Friday, April 20, 2018

You are amazing

As I reflect on the last two weeks, I must admit that you amaze me.  Despite changes for next year, you still come to school, every day, and give it your best effort.  The kids probably don't even know all of the things you are dealing with, personally and professionally, because you still are here every day for them, and for each other.  I appreciate all of you who have come to me with concerns or questions instead of feeding the rumors and assumptions.  One of our colleagues reminds me, often, what it really means when we assume things.  Please come to me with any concerns or questions that you have as we move forward with this school year and prepare for the next school year.  Thank you for your passion, your effort, and your desire to be here for our kids and each other.

Calendar
Monday, April 23rd
4:30  Volleyball games @ Stone Bank
6:30  School Board meeting

Tuesday, April 24th
IEP Power Day
4:15  Homework Club

Wednesday, April 25th
7:15  volleyball practice

Thursday, April 26th
Grade level and specials meetings
4:15  Homework Club

Friday, April 27th
7:15  volleyball practice

Important dates
May 11th- Grandparents Day
May 15th- concerts
May 24th- Half day career event
June 1st- Celebration Day
June 5th- 8th grade Day Away
June 6th- Awards assembly and 8th grade graduation


Great things I saw this week...
Robots in 5th grade.
Reading all over the building.
Snow piles, in April, and the kids having fun at recess.
Kids interested in their Social Studies projects.
Intramural volleyball during 7/8 lunch.
Dave having a blast with liquid nitrogen.  Ask the 7th graders about the onion.
The excitement of the kids in preparation for their first musical.
A guest teacher on Wednesday telling me how fantastic she thinks our school and students are.
More snow to make the snow piles even higher.
The kids did a nice job during the play, and the cast, crew, and directors of High School Musical Jr. were just plain awesome!
The "new" Kwik Trip up the street has 6 donuts for 99 cents!

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Every "Best Practice" in Education Was Once an Innovation (from George Couros)

"Don't worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try."
Jack Canfield


"Chance favors only the prepared mind."- Louis Pasteur, 1822-1895, French chemist and biologist

True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in the worth and choice.
Ben Jonson,
playwright and poet



"Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination."- Roy M. Goodman

Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
Victor Hugo,
poet, novelist and dramatist

When I Realized I Would Be OK... (from Pernille Ripp)

"Don't persuade, defend, or interrupt.  Be curious., be conversational, be real.  And listen."-

Maybe you'd be interested in...
Summer Spark, a PD opportunity at University School of Milwaukee on June 11th and 12th.  I'm presenting, and I know someone who can get a deal for you on registration.  Please let me know if you are interested.

Enjoy the Spring weather this weekend.  Get outside, breathe in the fresh air, soak in the sun, and find family or friends to hang around with for a few hours.  You deserve some "away time" from school.
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, April 13, 2018

Changes- none are easy

This week, each of our grade level teams was impacted by at least one change.  These changes are not easy and were not made impulsively.  Each move was made with a great deal of thought and reflection.  It's difficult to change teams as relationships have been built, but with these changes comes an opportunity for individuals and teams to get better.  We can't, however, forget about what comes before us the rest of this school year- our kids.  Your current team has the opportunity to finish strong for each other and the kids, and I encourage you to do all that you can for them and for each other.  Know that I will be there to support you through the rest of the year as well as through the transition that is soon to come.

Great things I saw this week...
The kids, and you, got right back to learning on Monday.
The seriousness of the kids doing their makeup Forward Exams.
Michael and his work with NJHS and the induction ceremony.
All staff who pitched in to help out with Homework Club and the NJHS ceremony.
The 5th graders creating golf holes for Spheros.
Brian V. joining in the 5th and 6th grade recess.
The band and jazz band during before and during the NJHS ceremony.
The choir singing the National Anthem at the NJHS ceremony. (Did anyone record that?  WOW!)
The behavior of the kids during the tornado drill.  John said he was highly impressed by our 8th graders and that they were the best he has seen for a drill.
Small group LA instruction in the Learning Lounge.
Barb being Barb with NJHS certificates and the fun we had on Tuesday.

