The 2013/4 theme for Cecil Floyd Elementary is Super Citizens. You do not need super strength to be a good citizen, but it might be interesting to think about.
Greeting the students and parents in the front of the school with superhero music and smiles was a terrific way to begin the school year. It was a great way to create a buzz for the entire school from the very arrival of our students.
Dismissal on the first day was no worse than last year. Though some of you may have had to wait for a while. Not only are there more parents picking up their children during the first few days, but we discovered a few kinks in the system. We worked on this after school, and will continue to tweak things for the purpose of safely getting Cecil Floyd students to their parents, and to the buses and houses.
Thank you for your patience as you waited in that line, this afternoon. Our goal is to load all the cars, everyday, before 3pm. We have no doubts that we will begin to achieve this goal very soon, but please bear with us as we train the new staff members, work on our technology, and tweak the system.
What can you do to help us?
I suppose this is a result of the wet summer we are experiencing; normally we find frogs, small lizards, and box turtles (and recently a copperhead) in our back yard, but while mowing, Sunday afternoon, I found this snapping turtle back there. Clearly, after dying, the turtle (about 12 inches in diameter, front to back) has decomposed to the point that all that is left is shell and bones; even the outer portion of the shell is flaking off. Upon turning over the top shell, I discovered eight smaller-than-table-tennis-ball spheres - eggs that were inside the turtle when she died. The egg shells are slightly rubbery and "give" when pressed, with only yolk inside.
Class Dojo is a web-based program that allows a teacher to track behaviors and positively reinforce acceptable behaviors both in and out of the classroom. The program generates a weekly report that parents can receive via email. I will send some information home with all of my students soon. In the meantime, the video here gives a quick introduction.
Remind101 is a web-based program that allows a teacher to send text messages to parents without exchanging phone numbers. I generally send no more than one message a week (if not to a cell phone, to an email address). The video here gives a quick introduction.
Please sign up for Remind101 notifications
by following the instructions below:
Faster than a speed reader;
More powerful than a persuasive paragraph;
Able to learn difficult mathematical concepts in a single bound!
On the calendar!
It's a Thursday!
It's the 15th!
It's super, man!
And it'll be here before we know it!
The first day of fourth grade
begins this Thursday morning at 7:45.
Students are often called upon to read "chorally".
That is, they read together simultaneously as a group.
Repeating this practice assists young readers with reading fluency -
the speed, accuracy, and inflection of oral reading.
Why not, since it's called "choral" reading anyway, actually read the chorus of a song?
This week, in addition to greeting new teachers to the school district, attending Thursday's celebration of the growth of Joplin's high school graduation rate, and meeting with the two new teachers that I will be mentoring, this year, I have been preparing the classroom for the new crop of Hoggatteers. Since the last report, the carpet and base boards have been completed, and the furniture and teacher "junk" has been put in its place (or at least a place). Finally, I was able to put together some SUPER bulletin boards.
Sometimes, when we go to the movies or as we watch a show on TV, we are transported into the plot. Directors understand that their selection of background music can change and enhance a scene.
Now it is time to turn it around. This time, the music comes first. As it plays, allow it to transport you into a scene that has yet to be written. Then, write the scene. Use all the visual imagery you can muster in your writing. At the end, you will share your writing. Will it stand on its own, without the music in the background?
The carpet in our classroom has almost been completed in our room; the furniture and supplies have all been moved back back in; and the work lies ahead. There is still a great deal of work being done in and around our school: in addition to the carpeting of the classrooms, the hallways are receiving their wax, the office complex is being redesigned, skylights are being added to the media center, the playground is receiving a huge upgrade, and our new gym/safe room is getting underway. The parking lot is getting some attention, as well.
We WILL be ready for Open House on Tuesday (5:30-6:30), but there may be some construction to overlook. While some may say, It is what it is, we must and are saying, It is what we make it. Let's make it a good one!
Sometimes we need a little help from our friends.
Take five and a half minutes to watch this video:
Now for some questions:
We are just a week away from Open House!
Next Tuesday, August 13,
please join Cecil Floyd Elementary
as we celebrate the beginning
of the school's 28th year of service
to the Joplin community
and my own 24th year of teaching
in America's public schools.
This year's theme at Cecil Floyd
is SUPER CITIZENS,
with the district's theme
being DESTINATION AHEAD.
The presentation begins at 5:30 PM,
in the audicafenasium,
followed by my introductory presentation
in our classroom.
Let's make a super start!
It is Stan Lee's tagline - "Excelsior!" - but outside of sounding boldy superior, what does it mean? We look at the word, and right away we see excel, as in excellent, a word that indicates a level of goodness that goes beyond average.
Mr. Lee, of course, is the creator of many of today's greatest superheroes, including Hulk, Captain America, Thor, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the X-men, and of course Spider-man. His expression of "Excelsior" must mean something amazing. After all, each of his comic heroes possesses special abilities that make him/her superior to us everyday humans. While we are walking on the sidewalks, they are soaring above the clouds. While we are stymied by locked doors, they can see through them. Or break through them. Or burn through them with their laser vision. While we are easily injured, they are not bruised, scratched, or punctured, even by bullets.
Still the question remains: what does the word excelsior mean? One may ask if it is even a real word. It is. In fact, it truly is a great word, but not only does it sound regal, its meaning should earn the word a place in the educational setting. It means ever higher. In a single word, we have the sentiment expressed in so many of those nice sounding teacher expressions (i.e., Shoot for the stars!). Rather than saying, "Do your best," maybe we should pop out an occasional excelsior to goad one another to greatness. It certainly is worth thinking about.
Excelsior is more than a word though, and it's more than an encouragement; it is an attitude. Hopefully one can retain one's humility while always striving to achieve a higher standard and higher levels of success. Excelsior has within it the idea of not giving up, but always putting forth your best foot and trying your hardest to improve.
We may not have superpowers like Stan Lee's characters, but we can still peel ourselves off the floor, dust off our britches, and push ourselves onward and upward. It's not always easy, and we will experience our share of obstacles and setbacks, but with the right attitude (EXCELSIOR!), we can learn from mistakes and FLY WITH THE EAGLES (metaphorically speaking)!
The War Between the States, or the United States Civil Was,
is extremely complicated and difficult to understand.
This graphic makes part of it easier to understand.
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