Congratulations to Jenn Basso

Congratulations to the new Royalston School Committee member Jenn Basso!!!! I know you will fill the huge shoes and begin making your own prints. We have a wonderful school and you have played an important role in making RCS exactly the type of school where we want kids to go!!! I cannot thank you enough for working side by side with me to create our vision to build a real school community these past 8 months. I believe you will help RCS continue to be all about what is best for kids!!! Congratulations!!! ( lots of exclamation points just for you)

Slice of life– mindset in the classroom

Many times the small incidental mentions lead to really big ideas.

Accidents or coincidence?- Do you ever feel like you are in the library at Hogworts where books just slide off the shelves for you. This has been happening to me a lot lately. Four years ago it was Daily 5, Notebook Connections and Readers Workshop. This carried into Teach Like a Pirate and Daily Cafe. Last summer I read about higher order thinking skills, writers classroom, writers notebook, and the Starbucks Experience. Not to provide the wide list of books that I have recently read, it’s more about how the books are mentioned then out of no where become HUGE pieces of my life’s puzzle for learning. Lately it has been Teach Like A Pirate. This book vaulted me to take a look at how our district was teaching professional development on the half days. During one session in particular I looked around and asked myself, “Would you buy a ticket to this professional development?” Suddenly the books ideals came screaming to me. I began a simple conversation with a teacher and suddenly we were working together on planning the next professional development. We wanted to build an experience. Create something people looked forward to. Incredibly money was even offered to the quasi professional development team and the response was as though it was scripted by Dave Burgess himself. “Nahhh, this is fun and if I get paid then it becomes more like a job. This way I can be more passionate. That’s the Pirate mentality.

Just recently I received an email from Mrs. Drouin letting me know about a couple of books she was interested in reading. One of them was titled, Mindsets in the Classroom. I figured I would order it at the end of the month for her to read. Then not even a day later on my amazon.com account there was the book In my recommendations. My interest peeked, but I thought merely coincidence. Then one of my quasi professional development partners said we should read a book as a PLC. I asked her about her interests and suddenly out popped the topic for the book again. And as, I begin reading the first few chapters all ready I have learned so much.

Accident or coincidence….I wonder if the books choose you

Slice of life– Reading is awesome

Anticipation— Today’s highlight was reading my new book “Where is my hat!” to the kindergarten. The students waited patiently for me to arrive on what has become my weekly venture into their room to read a new book. I was so hopeful they would enjoy it. Today I went in with a very funny book I was hoping we would all share a few laughs together. As I read, I love to see their faces as I peer over the edge of the book. I share the pictures and continue to read on. They wait patiently and listening intently as I turn the pages of the book ever so slowly. Sometimes reading really fast, sometimes reading very slow, and sometimes stopping right in the middle of a line to pause. It’s the pause I like best as a reader. I know by the look on their faces that they are piecing together what they hope will come next. They laugh at the fish, some students hope the little fish gets away with the hat while others hope the big fish gets his hat back. They laugh harder when they see the crab pointing to give away the secret. Soon the book is done… Right before I left I challenged them to write how the larger fish was able to get his hat back. I left them with the promise their stories would decorate the hall right when you walk into the building. I left them with the book. Now it is I who will wait with hopes of having them share their stories with me. It’s Monday and now I can’t wait for their stories on Friday…..I guess that’s anticipation and that’s what I like best about erasing to my kindergarteners….by the way Next week is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild! It came today:)

Slice of life– I choose C

As we enter one of the most stressful weeks of the school year it’s is so important for us to believe in ourselves.

As my daughter approached the stairs tonight I could tell she was bothered by something. Tomorrow she will take the mandatory state test for the first time and she is very nervous. I reminded her to simply do her best and that whatever the outcome we are proud of her. I know soon life will never be the same for her. Her scores will be analyzed to death. Academic groupings, social opportunities, and assumptions will be made based on the two days of testing. She is upset that her classroom walls have to be covered. She won’t be able to use the anchor charts that hang as reminders around her room. All so she can answer 60 questions over a 2 day period.

As a principal I decided this year not to teach to the test. Learning is much more than answering multiple choice questions. Engaging in thought is much more than answering a open response question. Great teaching inspires students to become better. To search for answers and think of possibilities for questions is the essence of education.

Tomorrow my oldest daughter will take her first step into state testing. I can tell you she is a wonderful reader. Her writing ability to develop stories, poems, and all sorts of scenarios excites me to read them. She is a wonderful person. She woke up this Saturday at 4:45 to help me get ready and open the school 45 minutes from our house for a pancake breakfast to benefit members of our community. She is far kinder than I have ever thought of being. She loves without asking for anything in return. She has an amazing imagination and her hopes and dreams are very large. She is a thinker….and 2 days of test results will not tell me all of that. Sleep tight Rosie we are so incredibly proud of you.