Monday, May 30, 2016

Making the World a Better Place

It's been amazing to see the passions of our students emerge from the discoveries they are making about our world through their personalized learning experiences. Several students have been inspired to take action to improve the quality of life for others:
  • To bring clean water to Gabon, Africa
  • To bring solar-powered lights to homes without electricity in Africa so that children can do their homework
  • To bring awareness and raise money to benefit children with epilepsy
  • To save endangered elephants
  • To bring new books to brighten the days of children with cancer at Lurie's Children's Hospital
These students have found a voice of courage and compassion as they share what they are learning during morning announcements, lunch hour presentations, and evening presentations to peers and parents. 


Our Book Buddies Club has been just as influential and caring. Thanks to the leadership of our older students, younger students are enjoying learning to read through games and interactive activities. Recently, the Book Buddies Club shared a very entertaining Readers Theater in the courtyard. 

The world also becomes a better place when people of different cultures and life experiences come together with open minds and open hearts to get to know one another and learn from each other. We were fortunate to have this experiences with the Japanese exchange students who visited Dryden last week. Although our languages were very different, as we played the African drums, we quickly learned that music can be a universal language. 

Even their principal and teachers joined in the fun! 

It was a fun morning taking on STEAM challenges and documenting our learning by video-recording in both Japanese and English on the iPads. 


Students worked together to build the tallest standing structure with 15 pipe cleaners.

Another challenge involved folding a paper airplane that could hold three pennies and travel the farthest distance. 

Caring for the environment also helps the world become a better place. We are very proud of kindergarteners for their careful and diligent work in growing plants from seeds in their classroom greenhouses. 

Lastly, we would like to thank teacher, Mrs. Moxley. This past Thursday, along with other teachers, Mrs. Moxley was recognized at the School Board meeting for reaching the milestone of teaching in our school district for 30 years! Mrs. Moxley has certainly made the world a better place by touching the lives of so many children! 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Taking STEAM by Storm!

Dryden is taking STEAM by storm! STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. We are learning and enjoying the benefits of the seamless integration of these areas, rather than just focusing on each in isolation. We are also learning that STEAM is "fueled" by collaboration, trial-and-error, creative problem-solving, curiosity, critical thinking and perseverance. The more we learn, the more we want to do!

Dryden recently held its first STEAM Night for families. We had a wonderful time together! 

 There was an engineering playground for building roller coasters, paper airplanes, newspaper towers and bridges with dominoes and a deck of cards. 

How exciting it was to make a piano with bananas, a few wires, a circuit board, a USB cord and a laptop!

Families could tinker and explore the sturdiness and size of various pipe cleaner structures.

We were fortunate to have volunteers from the local high school share the first-place state Science Olympiad winning Rube Goldberg machine that they built over the course of several months.

There were opportunities for families to work on different child-friendly coding programs on computers and iPads as well as on paper grids and with cups. 

Art Teacher, Mrs. Fuglestad, taught families how to create stop-motion animated music videos by app-smashing. 

Building towers and taking away pieces without letting the structure fall was a fun and exciting collaborative, problem-solving adventure!

Families were give design challenges and a few household materials. This group worked on designing a contraption to help get items out of the bottom of a toy box. 

There were opportunities to figure out how to make the strongest bridges,

discover the strength of the architectural feature of an arch, 

build a raft that could float with the most pennies,

and create a boat that would sail the fastest.

We were also fortunate to receive posters, pamphlets and a chain game from the Society of Women Engineers to share with students and families. 

What a great evening! We can't wait to have more STEAM experiences in the near future!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Going Above & Beyond

 Hats off to Dryden's 5th Grade Track Team and PE teacher, Mr. Gries!  

  They really gave their best effort at the district's 5th grade track meet at South Middle School this past Wednesday.

What a great way to meet future middle school friends and enjoy some friendly competition!

Many classmates and families have been coming together to learn about the Personalized Learning Experiences of individual students.  

 During Personalized Learning, students work on questioning, documenting learning, giving and utilizing feedback, and reflecting on their learning. 

When students share their Personalized Learning Experiences, as teachers, parents and friends, we are able to better understand and support the passions, curiosities and talents of each individual student.

It's truly inspiring to see the growth in confidence and expertise of our students as they proudly share what they have learned! 

The demonstrate much innovation, problem-solving and creativity in sharing their learning journey. 

Our students would not have access to so many enriching learning and social opportunities without the dedication of so many wonderful volunteers. 

This week, we celebrated and paid tribute to the many ways volunteers have benefited our students and our school. According to our records, Dryden was 212 volunteers strong this year!

There is a lovely article and video highlighting Dryden's volunteer celebration that is posted on the district website. You can access it by clicking here.  Also, please enjoy this uplifting video made by our students and Tech Facilitator Beth Breaux thanking our volunteers for their dedication:

Our students, staff and volunteers certainly go above and beyond to make Dryden such an incredible school community!