Monday Musings

Weekly Update for Douglas Staff - January 4, 2016

2016 - Here we go!

Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a restful, relaxing break. I think we played a record number of board games at our house over the past week. Lots of Farkle, Whoonu, Sequence, Apples to Apples Jr., and other fun stuff. Family time for all of us is education is a little less during the school year, which made the two-week break that much more special. After some late nights and sleeping in, I'm hoping for (...crossing my fingers for) a smooth Monday morning at the Lessner house!

Don't forget - I made soup! There will be three soups and rolls in the lounge on Monday for all of you to enjoy - Stuffed Pepper Soup, Baked Potato Soup, and Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup. Happy Holidays to all of you - and thank you for making my job a great one every day.

I am looking forward to our staff meeting on Tuesday. The PLC Planning Team had an in depth conversation in December about what our staff needs, and how we can best use our time together to grow as a Professional Learning Community. On Tuesday, we will begin together in the Media Center with an community-building activity, then grade level teams will have an opportunity to discuss the article "One Step at a Time" along with a rubric related to components of collaborating as grade-level PLCs.

A key piece of our discussion as a PLC Planning Team was that each grade-level team is at a different place on the PLC journey - and that is expected and OK! Evolving together is a marathon…not a sprint - something I need to continually remind myself of. At our PLC Planning Team meeting, we had open, and honest dialogue about our work together, and we left with the hope that each team would also engage in a similar conversation, knowing that the work we are doing is important for our students and for each of us as professionals. The article and rubric will help each team determine "where they are" and also where they go next to move forward with a focus of learning for all.

I look forward to kicking off 2016 with all of you and our students this week!


Class Meetings - Friday, Jan. 8th!

Science Fair - Sign-Up Deadline = Jan. 11th!

One Step at a Time

This is a link the article teams will be using to prompt discussions at our meeting on Tuesday.

PLC Team Rubric

This is a link to a rubric (from that teams will use to prompt discussions on Tuesday.

Six Flags - Read to Succeed! (360 minutes in January)

Sabina and the media staff will be entering student information for the Six Flags tickets this year. To get the kids excited, we will talk about it on announcements this month - and will promote the goal on our Facebook page. Students who read 360 minutes in January will earn a ticket to Six Flags. No need to use a separate reading log - the current log you already use will work! Please let parents know via newsletter and/or planners of the goal.

More info about turning in names to the media staff will come in the future!

1 Million MInutes

We will have reached 1 MILLION at-home reading minutes when December's minutes are tabulated. Does anyone have any ideas for a million minute celebratory activity/event?

Last year, we had the kids sign the banner and hung it outside. We also had high school students come over and read. Something else we have done - whole school reading in cafeteria (1/2 of the school at a time) along with PJ Day.

All ideas and coordinators are welcome!


Staff Meeting - Tuesday, January 5th

Tuesday, Jan. 5th, 3:15pm

1101 Prospect Street

Watertown, WI

All Staff will meet on this first Tuesday after break. Driven by the PLC Planning Team meeting in December - our agenda is as follows:

- All Staff Activity (Community-Building) - Media Center

- Review Norms/Team Time Intro

- Team Discussions and Goal-Setting - Using "One Step at a Time" and PLC Rubric as a guide

- "Closing Circle" in Media Center - All Staff

PALS Update from Nancy Z. for K-2 Teachers

K-2 Teachers: Mid-year PALS update

WHEN: The mid-year PALS window for WUSD is January 11-22, 2016

WHO: PALS mid-year should be given to all students who were ID’d in the fall, those who are receiving reading interventions and those who you have concerns about. You can give ALL of the assessment or individual parts at midyear. (If students were not ID’d but had one area of concern in the fall, you could give just that portion of the screener if you wish).

WHAT: The Kindergarten COW rhyme is “Rain, Rain, Go Away”. Start teaching it early so students have it memorized!

WHAT: The PALS 1-2 COW rhyme is “Hey Diddle Diddle”. If the Level B or C tasks were administered in the fall, they should be administered again mid-year to assess growth.


New Students: If you have new students since the fall window, be sure to contact Lynn Linskens to add them to your class in the PALS system.

Kindergarten Mid-year materials: The mid-year materials do not change from year to year. You should have a manila envelope that contains a Administration and Scoring Guide (FORM C), Student Packet, Student Spelling sheet, Student Booklet (contains Group Rhyme Awareness and Group Beginning Sound Awareness), Individual Rhyme Awareness booklet, Rain, Rain booklet, and individual Beginning Sound Awareness cards.

PALS 1-3 Mid-year Materials: The mid-year materials do not change from year to year. You should have an Administration and Scoring Guide (FORM C), Teacher Packet, Student Packet, Mid-year Student Spelling Sheet, and the 5 small books for pre-primer/primer reading and COW.

Score Entry: Please use the WIZARD for scoring. That way you will enter scores as the child tests and have immediate results to use in planning instruction and intervention. All scores should be entered by January 22, 2016. (Earlier is preferred)

If you are missing any materials OR need help with administration, please let Nancy Zimmermann know.

Welcome to Kaitlyn Aceto!

Please join me in welcoming Kaitlyn Aceto to our staff for the next 12 (or so) weeks! Brianna Kreuser will be officially out on maternity leave starting today (1/4), and Kaitlyn will be filling in during her leave. Kaitlyn has spent the first part of the year over at Schurz in 5th grade, and we are excited to have her with us!

Emily's Schedule for the Week (1/4-1/8)

Announcements - Daily @ 8:05

Team Meetings - I will try to pop in team meetings this week to touch base! If you have any time/location changes, please let me know.

Observations throughout week (not Monday!)

Monday - 1/4

9:30 Office Meeting - Jen Harris

10:00 Office Meeting - Dawn McBride

1:00 Meet with Kayla

Tuesday - 1/5

8:45-11:15 Cabinet (ESC)

12:10 Lunch Meeting - WIN Group (4th Graders)

3:15 Staff Meeting - Media Center (PLC)

Wednesday - 1/6

7:30 SIT - Kayla Wallace (Krueger)

Afternoon - Limo Ride - Fundraiser Reward Students

Thursday, 1/7

9:00-11:00 Elementary Principals @ Lincoln

3:20 Lit Night Meeting

Friday, 1/8

Class Meetings - Self-Discipline

8:10 3rd Grade

8:40 2nd Grade

9:10 1st Grade


1:45 4th Grade

2:15 5th Grade

ALA - Great Websites for Kids

Came across this gem over break! The American Library Association has a whole site dedicated to "Great Websites for Kids" - worth a browse!

Time for Kids - Poetry Contest

Free and easy opportunity for kids to enter a funny, rhyming poem in a contest. Parent/guardian email needs to be entered, so it would likely require either parents entering the poem for them, or a permission slip with a parent email written out.