One Kirkwood, One Team

Every year on Opening Day, each school comes with their own school shirt–all different colors with that year’s theme or focus for their individual building.  It’s not officially a competition (because of course everyone knows Robinson would win for the coolest shirts every time!), but there’s definitely pride for your school and the teachers with which you work.

This year was different, though, as the whole district come together with just one shirt.  One Kirkwood.  As we start a new school year, with many uncertainties and possibilities, it’s more important than ever that we are united.  That we are all working toward the same goals.  And seeing everyone in the same shirt definitely helped visually remind us of that unity.

The same is true with my teaching team this year.  Now of course, there is always a level of “oneness” among the team–we have the same curriculum goals, for instance–but this year we’re taking that to a new level.  We are making it our goal, from day one, that every kiddo in our 5th grade knows that they have many teachers, many people to care for them, support them, and help them achieve their best. We’re considering all these fabulous new kiddos OUR kids, rather than MY kids.  This year we’re intentionally including ALL the members of that team–including interventionists, teacher assistants, instructional specialists and special education teachers–in our community building, introductions, class activities, etc.  We are all working together to help make EVERY kiddo in ALL of our classes successful.  Together.

Our FABULOUS 5th Grade Team--Mrs. Cheatham, Mr. Shelton, me, Mrs. Hong (back); Ms. Turken, Ms. Yun and Mrs. Bell (front)

Our FABULOUS 5th Grade Team–Mrs. Cheatham, Mr. Shelton, me, Mrs. Hong (back); Ms. Turken, Mrs. Jeon and Mrs. Bell (front) Mrs. Sondermann, Mrs. Meihaus, the special area teachers and our amazing TAs are not pictured, but still a CRUCIAL part of our team, too!

One Kirkwood, One Team! Go Roadrunners!  🙂

A Little Twist

Remember when I shared my new door idea yesterday?  Well…today my friend and new teammate, Rachael, suggested something that would put a little twist on the whole thing: put in on the INSIDE of the door instead of the outside.

Ok, I know at first mention it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal.  Not really that different from what I did originally.  But really for me it was a huge thing–turned my whole thinking on end, mainly because I had thought long and hard about why I wanted it to go outside: my goal was that I wanted every kiddo (or anyone really) who came into my room to be reminded about who they are, what they are capable of and how much I want them to succeed, every time they came into the room.

But then Rachael pointed out that if my door is open (like it usually is), then all of that will be on the BACK–hidden from view.  And then she reminded me that when we all come into the room (from specials, lunch, etc.) the only way they would be able to see it is if they each came in individually–again, the door would be open and the words would be on the BACK of the door.

Ha!  SO simple, but so obviously not how I was thinking about it.  Don’t you love it when other people get their eyes on things and give you a completely new way of seeing them?  Brilliant idea, Rachael!  And yes, I think I will be moving it tomorrow! (Lucky for me that I didn’t finish attaching it all permanently yesterday! 🙂 )

When did someone help you see something a completely different way?  What did you do in response?

Opening Day!

Today was officially the end of summer–Opening Day in Kirkwood School District!  I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but our Opening Day festivities are something I look forward to every year.  I remember the first Opening Day I went to 13 years ago very vividly, and they’ve somehow gotten even better since then!

We are small enough that we can put everyone who works in our district in one room–a rare thing, I know–but it definitely adds to the family connections that we feel with other teachers.  Generally, the agenda is the same every year: speeches by administration, videos made to kick off the district theme for the year, introductions of all the new teachers and staff for the upcoming year, announcement of support staff of the year awards, presentations of the Teachers of the Year, an address by the district Teacher of the Year, and then a staff-directed skit again tying to this year’s theme.  All of that is great fun (really!), but perhaps everyone’s favorite part is the last part of the morning: a performance by the KHS Marching Pioneers!  They give us a sneak peek of their halftime show, then end with the alma mater and the fight song.  There is so much energy in that room and we end on such a high note–literally (ha ha)!  Here’s a highlight from this morning:

I mean, come on–how can you NOT be excited after that?  🙂

I don’t know if I’ve said before how much I LOVE where I work, but I definitely think that Kirkwood School District is one of the very best places to teach–pretty much anywhere.  I am lucky to be a part of such a fabulous group of people!  Go Pioneers and here’s to a SUPER 2013-2014 school year!

If you’re a teacher, what does your Opening Day look like?