Thursday, December 21, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Image result for happy new year 2018HAPPY 2018!   As we look back to 2017, it was an amazing year. Of course, the best part of the year was getting our brand new addition which added so much room to our Commons, new classrooms and office spaces. We added parking spots and made our Drop and Go in the morning and pick up in the afternoon more efficient!  We just love our new addition and believe this increased space was the best part of 2017!

Other highlights:

~ Our students made wonderful academic, social, emotional and physical growth!  It is such a joy to watch your children grow!

~On the last day of the 2016-2017 school year we each painted a rock which has now formed a wonderful and bright path in our courtyard.   

~We enjoyed watching students demonstrating leadership throughout the school year. Helping out around the school, packing up the lost and found, helping Mr. Frank,  giving tours and consistently asking how they can help!

~ We had our annual STEM Day on the day before winter vacation!

~ We honored our Veteran's on Veteran's Day with a breakfast, morning announcements and of course, the parade!

~ We had time for every class to learn and practice coding!

~We welcomed new students, new teachers and staff who had babies!

~We continued our FANTASTIC partnership with our PTA and families!

`We so enjoy our partnership with our District ABC25 Foundation and enjoyed participating in the Just Move It Challenge. We are thankful for receiving so many of the grants that we applied for this year!

~We took District and state assessments like PARCC, MAP, COGAT, AIMSweb, EGSI, and Fountas and Pinnell Benchmarking

~We continued to have Windsor be a Kind community with our annual February Kindness Challenge!

~We continue to respect and follow the expectations of the Wildcat Way!

~ We are sure that their are multiple other FUN events this year, but these come to mind as highlights!

~We have so very much to be grateful for as we had an amazing 2017. We look so forward to making more memories and celebrating highlights in the coming year! We wish you joy, happiness, health for 2018!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!



Thursday, December 14, 2017

How To Provide Feedback to Your Children


Good Job Cute Monster StickersHave you thought about how your give your children feedback? Do you hear yourself saying “Good Job” too often?
If you don’t say good job, what will you say? It is so easy to tell our children good job when they do something well, or do something that makes you proud, but does the child know exactly what it is they did?  Specific feedback is so beneficial for our children, that way they understand exactly what they did well and will be more inclined to do it again.  Instead of “good job” after Joey read a page from their reading book, try saying, “I like the way you sounded out that tough word.”  This will provide the child with more motivation to repeat that strategy of sounding out words again. We work hard as teachers to be as specific as we can when giving feedback to our students!  It is not easy though, for certain!

Another way to think about praise is to minimize the amount of times you are praising your children.  Often times, we want to build up our children’s self-esteem by providing them with constant praise, but it is actually doing them a disservice.  We want our children to develop intrinsic motivation, the behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within because it is naturally satisfying to you.  If we constantly praise our children for everything they do, how do we teach them to do things for themselves?  If you feel you need to praise, then maybe try telling your child, “you should feel proud of yourself” or ask, “do you feel proud of yourself?” This will make them think about what they just did and in return motivate them to do things!

We encourage you try this, it feels different at first, but you may find your children motivated to do things that had never done before without you asking. Here is a link from an article to peruse.




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Disability Awareness at Windsor School

We are all unique. It is true. While we are all unique, we know that some of our students learn differently in school. Some of our students may wear glasses, some may have a talker, some may need additional adult support in our classrooms. We so value that we have students at Windsor who have a variety of special needs. They may have Autism, Speech/language Impairments, Learning Disabilities, Communicative Disorders or Down's syndrome to name a few of the reasons students may learn in a different way.

Our Windsor staff strongly believe that one of our responsibilities as educators is to ensure that all our students have an awareness of how children learn differently and understand why. Describing and defining learning difference terms to our students helps them to work better together with their peers.  It helps each of us to understand how it may feel to walk in another's shoes and develop empathy.
Image result for learning differences in the classroom
We take time with our students to share our understandings about disabilities via increasing our students awareness. In the month of October, we shared information with our students via morning announcements about Learning Disabilities each week. Mrs. Norman, our special education resource teacher and co-team leader shared information as a review with our staff at a faculty meeting. Also in October, we had students during morning announcements each week share information with our student body about LD

In April we will be highlighting Autism Awareness, Speech and Hearing, Down's Syndrome and Rare Diseases. Each week, students will learn about the disability via being read a book on morning announcements and staff may wear disability awareness tee shirts.  Each day there will be a fact shared on morning announcements and activities in their classroom. We will also have information reviewed with the Windsor staff as we continually learn more about each of these special needs and how they may impact our students.

