Sunday, January 27, 2019

Always Learning!

The polar vortex has returned to the Chicago area! Fortunately, we have a dedicated district maintenance crew and facilities operations manager, Mr. Johnson, who are working around the clock to clear the walkways and parking lots for our students' safe arrival and dismissal. 

The cold weather did not keep our incoming kindergarten families from registering for the 2019-2020 school year, either! It was so great to see so many families. We thank our PTA volunteers for assisting Mrs. Sprenger at this event. It's hard to believe that we are already planning for August. I guess that's one way to focus our minds on the warm weather that will be here at that time. :)

The cold weather might slow us down, but the buzz and excitement of learning inside our school never stop. Our fourth-grade students have been researching Native Americans and the regions where they lived. For this project, they have been creating museum exhibits so that they can teach and learn from each other. What great collaboration, creativity and problem-solving!

Snuggling up with a good book always warms our hearts and awakens our minds. Teaching Assistant Mrs. Kenney captivates our students as she reads to them on the story steps of our LMC. Our teaching assistants are so important to us. They do much to support our students and teachers, which is why we dedicated this past Friday to celebrating and expressing our appreciation for all of our teaching assistants - Mrs. Kenney, Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Shalton! 

We are always learning! We thank all the people at Dryden that help make this possible!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Peace & Love

Hello! We hope you enjoyed the three-day weekend! Martin Luther King Day has me dreaming and hoping for peace and love for all. 

These origami cranes also have me thinking about peace. Students in this class read the picture book of Sadako by Eleanor Coerr (one of my favorite stories that I read as a child), and then learned to make origami cranes. I enjoyed helping some of the students with this task! They will be sending their paper cranes to Hiroshima, Japan to be displayed by the Children's Peace Memorial. 

In 1994, Congress declared Martin Luther King Day a day of service. It felt really wonderful to be able to join these students on this day of service and drop off the toys they collected for the children at Lurie's Children's Hospital. What makes this project extra special is that the students chose to research, plan, publicize and oversee every aspect of the toy drive. Here's a short video about it. Their original goal was to collect 100 toys, and they ended up collecting over 270! I am so proud of their initiative, leadership and most importantly, the positive impact this will have on the children at Lurie's and the community!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Starting the New Year Off Right

Happy 2019! It's great to see everyone back at school after the long winter break! And it's great to see that 2019 is off to a great start at Dryden!

Our fifth grade band was back at school bright and early on Monday morning. Their music brought a joyful energy as we started our first day back to school.

Many of our students spent time thinking and writing about goals and resolutions for 2019. I love how students in this class talked about a goal of writing "bravely". 

Here is an example of brave writing! I love how this student volunteered to share her writing with her peers and ask for feedback. Her peers shared "glows and grows", and now this student is planning to revise and edit her writing to make it even better!

Morning circle times are a wonderful way for our students and teachers to connect with one another, strengthen their relationships and build a caring classroom community. It felt so good to see our students reuniting in this forum!

These banners were a fun surprise to see as we entered the commons for lunch! We thank the PTA for helping us to purchase these beautiful banners. The banners contain the lyrics to our school song, written by our music teacher, Mr. Deptula. 

It was exciting to see the students so motivated to jump right into their learning. This student impressed me with his research comparing the Aztec and Mayan cultures.

These students were so engaged in their research of the ancient Aztec calendar and number system!

Gymnastics equipment has arrived at Dryden! It's great to see our students exercising and building their strength and coordination!

Our third grade students are learning some great techniques to make their drawings look three-dimensional. It's impressive to see their attention to precision and detail with their lines and patterns. 

2019 is off to a great start for us at Dryden! We can't wait to see what wonderful learning is in store for us in the days to come!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A December to Remember

Hello! We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are feeling rested from a long winter's nap! We are looking forward to seeing everyone back at school and wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2019! Following are some highlights of our week at Dryden right before the winter break. 

Cardboard Challenge! Our students came up with so many creative and innovative ideas of toys, games, architectural designs and space crafts out of cardboard and duct tape. They had to work cooperatively, combine ideas and make compromises on these projects. Impressive work!

Math Stations! This was a very fun and engaging way to review all the skills and strategies students have learned about multi-digit multiplication. There was an interactive game or activity at each station involving finding errors, identifying multiple ways to solve the same problem and recording a video explanation of how to solve a specific problem. 


Student Leadership! We are so proud of these students for their compassion and initiative in coordinating a toy drive for Lurie's Children's Hospital! They had a goal of collecting 100 toys from Dryden, and far surpassed it! Over 170 toys were collected in all!

More student leadership! It's always impressive to see our students taking the lead in explaining information to the class or even facilitating the participation of their peers in lessons. 

Winter Wonderland! We thank our awesome PTA volunteers for coordinating this fun even on the day before winter break. Teachers get the gift of a bit of free time while students make crafts and have a dance party in their pajamas! 


An attitude of gratitude! Our first grade students have been writing many thank you letters throughout the month of December. Our administrative assistants were so touched by the detailed, heartfelt letters these young students wrote. 

Cookies! My oh my! We are thankful to the PTA for so many delicious cookies for our staff. What a sweet holiday indulgence! 

Mr. Bob Day! Mr. Bob was our Facilities Operations Manager. He worked in our school district for 40 years up until his retirement on December 21. The students thanked him with many songs, poems, cheers, and letters. The PTA presented Mr. Bob a 500-page book in which every student wrote and illustrated a page thanking Mr. Bob.

Music! Our multiage and second grade students shined at their winter musical performance, and the fifth grade band spread joy throughout our school with their carols. On the coldest and darkest of days, their music is sunshine for our souls!