Archive for May, 2013

As we patiently wait…

I just got off the phone with my mom as I sat down to write this blog. I asked her what should I write about this week? She immediately responded with the word “Patience”. I laughed and got off the phone with her and wondered why that word popped in her head. As I am writing this, she is preparing dinner for my kids as I had a last-minute second meeting pop up in one evening. How she saves me! Thank you! While she is doing all of this, she has my brother texting about something else. So she was in the midst of juggling… And her children are grown! Yes, mom, you have to be patient! Thank you for that reminder and model!

But then I turned to think about school. Our students are counting down the days. And this anticipation brings a level of emotion and excitement that is full of different reasons. Students are happy for a break. They are sad to leave teachers and friends. Endings can be tough. They are anticipating days without schedules. Some students aren’t sure what is to come as they move on to middle school.  All of these emotions come out of little kids in so many different ways.

Kids are still learning how to handle their emotions. We are there to help guide them and keep them focused. But anyone in education knows this is the time of year that we all ask ourselves for more patience. Teachers have lists and piles of paperwork to complete. Final events and programs and presentations are being completed. Parents are beginning to ask questions about next year. And our students are sitting in the middle of all of this.

So yes, breathe in and breathe out. We are all excited to celebrate a fantastic year, but let’s remember to be patient. And this begins with being patient with ourselves as we move through this excitement. We cannot do everything for everyone all of the time all at once. We have to maintain our focus and model for our students to enjoy our moments and learning together all the way to the end of the year. We have to be patient with ourselves and each other.

And remember that with all of this energy and emotion, it just again highlights the value we have in each other. I wish everyone a wonderful next few days.  Be patient… and enjoy all of the moments that will build us to the end of this successful year.

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Let me share about Birtha

Birtha arrived at Joyner. Have you heard?… Or rather herd how we have been moooo’ved? http://www.wcpss.net/blog/2013/05/cow-donation/

Let me share some background and why I celebrate this gift to Joyner. I received a call about a possible donation of a painted cow and would Joyner like to receive something like this. The donor had heard the story of Embree and wanted to celebrate this incredible child and her school by giving back.

What I know about Joyner is that family feel that we maintain. I laugh sometimes because families aren’t always perfect. And families make mistakes and sometimes family members can hurt each other. But at the end of the day, families love each other. And when something bad happens in the family, families are the ones that open their arms and love and accept above all else. And that is what I know about Joyner.

The story of how our children and community came together to support a family member touched and moved me. I have the opportunity to see these actions all of the time at Joyner. And to have a symbol of that love that our Joyner family gives to each other was one that I happily accepted on behalf of the school.

We now have a cow that will grace our lobby. And it is an incredibly beautiful cow with an incredible description of inspiration. The artist that created her wanted Birtha to “symbolize newness and expectation for what life’s challenges bring us. The overall representation Birtha brings us is refreshment and joy for life”.

I could not agree more that this gift of joy can remind us all that as a family we might face challenges but it is the gift of the Joyner family that helps us celebrate, stand tall and face all that comes to us.

EOG Testing Begins Next Week

We are ready. We are prepared. We have had so much fun learning this past year. It is time to again show off all that we know!

Often I am asked what can we do as parents to support our children and prepare them for these EOG tests. The words above are statements to share with your children as you begin to talk about this “big” testing time ahead. Also, I encourage you to ask your child how they are feeling about the test. Listen to what they share. Many students worry about their score and parental approval. Listen with your heart open and respond accordingly. These conversations can be more beneficial than any review worksheet you can give them.

On the week of EOG keep things normal. Go to bed at a normal time. Eat a healthy breakfast. AND most importantly, get to school on time. Children do best when they are able to come into the classroom and unpack and prepare for the day before that 8:30 bell rings. We will start testing soon after 8:30, so absolutely having students come in closer to 8:00 will help.

And finally, let them unwind after school. Play some games. Let them know just how proud you are of them and their effort in the work.

Thank you for your support throughout the year with your child’s learning. We only have a few more weeks to instill that learning before a summer break. Continue to read and talk about books. Continue to complete any homework. And continue to be that incredible support you are for them.

Community Appreciation

This morning our third graders presented their studies of different countries and locations of the world. Children created posters, presentations and visual displays. Families joined in on the fun. I enjoyed seeing families that brought their own family cultures to share with everyone. The energy was electric in the gym and walkway to the gym.

The incredible piece to this venture was that so many of our families came out to support our children. Again, I celebrate the efforts that our Joyner families give to including everyone as a part of our larger Joyner family. Parents happily listened to all children present. Siblings made a special effort to go watch their brothers and sisters. Classrooms of students and teachers came out. For 45 minutes, our third graders enjoyed another moment that makes Joyner so special. They were loved and supported by their community.

This week is Teacher Appreciation week. What an incredible opportunity for our families to tell our teachers how special they are to us! I want to thank all of our families for their support. Your involvement and presence in the lives of our students helps make this school so incredible.

You have made all of us at school feel overwhelmed with support. And your encouragement and kindness and expressions of appreciation have been accepted with grateful hearts. We love what we do at Joyner. And we do it everyday for the children of Joyner. But the fact that we have a community around us supporting us is an appreciated fact.

Exhibition has begun

As we look forward to these next six weeks, our fifth graders begin to truly dig into their Exhibition projects. This action is tied to the work of the Primary Years Programme of IB. Through the years, our students build capacity for looking at their world and seeing themselves a true and active part of it. Our students feel empowered to learn and dig deeper to understanding different issues that are important to them.

So students have teamed up. Members of our faculty are mentors that tuck into corners with the groups to encourage their teams to dig deeper and look for solutions to their issues. The fifth grade is buzzing with excitement. I have enjoyed catching up with fifth graders to hear their level of excitement and learn new facts.

Meanwhile down the hall fourth graders are teaming up to create businesses. The teams move through the school seeking “investors” from various staff members. Students have to lay out their plan and be prepared to answer questions. I think I last have invested in a group of students who are prepared to get the coyotes out of my backyard! Incredible!

And this buzz continues across the grade levels. Even our Kindergarten students are learning about habitats and writing all the facts they have learned about different animals.

Again, I celebrate the learning of our students. And I have the privilege to walk the halls and enter classrooms and learning environments and see how our learning links us to each other. I see how the work our teachers in Kindergarten engage our students to build foundational skills that propel them towards that fifth grade culminating project of Exhibition.

Parents keep your ears open for the buzz of your students. And I look forward to June 6th when our fifth graders go on Exhibition to share this culmination of learning!