Sunday, September 20, 2015

OQS Greatness Abounds!

There are so many great things about OQS that I am finding out about as I navigate through my first year. Among them is open house, forest kindergarten, community meeting, and garden club just to name a few. Open house is not new to me. I have been a part of many, many open houses throughout my teaching career but I’ve never quite had the experience I had at our recent open house here at OQS. It was truly an amazing event! What I witnessed was a group of parents who worked seamlessly together to expertly and efficiently pull off an all school family cookout complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, side dishes and drinks. I saw families wandering the halls as their children proudly showed off their classrooms and introduced their parents to their teachers. I saw families enjoying conversations with neighbors and friends. There was a general, overall feeling of joy and pride as a community of people came together to celebrate the opening of school. Many thanks to the PTO for organizing this wonderful event and many thanks to the teachers and students who worked together to get their classrooms ready for the event.
Last week I had the opportunity to wander outside with both kindergartens two days in a row to take pictures in the forest kindergarten. The hours spent in the forest were truly magical as students explored their new environment; listening to and identifying sounds they heard, unearthing small creatures that had molted leaving behind their exoskeletal shell, scaling fallen logs and rock walls, sharing snack, sorting themselves according to apple attributes and learning to listen to directions. Take a moment to visit our facebook page for pictures.
Twice now I have been an audience member and participant at the grade 3-5 community meeting event. Both of these meetings were both educational and exhilarating. During the first one we energized our bodies through exercise and learned about the amount of sugar in the drinks we are used to consuming. The second, done on Constitution Day was inspiring and patriotic. We began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a reading of the Preamble accompanied by a student friendly version in which the Preamble was put into student language. We ended by learning a song about Constitution.
Lastly, I had the delicious fortune to sample the delectable salsa and soup made by the garden club students and volunteers who grew, harvested, prepared and cooked these dishes! I am looking forward to the community/school Harvest Dinner which I’m sure will be a wonderfully sumptuous event!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Celebrating a Successful First Week

What makes this week successful? Could it be the time spent in each classroom watching expert teachers establish routines with their new students or celebrating "paws"itive behavior moments with proud students or catching the gingerbread man who ran away from the Kindergarten? Yes, all of that and more! 
I had the pleasure of having students sent to my office for being...GOOD. This year we have two new additions to our Positive Behavior Intervention Support System used to teach students about expected behaviors and collect data to help inform our teaching about self-regulation and practicing expected behaviors. One addition is the "purple office card." Students can now be sent to the office with a purple office card because they may have broken a school rule and need to talk to me about it or they could be sent to the office with a purple office card because they have some great news to share with me about their behavior. The other new addition is the Golden Paw Award. These are given out to students who are consistently doing the right thing. These Golden Paw Awards have a section that tears off and is then put it a jar for a drawing to be held during our community meeting time. These are both in addition to the Alphabits they can collect as a class for classroom wide rewards and whole school rewards. Come in and see our big blue wall where we are displaying class behavior paws. Each time a class collects 100 Alphabits they trade them in for a paw to display on the yellow path. It is exciting to see this grow!
As you can see, we have so much to be proud of at OQS! I'm looking forward to another exciting week and the opportunity to interact with students, teachers, and parents.