Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's in your office?

I was approached by Mr. Lammers, a fourth grade teacher in my building, about helping respond to his students' "talk back" journals. What an exciting thing to participate in! Not only can I learn a little bit about the fourth graders in his class, but I get to respond to their questions. Without hesitation...I said YES!

The prompt they were given was "If you could ask the Assistant Principal any question, what would it be?". I have spent the last few evenings reading and responding to their questions. Some of the questions have been pretty typical, such as "What is your favorite place to vacation?", "How long has Sherwood been a school?", "Where were you before you came to Sherwood?", and the list goes on. One question, however, that really caught my attention was about my office. This student explained in their letter that they had never visited my office, but wondered what was in it. Would I have pictures of kids in my office and/or pictures of my family? This really made me think. What does my office say about who I am as an administrator and as a person. So I started looking around.

The first thing that caught my eye is a large picture hanging on my wall of 2 giraffes. One is a baby giraffe laying on the ground with his head up. The other giraffe is coming from the top of the picture and it is kissing the head of the baby giraffe. Next to this picture are two signs. One says "Contagious Enthusiasm" and the other says"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

On one of my walls, I noticed pictures that students have made for me. One is from a 2nd grader named Steven. He made a picture of red flowers and the sunshine with a watering can watering the flowers. Janie, another 2nd grader, drew a picture of me that has hearts all around it (it's quite good I might add...I made it my Twitter profile pic).

On my door, I have pictures of students from a lesson that I taught last year as a special guest teacher. The students are engaged in the activity and having fun! There is also a picture on my door of me with one of my 2nd grade friends, Devin. On the first day of school, Devin brought in the most beautiful, gigantic sandwich I have ever seen! I made a big deal over this sandwich and how delicious it looked. The next day, Devin packed me a lunch with the most beautiful, gigantic sandwich in it! We had lunch together that day...everyone was jealous of our sandwiches!

As I continue the journey through my office, I notice pictures of my husband, friends of mine, and my family around my office. Reminding me of my life outside of Sherwood and things that are important to me. There is also a smattering of UK Wildcat paraphernalia and frogs of all sizes (even one in a UK shirt!). I'm a die hard Wildcat alumni (yes...I bleed blue) and one of my favorite philosophies is EAT THAT FROG!

As I look around my office, I'm noticing that all of these things I have placed in my office (as randomly as some may appear) help to paint the picture of who I am as a person, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, learner, friend, and administrator.

So, this question, that seemed so simple from the mind of a 4th grader, really caused some deep reflection on who I am. I'm proud to say that my office is a direct reflection of EXACTLY what I want to be!

So my question to you is...what's in your office?

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's All Good in the Wood...

That's the state of mind this year at Sherwood. Ms. Bellamy took this theme, which includes an underlying theme personal growth, and had the students and staff create a beautiful representation!
All over the walls of our cafeteria you will see individually created flowers. The flowers vary in size, based on grade level. Kindergarten are the smallest flowers and they progress in size ending with 6th grade creating the largest. Each flower has a picture of the person who created it and one leaf, identifying their passion.

Prior to the start of school, our staff got together to take a deeper dive into our theme of personal growth. We started by identifying what we were passionate about and created a non-linguistic
representation of this with model magic. We placed this creation on a stick and then stuck it in a small flower pot. Leaves were added to help us identify how we were going to grow our passion. This was a great way to kick off the year and set some goals on how we were going to grow, both personally and professionally.

It's so neat to walk through the building and be reminded of all of our passions (staff and students). It helps us to hold each other accountable and check in regularly on our progress. The students are even excited to see what their friends are passionate about which leads to some fantastic conversations at lunch!

So, let our walls be your inspiration! What are you passionate about? How willyour "leaves" feed your passion? Set some goals and begin to watch yourself grow!!!

Remember...It's all good in the wood!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long Weekends Don't Stop Us...

I took a long walk through the primary hallway today, spending time in each classroom. It was so exciting to see second graders investigating combining numbers in various orders. Each student was building 3 towers of 1 color each at various heights given by the teacher. Then they would write a number sentence to represent it. The teacher would then direct them to rearrange their towers and write another number sentence. They did this until they had 3 ways to solve the problems. Many of the second graders understood that no matter what order the towers were in, the answer would be the same. However, they couldn't quite put into words why it worked that way. The teacher directed them to talk with their math partners. You could tell this was a new thing, due to the fact that they were REALLY quiet. The teacher modeled for them how this should look and sound. Once this was done, the students began to have mathematical conversations. It was truly amazing to see the learning coming from just a few snap cubes and a conversation with their neighbor. This just reinforced, for me, the importance of mathematical conversations to help with the development of a concept. That's one of the things that I love most about Investigations, coupled with the training our teachers have had through Math Solutions.

The next stop that I made was to the first grade area. How amazing it is to see 6 year olds learning how to read! The teachers were spending time teaching the routines for their Reader's Workshop. The kids were excited to learn and excited to read. Even cooler than that was the conversation that I heard in the teacher's lounge during lunch. The first grade teachers were having a professional conversation around the elements of their Reader's Workshop and how things went with their students today. I love listening to these brainstorming sessions and professional reflections.

I love the learning that is happening at Sherwood! I can't wait to see how it progresses this year!