"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I don't know about you, but I have been reminded of the importance of sleep this first week back. I am an 8 hours of sleep a night kind of girl. When I have 8+ hours of sleep, I am on my A game. 6-7 hours of sleep leads me to be a little foggy, and less than 6 hours of sleep transforms me into a zombie.
I rarely get 8 hours of sleep during the week, but I try to prioritize getting at least 7. I have to make going to bed a priority, though, as I am often wide awake and ready to do my best thinking around 8 PM (how frustrating!). Just as we tell our students, following a routine and finding ways to help my mind relax are vital to getting good rest.
If you ever question the importance of sleep, think back to a time when you have been sick. Over break, I had the worst stomach virus I have ever had-- no exaggeration. I was sick for 7 days, and I spent many of those days sleeping 12-15 hours a day. Crazy! My body was craving that time to recover and rest.
Our lives are so busy between school, children, family and (trying to) pursue the things that make our souls happy. It is easy to put sleep on the back burner, but it is vital to our health in so many ways. If you don't believe me, check out the infographic below:
Jonathan Swegles shared "1 for 2 for 10" with the Middle School staff last week. I thought the concept was so profound (and so easy!) that it would be beneficial to share with you!
One present theme at our MEMSPA conference this week was the importance of connection and relationships and how they are built with continuous small moments. During some turn and talk while attending Erin North's session on Relationships, Regulation, and Resilience four of us discussed 1 for 2 for 10. One kid. Two minutes. Ten days.
I've shared the story of Mr. Genetics Teacher and how is one "this is indicative of the rest of your life" phrase that took 5 seconds to spout off has stuck with me for 21 years then I'm guessing that same can be true of the opposite.
What if we all chose the one kid who may not be "seen" as much as others and intentionally pour into them positive attention and words two minutes for the next ten days. That is 10 consistent days of our students:
Part of our mission is to foster compassionate members of the school community and that starts with us. If you are in, just add the student's name to the spreadsheet below that you will be pouring into so others know who is accounted for.
1 for 2 for 10
When the Elf on the Shelf craze started about 10 years back, I immediately knew I had to have one to share with my students. I was teaching first grade at the time, and I had a sneaking suspicion that my students would look forward to seeing the elf and his crazy antics each day. My students decided to name the elf Buddy, and our journey together began there!
In my classroom, Buddy would find a new adventure each day. It became a challenge to me to come up with something super fun or creative, because the kiddos would be so excited. They would literally run into the classroom each day and scour the space until they found Buddy in a bookshelf, hanging from the ceiling or attached to a window. The kids used so much self control to resist the urge to touch him (if he is touched, he returns to The North Pole).
At the end of the holiday season, Buddy would depart for his return to Santa's Workshop. This was the one time of the year where the kids were able to touch Buddy. It was absolutely precious to see each student gently hold Buddy. They would hug him close to their faces, hold him near their hearts and kiss him on his forehead. It was honestly one of the most heartwarming things I have ever seen.
Buddy followed me from first grade to third grade to fourth grade. We went to three different buildings together and were in four different classrooms. Each year, the kids were ecstatic for his return. Buddy was an important part of each classroom community.
When I became an assistant principal, Buddy had a new friend, Newman. Newman was also an Elf on the Shelf, and the two of them participated in a lot of mischief together. Buddy began to venture outside the office. He was found in the cafeteria, the hallways, the gym and even went outside to make a snowman with me!
Buddy, of course, had to make his way to Michigan to be a part of our Stewart Family. Each morning, there are a number of students who run into the office to see what Buddy is up to. Last year after our gingerbread house making competition, Buddy turned into elfzilla. He "destroyed" a gingerbread house (that may have already had some structural damage), and has now found himself in a city!
Although somewhat stressful at times (it can be really hard to come up with ideas!), Buddy has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. I love to see the smile he brings to adults and students. I never could have imagined that something so small could bring a classroom or school-wide community so close together.
I am so blessed and grateful for so many things. Here's a list of just a few things I am thankful during this season:
by DJ Manou, WSBT 22 Reporter -- Friday, Nov. 8th, 2019
Lunch time is a time for students to relax. But for one group of kids, today was a special lesson. Stewart Elementary in Stevensville held a free spaghetti lunch for veterans.
