Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Establishing Routines

One of the most important aspects of the beginning of the school year is establishing and learning routines; for our classroom, school and learning habits.  The first three days were great for introducing most of the classroom expectations and routines which, like most things, get better with practice.  From our classroom morning routine that prepares students for the school day to our end of the day routine that prepares students for their workload and parent communication, students are being taught and reminded of necessary routines to help foster community and student success. 

Throughout this first full week of school, all students (and teachers for that matter) in our classroom will be learning and practicing classroom expectations and responsibilities.  At times the learning curve can seem pretty steep.  Be rest assured that the guidelines and expectations are designed with student learning outcomes in mind.  The better we adapt to the design and structure of our new learning environment, the more we will all be able to focus on the real point of our school system: learning and having fun! 

Be sure to attend the Fourth Grade Curriculum Night this Thursday, September 1 at 6pm in the auditorium to get more information about the new school year!  You will also have an opportunity to sign up for parent/teacher conferences and our exciting Mystery Speaker program! I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School

Welcome back to another school year full of opportunity, relationship, challenge, failure and success!  Yes, that's right, failure is just as predicatable as success; in some cases even more predictable and in many cases more valuable.  Learning to handle the results of failure and success will serve children well in all they do.  I hope you are ready to help your children flourish and flounder with the inevitable success and failure they must endure during the new school year. 

There are few things that excite me more than a classroom of children full of emotion.  The first day of school is unique in that way because students have so many different feelings; anxious to see their friends again, nervous about new situations, excited for new experiences, and scared of the unkown.. just to name a few.  But there is also something unique about a classroom of children gathering together at the start of a new school year that really intrigues me.  Maybe it's the fresh start to build a community, an opportunity to mold character, or the anticipation of inspiring a child toward a new interest or hobby.  Whatever it is, there are very few days on the calendar like the first day of school and I am lucky to have been a part of one for the last 23 years.   

With the first day over, and the journey of a new year underway, I look forward to the success and failure I will experience with my students, but most of all the opportunity to learn and grow with a group of children in a way only a teacher can.  Thank you parents!! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Social Media and a New School Year

In an ever-changing and rapidly evolving world, digital learning and social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Skype and the like have declared their place in human existence.  As teachers, we have an obligation to teach students about these kinds of digital tools and guide them with effective, practical and purposeful instruction for their use.  Some of you may be familiar with some education specific online learning tools and social networks such as Edmodo and Kidblog, but there is continually growing list of online tools that are incredibly useful for student projects, assessment, and learning.  

As we all embark on another school year, I ask you to think about social media in your life and in the lives of our children.  Ask yourself and children some questions about what you know and how these platforms have influenced your life and the world around you.  I also ask you to start the conversation, if you haven't already, with your family and friends about the utility of these digital media tools in the education of our children.  If you are still hesitant about social media, read this recent article from the Post-Ops in the Washington Post.  There are two sides to any story but we all must realize that today's youth are finding ways to use these tools.  It is our obligation as parents and educators to help them use these platforms safely as global citizens of an interconnected world.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Already August

Aloha Readers!  It's been awhile since my last post and that is mostly because I've had a summer full of travel and adventure.  With August already here and the school year only three weeks away, I thought I should check in a give an update.  I hope all of you have had ample opportunity to get outdoors this summer for adventure, exploration and physical activity.  Summer is a great time to plays sports, travel, hang out with family and friends, and just relax!  The picture below is one I took while visiting my friend in Alaska.  For more of my travel photos from the summer (and past summers) click on my slideshow in the upper right hand corner of my blog.  There is still some time get out of your house and enjoy the summer sun!


(An overlook of Cook Inlet from atop Penguin Peak, just outside Girdwood, Alaska.)