Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Break, 12/22/07 - 1/6/08

Winter break is upon us! We'll look forward to seeing students again on
January 7--ready to learn!

Please notice that all of the students below are using their Lifelong
Guidelines and Lifeskills. There is no snow throwing, everyone is
included in the fun, and there is lots of cooperation. Nice job to
our MLK boys and girls!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Building Project Committee update

Today I met with representatives from the MLK building project committee including representatives from Barton Mallow, Mitchell and Mouat Architects, TMP Architecture, AAPS district representatives, and MLK teacher Karen Haddas. Our meeting was the second meeting this year to plan for the 2005 bond identified building renovations at MLK. The work will include all of the following:
- electrical upgrades
- installation of a new security system
- replacement of classroom flooring
- updating of all bathrooms in the building
- installation of lockers in hallways
- replace cabinetry and sinks in classrooms
- reconfigure drop off area in front of school to better insure safety of students
- replace heating system
- install wireless infrastructure
The exciting part: Conceptual Drawings! At this point, I have conceptual drawings from the architects of what would be done at MLK . . . so . . . it is time to share the concepts and offer any final input on the concepts. With this goal in mind, I've left the drawings and the design specifications in the school office conference room. Please feel free to look them over. In addition, I will be available to share them on Thursday, December 20 from 11:30 to 1 and on Friday, December 21 from 9 to 10. I hope to see you at one of the meetings.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

School Closed - 12/17/2007

Due to the weather conditions, the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be closed on Monday, December 17, 2007.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Barnes and Noble Funraiser

Thank you to everyone who helped make the PTOs Barnes and Noble fundraiser happen. In particular, thank you to Susan Gechter for her leadership.

As you can see from the pictures, it was a lot of fun!

Friday, December 07, 2007

First Healthy Bake Sale

The first 5th grade healthy bake sale was a GREAT success. Thanks to all who helped bake!! Sometimes it took awhile for students to try the healthy items.... but once they did, there was a rush to buy them.

Publishing Kid Writing

After finding out Lily Mohr will be featured in Highlights magazine, our media specialist Ms. Hughes said there are some other great places for kids to get their writing published. Read on to find out where!
Publishing Resources for Young Writers
From: Shutta Crum
CHILDREN'S WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET: Writer's Digest Books. Published annually. Lists publishers and contests, including a section for young writers only.
Magazine Outlets:
AMERICAN GIRL ( 8400 Fairway Place, Middleton WI 53562. (608) 836-4848. Bi-monthly magazine. Uses material written by 8 to12 year-olds.
CREATIVE KIDS ( P.O. Box 8813, Waco TX 76714. (800) 998-2208. Quarterly magazine. Uses material written by 8 to 14 year-olds.
NEW MOON ( P.O. Box 3620, Duluth MN 55803. (218) 728-5507. Bi-monthly. Uses material written by 8 to 14 year-olds.
SKIPPING STONES ( P.O. Box 3939, Eugene OR 97403. (541) 342-4956. 5 times/year. Material written by writers younger than 18.
STONE SOUP ( Children's Art Foundation. P.O. Box 83, Santa Cruz CA 95063. (831) 426-5557. 6 times/year. Uses material written by writers through the age of 13.
Online Resources: Amazing kids site, lots of writing opportunities for kids, and interviews with well-known writers. Sponsored by a non-profit educational organization with a TV show, etc. Kid Pub. Requires a small registration fee to post, but stories can be read free.

Student Writing In Highlights Magazine

Congratulation to MLK's own Lily Mohr whose poem will be featured in an upcoming issue of Highlights magazine! Nice job!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow and Safety at School

Since the first snowfall of the year, we have been working with students to help them understand snow and safety at school. Essentially this means:
  • No throwing snow.
  • If a child is sliding on the snow (on the grassy areas), take turns.
  • NO sliding on ice.
  • We must maintain safety at all times.
In the beginning we had a few issues with a few students not following these school rules. Since then we have done better (and I suspect we will continue to get better), but we do have a ways to go still. When you have a moment, please ask your child about how they are doing with snow and safety at school. Thanks.

The MLK Green Team!

