Monday, January 15, 2018

We are Dryden!

This week we have a special guest blogger, EL Resource Teacher Mrs. Pemberton!
She has some wonderful information to share about the rich cultures and languages at our school:

We have such a wonderful, diverse student population here at Dryden.
It is such a privilege to work with students from such rich backgrounds and cultures.
At Dryden, our EL families make up about 15% of our student population.

Enrolled in the EL program, we have families with backgrounds from all over the world
spanning across seventeen different languages including:


We really value culture and bilingualism here at Dryden. In the EL Classroom, we have our mantra
posted on the wall that reads, “Bilingualism is a gift.” At the beginning of the year, we discuss the
significance of this statement and we share about our own traditions and languages.
This carries over from the EL classroom to the general education classrooms.
Specialists at Dryden work very closely together.

At Dryden, we have a large Polish population, and we give transitional bilingual support to our
Polish-speaking students through our resource teacher. Our program model involves pull-out support
and push-in support as well as one multiage sheltered classroom for grades 1-2.
The multiage sheltered classroom has a partner, or “buddy”, classroom that works very closely with
students in that class for different subjects to integrate native English speaking peers with
English language learners. This program has shown great growth and success of all learners.

This month, our EL students will be taking the annual language proficiency test entitled the
ACCESS test. This test is based off the WIDA framework ( around the
English Language Development Standards adopted by the state of Illinois.
This test measures language proficiency in four language domains including
listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English. Scores from this test are used to make
instructional decisions for our English language learners.
This year, the testing window at Dryden will be January 23rd through February 9th.

If you have any questions about the EL program, please contact the following staff members:
Julia Pemberton - EL Resource Teacher -
Susan Hernandez - Multiage Sheltered Teacher Grades ½ -

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Creativity Abounds

Our multiage and second grade students were shining stars at their musical performance! Even though it was cold outside, their singing, acting, dancing, and instrumental performances warmed our hearts!

It was also a special treat to have our music teacher, Mrs. Tosheva, accompany the students with her accordion!

Our students' creative and innovative thinking really shined through during our Cardboard Challenge! Space crafts, Rube Goldberg machines, interactive games and gingerbread houses were just some of the amazing creations! Research, collaboration, planning, problem-solving and many iterations took place before the students all came together to showcase and celebrate their creations. 


On our last day of school before the winter break, our students made cards for the patients at Northwest Community Hospital. They were beautifully decorated and included caring well-wishes for strength and recovery. We thank the PTA for providing the materials and volunteer assistance! The people at the hospital were very appreciative!

I can't wait to see what we create in 2018 at Dryden!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Beaming With Pride

As we reflect on 2017, we are just beaming with pride over all of our students' learning and accomplishments!

We are very proud of how our students are applying their learning and using their creativity as they prepare for the all-school Cardboard Challenge. Our fifth grade students have been researching what it will take for humans to travel to Mars. They are applying what they have learned as they build and design space crafts of the future. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up becoming astronauts or engineers at NASA. 

Similarly, these fourth grade students have been making exciting discoveries in math as they study lines and angles. Here, they are categorizing and sorting photographs according to similar line patterns. It's exciting to listen to the way they question and challenge one another's thinking as they realize there are many ways to organize information and solve problems. 

This is perhaps the most amazing, dedicated, hardworking group of teachers one will ever find! They truly bring out the best in our students and one another. They inspire us beyond belief. 

Dryden's students, staff and families are the reasons why you will always see Assistant Principal Mrs. Beane and me beaming with Dolphin Pride!

Happy Holidays!
May 2018 be filled with much happiness and health for you!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cultivating a Love of Learning

We know we are doing our jobs as educators well when we see students finding joy in discovering their learning passions and persevering through meaningful challenges. 

This friend LOVES geography! 
I have learned so much about the countries and maps of Europe from him. 

These students enjoyed the challenge of solving bar model math problems created by their peers.  

The PTA supports our students' love of reading with allowing every student to choose a book for their birthday. 

Former First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy has been quoted as saying, "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."

At our Book Buddies Club, you can feel the children's love of reading growing and growing! It is truly remarkable how the older and younger students enjoy listening to one another read and talk about books!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Leading the Way

 Whether by title, by example or both, we are inspired by many leaders at Dryden to be and do our best. 

We were thrilled to have Mayor Hayes visit our second grade classrooms to teach our students about local government and his role in it. 

The PTA welcomed many dads, uncles, grandfathers, and guests for Dads & Doughnuts before school one day last week. It was wonderful to see and thank all these positive role models for supporting our students' education throughout their lives.

Our second graders showed wonderful leadership as they provided presentations of their landmark ressearch to parents and fourth grade students. 

Assistant Principal Mrs. Beane and fifth grade students were inspirational leaders as they taught all of the students the Lazy Eight Breathing strategy as a way to help us regulate through strong emotions. The fifth grade students performed entertaining, thought-provoking skits of situations where this strategy may come in handy. 

Art Teacher Mrs. Fuglestad and this talented fifth grade student are leaders in the arts! Mrs. Fuglestad was a featured presenter at the recent Illinois Art Education Association Conference, and this student's artwork was chosen to be part of a traveling student art show throughout the state of Illinois! We are so proud of them!