Week 15: 11/27/17 – 12/01/17

I hope you enjoyed your time off, spending time with family, friends & those you love. Now we move to the month of December where it is full of learning, fun, and special events…and a holiday break to enjoy. We have lots to do with our kids from now until December 22nd, and look forward to their growth when they return in January. They always seem more grown up right after the break…happens every year!

Things to keep in mind these next 4 weeks:

  • 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 20 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 27th
SANTA’S SECRET SHOP – browse day {room 107} <—click for schedule

Tuesday, November 28th
Dr. Seuss SIP Committee Meeting @ 2:45pm (Room 110)
Faculty Meeting (cancelled)

Wednesday, November 29th

Thursday, November 30th
Happy Birthday Barbara Zawadzka :)
Technology Committee Meeting @ 2:30pm

Friday, December 1st
SANTA’S SECRET SHOP – buy day (last day)
5 by Friday! Make 5 positive connections with families!

(12/02) Happy Birthday Lizbeth Hohmeier

Have you RSVP’d for the Holiday Party? <–Please do so by Thursday, 11/30
The envelope for payment is in Melissa’s office.
This is what the email looks like in your Gmail:
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The 2nd annual event will be on Thursday, December 7th from 6:30-8:30pm at Lincoln Middle School.

It will be free admission for our families & not only will they have an opportunity to eat a delicious spaghetti dinner (served by the Board of Education), there will be crafts and games for children, as well as pictures with Santa.

 Please fill out the Google Form below if you’re able to help!
Let’s make this an AWESOME event for our kids! We need volunteers to help make each “station” a success. Your help and time is greatly appreciated!

Week 14: 11/13/17 – 11/17/17


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, Stephanie or I can offer you any support this week with conferences, please do not hesitate to ask. We are available and willing to sit-in on any conferences this week.

*Please take a few minutes to read the 2 blog posts below:

6 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Parent/Teacher Conferences by Todd Schmidt

What I Really Want to Ask at All Those Parent/Teacher Conferences

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, November 13th
NO SCHOOL for Students: Parent/Teacher Conferences
American Education Week Begins
Happy Birthday Stephanie Winberg :)

Tuesday, November 14th

Wednesday, November 15th
Happy Birthday Sandy Montes de Oca :)
PreK/PATS Thanksgiving Feast 2-3pm
Common Plan Time (cancelled due to conferences)
Board of Education Meeting @ 7pm

Thursday, November 16th
STAFF Thanksgiving Feast
SLT ELA (cancelled due to conferences)

Friday, November 17th
5 by Friday! Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break, everyone! 

(11/19) Happy Birthday Justine Milenkovich :)
(11/20) Happy Birthday Rosa Worwa :)
(11/21) Happy Birthday Emily Kronlage :)

Week 13: 11/06/17 – 11/10/17

While the graphic below shows the Phases of First Year Teachers, it’s completely normal for all educators (and admin) to experience these “phases” throughout the course of a school year. I  know as a principal, I too, experience these sentiments. The difference is that I know to expect these different phases of the year, and that I will make it through each one. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even need to look at this image below to know that we’re at the “survival” point of the school year.

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The key to the survival phase is to make sure that you are taking care of yourself, because you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first. I appreciate the thoughtful time you are putting into preparing for report cards & Parent/Teacher Conferences coming up soon and that you will have great conversations with your students’ parents to inform and involve them in their child’s learning. I realize this means you have many late nights ahead of you in the weeks ahead, so please make sure to make time for yourselves to relax or do whatever it is that you do to rejuvenate!

Some other great tips to avoid teacher burnout include:
-Ask for help
-Don’t sweat the small stuff
-Don’t play the teacher at home
-Take time for yourself
-Remember why you teach

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Monday, November 6th
Happy Birthday Kaitlin Teater :)
3rd Grade Veterans Day Rehearsal in Presentation Space (8:05am)
Kindergarten/1st Grade going to LMS for Musical @ 8:45am
Reading Room Plan with 2nd Grade (Presentation Space) @ 2:35pm

Tuesday, November 7th
No School for Students – Teacher Institute Day <–click for agenda
Happy Birthday Maria Rodriguez :)

Wednesday, November 8th
2nd/3rd Grades going to LMS for Musical @ 8:45am

Thursday, November 9th
3rd Grade Veterans Day Rehearsal in Presentation Space (8:05am)

Friday, November 10th
Happy Birthday Gloria Reyes :)
3rd Grade Veterans Day Performance @ LMS (10:30am)
*5 Positive Connections by Friday!
*Please try to have your report cards printed by today! If there are any issues, we need to know about them so we can help resolve them! 

