Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Caring Community

Every day at Dryden we are focusing on how we can be a caring community.

On September 11, we gathered by the flagpole to sing "This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land" as a way of recognizing Patriot Day, remembering the service workers who make sacrifices to help us, and showing our unity and appreciation for the country we live in. 

Fifth-grade student leaders did a wonderful job leading us in the singing!

Students demonstrate caring for one another as they read a book together, taking turns reading pages, and helping each other understand and interpret the content. 

Students demonstrate care and appreciation for the wonderful resources we have at school. Here, students are taking the "Stylus Pledge" before they begin working on iPads in art class. 

Students are demonstrating care and interest in others' ideas as they learn about the writing process with Miss Hart. 

These kindergarten students demonstrated great care and teamwork in their communication as they worked together to build a castle with magnet tiles!

As a school community, we are working together to extend our care to those impacted by hurricanes in Texas and Florida. 

 Our crossing guard, Mr. Poteracki, showed me this rock that he discovered by the intersection where he works. By focusing our efforts on caring, we certainly agree, the best is yet to come!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hats Off to Learning

 Hats off to all of our teachers and parents for a wonderful Curriculum Night! It was so great to see everyone come together to get to know the students' teachers and all that the children will be learning. It's going to be a "wonder-full" school year!

Hats off to teamwork! Students have been learning first hand the importance of teamwork when it comes to problem-solving. I was so impressed by how this group remained flexible, supportive and open to one another's ideas during this Break Out Edu experience.

Hats off to "visible thinking"!  This class was participating in a "See-Think-Wonder" activity to strengthen their observational and inferential skills and cultivate their curiosity. 

Hats off to active learning! Our music teacher, Mr. Deptula, had these young children actively walking, skipping and running to the tempo of the music. It was a joy to see them having so much fun while learning. 

Hats ON for Crazy Hat Day!
Many students showed their creativity and had fun getting silly by wearing crazy hats this past Friday. To see the children's creativity in making their own hats was most impressive!

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Journey of 1,000 Miles

You may be familiar with the quote, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This summer I was very fortunate to journey thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean to Japan to visit schools and learn more about their education and culture. It was AMAZING! Now, I am embarking on a new journey as we start a new school year at Dryden and I try to share and apply all the wonderful things I learned. 

Many children at this Japanese school participate in World Friendship classes, as many are from countries other than Japan and are learning a new language and culture. The World Friendship classes are designed to instill confidence and kindness among all students. 

I love how our teachers at Dryden also make an intentional effort to help our students feel proud of who they are,

and how our students welcome and include new friends at tDryden!

Just look at all of the buddies on the Buddy Bench!

The student lunch process in Japan is quite impressive. Students take turns carefully serving one another, making sure everyone has enough to eat. They are also very responsible for working together to clean everything up after everyone has finished eating.

This reminded me of how our students at Dryden help for and care for each other in so many ways as well, such as making sure all of the school supplies are labeled and organized during the first days of school. Many hands truly do make light work!

Perhaps one of the most profound experiences I had in Japan was visiting Peace Park in Hiroshima. My hero, a girl named Sadako, stands at the top of the Children's Peace Monument. You can read about her life in the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.  Sadako and her schoolmates have made a powerful positive impact on the world peace movement. People from all over the world send origami paper cranes to show their support for world peace. 


At Dryden, I get to observe children and teachers making a positive impact on their communities as well. Even at the beginning of the year, teachers are engaging their students in creating rules for the classroom and designing the systems for arranging their classroom furniture and libraries. It's truly wonderful how our teachers facilitate learning in which students cooperate, collaborate and problem-solve to build a caring classroom community. 

And, there will be countless more opportunities for our students and staff make a positive impact throughout this school year! We are just beginning another "journey of a thousand miles." Oh, what exciting learning adventures await us! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Wrapping Up a Wonderful School Year!

Our fifth grade students did an outstanding job taking the initiative to spruce up the Butterfly Garden in the courtyard this month! They are proof that "many hands make light work". We really appreciate their initiative and positive leadership at Dryden. We wish them all the best as they move on to middle school and hope they will come back to visit!


What an awesome Field Day! We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of PE teacher Mr. Gries, PTA chairs Mrs. Klasen and Mrs. Mertes, and the 120 parent volunteers who made this day so much fun for our students! It is truly wonderful to have the school community come together for this culminating celebration for the school year!

As we head into summer break, I'll be heading off to Japan with 30 other educators from across the United States for the International Educators to Japan program. I'll be visiting Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto to learn about Japanese schools and culture. You can join me on this adventure as I share what I learn on this blog throughout the summer. 

Wishing you a safe and happy summer! 
Thank you for a great school year!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Positive Impact

Caring Club is at it again! They have been busy painting bird houses, flower pots and bird baths! They certainly add a cheerful touch to our school!

Congratulations to some outstanding teachers who were recognized at the Board of Education meeting for years of service! Special education resource teacher, Mrs. Moxley, is retiring after 31 years of service in District 25. Mrs. Moxley taught at Dryden for the past seven years. Art Teacher, Mrs. Fuglestad, was recognized for teaching at Dryden for the past 25 years. They have touched the lives of thousands of children, and made a very positive impact on them!

 A highlight for us at Dryden this week was when the students from Shitara, Japan visited our school.  Our students were excited to provide tours of our school, then collaborate with their new friends on a design-thinking challenge. The time flew by! It's amazing how quickly the children connected and how well they could communicate despite the language and cultural differences. 

Here is a podcast by our District Communications Coordinator, Adam Harris, as he interviews two Japanese exchange students and the program originator, Mr. Yutaka Hiramatsu. It captures the positive impact this exchange program between Arlington Heights and Shitara has been having on many children both in Japan and the United States. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Teamwork, Inclusivity & Empathy "TIE"s Us All Together

Each week, this blog gives me the opportunity to reflect on what makes the Dryden community so special. This week, I realize how Teamwork, Inclusivity, and Empathy "TIE"s us all together. 

We were delighted to have so many wonderful volunteers from Komatsu USA come into our classrooms to teach our students about economics through the Junior Achievement program. 

Komatsu employees explained the importance of teamwork in their careers, and they gained a deeper appreciation of the rewards and hard work that goes into being a teacher. 

Last week, we enjoyed the fruits of the Arlington Heights Council of PTA's teamwork. The PTA awarded over $10,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are also former District 25 students. It was so inspiring to learn about the wonderful accomplishments of these students and the amazing teachers who influenced their lives for the better. 

A fun highlight for me this past week was hosting a playdough party! We made our own scented playdough and enjoyed using our imaginations to create all kinds of things. What made it so fun was the way these friends shared and always included one another in their play. 

Learning more about what it's like to have food allergies and what we can do to help our friends with food allergies stay safe strengthens our sense of inclusivity and empathy at Dryden. It was so awesome to see so many teachers and students wearing teal on our Teal Takeover Day to show our support for those with food allergies. According to F.A.R.E., one in thirteen children in the United States have food allergies. Food allergies are life-threatening, so it's important that we all work together to help our children stay safe!

Firefighter Petersen and many Dryden friends came out to support Dryden's MDA Ambassador, Ben, for the Arlington Heights Fire Department's "Fill the Boot Fundraiser" to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and their search for a cure. Thanks to donations of "loose change" from the Dryden community, we donated over $130 to the MDA this year. 

Even though it's been cold and gray outside, we enjoyed a sunny, tropical beach dress-up day indoors this past Friday! 

Older students sharing their love of reading with younger students during our Book Buddies club get-together is another way our school stays warm and bright indoors. These kids sure keep one another "TIE"d together with teamwork, inclusivity, and empathy!