Friday, May 19, 2017

It's a beautiful life

Take a moment to listen to this song, "It's a Beautiful Life" by Ace of Base.
Part of the reason I wanted you to listen is because of the quote below by Frank Lloyd Wright- "The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes."  The other part is because of the beauty we should see in our lives every day.  I'm not talking about beautiful people, although that is a nice part of our lives.  I'm talking about beauty in a more figurative sense.  The beauty we have in the choices we are able to make, in school and out, that few others have the opportunity to make.  The beauty we have in living in a community that supports our schools and teachers.  The beauty we have working with colleagues who care about one another.  The beauty we have in teaching kids who want to learn and do there best.  Keep that in mind when one of those moments comes up during the next few weeks.  Someone somewhere else, maybe even someone sitting in your classroom, has it worse than you do.  I challenge you to find something beautiful before school begins again on Monday and share it with a family member, friend, or colleague.  And then ask them about something beautiful they found in their own life.

Great things I saw this week...
  • Staff continuing to provide activities that engage our kids.  I know I'll continue to see this next week, and the next week, and the next week.
  • Students playing tennis, a life long sport, even in the rain.
  • Students working really hard on their portfolios.
  • Excitement about the book fair.
  • Wonderful concerts last night.
  • Smiling faces at Culver's on Wednesday night.
  • Kids reading and writing, a lot.  And that's a good thing.
  • Kids really focused on MAP testing and giving their best.
  • Conversations about doing what's best for kids.  Keep the focus on the kids and we'll power through to the end of the year.


Calendar
Monday, May 22nd
  • 12:22-1:03  AHS AD visits 8th grade
  • 7:00  Board meeting
Tuesday, May 23rd
  • 5th graders at camp
  • 4:15-5:15  Final Homework Club
Wednesday, May 24th
  • 5th graders at camp
  • 4:30  retirement party
Thursday, May 25th
  • 5th graders at camp
  • Jeans for Troops ($5 to our veterans if you wear jeans)
Friday, May 26th
  • Professional Development Day

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Managing drama (by Mark French)

"I've always tried to go a step past wherever people expected me to end up.  I'm not about to change now."- Beverly Sills, opera singer


"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."- Andre Gide, writer

(from SmartBrief)

"You can have the nine greatest individual ballplayers in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."- Babe Ruth, baseball player


"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have."- Maya Angelou, writer and civil rights activist



Co-teaching Twitter chat
If you have an interest, or even if you're a little intrigued, there is a Twitter chat this Sunday about co-teaching.  If you haven't participated in a Twitter chat before, don't be scared.  You don't have to add anything at all.  You can just read what others are posting.  If you want some advice on participation in this chat, or any chat, just ask me.  I'm happy to help!

Don't forget to sign up for a 10-15 minute meeting about your SLO/PPG.  These meetings are some of my favorites as we discuss the success of your students.  When we meet, make sure that you are ready to share one thing you are proud of from this year and one thing you would like to try next year.  That's all for now.
Be the one!
Jay
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell


Friday, May 12, 2017

Staff appreciation week- It was amazing!

I don't know about you, but I was blown away by the show of support from our PTO and families this week.  Every day was just one more reminder about how our families feel about us as educators.  You should also know this.  Although there is one week designated as Staff or Teacher Appreciation Week, we are fortunate to live in a community where we are appreciated nearly every day.  Think about the emails you get, or the phone calls you receive, or the conversations you have.  The support of our families is evident in each of them.  You might have to look or listen closely, but it's there.  Keep the focus on our kids over this last month.  They are the reason we are here.  You are the reason they are here.  If I don't say it enough, I apologize, but it is a pleasure to work with and for you each and every day.  Happy Staff Appreciation Week!

Calendar
Monday, May 15th
  • 7:30  IEP meeting
  • 4:15  Final BLT meeting
Tuesday, May 16th
  • 4:15  Homework Club
Wednesday, May 17th
  • 8:00  All staff meeting
  • 1:30  A-team meeting
  • 4:00  Final Sphero Club meeting
  • 4:00-8:00  Culver's Night
Thursday, May 18th
  • Grade level/specials meetings
  • 4:15  Homework Club
  • 5:30  Spring Concerts
Friday, May 19th
  • 1:00  4th grade transition
  • 3:00  5th grade HG&D
Tweets, quotes, and blogs
Fly me to the Moon (from Jeff Zoul)


The Full Story (from Pernille Ripp)


In the Small Details (from Pernille Ripp)


Get Excited to Teach (from We Are Teachers)
@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate School on Facebook
Merton Intermediate School on Instagram
Family smore for 5.12.17

If you don't read anything else, please read this
While on Twitter or Facebook last night, watching NHL hockey, I came across this letter that I just had to share.  Please read it, carefully, and keep it in mind when we have discussions with each other and with families about students in our classrooms and schools.  It is a powerful message.
Letter to a parent

One final thought
I've been reading a lot of blogs over the past week and in one of them, or maybe in a combination of them, I remember reading something like this-

We don't have bad days.  We don't have bad mornings, or afternoons, or evenings.  We have bad moments.  And what we do after a bad moment determines how it will impact the rest of our day.

