Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving from Our Windsor Family to Yours and our November Worthy Wildcats

As we approach Thanksgiving there are so many reasons that we are thankful at Windsor School. We are thankful for...
•Our hard-working students
•Our dynamic teaching staff
•Our dedicated teaching assistants
•Our ever-ready Mrs. Rozanski and Mrs. Barber (and Mrs. Heiden for her help in the office each morning!)
•Our helpful nurses Mrs. Leventhal and Mrs. Carpenter
•Our amazing custodians-Mr. Rojas, Mr. Kula and Mr. Angelov
•Our most wonderful PTA Presidents, Mrs. Kusciel and Mrs. Williams and our incredibly active and supportive PTA
•Our supportive parent community
•Our District office staff: Superintendent, Dr. Lori Bein; Assistant Superintendent of Student Learning, Dr. Eric Olson; Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Planning, Dr. Jake Chung; Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Mrs. Stacey Mallek; Director of Student Services, Mrs. Aimee LeBlanc; Director of Technology and Assessment, Mr. Chris Fahnoe; Director of Food Services, Mrs. Coletta Hines-Newell; Director of Building and Grounds, Mr. Mike Brown and Mr. Mike Landers, Evening Supervisor; all of the Teaching and Learning Facilitators, our tech team, and all of the support staff for these departments who happily answer all of our questions!
•Our before and after school CAP supervisors and staff

We are so grateful to work in a community that supports education, diversity and differentiated instruction and that wants the best for our children. We so enjoy watching our children learn and grow, not only in academic areas but also in their social-emotional-behavioral and leadership skills.

Congratulations to our November Worthy Wildcats
5th Grader Abby P.

3rd Grader Campbell C.

1st Grader Josh S.-C,

4th Grader Maeve D.

1/2 Multi-Age Molly B.

Kindergartner -Volodymyr M.
Students received the Worthy Wildcat Award from their peers from the Caught Being Good Club. Responsible Windsor citizens were selected for always trying their best in school, showing respect to adults and children, helping a friend who fell, helping a friend with academics, caring for their friends and loaning a new book to a friend before it was ever read!  Great work!  Here is hoping that all of Windsor students, "CHOOSE KINDNESS!"

On a personal note, we want to thank our families who support the work that we do and the time that we put into it. We wish you a most delightful Thanksgiving-one that is filled with joy, laughter, delicious food, friends, and family. If you are traveling, be safe. Our favorite part of Thanksgiving is making those memories that will last a lifetime. ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Wonderful Cultural Exchange with Our Friends from the Damine School in Shitara, Japan

Mrs. Wilson's students performing for our guests

Damine Principal and their famous doll, 85 years old!

Our 5 delightful Damine students

The Anderson Family and their guests

The Gadson Family with their guests

Ms. Pinski and her guest

Mrs. Dyer and her guests

Mrs. Richmond and her guest

Mr. Fahnoe, his daughter and their guests
We had a most wonderful time learning from our friends from the Damine School. Many thanks are in order to all that made our exchange a wonderful experience for our students. Ms. Hiltz organized the event and many of our families and teachers became host families for the students, principal and teachers who came to our village and country.  Thanks to our host families, the Gadson Family, the Anderson family, Miss Pinski, Mrs. Richmond, Mrs. Dyer and her family from South Middle School and Mr. Fahnoe, Director or Technology and Assessment in District 25 (and his family). We thank you for welcoming our guests.  Our fifth graders in Mrs. Wilson's class performed on the ORFF instruments and the students from Japan shared the story of where they live while performing several songs on the recorders.  The principal of the school gave Windsor a beautiful plaque which is now in our office to thank us for our hospitality. We shared with them a lovely framed print of Chicago by a local artist. Dr. Lori Bein, Superintendent helped to welcome our guests and joined us for lunch- a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  Our afternoon was spent having the students share traditional Japanese games and crafts with our students. Ms. Pinski's students served as ambassadors and helped the Japanese students find the classrooms throughout the afternoon. We look forward to having our students continue to enjoy games and learn about Japan on Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon.  What a fantastic experience for all of us!  Truly a gift! 