Calendar
Monday, April 16th
7:15  volleyball practice
4:15  BLT meeting

Tuesday, April 17th
8:55-9:40  cover Brian F.
4:15  Homework Club
5:20  volleyball games at Lake Country

Wednesday, April 18th
12:22-1:03  Social Studies
4:00  Culver's Night (I'm serving from 6:00-8:00!)

Thursday, April 19th
Grade level/specials meetings
10:30  6th/7th/8th grade see HS Musical Jr. play
1:45  5th grade sees HS Musical Jr. play
4:15  Homework Club

Friday, April 20th
7:00  High School Musical Jr.

Saturday, April 21st
2:00  High School Musical Jr.
7:00  High School Musical Jr.

Important dates
May 11th- Grandparents Day
May 15th- concerts
May 24th- Half day career event
June 1st- Celebration Day
June 5th- 8th grade Day Away
June 6th- Awards assembly and 8th grade graduation

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton,
writer

Can you follow this "learning norm"? (from George Couros)

The fear of becoming a "has been" keeps some people from becoming anything.
Eric Hoffer,
writer and social critic

Hold Your Tongue (from Pernille Ripp)

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."- Anne Frank, 1929-1945, Dutch diarist

"Isn't it nice to think that is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" — L.M. Montgomery

A Way Out (from Pernille Ripp)

Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory; nothing can come of nothing.
Joshua Reynolds,
artist


It has been quite a week.  I was impressed by two things.  One was the professionalism that you all showed during our discussions on Wednesday.  The other was the kids, both on the "stage" and in the bleachers, during our NJHS assembly yesterday.  Thank you for Wednesday and for being with our kids yesterday.  When we raise our expectations for the kids, they can step up to them, without a doubt.  Keep those expectations high for the next seven plus weeks, and the kids will come through.  I just know that they will.
Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend.
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, April 6, 2018

Morning's on break

I truly hope that you had a relaxing break and that you are ready to be back together for the kids.  Jen, Lauren, and I have enjoyed our time in Florida but I'm ready for a return to school.  I was able to spend time reading, running, and reflecting on the school year so far.  That also allowed me to contemplate our final quarter of the school year, celebrate the things we have done well and try to determine ways to do some things better.  I look forward to seeing you all on Monday morning.  Let's meet the kids outside and welcome them back!

Calendar
Monday, April 9th
7:15  volleyball practice

Tuesday, April 10th
8:55  cover Brian F.
4:15  Homework Club
4:30  volleyball games at Merton

Wednesday, April 11th
8:00  All staff meeting
8:45  Student assembly
1:15  A-team meeting

Thursday, April 12th
Grade level meetings
2:00  National Junior Honor Society induction
4:15  Homework Club

Friday, April 13th
7:15  volleyball practice at Primary School
1:30  Future Ready Schools in Brookfield

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Empowering Purpose (from George Couros)

(from @woodard_julie)

The Process is the Product (from George Couros)

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.
Confucius,
philosopher and teacher

Who Keeps You In Line? (from Pernille Ripp)
Innovation Does Not Happen in Isolation (from George Couros)

Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.
Jane Goodall,
primatologist and anthropologist
#mertonint on Twitter
I was fortunate to spend an entire week with Jen and Lauren in Florida.  The weather was awesome but the chance to be together was even more important.  I also was able to read a couple of books while getting sunburned on the beach.  The favorite book I read was The Operator by Robert O'Neill.  Mr. O'Neill is the Navy SEAL who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden.  That story was only one chapter of the book.  The rest of the book is the reason I loved the book.  It is the story of someone who has an undying desire to do his best, all of the time.  He relies on his own intestinal fortitude and never give up attitude as well as the belief that his father has in him to be the best.  One line sticks out in the book that reminds me of our work together.  It was "stolen" by Mr. O'Neill from one of his troop's commanders- "Nobody ever worked for me.  They worked with me."  The Navy SEALs rely on each other to accomplish their mission.  No one person is more important in any mission.  If one SEAL fails in their part of the mission, another SEAL must step up or the mission will fail.  The same is true of our work with each student we come in contact with every day.  Remember that.  Our students rely on us on our good days and bad days and on their good days and bad days.    The work you do with our kids and each other cannot go underestimated or underappreciated.  Thank you for working with me every day to make our school and district the best it can be for our kids.

Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What is our story?

In the midst of proctoring the Forward Exam, I read this post from George Couros called Change the Story, Change the Culture.  I've linked it in case you want to see what I was thinking about.  We have a 10 day break from the regiment of school starting on Friday.  When you are in one of those reflective modes, think about these three questions.
1.  What is my story?
2.  What is my classroom story?
3.  What is our school story?
The first one is just for you.  What are some of the common themes when we discuss our classrooms and our schools?  What's something that we should be really proud of?  What's something we need to improve upon?  There's extra credit if you reflect in a blog post, say a GOOSE pass for the post voted on as best by your colleagues.  Are you up for the challenge?

Calendars
Next week is Spring Break so I won't have any office hours.  You should take some time off, too!
Monday, April 9th
Classes resume
7:15  volleyball practice

Tuesday, April 10th
9:00-9:45  cover Brian F.
4:15  Homework Club
4:30  volleyball games

Wednesday, April 11th
8:00-9:15  All staff meeting
1:15  A-team meeting

Thursday, April 12th
Grade level/ specials meetings
2:00  NJHS induction
4:15  Homework Club

Friday, April 13th
7:15  volleyball practice
2:00  Future Ready meeting in Brookfield
  • Important future dates
  • April 19th- High School Musical Junior
    • 6th-8th grades @ 10:30AM
    • 3rd-5th grades @ 1:45PM
  • May 11th- Grandparents Day
  • May 15th- concerts
  • May 24th- Half day career event
  • June 1st- Celebration Day

Great things I saw this week...
Lots of students reading in class.
Read alouds in class, and hearing Sarah K. reading in Spanish.
Gallery walk in Math class to solve Algebra problems.
8th graders staying focused on their testing.
The flexibility of our students and staff during Forward Exams.
Students creating Sphero golf courses.
Visiting Egypt using Google Expeditions.
Play practice (You seriously need to watch a practice when we get back from break!).
Students saying thank you for ice cream sandwiches.
Mike doing an amazing job in Heidi's room.
The work Jim and Dawn did for Forward Exams.

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
Nelson Mandela,
activist and political leader

Purpose-Driven Learning (from George Couros)

It is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.
Epictetus,
philosopher

Can We Make Lesson Plans More Than Compliance Plans? (from A. J. Juliani)

Family smore for 3.29.18

Do you know what happens after the third quarter of Wisconsin football games?  The players hold up four fingers and the PA blares Jump Around.
When we get back, it will be the 4th quarter.  Our focus needs to be better.  Our effort needs to be better.  Our engagement with our students and each other needs to be better.  We need to be better.  I encourage you to find time in the next 10 days to refresh, renew, recharge, and relax so that we have our full attention on each and every day of the 4th quarter.  There's a good chance I'll be doing a little Jump Around next week and I'll be ready for an awesome finish to the school year.
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, March 23, 2018

Testing week

Great job this week with testing.  It's a stressful time for everyone, whether you want to admit it or not.  I appreciate the effort that you put into test preparation over the past few weeks, but the preparation goes way beyond that.  It's what you do every day to connect with our kids- the big things and the little things.  The connections are more than just academic.  The connections are relationship building.  The connections are setting expectations, and holding the students, and yourself, to those expectations.  The connections are working together with colleagues to bring lessons to life.  Remember those things most of all.  They are the reasons that our kids perform the way that they do.  Thanks to all of you for guiding our learners every day!

