Archive for October, 2016

Sharing Experiences

This evening I was able to take the opportunity to go with my family to vote. We stood in a long line. My children experienced candidates walking through the line speaking and sharing their views. They listened to conversations and enjoyed pointing out the signs they have become accustom to. I was glad for the large grassy lawn and the books we brought to pass the time. My husband and I discussed our first voting experiences in school and what candidates rose up with great interest in our early childhood. We reminisced those first experiences as our children listened.

As we entered into the building to go through the voting experience. My children became quiet. They read the signs and asked questions about our District. Maps were studied on the wall. They watched me answer questions about my address and pick up the ballot. And then they silently watched as I completed the ballot. Finally my son commented on the long list of people. He was seeing the names he has heard in so many places all listed together in one place. I told him how that was amazing to see how many people wanted to help to lead our country in so many different ways.

As we checked the number of folks on the ballot box that have voted before us, we walked away talking about what just happened. I enjoyed sharing this experience with my children. We were able to make visible this thing that they learn about in school called democracy. They witnessed a piece of their history.

Shared experiences create the memories of our children. The stories of being together in experiences I hope allows them to see more deeply why we do what we do. I hope they see how our country makes decisions from beyond the textbook and put into real life. Maybe they too will sit in line someday waiting to vote and will remember this election and the time their parents took them to stand in long lines with many others looking for their voices in vote to be heard.


Joyner Jamboree=Family Time

I ran into a “former” parent this afternoon. It was wonderful to catch up and hear how her children were doing. She mentioned that her children were trying to convince her to return for the Jamboree this Friday evening. We remarked on how many alum show up to volunteer and be a part of the Jamboree atmosphere. It reminded us both that once a JYJ family member, always family. Perhaps you are never a “former” parent of JYJ.

The Joyner Jamboree is once again this Friday night. This is a PTA sponsored event. First of all it is important to note, this is not a fundraiser. Our PTA creates this event for the Joyner family to get together and have a great time. Countless numbers of parents will volunteer their time throughout the evening. Our children will laugh and play together finding classmates and former classmates. Our parents also take the opportunity to connect and reconnect. I am always overwhelmed by the number of people that come out for this event.

This year we are adding a quiet space for those of us that might not always enjoy the outgoing event. I am proud of our parents for quickly recognizing this opportunity to be sure we include all members of our JYJ community. I am thankful to our parents who advocate for all children.

If you haven’t considered attending, I encourage you to make an effort. Come join in celebrating the Joyner spirit and enjoy those moments that make this community so strong.

Why School

There are so many ways that I talk about why school is important. Through many reflections, I hope to capture those important moments that make school what it is and what makes Joyner such a great place to learn and grow.

This past weekend’s weather took many of us by surprise. Before I left school on Friday, I made sure we had everything pulled in but didn’t really think we would get more than some rain. As the storm came into Wake County though, the amount of rain and wind began to impact in a greater way. I know as a parent, keeping the calm at home was important as the wind blew. We played games and enjoyed being together inside and safe.We turned the power outage into an opportunity to have flashlight games and stories by candlelight.

Into the evening, I started to receive email messages and read through twitter about the community around Joyner and began learning how the rain turned into flood waters. On Sunday many of us woke up to no power and surprises outside our windows. Limbs, leaves and trees came down. I drove into the Joyner neighborhood to assess what damage we might have had at school. As I walked the grounds, I discovered many families out playing together. I enjoyed having the opportunity to begin to connect and check on our families. There was a buzz of life at Joyner, even after such a storm. On Monday our staff also began to show up at school. We took the time to connect with each other, check on how people were, offer help to those still navigating damage and loss of power. It felt good to share stories and offer empathy and smiles.

It was Tuesday morning when we were able to welcome our children back that I again saw completely why school and why Joyner is important. Our families connected with each other and staff. We happily welcomed students and parents with hugs. We have families that still are without power. Children were able to come to school and forget about all that for a while. Our teachers quickly took the day to connect and then teach. We gave students a chance to step away from all of the weekend’s adventure and into some normalcy.

I am thankful to work in a community that care for each other. Stories were shared of students caring for their teacher, caring for their neighbor, and just caring for those in the bigger world. Our students see the opportunities to continue to make a positive impact.

School is an important part of the community. And Joyner is important to our community of learners. I am grateful for our larger community helpers that have done so much to help Joyner become ready to welcome our children back after the storm and continue to help clear the way for many to get to some normalcy in life.

Observations on Math

When I was a student, I enjoyed math. It wasn’t close to my heart like reading, but it was always interesting to me to learn the different skills and concepts. I guess I had the attitude that I could play with it. I even remember figuring out the game of Algebra and perhaps frustrating my older brother because I saw his homework as a fun game to conquer.

When I became a teacher, I began to see math differently. I always remember teaching first grade math in a way that was so different from what I ever was taught. I began to realize through using math manipulatives and story exploration, I was learning math more clearly and with meaning behind it.

This past week I have visited a lot of math happening in classrooms. Kindergarteners explain and talk about math concepts. They give their perspective and insight to explain amounts in numbers. I have observed two students using whiteboards divided into a 100 frame exploring patterns of numbers. I walked into a second grade classroom where students worked collaboratively to solve a story problem. Each student had a role in helping the solution to come to life. In third grade, students are given a book mark that provides sentence starters that encourage deeper conversations around math that we call math talk. A fourth grade classroom begins with solving equations using the words from the story before they even begin jumping into the numbers. And finally today I talked with a fifth grade teacher who shared the work students did with remainders in division. She was cleaver in pointing out to students that when we are determining how many buses to take on a field trip and we cannot divide our students evenly on the bus, we don’t just leave the remainder back at school. Students then began to discuss the true meanings of remainders.

Math is so much more real and meaningful than my games I played in my head with math as a kid. Students talk about math and explain and explore. Walking into one classroom, students have multiple ways they solved problems. They talk with each other and discuss. They analyze the different avenues to the solution.

Sometimes it seems difficult to understand all of the new in math. But I am learning that there are many ways to see math and many ways to talk about it. Take the time to really listen to what is happening in the math world. I often find that I learn something new each time I take that moment to listen.