Friday, December 19, 2014

A Busy Day of Coding for ALL students and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Today, all students learned to code in our Day of Coding. It was really fun for the students and they learned so much. One of the key take aways was the need to persist, even if you fail the first several times! The link to all the information related to coding is here. 
Have your children try it over vacation. The information on the link is by grade level- feel free to give it a try!
Thanks to Mrs. Wilson's students who helped us all day as the CODEXPERTS!  Thanks to all the staff who planned the day and helped out.

Have a wonderful winter break. Take the time to relax and enjoy!  We so appreciate your partnership. Have a healthy and wonderful 2015 from our house to yours!

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Are Our Safety Measures and Other Questions Brought to Us This Week and December Worthy Wildcats!

We have had a few parents recently ask us about our safety procedures. When do we go into a soft lockdown? Why do I have to drop off my student on Windsor Drive instead of the front of the school? Why don't we bring boots, homework or lunches to the classrooms? Why must I contact the school office when my child is out for a school day, if I contact the teacher? With winter break ahead of us, we thought this would be a good time to review our safety procedures and why we follow them.

Please keep in mind that all of our procedures have rationale behind them. There are really two purposes: First, to keep all students and staff safe and secondly, to keep instructional interruptions to a minimum so our students have time to learn, grow and be successful. 

• Since many of our students come from other schools to attend our instructional programs, those students have priority to be dropped off and picked up in our front drive. In addition, we have cabs who also pick up some of our students and they too, get priority to use the front drive.

•If you are dropping off a child prior to 9:05AM there is staff outside standing near the garden to welcome your child and have them enter school safely. If your child typically lines up at the other doors, they will enter through the garden doors if students have already entered the school. If your child arrives after 9:05AM you may have them enter through the front door, and you must sign them in. Please park, as we cannot block our fire line in the front of the building! 

•We now put homework for absent children in grade level bins in the front office. You may pick up homework up until 4:00PM when the office closes. We do not drop off student items to the classrooms as it interrupts instruction. Each time we call a classroom, the teacher has to start over to gain attention and resume the lesson. 

•We ask you to contact the school office when your child will be out of school so that we know your child will be absent. Although you may email the classroom teachers, they often do not have the time to check their email prior to the students arriving. We frequently have faculty meetings, professional development or team meetings before your children come to school. Our school day begins at 8:15 and every moment until the students arrive is busy for our staff. 

•Safety Measures 
~Evacuation- every person in the building leaves the building when something requires us to evacuate. Things this would include could be a natural gas leak or fire. 

~Shelter-in-Place- We stay in the building and may move into hallways away from windows in the case of a bad storm, tornado warning or if the power goes out.

~Soft Lock-Down- Students/teachers stay in their classrooms or wherever they are located in the school (the LMC, the gym, etc.). They don't go out for recess and they don't change classes for math or specials. An example when we would call a soft lock down would be when we have emergency vehicles coming to the school -ie paramedics. Keeping students in their classrooms allows emergency workers to do their work while not alarming anyone. 

~Hard Lock-Down- Students/teachers stay in the rooms until given an all clear. Instruction is halted. This would be used in emergency situations, or when we have reason to believe safety may be an issue based on information we have available or received from the Arlington Heights Police Department. 

We practice these drills several times each year. The students are wonderful in following teacher directions and the procedures. I am always impressed by their calmness and follow-through even during drills. We work in close partnership with the Arlington Heights Police and Fire Departments, and we value that partnership. 

Please contact either Ms. Hiltz or Mrs. Fabrizio if you have any questions about this or any other information. We are always happy to have and appreciate conversations with our parents to address any issues or questions. 

Congratulations to our December Worthy Wildcats
They were selected for helping in classrooms before being asked to do so, making the right choices, playing with new friends who had no one else to play with, cleaning up mud in the classroom, helping a friend who fell and sharing materials. Nicely done! (Not pictured Alex V.)
Abby K. 

Brendan B. 

Colin K. 

Yuridia S. 

Zach H. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Does Movement = Engagement in School?

As many of you may know, last year we invested in standing desks as an option in each of our classrooms to be used for students who are more comfortable standing during their learning time. We have found that many students use these desks, which are on wheels, if they need to move into the hallway to do some work, or when they just need a break from sitting!

Due to the positive feedback we heard on the standing desks, we did some reading and found a burgeoning field of research around the positive decided to invest in some additional "fit workstations" including a variety of options that help students use physical muscles while they're flexing their mental muscles!

Starting in January, we will be rotating our new equipment through the grade levels so that all students will have an opportunity to use some of the materials. Here's what we purchased:

*12 ErgoErgo chairs that help engage students core muscles and allow for slight swaying movement. These chairs will rotate through the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades.

*3 DeskCycles which are pedal machines that slide under a desk or table and allow a person to simulate riding a bike while sitting (and they're whisper-quiet!) These will rotate through the 3rd and 4th grades.

*2 FitDesk Bikes and 1 EllipticalDesk which are actual exercise equipment with attached desks that allow people to work while riding/stepping. These will rotate through our 5th grade classes.

We will be sending home permission slips for students to use the Deskcycles, FitDesk Bikes, and Elliptical Desk. As well, we will be collecting feedback from teachers and students about their use of the equipment. We're hoping that a little action research will allow us to better understand if we are seeing a link between physical movement and academic engagement. Look for more information in January!

Questions? Thoughts? Feedback? Please let us know!