One of the gifts at Windsor is that our students work daily with children with special needs.  They allow them to be as independent as possible, but help as needed. Our students are seen playing with each other on the playground at recess and displaying kindness towards each other.  We feel so lucky that we have our Foundations/Communications District classes here at Windsor.  The joy of our job is that all of our children teach each of us new things each day.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Worthy Wildcats

Congrats to our December Worthy Wildcats. These students were selected by their peers for demonstrating the Wildcat Way.  These students are kind and thoughtful while being respectful to their peers and teachers, make sure that everyone has someone to play with, help friends who may feel sad during the day, help to start the day by putting down the chairs without being asked, helping the teacher clean up the classroom and by checking in with students who may not feel well.

Congrats to Kindergartener: Liv F., 1st Grader: Malin O'M., 2nd grader: Emmerson J., 3rd grader: Eliza K., 4th grader: Esteban L. and 5th grader: Elijah M.  We are so proud of all of our Wildcats and love to celebrate those selected by their classmates! 

Elijah M. 

Eliza K. 


Esteban L. 

Liv F. 

Malin O'M.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Kindness Challenge for December 2017

As we move from Grateful November into December, so begins the time of giving to others.  The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  In December we typically show kindness by being generous, but could we also show kindness through acts of service to others?  We can use this time of giving to teach our children that we can be kind and help others by doing for them rather then buying for them.  I stumbled across this Kindness Calendar for December and look forward to trying it out with my own children.  There are many fun activities to do that do not take a lot of time/effort but offer much kindness to others.  While we all may not celebrate holidays in December, the Kindness Calendar gives us all tips on how to change the life of someone in a moment.



Some things to try might be saying something positive to all we meet, giving compliments to others, cooking an extra meal for someone in need, and counting smiles!  December is such an exciting month for most but can also be a very sad month for others.  Why not make an extra effort to be kind and generous to all? Let us know how it goes!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Conferences- Questions to Think About....

Image result for conferencesIt is almost conferences- just a few short days away and I was thinking it might be helpful to share some thoughts about parent-teacher conferences with you.  This is a time for our teachers to chat with you as your educational partners about your children.  Our teachers have spent quite a bit of time on writing progress updates and planning for the conferences. 

Conferencing is a time to talk about progress as we talk about the whole child, academics, social, emotional, behavioral, and physical, in terms of how we see them during the school day. Additionally, it is a great time to talk about goals for the students in all areas. Often times, our teachers will have students reflect and write their own goals so it is meaningful for the students.  Our teachers also have goals for our children so that they can continue to grow and be successful. 

After reading through several articles about things parents can ask of a teacher at a conference here are my top ten:
1. How is my child doing academically and socially?
2. How is my child's behavior?
3. Are there things that I can do at home to support my child?
4. May I share a concern with you?
5. What are my child's strengths and areas of challenge?
6. Can you explain the assessments that my child takes?
7. Is my child engaged in his/her learning?
8. What are the goals for child?
9. Can you please explain what Second Step is?
10. Should my child be doing homework- what about reading each night?

It is often helpful for you to share with the classroom teacher any issues you may be seeing at home or if there are any significant changes in your home life. This information helps us to better understand your child and his/her engagement in school.

We look very forward to meeting with you all on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November Worthy Wildcats

I am so delighted to share the November Worthy Wildcats as they were announced yesterday morning!  Students were nominated by students or staff at Windsor and were selected by the Caught Being Good- Following the Wildcat Way Committee of students.  Students were noticed doing random acts of kindness like making sure workspaces of themselves or others are clean, helping someone put things away, having positive attitudes, helping to clean up spills, helping to fill up a water bottle and helping Mr. Frank to clean up the lunchroom.  These are all wonderful leadership skills.  Congrats to: Patrick T. in Kindergarten, First grader: Connor M. , Allison K. in Second grade, third grader Eva L., Moises V. fourth grader and fifth grader, Dylan H.

Allison K. 

Dylan H. 

Eva L. 

Patrick T. 

Connor M. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

#gratefulNovember

You may have noticed that I have been tweeting with the hashtag #gratefulNovember.  You see, I find November to be a wonderful month where I truly feel grateful for so many things.  At school, I am so grateful to work with a wonderful group of professionals who care so deeply for our students and truly want each one of our students to be successful in all areas of school. Our Windsor staff gives not only to our students, but to each other as well. Our teachers and staff are involved in committees to make Windsor stronger for our students and family members.  Our teachers and staff work after school to run clubs to for students to feel a sense of belonging at Windsor.

I am so grateful that I work at a school with a diverse population. I am so grateful that we have our Instructional District programs at our school! All of our students teach us so much each day! I am grateful for the wonderful smiles of our students and the conversations that I have with them.  I am grateful that I can see them grow in all areas of school each year. I am grateful that they want to be leaders and help each other. I am grateful that we have fun at Windsor- we laugh a great deal, our staff likes to spend time together outside of school and I am grateful that our students see that camaraderie.  I am grateful that our school staff are truly committed to the Wildcat Way as Being Kind, Safe and Responsible does permeate throughout the school!


