Sunday Afternoon Wonderings

 

The days have flown and I realize that I haven’t gotten into classrooms as often as I would like to. This is the week! I realize that two staff members and a group of students are away on the annual post secondary school trek and that I have at least two parents meetings to attend to and a full staff meeting to prepare for, so my plan is to get into more classrooms on this wee.

I have to remember to order treats for our full staff meeting on Wednesday and to pass along the expectation that everyone is expected to attend this meeting – after all the children will be dismissed at noon in order for us to meet. Our highly successful staff meeting loonie-drive will continue if there is an appetite for it. Last month half of the pot went to the Terry Fox fundraiser and the other half went home with a happy teacher whose name was drawn last from the bucket. We’ll do it again and donate half the pot to the community “food bank” drive.

 

We have a full agenda and I want to engage staff as much as possible so that Fred and I aren’t just a couple of talking heads… The agenda needs to be revisited and trimmed down to allow for more staff engagement.

What do I want to engage teachers with? I want to know what the general professional thoughts and practices are with regard to homework and the use of the lovely agenda books that arrived after school was already in session. I have seen two teachers use it very efficiently.

 

Parents, in their response to the homework survey said that they trust that teachers know best about when and what to assign for homework and that it is an important practice. Parents also said that their children need help in being able to recall exactly what the homework is and when it is due. High school teachers have some clear views about assigning homework that need to be communicated to the elementary staff so that we can work together to develop habits and routines that will support homework as an effective practice to support student learning. Interestingly research says that students should be assigned no more than 10 minutes per grade. An article, How Much Homework is Too Much is a worthwhile and important read.

 

I want to provide staff with the opportunity to debrief the Monday morning presentation about underage drinking in our community. As well, I want feedback from staff as to whether the imind curricula has a place in classroom curricula. As a school we have made a commitment to raise awareness about the impact of underage drinking as the impacts are evident in every aspect of the children’s lives including school.

I want to know more details about the pro d day coming up on Oct 31st. Self regulation is a topic that is supported by research so I hope this session is enlightening. I hope my mindup books arrive soon.

 

I also want to hear more strategic discussion and planning from high school teachers about the greatest areas of need as a result of their department meetings last Monday afternoon. What goals will be made and what will we do to address them? What will that look like and what resources might we need?

 

After an intense week of DIBELS training last week, we need to provide time for elementary teachers to have an open discussion about classroom schedules that will allow enough time for literacy and interventions. It warms my heart to see the intense dedication that teachers have for improving student literacy.

 

After our classroom discussion on Friday with one of the grade eight classes, I am looking forward to seeing them arrive with all their “tools” for learning so that instruction and engagement does not have to be compromised by taking time to locate tools before each class. As well, I look forward to seeing more students in classes rather than in the hallways. This will be a topic of discussion in response to the highly inappropriate graffiti which appeared in two washrooms last week.

 

I am grateful for the visit from the chiefs, the elder, and the community resource providers who showed up on Friday to address the high school students. The message was delivered in ways that left students with the opportunity to volunteer to be part of a youth committee to address this issue. Afterwards, at my request, three students who were disruptive to this assembly, had an opportunity to go to the elder and apologize for their behaviour. To this, the elder graciously replied that she was so happy to hear this as she knows that all of the boys come from such good families. The boys were so uplifted that they each gave her a hug; as a result, they walked away with a renewed sense of themselves. Addressing incidences with students provides them with opportunities to grow in ways that classroom curricula may not.

 

Ahhh Monday!

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