North Side Paw Prints

Staff Newsletter

April 18, 2014

Volume 5, Issue 32

Mission Statement: "Maximize potential in all people every day"

Vision Statement: "To create a culture in which all children can learn lifelong skills to succeed"

Congratulations Laura Pepple and Ann Robbins for Going the Extra Mile this Month!

Weekly Quote

"Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere."

~Glenn Turner

Weekly Reflection

What did you do to rekindle your fire for education and teaching? Or did you slip into the habit of complaining? If so what is your plan to change that for next week? Who is your support that will help that will make this happen?

Upcoming Dates


April 23rd - Mclass math window opens

April 28-May 7th - ISTEP Multiple Choice & IMAST testing


May 1st-7th ISTEP & IMAST Testing continues

May 1st - Staff Meeting 3:10 in library

May 2nd - Nelson's Port-A-Pit Chicken Fundraiser 4:00-8:00pm in Walgreens Parking Lot,

May 7th - Spring Pictures & Class Pictures; Kdg field trip to Camp Lutherhaven

May 9th - PTO Carnival 6:00-8:00pm; 2nd grade field trip to Botanical Conservatory/Science Central; SOM names due to Venita

May 12th - Breakfast with Mom 7:00-8:00am; Leadership Meeting 3:10 in conference room

May 13th - Middle School Staff visit for 6th grade; PTO Meeting 5:30 in library

May 14th - mclass reading and IRI window closes

May 15th - 5th grade field trip to McMillan; 6th Grade Parent Meeting at the Middle School

May 16th - Snow Make-Up Day: School will be in session

May 21st - Retirement Dinner; mclass math ends

May 22nd - 1st grade field trip to Zoo; 4th and 5th Grade Music Program at 6:30

May 23rd - Snow Make-Up Day: School will be in session

May 25th - TinCaps Game 7:05pm at Parkview Field

May 26th - No School - Memorial Day

May 29th - 6th grade Band Concert at South Side (students arrive at 6:00; concert at 6:30)

May 30th - Laptop Collection; 4th grade field trip to Sauder Village

This Week's Case Conferences

April 21st @ 3:00 - Demske, Wilder

April 21st @ 3:30 - Stoll, Everage

April 22nd @ 7:30 - Kneller, Garner

April 22nd @ 8:40 - Kneller, Sibert, Stoll

April 22nd @ 1:00 - Jennings, Demske

April 22nd @ 3:30 - Wilder, Demske

April 24th @ 4:00 - Demske, Garner

April 24th @ 7:00 - Wilder, Becker

April 25th @ 3:00 - Opliger, Demske

Featured Instructional Strategy of the Week

Primary Idea!

Turn up the voice in primary writing

For many teachers, voice can be an elusive trait to teach. What is it? How do you teach it?

Voice shows how the writer "feels" about the topic. And for young writers, voice can be a powerful ingredient in their pictures and early writing. Encouraging them to add feeling and emotion into their ideas isn't difficult if you provide explicit instruction. Here is a scaffold of strategies to implement:

Draw feelings first.

  • Using picture book illustrations, point out the pictorial details that indicate emotion. Focus specifically on character facial expressions.
  • Teach students to indicate character voice within their own writings/drawings with an emphasis on drawing eyes, mouths, and even eyebrows. Students who draw with more details will become students who write with more detail. It is worth taking the time to teach students how to depict voice visually.

Encourage their written attempts.

  • Eventually students will include a literal statement of feeling words right into their pieces--I was mad. We were happy. They were sad.
  • As young writers attempt to convey voice, they often resort to the "feeling mark"...the exclamation mark. And they tend to stack 14 of them in a row to show strong emotion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Other students pick up on the use of all-capital letters in your read alouds. They noticed you SHOUTING those words when you read. They, too, sometimes want to SHOUT words in their writing, so they imitate that technique.
  • And still others begin to underline or bold words that are emphasized. Because of their limited vocabulary, primary students rely on these voice-filled conventions to convey emotion.
  • As students attempt to elevate the voice, they often do so by stacking really, really, really or very, very, very. These are also signs of a developing voice. Young writers want to express their intense emotions but lack the vocabulary to make it more concise. Be sure to celebrate these small beginnings...then teach them to stretch their synonyms.

Broaden their vocabulary.

  • Broaden the pool of feeling words students know. Their vocabulary of emotions should extend beyond happy, sad, and mad. Do this by reading mentor texts (e.g., Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems; The Feelings Book, Todd Parr; The Monster at the End of this Book, Jon Stone; Today I Feel Silly, Jamie Lee Curtis) that include abundant voice vocabulary.
  • Incorporate those feelings words within the everyday language of your classroom, like within your normal morning routines. Offering synonyms for overused emotion words will increase your students' vocabularies and provide more voice options for their own writing.

CCR.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Character Counts Pillar of the Month

April: Trustworthiness