Week 16: 11/30/15 – 12/04/15

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Welcome Back! I hope you enjoyed your time off, spending time with family, friends & those you love. It’s crazy to think we only have 15 days with our Kennedy Kubbies before Winter Break. In these 15 days, we have a lot of work to do & lots of wonderful learning experiences to provide our students. Things to keep in mind:

  • For some of our students who will say “it’s almost Winter break” and lack motivation, it is time to push them & keep them excited and eager to learn.
  • For our students who come from challenging circumstances at home and are feeling anxiety about not being at Kennedy for over two weeks (and acting out because of it), it is time to show them how much you care & make the most of these next 15 days.
  • For our students that just keep smiling & working hard each day, it is time to pull them aside and tell them how much you appreciate them (Positive Postcard?)

Be proud of what we’ve accomplished with our students so far this year, but please keep the focus on learning in your classrooms as we return from Thanksgiving Break. In addition, I’d encourage you to:

  • Take a second and tell a colleague that you’ve noticed how hard they are working and that you appreciate them working so hard. Gratitude and appreciation are also essential for a healthy work environment. A simple thank you and a show of appreciation can make all the difference.
  • Make time to reflect on some of the positives that we’ve had this year that may have been overlooked as we have overcome the challenges of not having enough time.
  • Set a tone for your students that regardless of how much time is left before a long break that all of us will work hard and make the most of our school days.
  • Celebrate being a member of our Kennedy School family

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, November 30th
Happy Birthday Barbara Zawadzka :)

Tuesday, December 1st
Winter MAP Testing Begins <—click for schedule

Wednesday, December 2nd
PATS Field Trip to Schiller Park Fire Department
Santa’s Secret Shop (Browse Day) <–click for schedule
PreK/K/1st TAPS Meeting (schedule will be emailed to Kennedy Conference by Mandy)

Thursday, December 3rd
Santa’s Secret Shop (Buy Day)
Kennedy Singers Rehearsal @ LMS (8:40am)
SLT Meeting @ 3:00pm
SD81 Choral Concert @ 6:30pm (LMS)

Friday, December 4th
Pre School Screening (No PreK for Students)
Santa’s Secret Shop (Buy Day)
Happy Birthday Michelle Miro :)

(12/05) Happy Birthday Becky Zora :)

This Week….

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This week we have some changes to our usual routine — Hearing & Vision screenings, Thanksgiving Feasts and sharing holiday wishes. Then on Friday, we all head home for Thanksgiving Break where our celebrations continue with our family and friends.

True for some, not for all. As Thanksgiving & Winter Breaks draw near, along with all of the excitement, it is not uncommon to see an increase in undesired behaviors and regression to previous behaviors in our students. For many of our students, home is a place where relationships are unhealthy, meals are not prepared, and drugs/alcohol or violence are part of daily life. For these students, many of whom we may not even be aware of their circumstances, the most consistent, positive and secure part of their life is time at school. No wonder they are exhibiting some stress. When these students walk out of our doors on Friday, there may be no breakfast or lunch, no counseling services, no celebrations, no gifts, and no one to encourage and support them.

So we support our children. We collaborate with our community to provide basic necessities (food, coats, meals). We give our kids books from our classrooms to read over the break. We express that we are thankful for each other and look forward to being together again as a school community soon.

And even though we are tired and looking forward to a much-needed break ourselves, we keep an eye on those who are acting out more than usual. We give them structure and routine. We give them a break. We give them encouragement. This may not be their favorite time of the year.

Thank you for ALL YOU DO for our kids EVERYDAY :)

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**From Jennifer Dinielli’s Blog

Week 15: 11/16/15 – 11/20/15

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How often do we pause & think why we are grateful? I challenge each of you to take some time each day this week to reflect on the things, events, or people you appreciate. Better yet….if it’s a person, let them know how thankful you are for their role in your life. THANK YOU are two simple words that have the power to transform our health, happiness, performance, and success. Grateful people are happier & more likely to maintain good friendships. Gratitude and appreciation are also essential for a healthy work environment. A simple thank you can make all the difference. Be sure to say thank you to those around you each and every day!

