The Importance of Goal Setting in the New Year, Happy 2015!

With the New Year brings a fresh start. Traditionally it is a time for reflection, resolutions, and goal setting. This year I am not making any resolutions instead I am going to focus on one word to help it guide in my daily life and decisions. Along with my one word I am setting SMART goals to ensure I stay focused on what I hope to accomplish and achieve. For me my one word is going to be Love. I’m going to be intentional in doing my daily actions and treatment of others with love. This year has showed me over and over again how important people and relationships are and how each and every interaction with someone gives us the opportunity to show them love, I want to be more deliberate with this. My SMART goals are both personal and professional. Personally I plan to be more present with my family, to know when I need to stop answering emails and tweeting and give them my full attention, at least two hours each evening. Professionally I am going to finish my last Doctorate class, take my comprehensive exams, and get my dissertation proposal approved. I also want to look closely at providing extra interventions for struggling learners in our building as well as enrichment opportunities I need to prioritize resources for both ends of the spectrum. My third goal is to help our students become more goal focused.
I found this video from Edutopia and thought it was a great inspiration for empowering our students. I want our students to set one big long term goal and then two short term goals. The big long term goal can be anything they like. The short term goals will be related to our benchmark assessments DIBELS next and Discovery Education math and english language arts. Whatever their long term goal is their benchmark assessments will help them achieve it. If they want to get into a good college, benchmark tests are predictors or later academic achievement. Be a successful athlete they need to maintain grades to compete in school. Own their own business they need reading and math skills. Any long term goal a student can think of we can connect their benchmark assessments.
It is also important for students to understand how we use their benchmark assessment data. As a team myself, grade level teachers, intervention specialist, the school psychologist, and support personnel review the scores every six weeks to ensure students are progressing and to identify areas and students that need support. If a student has not given their best effort on the assessment we could be identifying them to receive supports they do not need. That is a waste of the student’s time and of our building resources. Here is a presentation that helps explain how DIBELS is used as a predictor and an indicator on student reading skills.
Academic success has been the best indicator for later life success, research study after research study has supported success in school helps students have success in life. Our goal for every student is to help them have as many opportunities open to them as possible and giving them a strong academic foundation does that.
When students return from break instructors will help students reflect on their progress and goal set, I can’t wait to hear what their big long term goals are.

Fifth Grade Buddies!

We got 5th grade buddies this week! After reading the original version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, our new 5th grade buddies came down and helped us write a mad libs version of the story. The 1st graders thought of words to put in the story, with guidance from 5th grade. The stories were pretty funny and complete with visions of beans, slimy moldy bread and fish dancing in heads!

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Germs Away Presentation

Miss Stacy presents to our 5th graders.

Miss Stacy presents to our 5th graders.

Today, Miss Stacy from Metro Health presented to all Pinewood Elementary students.  The focus of the presentation was GERMS!  She reviewed with our students all of the ways germs are transferred from person to person and then talked about the best ways to stop the spreading of germs.

Students were able to recognize that thorough hand washing is extremely important.  In one of the demonstrations, Miss Stacy asked students put lotion on their hands – to symbolize germs.  These students then washed their hands with soap and water.  When they returned, Miss Stacy used a special light to show the students where the germs still were on their hands.  We found that most students did a great job washing the palms of their hands, but many still need to work on the backs of their hands.

This was very eye opening to a lot of our kiddos.  Many of them wanted to wash their hands as soon as they returned to class!

Students raise their hands to participate in the discussion!

Students raise their hands to participate in the discussion!

Using the special light to view the germs still on hands after washing!

Using the special light to view the germs still on hands after washing!

5th Grade Goes to Virginia!

Students are shown a replica of a garden hoe that would have been used in the 1600's.

Students are shown a replica of a garden hoe that would have been used in the 1600’s.


This morning, Pinewood 5th graders had the opportunity to take a virtual field trip to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia. Through the amazing technology that Skype offers, we were able to connect with an expert about Jamestown, Pocahontas, and the Powhatan Indians. Students were shown replica artifacts from the 1600’s and were able to interact and ask questions throughout the presentation. We were excited when we knew the answers to so many of the questions and were enthusiastic about asking our own questions. What a great morning! Thank you to the Virginia Historical Society for taking the time to meet with us!
The Powhatan Indians had hollow arrows so that their arrowheads were interchangeable based on the size of the arrow.

The Powhatan Indians had hollow arrows so that their arrowheads were interchangeable based on the size of the arrow.


This is a replica of the scraper tool that would have been used to clean the animal skins for making into clothes.

This is a replica of the scraper tool that would have been used to clean the animal skins for making into clothes.