Saturday, May 21, 2016

The weeks of May 9-20, 2016

These past couple weeks have been BUSY! SBAC/CAASP testing and spring fever makes continuity and focus really hard. Nevertheless, our teachers are hanging in there. They continue to keep students engaged with fun and engaging lessons while keeping up the rigor. I love going into classes and seeing students excited to be there, smiling, creating, and learning. We have just 3 short weeks left in school- hard to believe. Let's make sure we sprint to that finish line and end the year strong.

Here's the news in case you missed it:

And here is an AWESOME video production about Ancient Egypt that some 6th graders made with the guidance of Mrs. Denton (too fun!):

What's been happening?

We have two new signs up on our school advertising the fact that we are a CA Gold Ribbon School. I so want our families, staff, students, and community to be proud of this, so point it out to everyone you know.

Kinders have been learning about bugs. They have been singing songs, working in the garden, and creating some really cool presentations to learn about and share their new knowledge. It's been fun to watch.

6th grade just visited LVMS for Future Falcon Day. They are on the road to becoming middle schoolers. I hope the trip was fun and informative.

The Talent Show is coming! Students and staff have been working really hard to create a fun Talent Show. I cannot wait to see the talent that our Mustang family possesses. Bring it on!

Our after school clubs continue to do amazing things: Rube Goldberg contraptions, movies, keeping our campus clean, reading great books, and of course keeping our world peaceful.

I am also so impressed by how our students are presenting their knowledge. By using PowToons, Chatterpix, iMovie, etc. they are getting the opprtunity to solidify and sequence their knowledge while practicing collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, and of course having fun by being creative.

Thank you also to Ms. Shelby from the garden for bringing healthy smoothies into the 3rd and 4th grade classes. They were so good. I love seeing the connection of our garden into the classroom. Let's keep that going.

And of course, congratulations to Mrs. Blades for becoming a grandmother once again. 

Coming up:

Make up testing will finish this week for SBAC/CAASP. Whoo hoo!

A group of Fillmore staff will travel to LA to receive the CA Gold Ribbon Award. So let's end with my favorite video to celebrate our success:

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Week of May 2-6, 2016

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. And Happy Teacher's Appreciation Week. It goes without saying that you are incredible. Your dedication, commitment, ability to take on so many tasks and accept more, your flexibility, and your humor all are so admirable and inspiring.

I reread this piece this past week and thought you might enjoy it: Appreciate Teachers by Understanding What They Do

Here's the Mustang News if you missed it:

And here is what has been happening:

Ms. Silver and Mrs. Denton were awarded a grant to continue the art project Ms. Silver did with her class this year.

Ms. Silver, Mrs. Denton, and a handful of students will also have the honor of presenting at the Santa Barbara County Innovation Showcase. They will show themselves off this Thursday.

3rd and 4th Grade have been working really hard with the S-BAC test and have been seriously motivated. Great job to all the teachers and staff who help run everything as smoothly as possible.
There are a lot of great field trips happening lately.
The 6th grade is in Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits.
3rd graders have gone to Lake Cachuma and the Presidio.
Kindergarteners are going to the Discovery Museum.

Mrs. Robertson annual Mother's Day Tea was so cool: fancy and fun!
Also, you may not know but Josefina Leon's (noon duty aid) son Oscar was awarded a full academic scholarship to the university of his choice. He will be attending UC Berkeley.

Ms. Barton's (student teacher with Mrs. Jacobson) K students presenting information using ChatterKid:

I wish you all a great week!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The weeks of April 11-22, 2016

I just LOVE Ag Day. What a fantastic way to celebrate our community, learn about food and farms, and have some fun. Mrs. Castaneda did and does such a good job. Everything goes off without a hitch and it was a blast.

This blog won't be too long- mostly stuffed with photos from Ag Day, so enjoy.

First, some celebrations:

What a terrific last Peace Assembly. Thank you so much to Mrs. LoCicero and Mrs. Asmussen for their hard work and organization, and of course efforts to build peace at Fillmore. Just wonderful!

