Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Where did June Go?

SOMEHOW - June is gone!

I looked up and suddenly, it was June 30.  Summer is zooming on by and it will be over before we know it.

Many of us in the office have been redecorating, moving, painting, etc.  I am planning to paint, rearrange and reorganize my office over the next two weeks.  Tomorrow I am searching for new chairs, fabric, and some accent pieces.  It is fun and exciting to shop for items like this.  I spend so much time at school and I want my office to not only be organized and efficient, but warm and inviting to parents and students that I meet with in there.  I will post some pictures once I have the items and do a little before/after shot.

My closet needs to be purged of unnecessary items that accumulate over the year and that were passed down from predecessors, but I was afraid to throw out last summer in my frenzy to move in my office.  Can anyone relate to this?  I like to be neat and organized, but as the year wore on, items piled up and I kept shoving them into my closet to get them out of the way!

I am also excited to get my "mobile office" up and running for fall......more on that soon!

I hope you are enjoying your summer and spending quality time with friends and family.  It will be August 12 before we know it!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lego Robotics

I am so excited to be introducing Lego Robotics with our students.  We will be incorporating these educational kits and software in our Step Up program for middle school students, in our elective class for middle school and high school students, and hopefully in an after school club for elementary students.

Lego Education offers many different programs for students.  There are software programs, challenges, competitions, design ideas and classroom kits.  Kids get to explore, be creative and learn about electronics, programming, design and technology.  Hands-on projects and problem solving skills are transferable to many other life experiences and are invaluable for our students to acquire.

What a blessing it is to be able to introduce this to our students and see how they learn!  I cannot wait to share some of the projects they produce in the coming months.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Testing the Evacuation Plan

Our office staff have often joked about some of the precautions we have put into place "just in case". One of those went from, "we've never had to do that" to "we  used our evacuation plan" today. 

About 9:15 this morning, the fire department came to the school and said everyone had to leave the building. There was a suspicion of a gas leak. The office contacted the school/church across the street and they opened up their fellowship hall for us. Our staff walked all the summer program students over to the school and contacted parents to come pick them all up from there. 

Staff acted quickly, calmly and efficiently. Students had a snack and were led in songs by Mrs. Adams, our music teacher, who was there leading a summer camp. 

We are grateful for parents and their cooperation and support. We are thankful for fire fighters and gas company personnel who worked quickly and are investigating the problem thoroughly. 

We are grateful to our neighbor school, Good Shepherd, for giving shelter to our students. 

We are also grateful to know our evacuation plan works!

Praise God no one was hurt!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Work for Fall

I am sure you are thinking - didn't school just let out for summer?

Well, yes, we have been out two and a half weeks so far.  However, work for next year has been in progress for months.  We have been enrolling students since January.  Budgets were deliberated over, textbook inventories taken, schedules were made.

I am working on professional development sessions for teachers in August, October and November.
We will be working on centers/stations for learning, new History Curriculum school-wide, classroom management, developing better rubrics, writing across the curriculum and more.

Classrooms are being cleaned, floors stripped and waxed and cleaned.  Walls are being painted.

Image result for summer cleaning

As much as I want to slow down and enjoy the summer, I also get excited and revved up for the new school year.  I see my teachers pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest and sharing ideas with me. It is exciting to see others always looking for new ways to teach and help students learn.

If you are an educator - what is your favorite thing to do over the summer (besides rest!) to prepare for next fall?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Collaborative Learners


I will admit - classroom dynamics have changed some from when I was in school.  I had the privilege of being taught by some wonderful teachers in each area of my educational journey.  The assumption we always had was that the teacher was supposed to know everything and teach it to the students.  A lot of my classes were lecture and we took notes.  Today, many teachers and classes have gone away from this approach.

This quote really strikes a chord in me........in recent years, there is a great deal more emphasis placed on collaborative learning.  Teachers certainly still impart knowledge and "teach" students.  However, teachers also facilitate conversations, encourage students to share experiences, take part in "group" projects and presentations, interact with the world via technology and more.

