Staff Memo

March 14, 2014

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Lucy Calkins

"Years from today, if you were to gather close around you the children you teach now and ask them about their reading lives, would they name your teaching of reading as a turning point? Would you like it to be?" ~ Lucy Calkins
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More from Allington

I continue to think about the six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day. There is no cost to these elements and they fit perfectly with our balanced literacy philosophy.

Element three states: Every child reads something he or she understands. When I think about our kiddos who struggle, I am struck again by the importance of making sure what is read is understood. This might mean using library time to support good choices of easy to just right text. This might mean sending a child back to the library (thank Kristin for her new open library schedule) to return a hard book and choose something easier.

Reading interventions, as suggested by research, should be two-thirds reading and rereading rather than isolated skill practice.

Not all of my children are readers. Four seriously struggle with reading. I've spent years working on helping them choose books they can understand. Because they struggle, they have lots of difficulty believing they should read books they can understand as most of what is given to them at school is not text they can understand. When we hit upon something they can understand and enjoy, I am quick to purchase it so it can go on their bookshelves and have the chance to go back and reread it.

This is not easy work, this finding text for each child so she or he understands it and reads it each day. We've got to fight the good fight and make this a priority so our strugglers can practice getting better at reading by reading text they can read.

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Fire Safety

In this new era of school safety, and because I spent three hours at a Safe Schools Symposium recently, it has been suggested that we do fire drills a bit differently. Rather than having Rick set off the alarm, I am going to ask one of you to do it.

Do you know where all of the fire pull stations are? Do you feel comfortable pulling one in the event of smoke or flame? Would you do that first before the old habit of "calling the office" set in? I hope so.

Fire and storm drills are scheduled for next week on Friday, March 21 around 9:00. Denise S made us a lovely fire box that is big and obvious. It is covered in bright yellow, red, and orange flames. If you see the fire box and realize you can't get your kids around it, you reroute and get out of the building another way. We need to continue to practice quick responses to safety issues.

Who will pull the alarm? Good question. It will be a surprise. Be ready to respond if you are asked to pull the alarm. Rick and I will work together to make sure the alarm is silenced once everyone is out of the building.

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More School Safety

As a reminder, your door should always be locked. It doesn't have to be closed the whole way, but it should be locked so that if you needed to pull it shut quickly and have it locked, you could.
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Looking Ahead

Monday, March 17 Day 2

  • Pledge - Carrell/Knutson
  • 8:00 Out of My Mind book group - teachers' lunchroom
  • 3:10 Collab - Team 2
  • 4:00-4:30 Math Workshop Study Group Chap 6

Tuesday, March 18 Day 3

  • 7:30 Learning Leadership Team
  • IREAD3 testing in lab all day
  • 3:10 Collab - Team 3

Wednesday, March 19 Day 4

  • IREAD3 testing in the lab all day
  • 3:10 Collab - Team 4

Thursday, March 20 Day 1

  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • IREAD3 testing in the lab all day
  • 3:10 Data Collab - Team K

Friday, March 21 Day 2

  • 8:00 Discussion
  • 9:00 Fire/Storm Drills
  • 3:10 Data Collab - Team 1
  • 5:00-9:00 PTO Flower Pick-up
  • 6:00-8:30 PTO Dads' Club Movie Night

Monday, March 24 Day 3

  • Pledge - Snyder
  • 3:10 Data collab - Team 2

Tuesday, March 25 Day 4

  • 8:00 Interest Group PD - HSE21
  • 12:15-3:45 CRE Diversity team meets
  • 3:10 Data Collab - Team 3

Wednesday, March 26 Day 1

  • 2:00 Third Grade Spring Musical
  • 3:10 Data Collab - Team 4
  • 6:30 Third Grade Spring Musical

Thursday, March 27 Day 2

  • 8:00 Office meeting
  • 3:50 Head out for Spring Break

Friday, March 28

  • Spring Break