Lincoln Lion's Local Buzz

April 5, 2019

When you are so proud you might explode

Being the only usual member of the behavior team at school for an entire day at a school with a reputation for "unruly" students....this is what administrator nightmares are made of. To prepare myself for the day I had two, ready to go, deputized, teachers to help. I never needed them. Here is what actually happened yesterday. I got to go into many classrooms --for the most part---UNINTERRUPTED and enjoyed watching you all do what you do best--TEACH!! I didn't get to all rooms but I walked by every classroom at least once and feel confident in saying that strong, engaging instruction was happening in every classroom. I observed our students working hard, focused, and engaged in the learning process. I did not see students off task, being disrespectful, disruptive, or unruly. I saw IAs supporting students in meaningful ways. Small groups of students engaging with text, students "reading" books from their book boxes. Individual students calling me over to their seats to show off the work they had finished. It was fantastic!

I cannot express how proud I was to walk around our building yesterday and think about all the hard work we have all put in to change the way Lincoln operates. Sure we have some days that are busier than usual, but our lions understand that school is a place for learning. None of the classrooms I entered were teaching fluff. It was solid curriculum based instruction--and our kids were "killing it"!!!!

We are still on this journey to make Lincoln "the best place in town", but yesterday was a moment that I celebrated. Thank you for everything that each of you have done to make the changes in our building. I truly hope each of you have time to take a moment to sit back and just take in all the changes we have made together here at Lincoln. It truly is wonderful.

Tidying up

Over break my sister encouraged me to watch a show on Netflix called Tidying Up. It is a show that sucks you in and empowers you to de-clutter your life. The show's host, Marie Kondo helps the people she is working with hold the object/item of clothing and ask, "Does this bring you joy?" If the answer is no, it goes. If it does, you keep it. Thanks to Marie's method, I'm 5 bags of clothes "lighter" from my closet and my pantry has never been more organized.

Watching her episodes got me thinking about being a teacher and keeping a classroom organized. Let's all be honest, teachers, for the most part, are hoarders. We keep everything--because we think we never know when we will it again. I'm willing to bet that after 10 + years of teaching we have accumulated so much stuff, that we don't use, that our rooms are cluttered, stuffed with (being real here) 80% of papers/objects we will never use again because curriculum has changed or we have made whatever it is better.

In full disclosure I still have books from my teaching days in fifth grade at my house. I get how hard it can be to part with things from our classrooms, but it is time for us to tidy up our classrooms and part with things that are cluttering up our space. Our classrooms need less objects in them. Less is more. For some of you it might just be eliminating files that have sat unopened in a cabinet for years. For others, this will mean saying goodbye to furniture, reducing files, and making space in your classroom for kids to move.

I'm not asking you to do this task tomorrow or next week, but I am asking you to reduce what is in your classroom by the start of next school year. Be thinking about what does not bring you joy in your teaching. What gets in the way of your students moving in your classroom. What prevents you from having an actual circle in your class---not a funky, squashed rectangle, but an actual circle.

To get you in the frame of mind to start to release items in your classroom I would encourage you to watch the show Tidying Up. It really is good and helps you release the sense of guilt when getting rid of something that doesn't "bring you joy". So get ready everyone, we are going to be tidying up and finding joy in what is really important in our teaching and in our classroom.

Master TN Ready Schedule

Attached you will find a master schedule for each grade level that designates days and times for administering each sub part. In addition to this master schedule, I will have daily schedules that identify proctors, locations, and small groups for each day. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

FYI: I am training IAs and volunteer proctors in shifts on Monday. I will be training the teaching staff on Monday at our faculty meeting. If for any reason you will be out Monday, email me so that I can get with you asap for training. I will also be confirming small group accommodations with classroom and sped teachers at the meeting.

I thank you in advance for your help in crossing "Ts" and dotting "i"s. Testing is a chameleon that changes just enough to be super tricky each year.

Link to the April Newsletter

Here is the link for the April Newsletter that was sent to parents today. There are dates and information for parents regarding upcoming PTO events that you might want to take note of too.

PLC Switch-A-Roo

This Tuesday's PLC is scheduled to be data analysis, but since we did that last week, I'd like to suggest that we change things up. I'd like to use this PLC for grades 3-5 to work together for as long as needed to discuss anything that is needed in these final days before TNReady. As many of you have a strong plan about what you are doing to support our students this may not be a long meeting, but if we could touch base for a bit that would be great. Grades K-2 we can use this time to go over any curriculum/writing pieces/science that you all would like to work on as a team. Kindergarten, you can bring any portfolio work you'd like to work on. I can bey a fly on the wall while you work.

The next change that I'd like to make is to not meet on the 16th. An exciting fact about this month is there are 5 Tuesdays. Since we have the first day of testing on the 16th and we will all be working with a slightly different schedules I thought adding in a book discussion (that is the focus that day) might be more than necessary. What I'm proposing is that we move our book discussion to the last week of the month--after testing. This would take some of the crazy out of the first day of testing, and gives everyone some extra time to read. If this does not work for a grade level just let me know. SPED team, we would also not meet on Thursday the first week of testing with this proposal, and move our book talk to the last Thursday of the month.

More Resources to instill Persistence in our students

Here are some more videos that I found that can help us instill the value of persistence in our kids.

This video is actually good for all ages. it talks about learning to ride a bike and then applying that to a college course--but all done with a child main character. A quick one that could support a good circle discussion.

This one is NOT for kids, this one is for you! It is a good video about how and why we would want to teach GRIT to our students. When I watched it, I thought of our data folders and what we can do to maximize that potential.

This video is definately for our older students. This is an interview with a rising college freshman. She talks about how she was truant, and her mom let her be truant, but one day--after a visit from folks from her district--she changed her attitude toward school and became a scholar. This one could be one many of our kids can relate to.

Overview of grit and what it means in conjunction with perseverance and reliance. This one drives home the point that work is hard, but if you give up you'll never accomplish anything.

Just because every day needs a little Bruno Mars--and oldie but a goodie...Don't give up!

Lincoln Lions Are

Respectful, Responsible, Trustworthy, and Safe