Archive for December, 2013

We are busy learning!

As we start the month of December, I always talk with the teachers about ways we can keep our students settled as long as we can during this very exciting time. But I also enjoy seeing the incredible flurry and activity that the students are involved in now and throughout the year.

So yes this week of all weeks, we are trying to keep focused on learning and manage the energy, excitement and buzz while still enjoying ourselves. Today as I walked through the building, I was so impressed by those activities. Our Pre K students were engaged with Mad Scientists. Our third graders built compost waste to place night crawlers in. Our fourth graders shared more of their inventions and were interviewed by fellow students. Our fifth graders are gearing up to the culminating activity with the Revolutionary War.

I LOVE the learning I see. I LOVE that our teachers continue to find creative ways to keep our students involved in the learning process. Students are actively engaged in conversations with each other and their teacher. And with three days before a break, they have not stopped!

I encourage our families to not stop even while on break. Share traditions from your childhood. This builds that historical perspective of who they are. Ask your child to cook with you. Imagine the math and science involved! What makes those cookies go from gooey to hard? Explore and look for answers. Debate the search you do on the internet to discover that answer. Was is from a reputable source? These real world connections build a knowledge that you may not realize shines at school.

I wish everyone a wonderful winter break. Enjoy each other! And we look forward to seeing everyone fresh and ready in the new year!


I, like many of you I am sure, have been watching with great interest as South Africa has celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela. On Tuesday, I was overwhelmed by the thought that this one man’s life and the story of one country has resonated with the world. On a global scale, the power of this story has moved over 100 world leaders to sit in one stadium with honor and respect.

I am so moved by this global connectiveness to a story that I grew up watching. I remember the moments I learned about South Africa as a kid. I remember how it impacted me then.  As I grew older, I built deeper meaning in what was happening half the world away. I watched with interest the news.  I remember standing in amazement at the transformation made in a country. And again, yesterday I am reflective as I listen to the celebration of one man’s role in a country.

We might not all be meant for being such movers and change agents in the world. But when I reflect on the work that we choose to do each day with children at Joyner, I want our community to know and understand that they do have power in their actions. The actions of our children interacting with each other are essential in growing as a community. We are a community that interacts and relates and connects. We all can grow in our ability to do this and create a place for all to succeed.

I am inspired anew by Mr. Mandela. I appreciate the words and movement he made in his life. And I am thankful for those role models close to home that inspire me daily. I am thankful for teachers who listen and guide. I am thankful for parents who respond and support. I am thankful for children who often can model for us all how we can work and play together.

Stay healthy

My week has started with sniffles. Quickly I have pulled out all my home remedies, humidifier included! I re-read all the advice I have been given by our school nurse. And I am reminded that it is that time of year that when we start to pile on too much, our bodies tell us to stop!

So I have been given a good reminder that I am passing along to you. Help your children get to bed at a decent time still. Remind them to wash their hands often! Make sure healthy food is a part of their diets. And give them opportunities to play and exercise. And I am trying to do the same!

I encourage everyone to remind their children of those simple healthy manner rules when they sneeze and cough. And when your child is sick, please remember to keep them home until they are fever free.

The winter cold may hover, but I truly believe in these simple tips that help it to disappear soon. I wish everyone a healthy December!