Friday, November 21, 2008

Tis the Season for TRADITIONS!

One of the things that makes our school so unique are the many traditions we have established and continue to embrace each year. Some are academic in nature and others are just to promote a feeling of fun and family. There is always something happening here - and yes, it is work - but each and every one are so worth it. They help shape a culture, define expectations and draw together a large and diverse faculty and student body into a high performing and highly successful learning community.

The really great thing about the folks here is that they also tend to help these traditions evolve over the years into some of the coolest things I have experienced as an educator. The memories that are created for each other and for our children will last long past that report card grade or FCAT score.

Today our Kindergarten team celebrated their annual Pow Wow which is the final celebration of a really in depth study of our native ancestors. They have learned about how many different groups of these native americans lived, what they ate, wore and how they celebrated their beliefs. This was our eleventh Pow Wow and I must say it has really become one of the most powerful and meaningful learning traditions we celebrate each year. It is amazing for me to look back at how we did it that first year and compare it to what happens today - WOW! Today's event is just one of many great traditions that are right around the corner for us. Check out dayle timmons' blog post for our new learning leaders to see what fun lies ahead for us. You can also click here to see a list of all the wonderful traditions we enjoy throughout the year.
Sorry, I'll have to wrap up my post now - the next tradition calls. Each year before the massive teepee is taken down I am summoned out by the Media team. Each year I lay inside it, stare up at the stories told on it's walls and reflect on the thankful children who have shared their gratefulness inside it today and give thanks for this beautiful school and for the rich and rewarding traditions that make it feel like a home.


Friday, November 14, 2008

A Brand New Kind of Welcome

Many years ago we began to orient our new teachers each year with a two to three day seminar with one whole day devoted to an Introduction to CCE. This includes our history, traditions, expectations, etc. It was a perfect way to get our newest community members up to speed about what makes our learning community so unique. Until now it had never even occurred to us to do this with students! Aside from about 200 new Kindergartners each year we usually get between 100-150 new first - fifth grade Creekers a year. Liz Duncan, our behavior specialist, began to see that a lot of the "disruptions" we were seeing were coming from those they may not have a full understanding of what our expectations are or were struggling trying to fit in at a new school. She quickly enlisted the help of our Book Fairy, KK Cherney, our Character Ed teacher, Nikki Hall, and our Guidance Counselor, Betsy McCall and they created an awesome "welcome party" for all our new students. They were oriented to all the faces and places they need to navigate our big school, they talked about academic and behavior expectations, they were encouraged to get to know each other and most importantly they were made to feel like they belonged and were cared about very, very much. This dynamic group turned it into the perfect "pep rally" to get kids excited about being part of their special new community. Without a doubt this has turned in to the next NEW tradition for the NEW to CCE!

New to CCE


Friday, November 7, 2008

What in the World is a Wiki?

One of our goals at Chets Creek is to make our work more visable and accessible. I decided to create a Book of the Month wiki to showcase the great work that goes on here at the Creek with our common piece of literature each month. What is a wiki? Watch this video for a quick and easy explanation:

For those risk takers that might be ready to play with a wiki of your own. Check out the tutorials here and stay tuned for the reveal of our very own Book of the Month wiki.