Great things I saw this week...
The Forward Exam got off to a great start.
Spheros in 5th grade Science.
Barb is back!
6th graders sharing their film festival at the School Board meeting.
Our Parent Tech Talk on Tuesday night with over 50 in attendance!
8th graders making super balls in Science.
Mike is doing a great job with Heidi's kids.
The flexibility of staff with our wacky schedule this week.
The student pride while putting their poetry presentations together.
Martica and Andrea working with our staff, and chipping in to proctor the Forward Exam or cover a class.
Our volleyball teams had their first games, and did pretty well.
7th and 8th grade family conferences, and the dinner the PTO prepared for them (Face to face meetings with families are the most impactful, in my opinion, so thank you to all who have had family conferences and continue to have family conferences.).
Kim stepping in for Matt as he was presenting at a national conference in Nashville.
Forward testing is over for 6th and 7th graders, and they enjoyed an ice cream sandwich to celebrate!

Calendar
Tuesday, March 27th
7:15  volleyball practice
4:15  Homework Club

Wednesday, March 28th
1:15  A-team meeting

Thursday, March 29th
Grade level and specials meetings
Leaving for Spring Break at 4:15PM (You should, too!)
  • Important future dates
  • March 30th- April 8th- Spring Break
  • April 11th- WIN Wednesday
  • April 12th- NJHS induction
  • April 19th- High School Musical Junior
    • 6th-8th grades @ 10:30AM
    • 3rd-5th grades @ 1:45PM
  • May 11th- Grandparents Day
  • May 15th- concerts
  • May 24th- Half day career event

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Helping Someone Get Better or Showing Them You Are Better? (from George Couros)

One never goes so far as when one doesn't know where one is going.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
writer and statesman

3 Conversation Shifts in Education (from George Couros)

It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving can one comfortably maintain one's balance.
Albert Einstein,
theoretical physicist
(from Math Education SmartBrief)

Relationships, Risk-Taking, and Innovation (from George Couros)

(from Pinterest)

Family smore for 3.23.18

Looking forward to a fantastic Friday.  (See the lion picture above.)
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, March 16, 2018

Effort- students and staff

As you know, I spoke about effort to the kids during our assembly on Wednesday.  I also shared this comic with them and spoke about the need to have a consistent effort.

(from MathEducation SmartBrief)

You give that consistent effort every day for our kids, and by modeling that, hopefully the kids notice and try to exemplify that effort, too.  Please continue to remind the students of the need for consistent effort throughout the days of testing that start next week.  Be an active proctor, and ask them about their effort level when they ask you to come over before hitting submit.  Keep your effort level up, too, as we move closer to Spring Break.  A high effort level in preparation and implementation in your classroom will keep the kids engaged and behaving like we want them to all the way through 4:00 on Thursday, March 29th.

Great things I saw this week...
The band and choir concerts were awesome.
Relationship building continues in every classroom.
The focus on kids, and assisting them with academics, behaviors, and decisions during our grade level meetings.
The seriousness the students and you have taken with test preparation.
The Game of Cards during our staff meeting.
Staff Recognition Awards during our staff meeting.
The student assembly was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
The spheros are back in 5th grade.
A 6th grade student creating a box in Inventor to 3D print for my set of The Game of Cards.
Matt running an intramural volleyball tournament during 7th and 8th grade lunch recess.
We had a really good intruder drill.  (I will be debriefing with the BLT on Monday so please let your representative know if there are any concerns or questions.)
Your flexibility with our Forward Exam schedule.  (I'll be providing a daily schedule of what's happening in the entire school regarding testing.)