(11/11) Happy Birthday Becky Shoufer & Julie Fister :)
(11/12) Happy Birthday Sarah Mixa:)

*Need another Winter Spiritwear Order Form? CLICK HERE – Orders due November 17th!

*Please make sure to keep the master Fall 2017 Conference Google Doc updated as changes are made! Also, please notify staff members who have added a “comment” or “note” in the cell so they are aware that a conference time was changed!

Week 12: 10/30/17 – 11/03/17

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The storybook pumpkins look AMAZING! The pumpkins are a perfect example of the wonderful, creative, imaginative work that can happen when great minds get together! You showed tremendous teamwork and I am so proud of your efforts and creativity. Everytime our students walk through the media center, they admire the Storybook Pumpkins and comment on how creative they are! NICE JOB!!! Remember — each student should cast their vote for their FAVORITE storybook pumpkin on Halloween! Google Form ballot will be emailed out tomorrow!

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, October 30th
Reading Room Plan with 3rd Grade (Presentation Space) @ 2:35pm

Tuesday, October 31st
Halloween Parades <—see doc for all info
8:45am (AM PreK Parade), 12:30pm (PM PreK Parade), and 1:00pm (K-3 parade)

Wednesday, November 1st

Thursday, November 2nd
SLT Math Meeting @ 2:35pm (PD Space Upstairs)

Friday, November 3rd
Trimester 1 Ends
Fall Birthday Breakfast (in Lounge)
PreK Screening

**Reminder for Tenured Teachers*
Tenure teacher professional growth meetings completed before November 1st.
ALL tenured teachers must complete a Professional Growth Plan.

16 Best Classroom Pandora Stations, As Recommended by Teachers

Print Custom Sticky Notes with Google Slides

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Week 11: 10/23/17 – 10/27/17

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, October 23rd
Red Ribbon Week Begins! Wear RED
Fire Prevention Week ~ SPFD meeting with classes in Presentation Space ~ schedule here
Kindergarten Reading Room Plan Meeting @ Presentation Space (Data Review) 2:35pm

Tuesday, October 24th
Bring Music Into Your Day! 
Faculty Meeting @ 2:50pm

Wednesday, October 25th
Nationwide UNITY Day! Wear ORANGE to show support for bullying Prevention ~ students will receive Red Ribbon Week stickers.
*Storybook Pumpkins with teams during Common Plan Time

Thursday, October 26th
You Have the Power to Say No to Drugs! Wear your favorite Superhero T-Shirt
Kindergarten Field Trip to Johansen Farm
District Mentor Meeting @ 3:45pm

Friday, October 27th
Wear Your KUBBIE Spirit Wear! 
Spirit Assembly at 9:00am
1st Grade Field Trip to Goebbert’s

Fire Prevention Activities (from Pinterest)
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Week 10: 10/16/17 – 10/20/17

My go-to blog, Venspired, comes through again this week with another inspiring message:


“That part of the school year. The one where your plate gets so full you don’t know what to tackle first. The one where you’re pulled in 86 different directions, buried in to-do lists, and you feel behind on everything. Your classroom. Your graduate classes. Your life. It’s tempting, desirable, even easy to just settle. But when you settle, you’ll miss something. You’ll never know what amazing thing your class might create. You’ll never know about that better way to assess, plan, integrate. You’ll never read that article that changes your perspective. You’ll never see that opportunity you missed. Yep, you could settle. Or, not. It’s really up to you!”

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, October 16th
Medical Exclusion Day – Please see email from Anna Wrobel re: students who are not up to date with paperwork
Dental Screenings
1st Grade/Reading Room Team Plan @ 2:35pm

Tuesday, October 17th
Dental Screenings
Happy Birthday Mary Beth D’Andrea :)
1st SIP Committee Meeting @ 2:45pm <—-did everyone sign up for a committee?

