Sunday, March 19, 2017

Shenanigans and Service

 The leprechauns were up to all kinds of shenanigans at Dryden this past week! Our students were determined to catch them in the act! 

They persistently collaborated on designing, testing and reconfiguring creative traps. 

These traps often resembled Rube Goldberg machines. 

In addition to focusing on the design thinking process, this gave students a meaningful context to apply their learning of different transfers of energy.

Students became aware of the importance of keeping an open mindset and thinking flexibly when encountering problems. 

 The 5th Grade Service Project is off to a great start!

 The fifth grade students voted to collect items to benefit the Buddy Foundation and Kay's Animal Shelter. With guidance from PTA volunteers and their teachers, the fifth grade students participate in every aspect of the schoolwide service project. 

They publicize the project with posters and announcements. They create collection containers and identify collection sites within the school. 

This year's collection will take place from April 3 - April 13. The fifth grade students will sort, count and keep track of everything that is donated. 

Speaking of donations, we are very grateful for the donation of Chicago Blackhawk baseball hats by hockey player Niklas Hjarlmarson. Dryden received these hats because of our school community's high level of participation in the Goodwill donation drive last year. 

 These hats were awarded to students through the Dryden Dolphin Drawing. Dryden staff provided over 66 prizes for the Dryden Dolphin Drawing, which brought in over $1900 to benefit the PTA scholarship and ABC/25 Foundation teacher grant funds. 

We are thankful for the wonderful involvement of the Dryden community in benefitting these great causes!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Comes in Like a Lion

As March comes in like a lion, we are "roaring" with excitement about all the new things we are learning at Dryden this first half of March!

Fifth grade students have immersed themselves in learning about the pioneers' westward expansion of the United States. They are taking on character roles and preparing covered wagons for a simulation of moving out to the wild west. It's exciting to see the students anticipating what they will need to bring with them to survive and thrive in new territory. They are applying all kinds of math and problem-solving skills, too!

These first and second grade students were excited to share their creative balloon creatures. One of their classmates, brought the balloons to school to teach the class about the shape of molecules. Everyone deduced that air molecules must be round since all of the balloon shapes were evenly round. 

It's so exciting to see that the Book Buddies Club is now underway! This is a wonderful opportunity for the older students to share their love of reading with younger students at Dryden. At their first meeting, students introduced themselves to one another, and shared their favorite books and favorite places to read. 

March Madness isn't just about basketball! It's also about favorite books! Brackets for students in grades K-2 and grades 3-5 have been set up outside the LMC. Students will have opportunities to vote for their favorites and eventually find out which book will win with the most student votes this year! 

We are also very excited about author Peter Brown's visit to Dryden in early April! Everyone in the school is reading the novel The Wild Robot in preparation for his visit. Students have also been reading the many picture books written by Peter Brown. As these fifth grade students reviewed Peter Brown's books they contributed to a word cloud to identify the books' themes. It was fun to discover that Peter Brown's books focused on the common theme of friendship in different ways. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

For the past month, over 80 students and 20 parent volunteers have been participating in the PTA Book Clubs during the lunch recess hour.

Our LMC director, Mrs. O'Kelly, provided a variety of fantasy, realistic fiction, humorous, mystery and non-fiction books for the students to read. 

Each book related to the theme of caring for our environment and caring for our earth. 

Parent volunteers led students in reading, discussing, writing and drawing in response to reading these stories. 

This has been a fun and engaging way for students to connect and share their love of reading! 

We are truly grateful for this opportunity to read and talk about books!

To culminate and celebrate Book Club participation, PTA brought the Science Alliance to Dryden School. 

All students got to enjoy the presentation "World Works". 

Throughout the presentation, Mr. Steve helped us learn about many ways we can think globally but act locally to help take care of our environment by reducing, reusing and recycling.

We are very proud of all of our student volunteers! 

By caring for our environment and one another on a local level, we are helping to make the world a better place. We are "thinking globally and acting locally" at Dryden! Hooray!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Inspired to Excel and Innovate

Each year, ABC/25--the educational fundraising foundation for our school district--awards grants to teachers for classroom materials that will be used to spark excellence and innovation in student learning. See how Dryden students are benefitting from these wonderful opportunities!

Students are learning about coding and programming with Beebots in kindergarten. 

The ELMO document camera allows students to project their work and present to their peers. It's great to see students in the lead teaching and learning from one another. 

Students can solve mysteries, manage a pizza restaurant, and participate in a variety of individualized hands-on learning with Osmo Play.

Creativity, problem-solving, teamwork and engineering skills were utilized by students as they built Art-bots in art class with Mrs. Fuglestad.

The fourth grade study of the transfer of energy was enhanced when students got to see first hand these concepts in action after building and launching their straw rockets. 

Additional items Dryden acquired this year include bridge-building playsets, interactive postal mail centers and books to build students' inferential thinking. We are very grateful for the efforts and generosity of the ABC/25 Foundation.

Please consider supporting this wonderful organization by participating in their upcoming fundraiser, the Just Move It Challenge. This is a family-friendly 5K and 1 mile run/walk. It takes place on the morning of Saturday, April 22 at South Middle School. You can join Team Dryden and register by clicking here. We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Celebrating with Creativity and Curiosity

We celebrated the 100th Day of School on February 14th! We have learned so much up to this point! 

Some students showed their creativity by dressing up according to what they think they will look like when they are 100 years old.

We thank the PTA for such fun and creative Valentine's Day celebrations. 

Some students participated in theValentine's Day Box Challenge. It was so interesting to see all the different designs made with similar materials. 

Students expressed caring and kindness in creative ways, too. 
Some students wrote caring messages to one another on a wall poster. 

Others made their own Valentines to give to their classmates. 

We are also so grateful to our PTA for bringing Face to Face Productions to Dryden Elementary School. All of our students enjoyed a musical theater production of "By the Numbers". 

This highly entertaining and engaging performance helped our students learn about Einstein and the relevance of math in all aspects of our lives. We are proud of our student volunteers!

Our fifth grade students celebrated the culmination of their fifth grade space exploration unit with an interactive Skype presentation by Astronomer Dr. Beasley. We thank Assistant Principal Mrs. Beane and Advanced Learning Facilitator Mrs. Wasik for coordinating this fascinating opportunity. 

Our classrooms celebrated World Read Aloud Day on February 16. Students enjoyed reading with each other, 

being guest readers in other classrooms, 

and having guest readers visit classrooms to share their favorite books. 

We participate in World Read Aloud Day with other schools in 100's of countries to celebrate the power of words, imagination and storytelling!