Friday, January 30, 2015

We Had a Full Week of School and We Loved It!

What a busy week of instruction for our students. I have enjoyed watching staff and students use what I think is our new favorite school app- Shadow Puppets. Please take a moment to see what it looks like as our Community Builders did an activity with it this week during a recess. Their focus was on how we treat our friends and it is just wonderful! The link is attached.

I saw students being paleontologists, researchers, musicians, artists, dancers,  mathematicians and of course, readers! Our second graders are connecting with a classroom in Capetown, South Africa from connections made on Twitter. There is nothing like learning from experts when learning about another country/culture! Several classrooms are working on personalized learning projects and learning a great deal about the importance of developing open questions, documenting their research, reflecting through the process, and learning from peer feedback. I have learned a great deal from our students.

Today, Mr. Gember reminded all of our students about the outdoor recess rules during morning announcements. Check out this You-Tube Video.

We are so looking forward to the Book Fair and Science/Engineering Fair on February 5th and 6th. Did you know you may order on line, too?

Friday, January 23, 2015

SIP Day: Behind the Scenes and January Worthy Wildcats

Windsor staff members participated in a School Improvement Day (SIP) on Tuesday, January 20th. We thought we'd share some of the great things that went on that day in a little behind-the-scenes view of a day at Windsor without students!

Our special education staff members had the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops provided by NSSEO including information about co-teaching and a variety of other position-specific topics. Across the District, the hard-working Teaching Assistants had the day off and enjoyed extra long weekends!

The rest of the teachers came to Windsor and the morning started off with an hour to learn about what goes on in Art, Music and PE and did some team building. Mrs. Ziemann, Mr. Gember, and Ms. Kasprzak led quick sessions giving the teachers a chance to experience what students do in specials classes.

The rest of the morning included time to review data on student progress across the year thus far including identification of students who may need more support. We also took some time to discuss the PARCC assessment and teachers reviewed online videos of directions for students who will take the PARCC online (3rd graders) and also took online practice tests in math and literacy. Teachers made plans for how to best support students in preparing for this new assessment which will be taken during two testing windows in March and late April.

After a delicious lunch of pizza and salad, the group reconvened to participate in three rotations led by teachers and focusing on 1) strategies for supporting our ELL students, 2) time to learn about and experience new technology applications, and 3) time to discuss behavior expectations and supports.

Feedback from the staff who participated indicated that the SIP day was enjoyable and helpful. We love when teachers have a chance to share their expertise with others! We look forward to seeing how teachers incorporate their learning to serve students and have already begun thinking about our next SIP Day!

Congratulations to this month's Worthy Wildcats. Students are selected by Windsor students.
Kindergarten: Cole L., First Grade: Ava H., Second Grade: Dylan H., Third Grade: Gunnar S., Fourth Grade: Hugo A. and Fifth Grade: Peter W..  Students were selected for going out of their way to help their peers and teachers.  Nicely Done!
Ava H. 

Dylan H. 

Gunnar S. 

Peter S. 
Cole L. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

PARCC- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers

Windsor staff will be learning more about the new PARCC tests on Tuesday, during out Institute Day and your students day off! Students in grade 3,4 and 5 will take the PARCC tests twice this year. The first test is called the PBA (Performance Based Assessment) and the second set of tests are called EOY (End of Year). The PBA will be taken in March just like students used to take ISAT. The EOY will occur between April and May. While the tests are similar in nature to ISAT, the test items will focus more on the Common Core State Standards.  PARCC will look at critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students will take tests in the ELA (English Language Arts) and the Math domains. In the ELA test,  students may be asked to read complex passages and draw evidence to compare articles, make inferences and write a persuasive argument. Students at Windsor have learned to do "close" reading and use evidence from the text that they have read to develop arguments, compare and contrast. In the Math tests, students need to explain their mathematical reasoning for how they got an answer.

The actual test dates and sessions have not yet been determined for Windsor grade levels. Staff will work on developing a schedule in mid-February. The window for the March testing is early March- Spring Break. We do ask that parents refrain from scheduling outside appointments during the PARCC testing sessions. It is difficult to have students make up the test sessions. Of course, if your child is ill, please keep them at home and they will need to take the test at a different time. Students will not take more than two tests in one day and depending on the grade level they may only take one test a day. Each test session lasts about 75 -80 minutes. Not all students will require that amount of time to take the test, but it is available if need be. This year, students in 3rd grade will be taking the test on a computer. Students in grades 4 and 5 will take a paper/pencil version of the test. Students will be taking practice tests to get a feel for the style of the tests.

Please go on this link to learn more about PARCC. We will continue to share more information as we get closer to the actual dates. If you have questions or concerns, please ask Mrs. Fabrizio or Ms. Hiltz.

Teachers will also be focused on student data, learning about ELL strategies and learning about how we feel student behavior expectations can be improved with a focus on kindness. It's another busy Institute Day for teachers on Tuesday at Windsor School.

Mrs. Rozanski was honored by the Arlington Heights School District Board of Education last evening for her Heart of Gold Neighbor Award. It was really nice to see her being recognized!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cold, Cold, Cold and Science in the Classrooms

Yes... another year with an arctic blast and no school. We are so happy to be back in business today!  However, due to the cold, we have had to stay indoors for recess. Children enjoyed silent ball in the gym, making paper airplanes, building the longest block line ever, creating art stories and chatting about life.

Our second graders and 1/2 mulitage classrooms enjoyed a field trip right in our classrooms. Guests and teachers from High Touch/High Tech came to share information about rocks and minerals which connects to our science units in second grade. The students were very engaged as they learned about rock formation and gemstones! They were able to analyze the rocks.