Calendar
Monday, March 19th
Forward Exam window opens
7:15  volleyball practice
3:30  cover Becky O.
4:15  BLT meeting
6:30  School board meeting

Tuesday, March 20th
7:15  volleyball practice
8:50  cover Brian F.
4:15  Homework Club
6:00  Parent Tech Talk

Wednesday, March 21st
Workout Wednesday
8th grade Spanish placement test
2:30  Arrowhead for Spanish placement test
4:00-8:00  Culver's Night
5:20  volleyball games at Erin

Thursday, March 22nd
7:45  IEP meeting
Grade level and specials meetings (short versions- 10 minutes for kids)
4:15  Homework Club
4:30  7th/8th grade conferences

Friday, March 23rd
Foodie Friday
Alumni Day (Wear your favorite high school or college gear!)
7:15  volleyball practice
No Office Day!
  • Important future dates
  • March 19th-31st- Forward exam (schedule under development)
  • March 19th- Jazz band trip in the PM
  • March 19th- board meeting
  • March 20th- Parent tech night
  • March 22nd- 7th and 8th grade arena conferences
  • March 30th- April 8th- Spring Break
  • April 12th- NJHS induction
  • April 19th- High School Musical Junior
    • 6th-8th grades @ 10:30AM
    • 3rd-5th grades @ 1:45PM
  • May 11th- Grandparents Day
  • May 15th- concerts
  • May 24th- Half day career event

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
(from George Couros' blog)

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
Marie Curie,
physicist and chemist

(from Jessica Johnson's staff memo)

Ideas are important, but they're not essential. What's essential and important is the execution of the idea.
John Landis,
film director, screenwriter and actor


There's nothing so dangerous as sitting still.
Willa Cather,
writer


Thanks for a great week!
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, March 9, 2018

Advice

This quote really struck me on Friday morning.

There is nothing which we receive with so much reluctance as advice.
Joseph Addison,
politician and writer

This week, I got some advice and feedback from someone I admire.  It stung at first, but after thinking about it, I realized there are some changes that I need to make.  So now it's in my mind every time I interact with others.  I'm hopeful that if you see something that I'm doing, or not doing, that causes you concern, please bring it to my attention so that I can make a change for the better.  We all have blind spots and it's important to have others point them out to us.

Great things I saw this week...
The use of heart rate monitors in PE.
Students and staff focused on test preparation.
Good behavior from our students for guest teachers.
Circle of Power and Respect in Science classes.
Students staying on task with conversations during "turn and talk" time.
Intramural volleyball for 7th and 8th graders.
The true concern each of you has for our students.

Calendar
Monday, March 12th
7:15  volleyball practice
5:30  Strategic planning

Tuesday, March 13th
7:00  chiropractor
8:00  Forward Exam proctor meeting
4:15  Homework Club
5:30  Mid-Winter concerts

Wednesday, March 14th
7:15  volleyball practice
8:00  WIN Wednesday meeting (staff recognition awards!)
1:15  A-team meeting

Thursday, March 15th
Special education, grade level, and specials meetings
4:15  Homework Club

Friday, March 16th
4:00  Art Show across the street
  • Important future dates
  • March 16th and 17th- band/choir trip
  • March 19th- board meeting
  • March 19th-31st- Forward exam (schedule under development)
  • March 20th- Parent tech night
  • March 22nd- 7th and 8th grade arena conferences
  • March 30th- April 8th- Spring Break
  • April 12th- NJHS induction
  • April 19th- High School Musical Junior
    • 6th-8th see in the AM
    • 3rd-5th see in the PM
  • May 11th- Grandparents Day
  • May 15th- concerts
Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Is there such a thing as "over-collaboration"? (from George Couros)

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
Walter Lippmann,
journalist
Google sheet of learning from EdCampELM

You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
Charles Buxton,
businessman and politician

"Someone else's whole world" (from George Couros)

We must dare to be great, and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.
Theodore Roosevelt,
26th US president

It's All in the Small (from Pernille Ripp)

Don't put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you.
James Cameron,
filmmaker

Your Best "Classroom Management" Strategy (from George Couros)

"I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."- Thomas Edison

100+ Ways to add Pirate Hooks to Your Class (from Dave Burgess)

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."- Frank A. Clark

The Choice We Make (from Pernille Ripp)


Thanks for a great week!
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell