Friday, October 31, 2014

#Windsorween 2014

Yes. Halloween is upon us! There were so many "spooktacular" costumes for the annual Windsor parade and a good time was had by all. Thanks to all the parents who helped bring treats for the parties, organized the events and stayed to plan and supervise the parties. If you are on Twitter, pictures can be seen using the #windsorween2014 hashtag!

This week we also continued with some of our classrooms being involved in the Global Read Aloud. What a great learning activity this is as students across the world are all reading the same book. Our students Skyped
and connected with other students from Vermont. It is really fantastic to see the excitement and engagement of our students.

Our Community Builders worked together with our students in our Instructional classrooms to see who could build the biggest tower. It was an activity where students worked together to create a structure. It was a great deal of fun for all of our students working together. It is so amazing to see all of our students playing together, helping and learning from each other!

Our Buddy Bench sign is in the ground next to the bench!  I heard from the mother of the child who created this idea. She was delighted to hear of our school using this idea!  They live in York, Pennsylvania. The power of the internet and Twitter is a wonderful way to connect with others across the world! 

We cannot believe that November is upon us!  This year seems to be flying by. We are working so very hard with our students to build confidence in the skills that they have, encouraging them to take educational risks and support their needs.  The Wildcat Way is being used as language throughout the Windsor as we remind students of our expectations!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Worthy Wildcats, Character Counts and Lots of Pumpkins!

As usual, this was a busy and fun week at Windsor!

We celebrated our first group of Worthy Wildcats who were selected for going above and beyond, being ready to learn, helping friends, and being considerate. Pictures below!

5th Grade--Andie W.

4th Grade--Josie G.

3rd Grade--Sophia L.

2nd Grade--Oliver W.

1st Grade--Ryan R.

Kindergarten--Piper S.

We also enjoyed Character Counts week, where students and staff honored our pillars by wearing the matching colors. This week is always a good reminder of Windsor's expectations, the Wildcat Way, and why we stress being nice, honest, respectful, friendly, careful, helpful, responsible, polite, leaders and 21st century learners.

Our Communications and Foundations students had a great trip to Goebbert's pumpkin farm and had some exciting close encounters with wildlife!

Kindergarten also did some fun work with pumpkins in Math and Science!

Our awesome PTA won a Recognition Honor Aware from District 37 Northwest Cook Region PTA. We were proud to celebrate with them and truly appreciate having such an awesome partnership to support our children!

We're looking forward to an exciting week next week with Halloween on Friday!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Short Weeks Become Busy Weeks!

Our Data Day was very successful last Friday as teachers analyzed data and dialogued around our SIP (School Improvement Plan) goals. Our focus will be on increasing all students' abilities to be successful readers, working hard to ensure that our ELL students achieve as well as our mono-language children and developing a school-wide systematic behavior program. We will be doing much research and study before we implement ideas. We are looking forward to doing this work as a Windsor Professional Learning Community.

We had our first Evacuation Drill with the Arlington Heights Fire Department on Friday. The students followed our plan for leaving the school. We need to remind them that they need to be silent to listen for directions even during a drill. Practice makes Better if an emergency were to occur.
Each year we have three Evacuation Drills, two Hard Lock Down Drills and one Shelter in Place Drill. If you have any questions about the drills, please ask Mrs. Fabrizio or Ms. Hiltz. Here are some pictures that were taken after the drill. The AHPD was so kind to stay to have some of our classrooms explore the firetruck and the gear the firefighters wear.  The children entered and exited the truck. The students LOVED it!

This week was quite busy as students continued to do research, talk and write about what they are reading and practice new math concepts.  I was so pleased at how much our second graders can infer and predict when reading non-fiction while I was doing an observation in a classroom. They have built up quite a stamina for reading as I saw students reading independently for 45 minutes. Bravo- that is really quite an accomplishment.  The AHML Bookmobile made an appearance here for a couple of days this week and it was terrific to see almost all of our students with their library cards. They enjoyed seeing the books in the Bookmobile and I shared that when I was in elementary school, I got to go onto the Bookmobile that would travel past my house. A great memory, indeed!

