Archive for February, 2016

Communication

I met with the PTA communication team this past week. We discussed the many different ways that parents receive information from Joyner. We continue to reflect and attempt to keep things streamlined so parents have the information they need when they need it.

The weather on Wednesday and the subsequent early closing of school was another opportunity for us to reflect on how quickly we can reach our parents to ensure that our students would make it home safely. First of all, every parent should receive a phone message from Wake County. This phone message service is the same that I use every Sunday afternoon to communicate news from school. If parents do not receive this message, then we need to connect because we must not have your most updated phone number.

The next point of communication came from your teacher. Teachers emailed and attempted to make phone calls. We worked through our phone lists and emergency contacts in order to find a voice to communicate with.

Our PTA is always there to support. Our PTA uses a tool called MemberHub. I immediately connect with the the PTA president to get a message out through that system to communicate with parents.

All of these systems are in place for you to hear from Joyner in emergency cases but also just to stay in the know.

Please consider the line up and if you are getting the information you need.

Sunday School Message- This comes to the phone number in our system. This information is also posted on our Joyner website to go back to anytime during the week. Up coming events are shared in this tool

MemberHub- PTA communications and many teachers use the tool to communicate through as well.

Email- Teachers use this tool to communicate, and it is the parents’ way to contact teachers easily as well.

Twitter- Our way of sharing the learning and what life looks like at Joyner each day.

My blog- Just another form of sharing life at Joyner and what we do together to build a strong learning world for our children.

We are thankful for the smooth dismissal on Wednesday. Our parents were responsive and understanding and quick to respond. Together we kept our children safe. Thank you!

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Creativity

I was home in time to take my son on a quick evening walk. We held hands and checked out the stars that began to shine. Our whole walk was filled with fun little conversations. We talked about how to know which stars are the wishing stars. We found shapes in the sky with the stars. We talked about the houses we walked by and who could be living there. The creative spin on our walk was fun to follow. Having the moment to just enjoy just each other’s company and voice filled our souls.

As I think about my day, I think of the small moments I shared with children that highlighted those creative spirits. I walked into a kindergarten class. Students were all over the room being active in text in many ways. Children were reading alone on carpet squares. There was a parent volunteer sprawled on the floor sharing a book with a student. And in the back of the room sat a little girl intently working in a book. She was filling the picture portion of the page with lots images. I asked her about the story she was creating with the pictures. She began with the snake. Her story was about a snake that wanted to live in a rainbow but might need to go to the store. She included the store in the picture. And the snake might need to buy bananas at the store. Yes, there was a banana on the page. I snapped the picture and shared with the twitter world. But I also was captivated by the ideas swirling in that little mind and pouring out onto the page.

In another class, I talked with a group working with building blocks. They talked about the messy but heavy roof to their tunnel. But they also highlighted the perfect decorative openings to the tunnel.

During lunch, several second graders shared the games they were making up at the table together to play. Their imaginations made us all laugh.

I talked with a first grader as he excitedly shared his day of learning about shapes. We shared the fun reasons why we have favorite shapes and where we see them all over. The creative way he saw shapes in his world was impressive.

There is so much to learn in elementary school. We are readers, writers, mathematicians, scientists and more. But I hope we always also remember we are creators. We have these wonderful little minds that come see us every day. I hope we can find ways to nurture their curiosity and creativity. I am so lucky to be in the presence of these little minds. They keep my creativity growing as well. I encourage all adults to find those moments to let creativity take over the conversation. It is an enjoyable time to join our children in their creative imagination.

Healthy Choices

Last Friday we kicked off together with our PTA the Healthy Choice Marathon. We spend 26 focus days thinking about the choices we make to a healthier life together. We celebrate at the end with the Joyner 5K run/walk. If you haven’t already heard, we encourage our students to choose a healthy food or try a new healthy choice every day, get outside, play and be active and finally keep that mind healthy by reading.

I always love this month as we focus on what we know is important every day throughout the year. But the excitement from students truly is what makes this time so special. This year Ms. Childress and I are on the news each week talking about a different aspect of the marathon. This week we shared our healthy food choices and encouraged kids to try something new. As I walked through the lunchroom during my duty time, I enjoyed the students showing off the different foods their parents picked or they picked out of the cafeteria. Students selected the cucumber slices Ms. Haithcox had in the cafe. I love the energy around trying things that are healthy.

Many of the teachers dig into this as well. We talk about drinking more water and how many steps we take a day. You would be surprised how many laps they get in the classroom in a days teaching. We encourage each other. Our PTA provides Healthy Wednesday Workouts.

I am grateful to a community of learners who see this whole child focus as important. Our parents help and encourage us to celebrate healthy lives. These healthy choices help us all smile more and enjoy more the learning we do every day.

Good luck everyone in making your own healthy choices. Share these choices with your children and talk about it.

A Great Start to the Day

I sit here and think about my morning as I stood in the lobby welcoming our children and families. This morning was an example of the busyness of that beginning of day time. I think about how I was able to catch up with a parent about her older child now in middle school. I was given a recommendation of a good read. I found myself hugged from behind multiple times. I was asked about light bulbs. I watched one of our many toddlers peddle down the hallway away from mom and back towards the older sibling. I was asked about a schedule. And so on and so on.

So much can happen in those first 30 minutes that our children come in the building. From my vantage point, I am able to welcome the many families that walk their children into school. There are families that park deep in the neighborhood just to have the opportunity to walk their children into the building. I enjoy watching interactions between family members. I even get to see siblings hug quickly before they head off down different hallways. I see families carrying projects of all shapes. I see families who rush in.

I am able to greet our children who come off of the bus into the building. I get a lot of hugs, high fives and opportunities to be one of the first to check in. I get to hear the funny stories from the night before. I hear the concerns that also might have come up. I get caught up on game stats from basketball games. I am asked about weekend football.

Children are coming from all directions. Many of our students are carrying books to and from the media center. They stop to share their new book or we talk about the book going back. There are times that parents grab me for a quick question or just stop to share stories.

I find these connections so important in starting my day. Having the opportunity to make eye contact or say good morning to so many of our children is something that I treasure every morning. It can be a time to solve problems or even catch something before it even becomes a problem.

I also love the buzz that our hallways are filled with. Parents connect with other parents. Teachers and parents connect. And students are everywhere beginning their day and settling into their school setting. I am so thankful to the staff on duty all the way down the hallways who continue to greet our children. I love the rituals I see between different staff and students. I enjoy knowing that many of our children are building relationships with staff beyond their own classrooms.

It is a busy time in the morning and I am thankful for the atmosphere and positive start to my day.