Many of the vets have children or grandchildren at the school, which for some might have been just a fun day having family join them for lunch.
But for the school it was a learning lesson, and for the veterans a small token of appreciation.
There was a standing ovation for the men and women.
“Just really great. You can't put in in words. It comes out in tears,” said William Wall, WWII Navy veteran.
Wall cherishes lunch with his grandson, but also the appreciation. "Now, at 95, I look back on it and it was something to be proud of.”
Throughout the tables, parents and grandparents spent the day with their little ones.
Veteran Steven Phenegar was blown away.“To come in and have lunch with my daughter is amazing. I didn’t know things like this existed.”
A family full of veterans, Thais Taylor isn't sure her grandson fully grasps the significance.
“He loves us, but he will be proud of us too once he understands what we have actually done or do for this country.”
That's why principal Samantha Berglan organized the lunch. Fourth-graders have been learning about the military branches and Veteran's Day, but this brings it beyond books. “It was really cool to see them in uniform,” said Berglan. “Sometimes our kids never have the opportunity to see servicemen or servicewomen in their uniforms.”
Phenegar says his daughter started catching on. “She started recognizing that other people were taking notice and it made her stop and think, instead of taking for granted why these people are paying attention to her dad.”
But it was one special moment that summed it all up. Noah Compton, age 8, asking two veterans for their autograph. “My dad’s dad was in WW2, so that’s why I just really wanted to get their signature,” he said. His grandfather has since passed, but he knew he wanted to keep this memory. “That would be like once in a lifetime to do it, so that’s why I did it.”
The veterans not only thanked the kids but the teachers who gave them the opportunity.
Phenegar appreciates restaurants that give discounts on Veteran's Day, but says this event provides a personal touch worth so much more.
Link to Article:
1. Picture Included in WSBT News Story
2. Picture included in The Wall Street Journal on November 9, 2019
The Stewart Family is engaged in a unique partnership with Indiana University Bloomington’s Center on Education and Lifelong Learning to focus on school-wide discipline using the PBIS Framework. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a systems approach for establishing the social culture and individualized supports needed for all students to achieve both social and academic success. PBIS is a profound focus on the behaviors you want to see through by prioritizing interventions, developing effective “consequences” and clarifying, teaching and reinforcing desired behaviors.
The Stewart Family refers to its PBIS team as The Synergy Team. The Synergy Team consists of thirteen members from the school community. The team has representatives from kindergarten through fifth grade, specials teachers, the school counselor and the principal. The Synergy Team meets twice a month to develop the PBIS plan, review data and analyze the culture of The Stewart Family.
Seven members of The Synergy Team travel to Indiana University South Bend to participate in six sessions with trainers from Indiana University Bloomington. The sessions focus on developing a multi-year plan for planning, implementing and sustaining the PBIS initiative. The sessions also allow The Synergy Team to further explore culture, implicit bias, race and privilege, and responding to behavioral errors through restorative practices.
The Stewart Family counselor, Mrs. Dayna Galloway, serves as the coach for The Synergy Team. Mrs. Galloway is the heart and soul of The Stewart Family’s PBIS initiative, leading The Synergy Team’s work and keeping the team in close contact with the staff, students and families. She attends five additional training days with the trainers from Indiana University Bloomington and works diligently to promote the new learning The Stewart Family is acquiring.
The Synergy Team has worked collaboratively with The Stewart staff and students to develop five school-wide expectations. Our school-wide expectations are the social principles that guide the behavior of everyone in the school. The Synergy Team and the Stewart staff developed the five expectations of P.R.I.D.E.-- Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Empathy. “The Stewart Family has P.R.I.D.E.!”
The Synergy Team then supported the students at Stewart to create definitions for each expectation.
"Learn something new. Try something different. Convince yourself that you have no limits." -Brian Tracy
November is a hectic month-- Parent Teacher Conferences, two special lunches, Thanksgiving, half days... the list goes on! Although it is such a fun, busy time of year, it can be very easy to find yourself overwhelmed.
We've seen a lot about self-care recently, through our Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives weekly emails to articles online to conversations with one another. During the month of November, focus on trying something new. Your new perspectives, new skills and new experiences will promote self-growth and happiness.
If you choose to take part in the challenge, please share some stories, photos or thoughts! I would love to share our growth! :)