Staff Memo

Dec. 19, 2014

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May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

Warmest wishes to each of you as you take time away from school to relax, recharge, and spend time with family.

Our family won't all be together this year so our Christmas will be a bit fragmented. I'm looking forward to games so we can laugh and trash talk each other a bit, a couple of family movies, a trip to the zoo to see the lights, enjoying the space and delights of the Art Museum, and yummy food.

Happy Holidays to all.

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Why School?

Will Richardson has written a short text called Why School? You can purchase it for $2.99 on your iPad or Kindle. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

"Traditional educators, classrooms, and brick-and-mortar schools are no longer necessary to access information. Instead, things like blogs and wikis, as well as remote collaborations and an emphasis on 'critical thinking' skills are the coins of the realm in this new kingdom. Yet the national dialogue on education reform focuses on using technology to update the traditional education model, failing to reassess the fundamental design on which it is built.

In 'Why School?,' educator, author, parent and blogger Will Richardson challenges traditional thinking about education — questioning whether it still holds value in its current form. How can schools adjust to this new age? Or students? Or parents? In this provocative read, Richardson provides an in-depth look at how connected educators are beginning to change their classroom practice. Ultimately, 'Why School?' serves as a starting point for the important conversations around real school reforms that must ensue, offering a bold plan for rethinking how we teach our kids, and the consequences if we don't.

We must be brave enough to read texts like this one (and the many others out there) if we are to be part of the school reforms our students deserve. Inquiry, asking powerful questions, creating meaningful artifacts in a caring environment are part of this "new kingdom" Richardson is talking about. You can also find Richardson on Youtube if you're interested.

If you are interested in reading this iBook and discussing it with me, please let me know. We'll meet Jan. 21 at 4:00 in the PD room to begin our conversation. We've got the minds and the know-how to begin problem solving. Take a look around at your colleagues. We don't need to wait for someone from "out there" to tell us how to do this. Let's begin figuring it out ourselves.

Getting Started with Twitter - Franki Sibberson

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It's Time to Tweet on Twitter

How many of you have Twitter accounts? Better yet, how many of you tweet?

Franki Sibberson, literacy guru, writes an article for the Choice Literacy blog, linked below, where she urges us to use Twitter as a way of communicating and collaborating. She gives easy to follow directions and links for even the shyest of us. I'd urge you to use Winter Break as a time to sign up for an account and give it a try.

I tweeted out photos of the staff book characters from a couple of weeks ago. I got about 2,700 views with the almost 800 views each for Chicka-chicka Boom Boom Knouse, Paper Bag Princess Nussbaum and Harry "Jordan" Potter.

As we move forward in our journey with inquiry and using technology as a tool, we'll need to become familiar with and use the ways our students will collaborate. Twitter is one of them.

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Kindness Quotes

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge you are never alone. ~Audrey Hepburn

True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by. ~E. S. Bouton

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future. ~J. R. R. Tolkien

To give service to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Upcoming PD Revisions/Reminders

Jan. 5 9:00-11:00 SRI PD - (PBL PD cancelled that day)

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Looking Ahead

Monday, Jan. 5

  • 9:00-11:00 SRI training in the PD room
  • 11:00-4:00 Teacher work time

Tuesday, Jan. 6 Day 2

  • Pledge/MOS - Knutson/Carrell
  • 3:10 Collab Team 2

Wednesday, Jan. 7 Day 3

  • 3:10 Collab Team 3

Thursday, Jan. 8 Day 4

  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 9:45 Stakeholder - Thomas
  • 10:05 Stakeholder - Huston
  • 12:00-3:00 Elementary Principals' meeting
  • 3:10 Collab - Team HA

Friday, Jan. 9 Day 1

  • 7:35 Staff Meeting - Topic - TBD
  • 3:10 Collab Team K

Monday, Jan. 10 Day 2

  • Pledge/MOS - Hudson
  • 3:10 Collab Team 1

Tuesday, Jan. 11 Day 3

  • 7:45 Discussion - Lisa's office
  • 9:45 Admin meeting - FJH - Lisa gone
  • 3:10 Collab Team 2

Wednesday, Jan. 13 Day 4

  • 7:35 Voices of Diversity book study - Chapter 6 Sexual Orientation
  • 3:10 Collab Team 3

Thursday, Jan. 14 Day 1

  • 8:00 Office Meeting
  • 3:10 Collab Team 4
  • 4:10 Collab Team EC

Friday, Jan. 15 Day 2

  • $1 Hat Day
  • 7:30 Diversity 21 meeting with Matt Kegley - GROW model for courageous conversations
  • 12:01 Students dismissed
  • 1:00 PBL with Kym Kramer
  • 6:30-8:30 Dad's Club Movie Night