Sunday, August 3, 2008

Wrapping Up The Lazy Days of Summer

You know the restful lazy days of summer are rapidly winding down when you only have one week left before you are once again hitting the grind stone. There have been several occasions this summer that a blog post has certainly been warranted, but this summer, unlike some others in the past, I just never got around to penning my thoughts. I would say, “What a shame!” but feel that my own two boys are quite content that I gave them some undivided attention over the past two months. However, heading into this week—the last week—before setting off on another 180 Days of Adventure, I feel compelled to catch up a bit on summer happenings and start the year fresh.

The Setting the Standard ning has continued to grow with an online community of 248 educators. Teachers continue to dialogue, add pictures, and post videos to share ideas and give visitors a peek into their learning community. Thanks to our hostess Melanie Holtsman this site allows for veteran and newcomers a venue for on-line professional dialogue and development. Jenny Nash has even been documenting the “unpacking” of her new classroom as she prepares to embark on her new adventure. Be sure to check out this ning for a glimpse inside a professional learning community. I know you'll love what you find!

The newcomers to Chets have been through Summer Orientation. Though, in the past, this orientation has consisted of three days of training dedicated to Chets’ history, traditions and rituals & routines, along with Reading, Writing, Math, and Science Workshop training, this year it was condensed to only one day. Why? Because all of our newcomers come with experience already under their belt!! A big bonus for our Principal and coaches! As in year's past, the Summer Orientation wrapped with a party at the principal’s home for a meet and greet with newbies, mentors, and the school’s leadership team. This casual gathering embraces our new learning leaders and relieves pre-planning pressure. What a grand idea!

Also, worthy of mention is a new blog started by dayle timmons, as an on-line resource for newcomers. This blog will give newbies a glance into events before they come so they can adequately prepare for each new adventure. Although, this blog was designed for newcomers, it has also proven to be an excellent tool for veterans, because dayle began by introducing our new hires. What a great way for all to be able to put a name and face to our new family members, and be able to greet them appropriately in the first few days of school. Thanks, dayle!

The ELA lead team met to discuss the implementation of a new Reading series and share the information they’ve gathered collectively. So far, we know that the district has only released learning schedules for the 1st 9 weeks and we are anxiously awaiting the other three nine weeks along with the assessment books so we can make informed decisions about our already existing best practices. Though, it is too early to see the global picture, it was time well spent to ask questions and seek answers.

On Thursday, just days before we embark on our new journey, there will be a Leadership Retreat lead by Principal Phillips to prepare us for upcoming events. This retreat is often a time of reflection and decision making for the upcoming school year. The team always looks forward to this day of preparation and fellowship.

I know some learning leaders have begun planning, unpacking, and organizing their classrooms. I’ve even heard through the grapevine that grade level meetings are in full swing to plan costumes and skits for our first day. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds—the first day is always my favorite. Good luck to each team as they set off to clinch this year’s prize!

I'm off to absorb a few more rays, read a couple more fiction titles, and enjoy the company of my family. I'll see you all next week as we begin our Virtual Learning Journey--Around the World in 180 Days!


dayle timmons said...

LOVE the new header! Enjoy these last few days of summer - it's almost over and time for a new adventure!

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers said...

What a great blog! Glad I found it!!!

Enjoy your last few days of sumer. (I head back on Monday, so I understand the savoring-thing.)