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!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Innovation on the Brain

I'm not sure if "Cosmic" Bowling during PE class is the cause, but our students have certainly been engaged in a lot of innovative thinking lately!

Over the weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to experience my first SIT (Students Involved with Technology) Conference, which was held at South Middle School. This is a student-led conference in which students share, present and choose which sessions they would like to participate. There were hundreds of participants! It was great to see several current and former Dryden students there! Specific sessions I visited included how to build a website to use technology for positive social change, a Mystery Challenge in which students built and tested catapults, Nanotechnology, coding drones and how one student built a hydraulic-powered, robotic arm. 

Our fifth-grade students have been immersed in researching human space travel to Mars. They are learning about the problems scientists are having to solve in order to make human space travel to Mars possible. As students work in groups to hone in on researching specific questions and problems they've identified (food sources, physical and mental health, landing on Mars, fuel storage and use, returning to Earth, etc.), they are thinking about and designing possible solutions to these problems. Our students are learning that research and problem-solving often lead to discovering more questions, problems and the need for further research . It's very exciting to observe their creative problem-solving. Based on their focus and teamwork, I'm convinced that if anyone will be able to get humans to Mars, it will be these fifth graders!

It's been great to see so many fifth graders involved in band this year. Their winter performance was outstanding! Bravo! Music for music's sake opens our hearts and our minds to endless beauty and possibilities. Furthermore, music (and other arts) inspires our creativity and innovative thinking in the sciences, math, writing and more!

There are a number of social innovators at Dryden, too! This group of girls made this beautiful poster to brighten our office and show their appreciation. How kind and creative!

Being innovative is messy, hard work. It requires taking risks, making mistakes and changing courses of action. It can also be very rewarding to our students if we acknowledge and celebrate their efforts throughout the process. Keep on innovating, Dolphins!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Read, Play, Learn!

We thank the PTA, LMC Director Mrs. O'Kelly, and our teachers for a successful Book Fair and Family Reading Night! Children were invited to come to school in their pajamas and visit with their teachers for a read aloud of their favorite stories. 

Mrs. Beane, Mrs. O'Kelly and I had a blast performing a Readers Theater of Elephant and Piggy for all of the Family Reading Night Participants, too! 

On February 2, we participated in Global School Play Day to bring attention to the benefits of unstructured play in our students' lives at school. Research shows that unstructured play has a positive influence on 
physical and mental health,
language development,
risk management,
independent learning skills,
classroom behavior,
healthy emotional attitudes
better adjustment to school life.

We were able to observe many of these positive outcomes firsthand as the children played. Learning certainly continued as the children played. As the children documented and reflected on this special event, they identified many of the positive outcomes listed above as well. We thank Advanced Learning Facilitator, Mrs. Wasik, for bringing this opportunity to our school!

During the cold winter months, our PTA hosts Book Clubs during the lunch hour. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to enjoy reading and discussing some entertaining, enriching books inside where it is cozy and warm. Thank you, PTA!

We are so proud of the Dryden students who participated in the PTA Reflections Art program! They did a great job uniquely expressing themselves! We thank the PTA for this special enrichment opportunity for our students.