Learning Japanese colors

Meeting new friends in Miss Pinski's room

Dr. Bein trying to play a new game

Mrs. Roemer's students and their origami hats

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Making Every Minute Count!

As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, we find ourselves trying to maximize every minute in school before enjoying a much needed break! This week was no exception with many special events and lots of hard work by our teachers and students.

We were thrilled to host our biggest ever Veteran's Day Breakfast, honoring 45 veterans who are family members of Windsor students and staff (and one of our very own staff members, Pati Decorah!). Many thanks to the PTA and to Windsor staff member Gail Komarek, for coordinating this wonderful event. It's so important for our students to learn about and honor the sacrifices others make for their safety and freedom. We were thrilled to be able to spend this time with those veterans connected to the Windsor family during a breakfast, a performance by chorus and a short parade for our veterans through the halls of Windsor after appearing on our morning announcements broadcast. A short video capturing the event is available on the Windsor website.

This fall, our Literacy Teacher, Mrs. Genie Beck, has been coaching our teachers across many grade levels on Guided Reading strategies. This is a research-based instructional strategy that helps students process increasingly more challenging texts over time. Teachers pull small groups of students reading at similar levels and provide instruction on comprehension strategies, vocabulary, fluency, and accuracy. Guided Reading is used in conjunction with other Reading instruction. Feedback from teachers has been great following sessions with Mrs. Beck--we are lucky to have her expertise at Windsor!

Our final Community Builders session for this trimester was held this week. Students made tie-dye art projects which are displayed on the doors by the front entry. Community Builders will begin again in January with sessions for the second trimester. Ms. Hiltz will be sending out volunteer sheets in December for students who would like to join for this second session.

More and more Windsor staff members are becoming "connected educators" on Twitter. Although some still think of Twitter as a mostly entertainment-based social media site, it's quickly becoming an online haven for educators who wish to connect across geographic bounds. In fact, educators make up a huge portion of Twitter's 200 million users. If you are on Twitter, please take a moment to follow us @WindsorWildcats. We typically tweet with the hashtag #wildcatway. Other Windsor teachers on Twitter include Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Berg, Mrs. Murphy, Mr. Peterson, Mrs. Beck, Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. Stella, Mrs. Flauter, and Mrs. Ziemann. 

Next week promises to be just as busy as this week with visits from our friends from the Damine School in Shitara, Japan, Wildcats Jump! taking place during P.E., and progress reports being sent home on Friday, 11/21. Enjoy your weekends as we prepare for our final push before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Planets, Field Trips, and Authors...Oh My!

We had a great, productive post-Halloween week and we enjoyed lots of exciting events at Windsor.

Thanks to the PTA for helping us to sponsor author, Barbara Rosenstock, who came to share her thoughts with our students about non-fiction writing. She shared it was important to have persistence and being able to accept feedback. Our students were quite engaged in the presentation and asked her good questions. Students asked her how she decides what to write about, how long it takes her to write a book and how the illustrator for her books is chosen.

We had many field trips this week.  3/4 Multi-age and 4th graders went to the GROVE to learn about how Native Americans lived and played. Second graders went to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Our students in the Foundations classrooms went rhythmic dancing with NWSRA. 

We are delighted to host active and retired members of the armed forces next week at the Veteran's breakfast on the 11th. Students have written letters to the servicemen and women and we have a special surprise planned for this year as well. Be sure to read next week's blog post to find out more! 

On Wednesday we had third graders present their research on the solar system to second grade students. We were impressed with their presentations and how much they learned about the planets. 

Our Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning, Dr. Olson, was delighted to sit in on several math classes on Thursday. We love having our central office administrators come to Windsor to see all of the great things going on in our classrooms. 

Our teachers are busy writing progress reports. They will go home on Friday, November 21st. 

Attached is a link to a wonderful article about parenting and the impact of leadership in children. I hope you will read it. Ms. Hiltz and I both found it to be enlightening!