I don't know why this is important to me this week.  Maybe it will be important to me next week, or later today, or next year.  But it was important for me to share with you all today.  Maybe it's important to you today.  This video, shared by my mentee in Idaho with her staff, brings some of these thoughts to light.

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

P.S.- Don't forget to be at the flagpole by 8:35 this morning and I hope to see you at the get together after school.


Friday, May 5, 2017

It's May!

What an exciting week!  It was Spirit Week and so many students, and staff, dressed up.  I was able to get some pictures that you can check out on social media or in our family smore.  Having a chance to be a bit silly with the kids and each other further helps to build relationships.  As someone once said, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  As the weeks wind down, the emotions of our kids, and our own emotions, will be as predictable as the weather.  Take a deep breath, contemplate your response or lack of response, and realize that we are dealing with middle school kids.  The best thing about middle school kids is that they are middle school kids.  Whether they admit it or not, they do want to learn.  Keep providing engaging activities, keep showing them you care, and they will surprise you with their effort, creativity, and work ethic.

Great things I saw this week...

  • Dissections in Science (starfish and frogs)!
  • Kids rollerskating, playing rugby and playing golf.
  • Tweets from many staff about the things going on in your classrooms and on the NJHS camp experience.
  • The flexibility of staff for all of the activities that happen in May.  These activities help us develop more well-rounded kids.  Thank you for understanding the importance of that.
  • The incredible work our IAs do with all of our kids.  It doesn't go unnoticed.
  • IEP meetings- Wow for all of you!
  • Grade level meeting discussions about kids and what's best for kids.
  • The stuff our PTO does for our students and us is amazing.
  • Spirit Week was amazing thanks to Student Senate.
  • All of the students and adults working hard to be ready for Grandparents' Day.

Calendar
Staff Appreciation Week (Always the first full week in May)
Monday, May 8th
  • Coffee and doughnut breakfast from the PTO
Tuesday, May 9th
  • Garden gift from the PTO
  • 4:15-5:15  Homework Club
Wednesday, May 10th
  • Soup, salad, and potato lunch buffet from the PTO
  • 8:00-8:30  Staff meeting
  • 3:40-4:00  All school assembly
    • Adjusted schedule for 7th/8th.
    • We always impact our morning classes, so we're going to impact afternoon classes this time.
    • All staff will attend with their classes.
  • 4:15-5:15  Insurance meeting
Thursday, May 11th
  • Treat day from the PTO
  • 8:00-8:30  IA meeting
  • Grade level/Specials meetings
  • 4:15-5:15  Homework Club
Friday, May 12th
  • Gift presentation from the PTO
    • Please be at the flag pole by 8:35.  You won't want to miss it!
Tweets, quotes, and blogs
The Fence (from Jon Harper)


3 Misconceptions About Innovation in Education (from George Couros)


5 Reasons to Ban Fidget Spinners from Every Classroom in America (Shared with me by a staff member, and it's not what you think.  Please read it!)


On the Reality of Trying to Create More Readers (from Pernille Ripp)


@mertonint on Twitter
#mertonint on Twitter
Merton Intermediate on Facebook
Merton Intermediate on Instagram
Family smore for 5.5.17

As a reminder...

  • Please make sure to be a presence in our hallways during passing times and before and after school.
  • Check your grade level meeting agenda for notes and important dates.
  • Kids will live up to your expectations so keep those expectations high.
  • Find something nice to say about each student at least once a week.  It will help them know that you really care, and I know you really do care.
What are you proud of?
We all have something we are proud of.  I'm proud of our work in school, I'm proud of our kids, and I'm proud of you.  First and foremost, I'm proud of my daughter and my wife.  They have to put up with me every day, and I'm not the easiest person to get along with on a daily basis.  They know that there are times when school must come first, and I hope they know that sometimes I'm able to change something on my schedule to make sure that family comes first.  You've heard me say "Family first" how many times?  Sometimes Lauren and Jen need to remind me of that, too.  This weekend is a weekend for family.  It's Lauren's final recital, and I get to dance with her in the father/daughter dance tonight and tomorrow.  I'm sure a video will pop up somewhere, but I had to share this video of Lauren and some of her friends dancing to "Space Between".  You can even vote for it, if you'd like.  Enjoy!

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