Wednesday, October 18th
Dental Screenings
PreK/K/1st Grade TAPS Meetings
Board Meeting @ 7:00pm

Thursday, October 19th
Happy Birthday Eva Popowska :)
PreK Parent Workshops
The Great Shakeout (Earthquake Drill) @ 10:19am *See email for more info!
SLT – ELA (Cancelled)
District Math K-5 Meeting @ 3:30pm (District Office)

Friday, October 20th
Fall Picture Re-Takes

Week 9: 10/09/17 – 10/13/17

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I hope you had a wonderful 3-day weekend and enjoyed this beautiful October weather with your family & friends!

Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, October 9th
No School: Columbus Day
Happy Birthday Mandy Vanderwaal :)

Tuesday, October 10th
Team Up Against Bullying – Wear your Favorite Sports Team
ROE Life Safety Visit
Faculty Meeting @ 2:50pm
Family Math Night/BPAC 4:00pm-5:30pm

Wednesday, October 11th
2nd/3rd Grade TAPS Meetings

Thursday, October 12th
PreK Field Trip to Johansen Farm
PATS Field Trip to Cosley Zoo

Friday, October 13th
2nd Grade Field Trip to Goebbert’s

(10/15) Happy Birthday Rose Karas :)

Week 8: 10/02/17 – 10/06/17

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, October 2nd
Parent Visitation Day (9-10am and 1-2pm)
Project Connect K-3rd *Students will write an anti-bullying message on a strip of orange paper that will connect to form a school-wide chain! Our message is much stronger when we come together to make a difference!

Tuesday, October 3rd
3rd Grade Field Trip to Goebbert’s

Wednesday, October 4th
1st Grade (Rooms 100, 101, 110) Field Trip to Safety Town

Thursday, October 5th
Vision/Hearing Screenings (Room 112)
SLT Math Meeting @ 2:40pm (Upstairs PD Space)
Happy Birthday Barbara Brzozowska :)

Friday, October 6th
Vision/Hearing Screenings (Room 112)
PreK Screenings

Blog Posts Worth Reading:
What’s In Your Teacher Carry-On?

10 Things to Say Instead of ‘Stop Crying’

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Week 7: 09/25/17 – 09/29/17

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Each day we choose to bring our best self, ready to learn and provide the best learning experiences for our students!

Learning is what happens when we seek new experiences, try what we have never experienced, or when we fail to accomplish what we set out to do. Doing the same exact thing again and again will not create new learning. BE BOLD! What’s the worst thing that can happen?

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, September 25th
Reading Room Plans with 3rd Grade (2:35pm-3:05pm, E217)
Happy Birthday Marta Ocon :) 

Tuesday, September 26th
Faculty Meeting @ 2:50pm (Presentation Space)

Wednesday, September 27th
1st Grade (Rooms 102, 103, 108, 109) Field Trip to Safety Town – 9:00am-11:00am

Thursday, September 28th

Friday, September 29th
5 Positive Connections by Friday!

Blog Posts Worth Reading
Search for the Best Chrome Apps & Extensions to Use in the Classroom

Week 6: 09/18/17 – 09/22/17

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Here’s our week at a glance:

Monday, September 18th
Math Team Leader Meeting @ District Office 3:45pm

Tuesday, September 19th
Happy 75th Birthday Roger Pape :)

Wednesday, September 20th
Happy Birthday Michelle McMorrow :)

Thursday, September 21st
Happy Birthday Bridget Elliott :)
SLT (ELA) Meeting @ 2:45pm (Prof. Development Space Upstairs)
Mentor Meeting @ LMS 3:45pm

Friday, September 22nd
5 by Friday! Continue to make POSITIVE CONNECTIONS with families each week!
Cycle 1 Ends.

(09/24) Happy Birthday Brittney Lane :)

****Interested in showcasing some of your amazing technology integration ideas at the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Conference? Submit a proposal!
Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 3.49.00 PMBlog Posts Worth Reading:
What All Grade Levels Can Learn from a PreSchool Classroom via Bethany Hill

5 Ways to Help Students in Trauma via Edutopia

The Brain is Wired for Math – Sort Of via Edutopia

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Have you tried MyOn News in your classroom yet? Our free trial lasts until the end of October & I’m eager to hear your feedback!

myON NEWS 2017 from myON Fanclub on Vimeo.