Friday, September 22, 2017

Learning with Purpose

With the first month of school under our belts, you can see the students delving more deeply into their learning.

These fourth-grade students read different books about the different ways soccer balls are made in different countries. This inspired them to design, create and test their own soccer balls with socks, balloons, tape, paper, and fabric. It was wonderful to see the creative thinking, problem-solving and teamwork of these students. 

 Teamwork and problem-solving are even part of the PE curriculum as students work together, build communication skills and problem-solve as they use the climbing wall, Bosu and stepping boards. 

In music, students are learning the art of storytelling, drama, and puppetry as they practice making high and low sounds to tell a story with finger puppets. 

Map skills abound! Students created a map of our beautiful LMC by first creating a key of the special places and things that can be found there.

 Second-grade students have also been creating maps of all the different landforms they have been learning. After they include many details, they use iPads to video-record a tour of their maps to share with parents. 

Students are learning with great purpose in math as well! Teachers have found and created very purposeful games and practice opportunities for students to apply the new math and problem-solving skills they are learning. 

Similarly, with word study, students are enjoying different kinds of cooperative games while honing in on phonics, spelling patterns and parts of words. 

Say "Cheese"! We thank the PTA for coordinating our Picture Day. It was a joy to see so many precious smiles of our students. 

Congratulations to LMC Director, Mrs. O'Kelly, on earning tenure! We are thrilled that she is at Dryden to work with our students and staff, nurturing our love of reading and learning. 

Thank you, Lieutenant Mark of the Arlington Heights Fire Department, for coming to talk with our first-grade students. We learned some very important ways to stay safe and prevent dangerous fires. 

Thank you, Dryden Community, for your generous donations to support victims of the recent hurricanes. We will share an update about the money that was earned, and how we are helping students, teachers, and families of Caldwell-Hines Elementary School in Houston, Texas in our next newsletter. 

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!