Have you heard about the King School Green Team? Every student at King is on this special team. The challenge for each member is to help keep the grounds at King clean... you know, no littering, period! The idea started with several of Mrs. Knorr's fourth graders, Zoe Zimmerman and Michiko Ota. In their minds, thoughts about the Green Team might involve more conscientious recycling, encouraging people to car pool, reducing wastes, and as a starter, keeping the grounds clean. I, Linda Ryan, chair the landscape committee and have picked up litter over the course of the year now and then. On my last round, I thought maybe this job could be become everyone's responsibility, but how would I pull this off? When I chatted with Mr. Karr about the issue, he told me about the Green Team ideas. As a matter of fact, he had a pile of great ideas that had been accumulating on his desk. He was looking for a way to enable Zoe and Michi to put their green thoughts into action! Thus, the Green Team challenge evolved. The challenge will last for one month ending right before winter break. At that time Mrs.Ryan will surf the King grounds for litter. If less then 3 cafeteria trays of litter are found, then the students at King will each get a reward. Posters, trash buckets by the doors, and weekly skits will encourage us all to keep the grounds clean. Are you up to the challenge?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Report from Parent Writing Workshop

Good evening! I am writing from the MLK media center on the evening of December 3, 2007 surrounded by parents from 22 families who have assembled for a Parent Writing Workshop for the purpose of understanding writing instruction and how it pertains to their children. This event has been planned and implemented by the MLK School Improvement Team both this school year and last. In fact, I am very happy to announce that with tonight's participation, over 150 families total have participated in the workshop. In the near future, I will announce a second parent opportunity for families to learn about writing, again sponsored by the MLK School Improvement Team. Watch for it!

Back to tonight's blog entry . . . Here are a few pieces of information that were shared at tonight's presentation that would be helpful for all of us to remember:
  1. All children can and should write. From the time your children can hold a crayon, encourage them to draw, scribble and write. In order to be successful and fluent writers, students need to know they can write--even if it doesn't look perfect!
  2. Teachers must help student find real purposes to write. Help your children communicate their hopes, dreams, fears, and concerns. When your children see writing as serving a real purpose, they will be more likely to try it.
  3. Students need to take ownership and responsibility. Kid writing should sound like kid writing! When kids believe that their writing is their own, they will become more likely to invest themselves in it.
  4. Effective writing programs involve the complete writing process. Our children like all writers, have different ways of approaching writing tasks. Tune in to your children's learning styles and needs as writers. Writing in different styles and genres will take time. Some genres will take just one draft while others will take multiple drafts.
  5. Teachers can help students get started. Talk with your children about their ideas and encourage them to draw, freewrite, and make lists of verbs in order to get started.
  6. Teachers can help students draft and revise. Listen to our children's drafts and ask real questions about content. Heartfelt questions are the best way to encourage kids to keep on writing.
  7. Grammar and mechanics are best learned in the context of actual writing. If you notice errors in conventions in your children's writing, pick just one area at a time to work on (such as punctuation, dialogue, or capitalization). You might also refer to real texts (books, newspapers, letters, magazines) to see how published authors tackle issues of punctuation, spelling and more.
  8. Students need real audiences and a classroom context of shared learning. Help your children find real audiences (famliy, friends, neighbors) to communicate with.
  9. Writing should extend throughout the curriculum. You can write just about anything at home: letters to family and friends, songs and plays to perform for the family, lists for grocery shopping . . . The list is endless!
  10. Effective teachers use evaluation constructively and efficiently. Your job as a parent is to encourage and support any effort your children make in writing. Be lavish in praise and specific and limited in your suggestions for improvement.
I hope that everyone will find the above information useful and helpful, even if you couldn't attend one the parent nights.

Please also join me in thanking the Eastern Michigan Writing Project, Susan Lake, Diane Massell and the MLK School Improvement Team for their work around tonight's workshop and achievement at MLK.

King School Barnes & Noble Book Fair this Friday & Saturday!

A new & exciting event is happening this week for King School families & friends! On Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, the King PTO will be hosting the King School Barnes & Noble Book Fair at Barnes & Noble on Washtenaw Avenue!

The King School Barnes & Noble Book Fair is a great way for our families & friends to purchase holiday gifts for themselves & others as well as books to read while traveling over the winter holidays. The best part about this book fair is that almost every single item in the Barnes & Noble store including: children & adult books, music, movies, games, bookmarks, calendars, gift items, cafe items, & more will be available & will count as purchases towards the King School Barnes & Noble Book Fair (when a King School voucher is provided at checkout)!

Various activities will occur at Barnes & Noble throughout the two days. On Friday, there will be a dance performed by King School students in the High School Musical class at 4:15. At 4:30, Dr. Michalik, Mrs. Haddas, & Mr. Taylor will read a story followed by Mr. Karr reading at 4:45! Saturday's readers include Mrs. Jones at 11:30, Ms. Gatonez at 6:00, and Mr. Clarkson at 6:15! There will also be a variety of activity stations for families to try out at Barnes & Noble.

Invite your family & friends to come shop at Barnes & Noble on 12/7 - 12/8. Make sure to hand the cashier the King School voucher at checkout!

Please contact Susan Gechter if you have any questions.