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, November 16th
American Education Week

Tuesday, November 17th
2nd Grade Field Trip (104/106) to Mitchell Museum
Faculty Meeting @ 2:50pm

Wednesday, November 18th
2nd Grade (207/208) Field Trip to Mitchell Museum
Technology Common Plan (team leaders will share agendas)
PATS/PreK Thanksgiving Feast (2-3pm)
Dr. Seuss Committee Meeting @ 2:50pm (Room 110)

Thursday, November 19th
Staff Thanksgiving Potluck in Lounge
SLT Meeting @ 3:00pm

Friday, November 20th
Spirit Assembly
PreK Field Trip to Shedd Aquarium
Happy Birthday Rosa Worwa

(11/21) Happy Birthday Emily Kronlage
11/23 – 11/27: Thanksgiving Break
(11/25) Happy Birthday Emily Moran
(11/27) Happy Birthday Shannon Luster

Blog Posts Worth Reading:

I Was Wrong by Benjamin Gilpin <–reflective post about using recess as a consequence

We Draw Closer by Jon Harper

Interactive Thanksgiving Resources by Technology Rocks, Seriously

Challenge for the week~Make every student in your class feel like a star!
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Week 14: 11/09/15 – 11/13/15

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Parent-Teacher conferences offer teachers & parents the opportunity to see, celebrate and support each individual child. Just as we all appreciate praise for our efforts, parents appreciate praise for their efforts & their child’s progress. As you offer information about the students in your room, always remember that you are speaking about someone’s ‘whole world’ and remember to be mindful of how that information will be received by your audience. I’m confident you will exude professionalism and confidence this week as you inform parents about curriculum, assessment, grading/reporting, strengths & opportunities for growth. I know you will continue to develop a working relationship with your families and deepen that home-school partnership. Thanks for all that you do in preparation for this very busy week! If Donna, Tiffany or I can offer you any support this week with conferences, please do not hesitate to ask.

Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences

7 Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, November 9th
Parent/Teacher Conference Week
Hearing & Vision Screenings (in conference room)

Tuesday, November 10th
Happy Birthday Gloria Reyes :)
2nd/3rd Veterans Day Rehersal @ LMS
Faculty Meeting Today – RESCHEDULED to next Tuesday, November 17th due to conferences

Wednesday, November 11th
Happy Birthday Julie Fister & Becky Shoufer :)
2nd/3rd Veterans Day Performance @ LMS (9:00am)
Board of Education Meeting @ 7:00pm (LMS Little Theater)

Thursday, November 12th
Happy Birthday Sarah Mixa :)
NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS: Parent/ Teacher Conferences

Friday, November 13th
Hearing/Vision Screenings (in conference room)
NO Reading Room (ACCESS Testing Training)

(11/15) Happy Birthday Sandy Montes de Oca :)

Blog Posts Worth Reading:
I’ll Never Resign by Krissy Venosdale

Phonics Strategies for Young Learners Using the iPad by Kristi Meeuwse

Looking for ideas for Parent/Teacher Conference Week? Check out my board on Pinterest here.

Here are some Veterans Day Ideas, too!




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Week 13: 11/02/15 – 11/06/15

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November is officially upon us as we are surrounded by beautiful warm colors & cooler weather. I hope you had a refreshing, relaxing Halloween weekend and are ready for the week ahead (I hear it’s going to be a 70 degree week ahead!)

As parent-teacher conferences are upon us, I wanted to share a blog post (an oldie but a goodie) with some tips to keep in mind. Parent-Teacher Conferences offer teachers and parents the opportunity to see, celebrate and support each child. Conferences have provided me with some of my most rewarding moments in teaching. Just as we appreciate praise for our efforts as educators, parents appreciate praise for their efforts & their child’s progress. Our school calendar sets aside days for parent-teacher conferences each year; however, I believe great teachers like all of you at Kennedy know that parent-teacher conferences are held throughout the entire school year. A great teacher keeps the student, the team, and the parents informed at all times! Let’s make sure we reach our weekly goal of 5 positive connections by Friday!

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, November 2nd

Tuesday, November 3rd
Mentor Meeting @ 3:45pm
101/109 Mitchell Museum Field Trip @ 9:00am

Wednesday, November 4th
103/107 Mitchell Museum Field Trip @ 9:00am

Thursday, November 5th
Hearing/Vision Screenings (in conference room)
SLT Meeting @ 3:00pm

Friday, November 6th
Picture Retake Day
Reading Room Plan Day
Hearing/Vision Screenings (in conference room)
5 By Friday! :)

(11/08) Maria Rodriguez’ Birthday (cafeteria)

Blog Posts Worth Reading:
Google Sheet Explore ROCKS

9 Google Apps Productivity Tools & Tips for Teachers

It’s Not a Technology Issue