be Principal for a day while the principal teaches her class!! Fun and joyous adventure - such an important part of a high performing school!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
A letter from our Superintendent's Office today says that "In order to pay for this new requirement (which refers to the $42 million in unfunded mandates), districts will have to turn current salary scales upside-down, severely reducing salaries for experienced teachers." The bill also prohibits any compensation be given for experience or for advanced degrees! What does that say to how our state values its experienced teachers?
Also on the chopping block is teacher tenure. Now I have never been a proponent on tenure. I have long believed that it has protected some really bad teachers over time, but I'm also not a proponent of teachers having one year contracts with principals having the ability to fire without cause. Can't you just see how that might be abused?
It seems everything coming down right now is stuff that makes your blood boil. While I am sure there are arguments on both sides that are sane and well meaning (at least I hope there are!), the interpretations that we are now hearing are unreasonable and absurd. It's hard to find the truth and the real intention in all of the hysterics. In the meantime, how many hours of quality instruction are lost as teachers worry about their job, their security? Is this really what we all signed up for? When we decided that we wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, did we think we would have to justify our very life's work? What do we say to our students when they tell us they want to be just like us - they want to be teachers? What a sad time to be an educator...
Just for the record, on April 15, 2010 Florida's Govenor Charlie Crist vetoed the education reform bill!! Hooray!
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Carle made a
this - One day a firefly was born.