Some Summers —

The summers of my childhood were filled with Hawaiian Punch popsicles and Lemonade stands Polka-dot ruffle-butt swimsuits Leaping through sprinklers Inflatable kiddie pools filled with icy water from the green garden hose Sundresses and pigtails Scraped knees and Care Bear bandages Watching Mom’s soap opera Digging in the garden with Dad Petting worms Itchy grass […]

via Some Summers —


What’s it going to be like to be a learner in this room? —

In June, I had the privilege to attend the Teaching for Creativity Institute at our local Columbus Art Museum. Four days of connecting with area educators while focusing on what creativity is, looks like, and how to foster creativity. Creativity can be practiced, you can get better at it, and creativity is the basis of […]

via What’s it going to be like to be a learner in this room? —

New School Year Thoughts of Children of Poverty

This I believe to be true about some of the thoughts of struggling children coming back to school. Educators, please be empathetic for these sweet kids that need us more than ever. You make a difference.

I hope my teacher likes me.

I feel safer at school than home.

I can’t wait to eat breakfast and lunch.

I look forward to school because I won’t be lonely.

I’m sorry I don’t have a pencil.

I hope my teacher likes me.

I wish I had a cool backpack like my friends.

I am wearing the same shorts I have worn for three days, but they are the cleanest that I have.

My toes are scrunched up in my tennis shoes that are hand-me-downs from someone.

Please don’t ask us to talk about what we did for the summer. I was shipped off from home to home because my folks can’t take care of me. My dad went to jail. My mom was sleeping most of the summer, and I had to feed myself with no groceries in the pantry. I ate peanut butter out of a jar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days.

I hope my teacher likes me.

Our air conditioning broke, and I can’t wait to feel the cool air at school.

I hope my teacher will hug me… a lot.

Our electricity was turned off for a week.

I hope I make a new friend.

Please don’t let that kid make fun of me again this year.

I hope my teacher likes me.

Please be patient with me. I don’t understand math.

There’s no way I can ever reach that reading goal for the ice cream reward. I might as well not even try.

I get up on my own and help get my two other little siblings get ready for school.

I hope I’m not the last kid picked for the game.

I hope my teacher likes me.

My favorite part of the day is when the teacher reads aloud with awesome voices.

My little sister has lice, again.

I don’t mind having detention. It’s another hour that I’m not at home.

My dog died this summer. He was my best friend.

My mom has another new boyfriend this month.


#KidsDeserveIt #JoyfulLeaders #LeadUpChat #LeadLAP #itsaboutkids

Reading Promotion: Transforming the Reading Culture of a K-8 Building by Allison Stout and Jill Ramig

Reading Promotion: Transforming the Reading Culture of a K-8 Building by Allison Stout and Jill Ramig
— Read on

Family Picnic Day at School

I had an amazing bilingual PK teacher come to me last year and ask if we could do a family engagement activity for dia de los ninos (day of the children), and I told her sure, and then she ran with it. The plan was to have a family picnic day where parents joined their child outside for lunch.

I wanted the parents to visit the classrooms, so I added the bonus of allowing our guests to come read to the class.

We worked with our cafeteria, and they made sack lunches that day with sandwiches, chips, fruit, and milk for easy pick up and clean up.

We advertised it for families to join the lunch time fun, and made a Google doc to keep a headcount of how many extra sack lunches needed to be made.

Logistically, I needed to think about where and how we would make this a great time for our kids and families. We decided to have the picnic area behind our playground area. We asked maintenance to be sure to mow and treat for ants. I rented 8 pop up canopy tents for shade purposes. I loved this part because the company set the tents up, and when we finished, they came back and picked them up. No hassel at all. I also bought a bunch of plastic tablecloths for picnic “blankets” in case families forgot to bring one of their own. Let me say that I did not have enough tents, nor did I have enough “blankets” for guests to sit on. None the less, we made due and used some of our trees for shade. Even with a headcount in the Google doc, we never anticipated that many people would attend. You see, some families actually brought true picnic baskets with their own food and goodies. It was wonderful!

The day came, and boy oh boy was it a success!! We had 179 guests sign in our office! There were smiles every where! We also had 12 parents go into classrooms to read aloud a story after lunch.

This year I decided to purchase ten tents of our own. We certainly could use the tents at other events like field day. Well, we found out that our tents would not be delivered in time. In a panic, I called on our staff and PTA to allow us to borrow their tent if they had one to lend. We asked, and they answered the call in one day with eleven tents. Maintenance pitched in and set up the canopy tents the morning of the event.

As an added bonus this year, I had Kona Ice (snow cones) show up. Kona Ice is a not only a great treat, but a portion of the sales comes back to the PTA for our school. It was a great big hit! I could not begin to tell you how many cups of shaved ice our fellow made, but it made my hands tired just watching him for two hours straight.

I really wanted to see the teachers involved with their classes, especially if some of the students did not have family attend. I told the teachers if they sat and ate lunch with their class, then they could wear jeans on Monday. We almost had 100% of the teachers stay with their class! For me, it’s about building relationships with the kids and families. I know we have teachers that feel the same.

So, how many guests did we have this year? Our office sign in sheet was 220! I know we had more than this attend because some of the sign ins only had a mom sign in for both parents not to mention they brought siblings with them…like entire families of 8 or so! It was amazing! We also had parents walking up to the playground from the back with out going through the front office. If I had to guess, I would say we had about 350 extra guests altogether join our family picnic!

We had beautiful weather, yummy lunch, great families, and lasting memories with gigantic smiles on faces. What more can you ask for? It was a great “Day of the Children!”