Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Teal Pumpkin Project and Halloween

Teal Pumpkin Project logo
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With Halloween just around the corner, we wanted to have this blog be a reminder about children with Food Allergies. Arlington Heights School District 25 is committed to the safety and well being for all of our children.  It is very hard to be a child with food allergies and this is one holiday that can be very difficult depending on the food allergy.  The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed for children with food allergies.  If you have a picture of a teal pumpkin in your window or on a door, it tells families and children that it is a safe house to come to as you won't be giving out candy. Instead, you will be giving out non-food treats. The Teal Pumpkin project is now in it's 3rd year. Please click on this link for more information.

Our school parties will look different as we will not serving any food or beverage, but the parties will be as fun as ever1  Many thanks to our party representatives for all of their efforts!

Finally, we wish you a safe Halloween. We look forward to the festivities at school. We know that Tuesday may be tough for some of our students as they may be up later than usual on Halloween.  We continue to do our very best to engage our students in their learning every day of the school year including Halloween morning and the days that follow!  Please remind your children if they have candy in their lunch bags, that we do not share any food at school at any time of the day.

We can't wait to see the creative costumes your children (and you) will be wearing as we parade. While Campbell is under construction, we checked with the Village of Arlington Heights and we should be fine on the sidewalks.  Perhaps some SuperFans will be in the parade..... Have a safe and wonderful Halloween evening.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and caring about all the students at Windsor School.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kindness- the Quality of Being Friendly, Generous, and Considerate.

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One of the many things we as parents and educators try to instill in our children is to be kind.  This is not always a cut and dry lesson like the math facts we teach and have our children practice every evening or when we help our children sign on to one of the many educational websites we have at our fingertips.  Teaching kindness can be complex and abstract, but it is one of life’s most important lessons our children need to learn.  Everyday children are faced with challenges like fairness and peer pressure.  A simple game of tag can create an issue of fairness amongst our youngest.  As adults we need to teach our children that what is equal is not always fair and what is fair is not always equal and then to further teach our children to be kind in these situations. We too need to remember to be kind- even when we feel frustrated or disappointed. 

Every new experience your child faces is a new chance to teach your child about kindness.  I think about my own child who came home from school and was practicing her spelling words.  She spelled a word correct and said, “mom, the first graders can’t even spell this word.”  Rather than scolding her, I asked her if she felt that her statement was kind, she immediately responded, “no”.  I followed that up by telling her that we needed to speak kindly about others and reminded her that she would not be happy if someone said that about her.  Conversation over; no hurt feelings, but a lesson learned.  At school, we remind our students to be inclusive to all at recess and work to help them find a way to do so. Whether children are playing soccer and another wants to play or sharing the tire swing, it is important for all of us at Windsor, to be kind. Greeting each other, smiling and even doing a favor promotes kindness. For parents, it is important to model kindness for our children- even when we may feel frustrated- for example, in the Drop and Go line. 

We can always, of course use moments in our daily lives to stop and teach our children to be friendly, generous and considerate or we can create our own teachable moments.  Check out this website for tips to teach kindness as well as books on this topic:

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  The Lion and the Mouse, Aesop’s Fables

Friday, October 14, 2016

Helping YOU Navigate Your Children's Digital Life

I am in the middle of reading a book, Screenwise Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner, PhD. The premise of the book is to give parents ideas of how to help raise their digital natives with all the technological devices, internet and social media currently available to them. There are portions that describe digital citizenship.  One of the chapters talks about the "digital footprint", what is posted and who is in the post. I found her comments that not all children want to be posted on their parent's Instagram or Facebook accounts to be fascinating.  She suggests talking with them about this once they are old enough.  While we are proud and want to share our lives with our friends, our children may not be of the same mindset.  

One section of the book speaks about blocking the children's devices or filtering all inappropriate content. The reality, Dr. Heitner shares is that children find a "back door" or ways to get passed roadblocks to the internet.  She shares that students use social media for a variety of reasons and often as they don't want to miss out- I think everyone has heard of the phrase, "FOMO"- fear of missing out. If they text each other, even when not with each other, they are part of an outing and part of the group.

It is important, Dr. Heitner shares, that parents be proactive and intentional about talking with your children about how to respond to events or issues that may occur.  She remarks that we know that many of our parents feel that their children are more savvy and aware of how to use different devices than they are, but it is important to assess what you know and she describes how important it is to "take an interest in what your kids do in their digital lives. Learn together with your kids". 

I will continue to read and share Dr. Heitner's work, but am also interested in doing a book talk with parents around this book. If you would like to do so, please get a copy of the book and after winter break, we can have an evening to talk about the book and our thoughts about it! Certainly, some of the book is for older students, but before we know it.....

Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Worthy Wildcats and What is Data Day?

Congrats to the October Worthy Wildcats. They were selected by their peers for being kind, safe and responsible!  Peers saw them helping put down chairs, catching chairs that were about to fall on a classmate, helping a peer find their glasses, helped a peer with a presentation and going out of their way to help friends at recess. Well Done, Wildcats!
Bella K. 

Campbell C. 

Elliot D. 

Gabriel S. 

Kiera C. 

Molly B. 

What do we do on data day?  We do quite of bit of going through data that has been collected and triangulated.  In other words, we review and analyze every bit of your child's data from all the AIMSweb assessments, MAP assessments, PARCC test and Fountas & Pinnell assessments as well as curriculum based measures and authentic assessments. We look to see what each child's strengths and challenges are, and how to differentiate our curriculums to meet their needs. We also look at the social-emotional-behavioral needs of our students to see how we can support them. We meet as a whole school and then as data grade level teams.  This year, our English Learner Teachers will be working with our staff as well, to talk about strategies to help our EL students. We will also be learning more about the Iceberg Concept of Culture to discover what ideas or rules are at the surface level of different cultures and what ideas are more deeply embedded.