Sunday, April 29, 2018

(Mostly) Happy Tears

It's that time of the school year! As we head into our last month of school, it's mostly a time when we are so happy and proud of the many accomplishments of our students and staff. There is so much to celebrate! It's also bittersweet as we start thinking about and honoring those who will soon begin a new chapter in their lives. (Cue the tears.)

Mrs. Lane, our awesome administrative assistant for 24 years, will be retiring at the end of this school year, so we made Administrative Professionals Day a special celebration of Mrs. Lane. Our 500 students drew 500 portraits of Mrs. Lane and lined our hallways with these drawings. Mrs. Lane is a talented artist, so it was fitting that we shared our gratitude for her service through the children's artwork. It was a fun morning for the students and staff to see and hear Mrs. Lane's pleasant reactions as she visited each classroom and the children personally said "thank you" to her.


Our fifth-grade students will also soon be moving on... to middle school! To prepare for this next chapter in their lives, they participated in the World of Work. For World of Work, our PTA partners with many local businesses and services, so that students can experience creating resumes, dressing for success, and many different kinds of careers. We are very thankful for the work of our PTA and the generosity of so many local businesses to make this possible for our students. 

After World of Work, our fifth-grade students were welcomed back to Dryden by the South Middle School Cardinal and treated to a special luncheon celebration from our PTA. It was all so very special!

Hats off to our volunteers! This year, Dryden has been over 209 volunteers strong! Our students are fortunate to have so many more enriching experiences, socially and academically, thanks to the positive efforts of so many volunteers. We expressed our gratitude to our volunteers during a special appreciation breakfast for them. Our students and staff made this special video for them. Then, our students clapped, cheered and personally thanked our volunteers as they walked through the halls of our school. 

Hats off to our awesome crossing guard, Mr. Poteracki, too! Rain, snow or shine, we can always count on Mr. Poteracki to help our students get to and from school safely. We wished him a very happy birthday this week, and many more to come!

Friday was not only Mr. Poteracki's birthday, it was also Arbor Day! With spring finally showing its presence in the Chicago area, we were especially happy to be hugging trees! 

Here's to many more happy spring days to come!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Power of Persuasion

These first grade students have been working on persuasive writing. After reading their letter, I not only have been thinking about how to lower our basketball hoops outside, but I have also been noticing how our students have been using their persuasive skills in other areas of their lives and making a very positive impact!

Our fifth grade students have persuaded many in our school to make a donation in order to provide a deserving child with a Starfish Scholarship to a family camp by the Children's Craniofacial Association.  

These fourth grade students persuaded me to start the Clean Up Crew Club. Now, look at how they are making a difference around Dryden! I think they collected over ten pounds of litter around our school grounds in just 20 minutes. Now, if we could just persuade Mother Nature to let the spring weather stay in the Chicago area!

Dryden Kindness Ambassadors and the Caring Club have been working on a "Kindness Rocks" campaign, persuading others to choose to be kind. I was tickled to find these on my desk one afternoon. 

 So many students, families and staff members participated in the ABC/25 Foundation's Just Move It! Challenge over the weekend. They are persuading me to get back into running because it can be so fun and good for your health!

These fifth grade students were honored to have a film that they created with Art Teacher Mrs. Fuglestad played on the big screen at the Screen Test Jr. Film Festival in Schaumburg. Student-created films from Arizona, Texas, Sweden and Canada were also presented. You can read more about the process and their journey here on Mrs. Fuglestad's blog. 
Through this beautiful collaboration, they can persuade many to develop a growth mindset, learn from mistakes and try their best. What power life lessons!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Inspired by Awesomeness

Dryden's 5th Grade Service Project is underway! The fifth grade students were inspired by reading the book Wonder by R.J. Polacio, and now they are having a fundraiser to send a child and their family to the Childrens' Craniofacial Association's Starfish Camp Retreat and Educational Symposium. With the help of PTA and their teachers, the fifth grade students have been involved with every aspect of this service project. We are so proud of their efforts!



Spring has not been quite so sure that it wants to come to the Chicago area this year. However, we were fortunate to experience one beautiful, sunny spring morning on our Walk to School Day this past Wednesday! It was so great to see students, staff and families enjoying a healthy, fun walk to school together! What a great way to kick off the school day!

Personalized Learning is a time that many of our students look forward to at school. This is when they can explore and research their personal interests and curiosities and see where their learning takes them. Students are learning to become self-directed learners while their teachers support them in the areas of goal-setting, documentation, reflection and questioning. Recently, I spent some time in a second grade class. It was fascinating to see students closely reading complex texts and creating their own sketch notes and charts to document their learning. Tornadoes, minerals, cooking and Egyptian gods were just a few of the unique areas of interests of these students. 

Thank you, Dryden PTA, for always supporting our students' love of reading! They always look forward to choosing their own book during the months of their birthdays!

Congratulations to Riley and Hanna! They are two former Dryden Dolphins who are recipients of the Arlington Heights Council of PTAs Scholarships this year. Careers as teachers are part of their future plans, and they attribute this to being inspired by their teachers at Dryden and South Middle School. We are so fortunate to have such caring, dedicated teachers who inspire their students in so many wonderful ways. 

 Equally inspriring is our assistant principal, Mrs. Beane! This past week was National Assistant Principal Appreciation Week. We want Mrs. Beane to know that we appreciate all of the hard work she puts in to helping us learn and grow! She is AWESOME!

Do you know what else is awesome? CRAZY HAIR Day at Dryden! We always get a kick out of all the funny and creative ways our students like to fix their hair for this school spirit day.