Our garden is growing fast and becoming really cool. Under Ms. Shelby's leadership, we have added new stumps for sitting, extra room in the garden so weeks don't attack the boxes, a worm farm to get fresh and clean soil, and now an outdoor sink. Soon we will also be putting in a weather station to bring the garden right into the classroom. I am so excited! If you weren't sold already, here's a link to The Value of School Gardens.

Ms. Culmer's class is rolling with the 3D printing. They are designing and printing. I think their latest thing is bookmarks. Super cool!

We are getting a more clear picture of what our staff will look like next year and I am so happy that the new people coming in are getting to work with their new teams and learn from our current teams. This transition will be sad, but hopefully seamless and exciting at the same time.

3rd grade is doing a really good with their participation in the SBAC tests. Most students are taking it seriously, taking their time, being thoughtful, and of course, the teachers are doing their best to be encouraging. Thank you!

As I have been meeting with SSC and leadership and planning for next year, I am getting really excited. The thoughts and ideas our teachers have and what they want to do is really exciting and innovative. I am getting really close to driving my own kids down and back every day to come to school at Fillmore. It would almost be worth the painful hour drive each way with them.

Coming up:

- I think I will be in interviews in the morning trying to solidify our last spot (4th grade).

- PLC: We will start in the computer lab, where Mrs. Castaneda will do a brief presentation on ELD and information that can help.

Thursday and Friday:
- I will out all day at LATSS

That's it- here are your Ag Day pics:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Week of April 3-9, 2016

Welcome back from spring break! For me, it was a transition. I thought I'd be more rested, but I'm not. Nevertheless, I am really excited about all the things that are going on and going to happen in these next two months and beyond. So much to do, to think about, and get excited for.

If you didn't catch the announcements, here they are:

And if you didn't read this article, I really liked it. It helped me visualize new possibilities for a classroom environment and why the environment is crucial to student learning.

I also really liked this article about making tech literacy relevant through content learning. Just like making traditional literacy relevant, we can't teach skills in isolation. They have to connected to real -life experiences and authentic situations- a good read: Tech Literacy: Making it Relevant Through Content Learning

One more article that I really liked... If you are at all thinking about Project Based Learning, Design Thinking HAS to play a part. this author says it much better than I ever could" Design Thinking and PBL

One of the most exciting things that happened this week is that we added a couple folks to our staff. We already poached Sonya Cross and Sarah Shammah, but this week we added Jacob West-6th, Yana Stolpinskaya-4-6 Achievement, and Shannon Perez- 3rd. This is great news!

I'm not going to talk about last week at all really because it's late on a Sunday night... BUT, I did want you to know about Ms. Krebs' awesome idea to showcase the biographies her students did through video. Redbox and QR codes? So so cool!

Coming up this week:

Open House!

SBAC testing starts the week after. This is crunch time. Let's do this!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The weeks of March 14-25, 2016

Happy Spring Break! I'm sure everyone else needs this rest as much as I do. We are going to need this break to finish strong. Two of the most important months of the year are coming up. So, I hope we all get our batteries charged and we have some fun. 

Here are some videos you might want to check out- made by our very own students. Starting with the Mustang News:

And here is a recap of what's been going on:

Thank you Ms. Lara for being such a trooper and wearing the bunny outfit. A well done fundraiser for Fillmore- over $300 for Kindergarten.

Ms. Silver and her class have done great work. They have participated in the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. They used $200 they had left over from selling pumpkins
to a boat for students in the Philippines who need it to get to school. They learned some kids in the Philippines  have to swim to school and the class wanted to do something to help. The Yellow Boats of Hope foundation builds boats to help kids get to school safe and dry. Their pen pals at Ms. Silver's mom's school (Cebu International School in the Philippines) works closely with this charity. Their third grade class have become their pen pals and built the boat for them. They have been busy painting it and writing the messages our students have chosen to put on the boat.  In April they will bring the boat three hours north to students on an island called Bantayan that have to swim to the next island to get to school. Ms. Silver's class has learned a lot about how lucky they are to live in the United States and go to school every day! Here is the link to the Yellow Boats of Hope foundation:

We were able to eat lettuce from our very own garden for lunch on Wednesday. How cool is that? And it was really good. Thank you Shelby for making that happen.