Next time you are in the building, please be certain to check out the Windsor Pumpkin Patch in our display case. Students in Kindergarten worked so hard in art. Ms. Kasprzak read "The Bumpy Little Pumpkin," by Margery Cuyle and then the children worked on the pumpkins.  Nice job, super artists in Kindergarten!

Of course, this week was the start of Activity Nights for each grade level sponsored by our wonderful PTA. Our Kindergarteners enjoyed a pajama themed evening art and physical activity. I so enjoyed reading a few stories to them as they had water and popcorn to cap off their evening.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This week at a glance.....

Walk to School week was a great success with a beautiful day on Wednesday, International Walk to School Day. I also had a wonderful opportunity to go outside for lunch/recess both Wednesday and Thursday. The students are learning that the Buddy Bench is a place to make new friends. I sat on the bench to demonstrate the purpose of the bench and many friends came to ask me to play. I also facilitated others to play with someone new. It was so great to see students being so kind and caring toward each other. This was a great representation of the WILDCAT WAY in action!
While at recess, I noticed that our Community Builders program is in full Swing. Students are playing a variety of games with students in our Instructional Programs with and without adult assistance. Students were observed playing catch with a football, kicking a ball around the blacktop, and also playing bean bags. It is simply a delight to watch children opening themselves up to others!  was invited to play bean bags and I was so excited when the students applauded me for getting a bullseye!  Oh what fun!

This afternoon our fifth grades went to Olive Mary Stitt School where the Historical Reenactment was taking place. Fifth graders were able to see what life was like,  "way back in the day"! I cannot wait to hear their stories.

We also were proud to see our students harvesting the last bits of produce from our school garden to donate to the local food pantry. What a great way to learn, cooperate and give back to the community and those in need!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Happy October: The Windsor Way, The Buddy Bench and Running the Mile!

Well.... who could have predicted that we would not have school today? We will reschedule our picture day and as soon as we have the date, we will share it out!

We did have a busy week with teachers finishing assessments, and doing creative teaching and learning activities. One of the items that teachers and I have been talking a great deal about is behavior. We have expectations- ie the Wildcat Way, in our hallways, our Commons for lunch, the bathrooms and of course, at recess. We are working extraordinarily hard with our students to remind them to walk quietly in the halls, follow the rules in the lunchroom, play appropriately at recess (hands and feet to themselves) and to line up quietly and quickly. We would love it if you could help us, by reinforcing these types of behaviors at home and reminding your children about our rules at school.

We are seeing an increase in students hitting each other, even though we provide many reminders throughout the day, that we do not do this at our school. Often times, the students will say, "we are just playing", or "I didn't mean it". We believe that to be true, but this type of behavior has consequences. Our number one job is to keep all of our children safe from harm, so again, your help is much appreciated. So many of our students do a fantastic job of being respectful and responsible Wildcats who use their manners, and we applaud them. Your help at home, will enable all of our students to follow the Wildcat Way.  Please let Mrs. Fabrizio or Ms. Hiltz know if you have any questions about this issue.

We have a new sign that will be going outside near a bench in the next week. It is for our BUDDY BENCH. Mr. Gember will be sharing a video during announcements that will describe the purpose. If a student is feeling lonely, or wants to play with different students, all they have to do is sit on the Buddy Bench. Hopefully, another student will notice them and offer to play with them. If there are two students on the bench, perhaps they will strike up a new friendship. We will let you know how it goes, but feel free to share with your children the purpose of the Buddy Bench and encourage them to help out others at Windsor.

On a completely different topic. I was outside picking up my Fall Harvest items, when I saw the students running the mile. I took a video and it is fun to watch. Some of it is in slow motion, and it runs a bit over a minute, but I hope you will enjoy it!

Running the Mile