RLS Readers are Leaders!

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When I was growing up, I vividly remember loving to escape into a good book. I would read everywhere – in the car, in the yard, in our treehouse, on my favorite chair, in my room and I especially loved reading with a flashlight after ‘lights out’ under the covers at summer camp! The love of reading I developed as a young girl was due in large part to the read alouds I experienced in elementary school. In 1st grade Miss Matrionni read to us James and the Giant Peach – to this day, every time I see the NYC skyline, I still remember her reading the part of the book when they get stuck on the Empire State Building!

As elementary teachers, one of our goals is to instill a love of reading in the hearts and minds of our students. It was clear from our April Vacation Reading Challenge, that the teachers at RLS are succeeding at that goal! I was transported back to my fondest reading memories as a child with all of the pictures submitted. RLS students read a lot over vacation. They read with their pets, in tents, at restaurants, at the doctor’s office, while doing gymnastics and before bed! They read with siblings, to their moms, to their stuffies, waiting for the Boston Marathon, on planes and in hotels. Best of all though, they enjoyed many fabulous books and used their free times to escape into a good book!

I really enjoyed this reading challenge and am looking forward to announcing the details of our summer reading challenge. If you have ideas you want to share with the group of teachers crafting those challenges, feel free to leave a comment below!

Click here to watch the slideshow of all of the pictures! Thank you for your patience – lesson learned with this challenge: have families post pictures of any challenge like this directly to our Facebook page 😉

International Dot Day

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As I turned down the hall to read The Dot by Peter Reynolds to the first class of the day, I looked up and where I once saw a gorgeous window, I saw a dot! I continued down the hall and saw Mrs. Ellis’ bulletin board welcoming “A New Batch of First Graders!” More dots! The cookies were dots! The chocolate chips on the cookies were dots! The Os were no longer Os but were dots! The next bulletin board Wel-gum to First Grade was full of dots instead of gum balls too! I then walked in to Mrs. Cranston’s room and there were dots everywhere! Throughout the day I was amazed at how, because it was International Dot Day, because my perspective changed, I saw dots everywhere!

I shared this with students as I opened my interactive read aloud of The Dot. I went on to share that one of the reasons I wanted to celebrate International Dot Day at Ruggles this year is because it gave me an opportunity to share with students one my favorite books written by one of my favorite authors. The Dot is a story that shares the power we all have to influence someone’s life. In this story it is a teacher who impacts her student allowing her to find the artist inside her. The child then influenced another child creating a chain reaction that each class predicted would continue.

I shared with children that, growing up, I was very fortunate to go away to sleep away camp in Maine. The most enduring lesson I learned there was that it is my job to make the world a better place because I have been it. I take this lesson very seriously and try to live up to it every day. It is why I chose to become a teacher, why I chose to become a Principal, and one of the many reasons why I chose to join this community of learners. I shared with them that each day I think to myself, how can I make the world a better place today because I have been it. I think of one thing that I am going to do that day to live up to this credo and work to make it happen. This past week for example, I had a lunch with a student who had a difficult the day before. I also worked to make a new student feel welcome at Ruggles Lane.

I challenged the students to do the same and asked for their help to make Ruggles Lane the best school on the planet. Each student was challenged to answer this question – How will you make your mark at Ruggles Lane this year? Everyone worked to decorate a dot that has the answer to the question on it. All of the dots will be displayed in the front hallway and students are encouraged to read others ideas. Hopefully, just like in The Dot, we will create a chain reaction at Ruggles too!

Pictures of our bulletin board are coming soon. In the meantime, check out some of the responses to our question:

“I will help the new kid in my class.”

“I will work together with my classmates to improve in our work and get good grades.”

“I will be friends with the new kids.”

“I will make my mark by making good choices and doing well in all my classes.”

“I will greet the new kids with a smile.”

“I will help people when they are stuck.”

“I will help others.”

“I will do a good deed for someone. They can then do a good deed for someone else.”

“I will help the teachers.”

“I will be nice to everyone.”

“I will be a good friend.”

“Being a good friend and helping others.”

“I will be nice to others and make new friends.”

“I will make my mark by working hard.”

“I want to be as kind as I can be.”

“I will stop bullying if I see it.”

“I will help friends if they are struggling.”

“I think I will do National Be Nice to Your Teacher Day.”

I will try my hardest to make people smile each and every day.”

“I am going to behave, be respectful, don’t hit or smack and not argue.”

“We should have a monthly food drive.”

“I will pick up the trash at lunch.”

“I will help little kids and new kids.”

“I will make my mark by helping bullies be better people.”

“I will mark my spot by recycling.”

“I am going to raise money for the school.”

“I am going to get everyone to say please and thank you.”

“I will tell people about friendship and what’s right.”

“I will be friendly to everyone and not exclude anyone.”

“I will share a smile with everyone.”

“I will try to always do my best.”

“I am collecting Box Tops.”

“I will make pictures for everyone.”

“I will donate books to the library.”

“I will work hard every day.”

“I will read to the younger kids.”

“I am not going to litter at the playground.”

“I will sit next to her at lunch and talk.”

“This year I will come up with some fun ideas for my class’ Student Council rep!”

“I will spread peace and kindness throughout my years at RLS and beyond. Stand up and speak up!

They have great ideas and I am looking forward to seeing each and every student “make their mark!”