Team Thomson News & Notes

May 7, 2018

Important Information for You!

Happy Staff Appreciation Week!

As we head into this School Staff Appreciation Week and the end of the year, I have taken some time to reflect on this past year. In terms of student behaviors, things to be done, curriculum work, and time, this year has been no different past years. The difference, however, has been in the way many of you have chosen to approach things. There is such a wonderful sense of teamwork and togetherness in the building and because of this I think that is has been one of the best years at Thomson. Students continue to grow at leaps and bounds, they are happy, staff morale seems to be up, and there is a sense of determination to make things better for everyone. I am so proud to be part of this staff and am honored to work with all of you. This week we celebrate you and your hard work.

Our PTO has a wonderful and fun week of activities planned for our 'Red Carpet, VIP, Star Staff'. I know that you all received the schedule of events, but just in case you've misplaced it here it is again:

  • Monday: FAN MAIL- Please watch for a special delivery of notes from the students you inspire everyday.
  • Tuesday: TREAT YOURSELF LIKE A STAR-Stop by the lounge at lunch and pick up some popcorn and enjoy a little pampering with a chair massage and a hand dip.
  • Wednesday: SWAG BAGS- Stop by the lounge in the morning (teachers there is a staff meeting that morning) to grab a 'swag bag' and add some breakfast treats to it before your day begins.
  • Thursday: DRESS YOUR BEST-Break out that old formal wear (prom dress, bridesmaid dress, gala gown, or just a nice outfit) and let the world see you at your best as you accept your 'special' award. Students will also be invited to best their best on Thursday. For those who really 'step it up' your name will go into a special drawing for some gift cards from me.
  • Friday: THE AFTER PARTY-Relax and wear jeans, enjoy a Taco Buffet lunch, and partake in some fun drawings at lunch.

Again, thank you for your dedication, had work, and for putting kids first. You are making a lasting impact on these children that will be with them for years to come!

Reading to Children

Melissa Wing recently shared the article below. As I have been sharing the Literacy Essentials with you, this article gets at several of them through the power of reading to children and what they take away from it, but what it also gets at is the reason that we work with children...because they matter, we care about them, and because we choose to put kids first above all else.

The Real Reason to Read Children’s Books

by Pernille Ripp

We had visitors in our classroom again today as some fantastic educators had traveled to be with us (shout out to West Dubuque). As always, they had a few moments to speak to the people that prompted their visit in the first place; our students, who with their candor, wisdom, and humor always have great things to share.

They asked, "Why do you think it matters that Mrs. Ripp reads children's books?" I was eager to hear their answers.

I thought they would say that it mattered because I could recommend great books. They did.

I thought they would say that it mattered because there was a lot of great books in here to choose from. They did.

I thought they would say that it mattered because it made it easier for them to find a new book. They did.

But what I hadn't expected was this...

It matters because it shows that she cares about her job.

It matters because it shows that she cares about reading.

It matters because it shows that she cares about us...

Let that sink in. That while we know that reading children's books matters for so many reasons, this was the biggest one of all.

For all of my students, me reading a book and being able to bring it into class shows them that I care about them as people. As kids who read and who have meaningful reading experiences. That I am willing to dedicate my time away from our classroom to something that will hopefully matter to them shows that I mean every word when I say I love my job, I am grateful to be your teacher.

We worry so much about whether or not kids know that they matter. Whether they know that we care about them. We come up with elaborate ideas to show them how much we appreciate them and sometimes forget about the small things. That care comes in small packages. That caring sometimes comes in the shape of a book read and discussed.

So for every book I purchase, for every dollar spent, I will continue to tell our students that I love my job, that I love being a teacher for them, that reading matters and that this very book I read is my way of reminding them that I care.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child. This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block. If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.


This week my goal is to finish up the third round of observations and get started on the fourth round. Thank you for sticking with your instructional schedules even though the weather is nice and the students are getting spring fever. Now is the time to push their thinking to a deeper level and a wonderful time of application and problem solving. Student Engagement is a critical piece right now. Also, as you know, when you deviate from your schedule even a little bit, it can throw things off behaviorally for your students, thus making Classroom Environment and Culture equally critical. With these two areas in place and well thought out lessons and lesson planning that encompass Purpose, Curriculum and Pedagogy, and Assessment for Student Learning, I continue to enjoy seeing the things happening in your classrooms.

Cardinal Code Focus of the Week:

This week the Cardinal Code focus is CLASSROOM. Please take the time to review behaviors that need to be addressed in your individual classrooms. Remember, the Cardinal Code is all about re-teaching, re-teaching again, and re-teaching as often as needed and while there are times when a consequence may be necessary, it is not about crime and punishment.

Dimes for Diapers

Last Friday, the Dimes for Diapers drive ended. I sincerely appreciate all you have done to help promote this cause. I will be working to get the money totaled and turned in. I believe that all money has been turned in, but if you have some last minute donations, please turn them in right away. Megan Romanik's classroom raised $129.29 which I believe is the most. If I am mistaken, please let me know.

Classroom Orders for 2018-19

This week you will be receiving ordering information for next year. As you place orders for the 2018-19 school year, please be sure to open those closest, cupboards, and drawers to ensure you use your allotted money as wisely as possible.

Quotes Worth Reading

"Go ask three people who their favorite teacher in school was. Watch their eyes and listen to the way they talk about that teacher. You get to be there."

-Tom Rademacher, Teacher

I have been reading a wonderfully honest, funny, thought provoking and inspirational book by Tom Rademacher called It Won't Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching. It can be purchased for less than $14. If anyone is interested in reading it and having a little morning coffee book club and discussion, please let me know.

Thomson Elementary

Home of the Thomson Teddies!


Where Kids Come First and Futures Begin!

Celebrations & Announcements

No birthdays this week!

Again, HAPPY STAFF APPRECIATION WEEK! Here's to all of you and all you do!

Important Upcoming Dates:

  • Week of May 6th-Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week...see above for details.
  • Monday, May 7th-Board of Education Meeting, 7:00 p.m. in the High School AMR
  • Tuesday, May 8th-Bike Helmet Day for Kindergartners; Book leveling after school for anyone who can make it.
  • Wednesday, May 9th-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m. (Agenda: Behavior & Restorative Practices, End of Year Events and Responsibilities); Social Studies Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 10th- General Admin Meeting (Natalie), ELA Curriculum Meeting 4:15-6:14 p.m.
  • Friday, May 11th-Lockdown Drill; Leadership Team Meeting, 7:15-8:15 a.m.
  • May 14-18-PLC Week
  • Monday, May 14th-Fire Drill; ACC 4:15-6:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 15th-For Mar Field Trips
  • Wednesday, May 16th-For Mar Field Trips; Early Release Day
  • Thursday, May 17th-For Mar Field Trips; Elementary Principals Meeting; CMC 4-7 p.m.; Walk-a-Thon Money Due
  • Friday, May 18th - Tornado Drill; PTO Walk-a-Thon
  • Monday, May 21st-Title I Parent Meetings, 10 a.m. & 5 p.m.; Math Curriculum Meeting, 4:15-6:15 p.m.; PTO Meeting 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 22nd-Denise Brennan-Nelson Visits, Child Study Day (please send any new names to Jason and myself); DI Meeting, 4:15-5:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 23rd-Staff Meeting, 7:35 a.m.; STAR Testing
  • Thursday, May 24th-STAR Testing