Great job with parent-teacher conferences! I had some really good feedback and the ones that I attended went really well. Thank you for being so knowledgeable about your students and providing parents with specific information and guidance. Well done.

Coming up:

Spring Break! Enjoy

PLC for April 6: We will be meeting as a whole staff in P1 for directions. Then you will break off into groups to have vertical discussions around the CCSS. More details to come.

We are having a Beautification Day on Friday, April 8. It should be fun and quick. Please come join us if you can.

Ag Day is April 22, and we all know that will be fun. Thank you Mrs. Castaneda for organizing!

See you in a week. Have fun.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

The weeks of Feb. 29-March 11, 2016

I am very sorry for the delay in the Blog. I know many of you (or at least Mrs. Kirsch:) ) have been wondering what happened last week and why there was no Blog. It has been a really busy few weeks, but in my opinion, really good. First, the validation team is recommending to the state that we become a Gold Ribbon School. An incredible honor and so good for the school and the school community. I hope, whether we agree with the educational shift that is happening or not that we live in this moment and appreciate all the hard work that has gone into making Fillmore a great school throughout the years and now we are recognized for it. Congratulations!

The next section show some examples of why we are so great. As usual, I don't know all that is happening in classes, so if I missed something cool you are doing, I'm sorry.

The Mustang News for March 11, 2016

Survival Guide (Forest) Mrs. Krebs

Earthquake Challenge

Lisa Culmer earned a 3D printer through a grant she wrote with! Wow! Can't wait to get these students designing!

The 6th graderes are working on Moon Journals where they observe the moon, track it, write about it and figure out the math and science behind its movements and phases. What a terrific integrated project.

3rd graders in Mrs. Kirsch's class have been working on travel guides to various countries. I am so looking forward to their final products so I can plan my dream vacation.

Classes that have been going to the garden have been working really hard spreading mulch, weeding, and most importantly learning about how our surroundings are so important to our survival and well-being. Thank you Ms. Shelby for all you do here!

In Ms. Lynch’s class students were so curious about the question: Can the wind blow it? Ms. Lynch had materials like paper, feathers, paper clips, erasers, crayons, etcetera and put them in front of a fan to see if they would blow. Her students guessed and were often correct, but were also often surprised. How fun!

Mrs. Robinson’s food center continues to be a big hit. This week they were figuring how to make bunnies out of cooking and other sweet treats.

In Ms. Farrell’s class, students have been having serious debates around the question: Should we harvest timber in California? The answers they came up with were great, and they were supported by research they had been doing on timber harvesting.

Fillmore’s 21st Century Learning Space created by Mrs. Denton is up and running. Come and join the fun!

6th graders are applying their knowledge of ratios to real life and recipes. Great idea, Mrs. Towle!

6th graders have done an incredible job this year so far on increasing their math and reading abilities. The STAR reading and math scores continue to rise at really high rates. Keep up the good work!

2nd grade students in Mrs. Asmussen's class are working on filming public service announcements for Fillmore on our character traits and BEST practices. Keep your eyes posted for videos to be released once or twice a month!

Fillmore’s Character trait for the month is perseverance.

And, as parent-teacher conferences are coming up, i reread an article about student-led conferences (my son did one this year- 5th grade and it was terrific!). Something I want us to think about for next year: Student-led Conferences: A Growing Trend

Coming up:
This is our teacher work day. We will be with Crestview and Miguelito in the AM and with all elementary schools in the PM. 

I hope you are looking forward to the Choose Your Own Adventure Workshop Monday afternoon. I really think it will be a blast.

School Site Council

I will be on a Gold Ribbon Validation Team site visit in the AM and then traveling to CUE in the PM
PLC- dedicated to report cards

Thursday and Friday:
Denton, Culmer, Sanchez, and I will be at CUE.

Have a terrific weekend! You deserve it! Michael