As a teacher, sometimes it really is acceptable to answer a student's question with "I am not sure - why don't we look that up and learn more about that?" or "You know, John did his research paper on that topic.  Why don't you two team up and learn more about that?".  Living in community and learning together is a valuable experience.  Directing students in this manner doesn't mean you aren't a good teacher - it means you are willing to learn WITH your students.

This relates to being a part of the "body of Christ" as well.  As fellow believers, we are gifted with a variety of talents and abilities.  Not everyone is a teacher or preacher.  Some people are gifted with "behind the scenes" abilities and gladly work to see that all the details in a project are covered.  When we are all working together and using those God-given abilities, things run smoother and we see growth.

What do you think when you read this quote?  How does it speak to you?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Learning for PreK

Preschoolers can be SO much fun!  The explore and learn in so many different and exciting ways.  Most of the time, they simply learn through play.  It is easy to incorporate learning activities into their play and they have so much fun - they don't know they are "learning"!

Here are a few ideas that you should be able to do with items around the house:

1- Ordering items from smallest to largest and vice versa
a. Take paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls
b. Cut them into various lengths
c. Have toddler/preschoolers put them in order
d. Store in ziploc bag for reuse

2- Number matching and identification
a.  You need paper plates (I used the ones with the ridges because they are cheap!)
b.  Label each paper plate with a large number in the center (use markers, stamps, stencil, etc)
c.  Have your child place stickers or draw similar objects to match the number (example - for a five, draw five stars)
d.  To make a "memory" type game, make matching plates.  You can scatter them on the floor or table and have them find the two that match.
e.  To work on ordering numbers, have them put plates in order from smallest to largest number or backwards from largest to smallest number.

3-Sorting colors and/or shapes
a. Use an ice tray, muffin pan or chip/dip tray
b.  You can use fruit loops, fruity cheerios, skittles, M & Ms or colored foam shapes
c.  Have child sort all of colors into holes - red here, purple here, etc.
d. Have child sort shapes into holes - squares here, circles here, etc.

4 -Shapes & Geometry
a. Use large craft sticks or popsicle sticks and velcro circles
b. Place matching velcro circles on sticks
c.  Draw different shapes on post-it notes or index cards and have child make the shapes using the velcro and sticks.
d.  Make a variety of shapes and laminate and have them match, trace shapes with finger, recognize words

5- Alphabet Learning
a. Magnet letters are versatile and can be used for a variety of activities (you can purchase a pack for $1 at Dollar Tree, Walmart or Kroger)
b.  Use a cookie sheet and say a letter and have them find it; ask them to make the sound of the letter; ask them to name words that start with that letter sound
c. For children that already know their letters, begin spelling simple CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant) like dog, cat, and, the, car, bug, etc.
d.  You can also use the large foam or stencil letters (found at Walmart)

6.  Same vs. Different
a. I used simple stickers and some drawings on cardstock and cut paper into strips and laminated
b. Each strip has one or two items that are different.  Have child show you which are same vs. different and explain how they figured that out.

These are all easy to assemble and store for reuse.  I like to use things like this especially on days we have to be inside and while I am trying to cook dinner.  I keep all of these in a small plastic basket inside the cabinet.

Next time I will share some ideas for sensory/play tubs that are easy to pull out when kids are "bored".  I also have some dry erase activity pages I made at home that are also great for the car, restaurant, doctor's office, etc.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Quote of the Week

This statement is so true in my life.  God has placed me in positions in ministry and vocation that I didn't always feel equipped to do.  Every single time, he has given me the training or tools necessary to perform the job. Even today in my current position as principal, he provides over and over again - either with people that have just the right skill to complement our ministry, training I can attend to better equip me, or opportunities to network other individuals that can provide a service we need. 

There are countless examples in scripture where God takes a man (or woman) who is less than desirable or qualified by the world's standards and uses them in mighty ways.

Peter - a simple fisherman who helps found the early church

Esther - a simple Hebrew girl who becomes Queen and helps save the Hebrews from execution

Paul - a Jew who is persecuting Christian's and ends up being a missionary and spreading the gospel to other continents

David- a simple shepherd boy who defeats the mighty giant, Goliath and goes on to become King of Israel

Mary - a young girl who became the mother of God's son, Jesus

There are many more examples in scripture.  I know I have always loved the story of Joseph.  His brothers were jealous of him and his father's affection for Joseph.  They sold him off as a slave and told their father he was dead.  Joseph ended up in Egypt and in the house of Potiphar.  In spite of many horrible things being done to him, he rose to a very powerful place in Egypt.  God equipped him to interpret dreams.  This enabled him to prepare Egypt for a devastating time of famine.Through this, he was reunited with his family and he was able to take care of them during the famine.  This was all a part of God's bigger purpose and example of redeeming his people. 

How has God equipped you for his purpose?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fun at Salato Wildlife Center

This weekend there is an activity all ages can enjoy.

Image result for salato wildlife education center

Check out the link below for information about the Monarch Waystation event at 10:30 am this Saturday, June 13 at the Salato Center here in Frankfort.  Cost is free with general admission to the center. 

Salato offers several interactive classes and workshops throughout the summer months for various ages.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer Reading

Summer vacation has officially begun.

Backpacks are unpacked and homework discarded for summer.  If you are like me, I try to have something productive for my kids to still do during the summer.  Having a small routine helps curb the "I'm bored" phrase, that I abhor, from being uttered as much.  I also institute  the "NO SCREENS of any kind rule" until certain things are accomplished - chores, summer reading, math practice, etc.  As a mom and an educator, I want my kids to be lifelong learners and readers.  Helping them find books or reading material they enjoy reading and material they are capable of reading independently is important to aid them in feeling successful and not frustrated.

Image result for summer reading

We have kicked off summer reading this summer at TFCA with our k-8th grades logging summer reading minutes with Scholastic. One of the great tools with this is that teachers can see how their students are doing.  Kids can totally log this themselves and earn badges, see sample chapters of books and read them and watch how many minutes they read each week.  You can see link here at:  http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2015

For all the students who reach the grade level goals set by teachers we will have a party the Friday afternoon of the first week back to school. YEAH!

Many ask "why do summer reading?" and have the opinion that summer should just be free and fun. So much research backs up the practice of summer reading. Students who do not read over the summer often see a setback of up to 3 months worth of reading skills. Reading increases vocabulary and keeps their brains from turning into mush!  Again, our goal is not to torture children and parents, but to encourage lifelong reading and learning!

Reading can be fun!!!

One of the most important factors to insure success is STUDENT CHOICE. 

Here are a few cute ideas from Pinterest I found to encourage creativity with your kids in regards to summer reading or reading logs:

FREE Reading Logs Kids Can Color - This Reading Mama


The "Tower of Books" Challenge {An Independent Reading Challenge}



A CUTE book report for summer reading


Some other helpful thoughts:

* Check out the local public library.  Public libraries are full of summer programs to encourage reading.
* Google lists for your child's age or lexile number (found on recent spring testing results).
* Spend an afternoon or evening at a local bookstore (Poor Richard's Books, Barnes and Noble, Joseph Beth, etc.) and let everyone take home a good book.
* Model reading for your kids - read the paper, read your bible, read a magazine, read through a book a chapter a night with the whole family, or listen to audio books on CD in the car.
* Get together with several families and do a book exchange once or twice over the summer.  Everyone goes home with a new book to read - FREE!
* Talk to your kids about what you are reading.  Share why you like or dislike a character, a lesson you learned from the text, a particular passage that was meaningful or challenging to you, etc.
* Ask them about what they are reading.  Get them to describe characters, setting, conflict, plot, etc. and push them to look for theme or meaning in their reading.

Enjoy your summer and I hope you enjoy your reading!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

That's a Wrap!!

It is still unbelievable to me that my first year serving our school as Principal is over. The 2014-15 school year flew by and we had many successes to celebrate and only a few lows. Through it all, God was faithful. 