Image result for grateful
I am grateful for the amazing principals, assistant principals and other professionals that I work with in our District. Our central office team and our School Board members trust us to do the best we can for our students and we value and appreciate that trust! Our District uses the hashtag - #d25itspersonal and there is a reason. It is truly a personal place to work. People truly care about each other and we are all dedicated in our work with our students. I am grateful for all the resources we have in our District and the committee work that we are involved in to select the best curriculums for our students.

I am grateful for you, our parent community. You care so much about your children and want only the best for them. We are so lucky to have them for the school hours plus sometimes more each day.  I value our partnership! I am grateful that you contact me with feedback both positive and constructive!

I am grateful for our PTA. They are simply in one word amazing!  They do so much on behalf of our children: sponsoring activities and working hard while in a volunteer position.

On a personal note, I am so grateful that I have a supportive family at home with my hubby and son. There are so many times, I am glued to my laptop while at home in the evening or on the weekends, and they understand my dedication to my Wildcat family.  I am grateful that I have the opportunity to visit with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson (already 19 months old)- at least one time a month as they live out of state.  It keeps me grounded! And, my sister- she consistently is so supportive of me!  I am grateful for a great group of friends who drag me out for dinner at least once every two weeks to get me away from my laptop!

I am grateful for the beautiful fall colors and crisp weather!  I love Thanksgiving as it is time to make memories with our extended family and let's be honest, the food is delicious! These are just some of the reasons why I use the #gratefulNovember.   There is so much to be grateful for, so many things to find the joy in.

I hope you will share with your family, friends and workplace, the things that you are grateful for in November as you enjoy Thanksgiving,  and at other times throughout the year. 


Image result for joy

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Curiosity.........

We recently posted a BE Curious sign above our fire doors heading towards the first/second grade halls and the LMC.  This has sparked a conversation for our Windsor staff members.  We love the thought of Being Curious. When one is curious one asks many questions. The definition of curious is to be eager to know or learn about something.  This implies the need to be given information but again to ask questions regarding the information or questioning the information in and of itself.  It is our job as educators to ensure that our children learn to ask questions to get information and to keep on asking questions.

Our world is so fast paced, and information so easily accessible that it is easy to take in the information and not ask WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE,  and the especially important WHY and HOW.  As we get older, we seem to stop asking as many questions. Remember our toddlers asking WHY over and over again?  Elementary aged children definitely ask more questions as they process information.

Here is are 2 thought provoking articles to read regarding research about curiosity and about questioning.
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/10/24/357811146/curiosity-it-may-have-killed-the-cat-but-it-helps-us-learn?scrlybrkr

http://amorebeautifulquestion.com/why-do-kids-ask-so-many-questions-but-more-importantly-why-do-they-stop/

Finally, The Museum of Science and Industry is promoting Curiosity.  Visiting there is a great family field trip!  https://www.msichicago.org/explore/about-us/curiosity/




Thursday, October 26, 2017

Parenting in the Past and Current Suggestions



Image result for parenting  I recently found this article and it caught my eye by the nature of the past ideas that they mention, and then of course, parenting today. 

http://www.healthyway.com/content/parenting-practices-that-would-never-fly-today-and-1-modern-practice-we-should-ditch-too?rtg=higherpersp-0EjSRq

It reminded me of how I was raised, and how my husband and I have raised our two children. My parents let my sister and I solve our own problems, even though they of course shared their opinions about the issues! We would listen to their ideas and then determine our path. Still to this day, I will get opinions from my mom on how to solve a problem and then my make own decision! My husband and I agreed that was important for our two children to figure out how to solve their problems, unless they asked for help.  Then, we would offer ideas, but always let them determine their own path.  Sometimes we would agree and sometimes not, but it was for them to learn from their decisions.  Sometimes they would make a solid decision and others, not so much, but again, they learned from that experience. 

In my role as a principal, I see a variety of ways that parents do parent. My one piece of parenting advice to you all. Let your child make decisions every so often even our little kindergarteners, let them make mistakes and let them learn from the decisions that they make. If we constantly protect our children and monitor every move they make, as they grow older they won't have the opportunity to make decisions and/or those mistakes that help them to learn.

Trust that your children have learned from the values that you have instilled. Our role is to help them learn and grown in all areas, and they cannot do that if you are constantly giving directions.  If we can help them with problem solving and decision-making in elementary school, we hope that those life lessons will follow them through middle school, etc. as well.  Will we all make mistakes? Indeed. Is it frustrating and sometimes even painful? Absolutely.  My husband and I sure made mistakes as we raised our children. However, I will also share that while it wasn't always easy to at times watch them struggle over a decision that they made, we feel very lucky and proud of the adults that they have become

I hope that you will allow your children the time and space to make decisions and mistakes so that you can help guide them and help them learn from them.  Happy Parenting!