November 2019

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 25, 2019


  Celebrating Learning There is a photo of me at about four years old -- taps shoes on, a blue tutu and plaid bodysuit that could only exist in the 1970s, standing in the middle of a line of other four-year-olds on a stage. One leg is extended and my head is turned to my right, checking my moves against the child next to me. No matter how many times we practiced our heel-toe-shuffle steps, it was all forgotten once we stepped onto that stage.  For the adults, it was adorable, and no one expected to be watching the Rockettes or [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 25, 20192019-11-22T15:27:37-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 18, 2019


Known. Loved. Inspired Kindness -- the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.  We embody kindness through smiles, handshakes, considering other people’s needs, stepping aside when someone needs space, and paying attention to one another. In the mornings, when shaking hands, I try to get each student to pause for a moment, make eye contact, shake my hand or wave, and say good morning or hello. I want them to know that, even in the midst of trying to get somewhere, there is always time to stop and acknowledge another person. I want every student to REALLY know they are Known [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 18, 20192019-11-18T10:03:39-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 11, 2019


50 Golden Days This Wednesday marks the 50th day of the school year. 50 times shaking hands at the door in the morning.  50 days of Math instruction and Literacy Centers.  50 recesses. 50 lunches. 50 evenings preparing for school the next day. In marriage, the 50th anniversary is the Golden Anniversary.  I like to think of this time of year as the golden period.  We are deep into instruction, well developed with relationships, out in the world doing fieldwork -- everything is moving along smoothly. Next week, our Family Arts Night marks the culmination of our golden work so far [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 11, 20192019-11-13T09:44:23-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 4, 2019


A 25-Hour Day What did you do with your extra hour this weekend? Did you sleep a little longer, snuggle with a loved one, get extra work done, finally clean your house, or something else equally titillating? I wonder if we chose one hour per normal day and treated it like it was a special extra hour, how it might feel? How might we make special out of the ordinary and tune our focus a little differently?  I challenge you, in this 10th week of the year, to find a little extra special in one hour each day. Enjoy!   Happy Week [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, November 4, 20192019-11-05T13:47:37-05:00

October 2019

What’s Good in the Neighborhood October 28, 2019


Gratitude I sat in a Math class recently, observing students be successful, collaborative, and positive with one another.  They were diving into Math concepts that stretched their thinking and supported each other in the work. I was overcome with a sense of gratitude for the ways in which teachers at this school spend countless extra hours planning multiple lessons for the same hour of instruction.  Using the workshop model, teachers group students by their strengths and needs, and have them rotate through centers to work on different skills in each center. This means that teachers plan often three to four different [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood October 28, 20192019-10-28T14:50:57-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood October 21, 2019


A Time to Reflect... This time of year makes me nostalgic. At this point in the school year, we are still holding onto the hopeful optimism of the start of a new school year as well as are far enough into the school year to reflect and tweak instruction.  We have assessed where students need supports and extensions, and we’re deeply engaged with learning that is both meaningful and appropriate for each student. We are also at a point in the year where we meet with families and discuss where each student is in their trajectory of learning and how we [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood October 21, 20192019-10-22T22:08:49-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, October 7, 2019


Networks of Support I used to believe that trees fought one another to reach the sun, get nutrients, and simply to thrive. The smallest tree in a forest was doomed from the start. A few years ago, I learned about a secret communication that exists between trees that tells quite the opposite story. The gigantic trees that we admire above ground are connected through a network of teeny tiny fungi that communicate between trees of all species. If one tree is aware of drought or of an insect manifestation, it sends messages to other trees in the area through these fungi.  [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, October 7, 20192019-10-07T22:57:24-05:00

September 2019

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 30, 2019


This weekend, I was with my siblings looking through old photo albums. We were laughing at our funny outfits in the 70s, our colorful hairstyles in the 80s, and our funny glasses in the 90s. We looked at our pictures in Kindergarten and then compared our Senior portraits with photos of our parents at similar ages.  My dad, at 18, was in college in India. My mom, at 18, was in nurse’s training in Missouri. It’s amazing, no matter the culture, how school photos are such wonderful markers of time passing. As we begin this week that leads to School Pictures, [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 30, 20192019-10-01T09:18:11-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 23, 2019


Happy First Day of Autumn!! There’s nothing like a 90-something degree day to signal the first day of Autumn!  Even though it might have still felt like summer, the first day of Autumn signals to me that the school year is in full swing.  Routines and classroom cultures have been set, and students are deeply engaged with the important work of learning. Teachers have been gathering data to see where each student excels and where they need extra support. Grade Band Teams have been planning collaborative learning experiences.  Arts teachers have been planning arts integration lessons with non-arts teachers in all [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 23, 20192019-09-23T22:13:39-05:00

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 16, 2019


Celebrating What Makes You, You! Last night, as I played with my daughter, I was enjoying music from a new DJ I randomly discovered on Spotify. The music was a confluence of sounds that I wouldn't have anticipated would go together. It was uniquely his own sound yet universal at the same time. Listening to this music made me think about probably the greatest life lesson I learned growing up. When I was a child, my mom always told us, kids, to "Make your life," meaning that we didn't have to subscribe to the "shoulds" and could march to our very [...]

What’s Good in the Neighborhood, September 16, 20192019-09-18T09:14:28-05:00