Our theme this year has been based on Proverbs 28:1, "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as lions". We have incorporated this into chapel services, class lessons, athletics and even t-shirts. It is our sincere hope that our students (and families) have been inspired to stand boldly in their faith and proclaim God's truth whatever their circumstances may be. 

We strive for academic excellence at our school. We want to continue to set high standards and equip our students to meet them. I am blessed to work with amazing staff and faculty that give sacrificially of themselves. 

Here are some of our highlights from this year:

• 4th graduating class in our high school

• 10% enrollment increase from 2013-14 school year

• Two students qualifying for the Governor's Scholar Program and Governor's School for the Arts

• Winning seasons for HS basketball, baseball and soccer

• Many individual achievements for students in essay contests, speech meets, spelling bees, piano and music festivals, KMEA All State Chorus, World Jr. Olympics Gold Medalist in TaeKwonDo, Gymnastics Medalists, and more

• At least 15 students who were baptized and gave their life to Christ this year

• Connections to at least 10 different ministries and mission organizations through our homeroom service projects

• HVAC installation in our gymnasium and phase 3 areas to provide for growth in much-needed classroom space

• Addition of a part-time High School Math teacher to meet increasing demands in high school

• Addition of a full-time Middle School Language Arts and History teacher to meet increasing demands in middle school

• An amazing Evening of Art displaying the visual and musical art talents of our students

• Drama and musical productions by our students 

• Another year of Xtreme Week with 8 different courses for students to choose from and participate in for the week 

God continues to go before us and provide in so many ways. We are so grateful and want to always give honor to him for all he does for us. We pray 2015-16 will continue to be successful and we go forward, knowing we are doing nothing what he is calling us to do. 

Thank you so much to those who willingly partner with us to make our school a wonderful place to serve, learn and grow. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

End of the Year Festivities, Part Two

We have celebrated so many students and their accomplishments the past several days!!!

Last evening, we had our Kindergarten Graduation.  It was so sweet to see the little boys and girls walk in with their cap and gowns.  They recited verses they had memorized and sang precious songs.  My favorite part of the service is when each of the students announces what they want to be when they grow up!  We had several future teachers, army/navy servicemen and firefighters in the group!

Here are the Kindergarten graduates for 2015.

Tuesday morning we celebrated our preschool students!  They had their end of the year program complete with songs and memory verses.  Our three year olds delighted us with songs and verses.  The four year olds recited a verse for every letter of the alphabet!  They were all adorable.  The program concluded with a slide show that highlighted the year in pictures.

Here are some pictures from the preK program:

At lunch, we celebrated our Seniors with gifts for college.  Mrs. Hudson also brought out the time capsule that the current Seniors did as 8th graders with her English class.    How neat to be able to open letters they wrote to themselves four years ago, letters from parents and see other items they saved that were special to them!

The last program was our Middle School/High School Awards program.  Students were honored with awards in each subject area for highest GPA, hardest working students, most improved and more.  It was a great way to finish off our 2014-15 school year on a positive note!

Monday, June 1, 2015

End of Year Festivities Part One

It just doesn't seem quite possible that the school year is drawing to a close.  Over the weekend, we celebrated several milestones with students.

Friday night we had our annual 8th grade Night of Blessing with our eighth grade class.  Each student read a verse, we had a few speakers and a slide show of our eighth graders.  We end the service with all of our students coming forward for family and friends to pray over them as they end their time in middle school and begin their journey in high school.  It is always a touching time to me.

Saturday was the Graduation Ceremony for our 4th Graduating class.  Due to ongoing construction on our gymnasium, we held the service at a local church.  Our speaker, Rev. John Cravens, did a fabulous job challenging our graduates to not only make good choices academically, but to turn to God for guidance and wisdom as King Solomon did.  He gave sound, biblical advice and spoke truth to our graduates.  I pray they received his challenge.  All five students are planning to attend college in the fall:  Taylor to Purdue University, Noah to the University of Kentucky, Daniel to the University of the Cumberlands, Kendall to Georgetown College and Cameron to Murray State University.  The service was followed by a simple reception.

We are extremely proud of our graduates and all they have accomplished!