Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celebrate What You Want to See More Of

"I turned around as we were walking back home and this is what I saw; they were doing the exact same thing I was. 

It was a powerful moment, for I recognized me
in them and my dad in me.  I realized that if
they mirror these little things what else will
they mirror?
"Every father should realize that one day his son will follow his example  instead of his advice."    

During the winter break from classes, 
I asked permission from a parent to share
this image and quote.  When I discovered
the thoughts of this father, I was struck by
their poignancy and passion.  

His words seemed to echo a familiar desire that I'm sure every parent wants to fulfill for their children, daily "setting a stage" of good
and long-lasting examples.  Indeed, it's 
a daunting task to undertake by anyone.  

Making this happen requires a great deal
of time along with genuine supports that
affirm the necessary effort,
wisdom, and much patience. 

Want a goal or worthy mission for 2014?   

Let us as educators, neighbors, and friends
be that fearless, necessary support for all parents and grandparents.  Families in our
learning community deserve nothing less. 

After all we begin to travel down this
road on New Years Day, together.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Richard Byrne has created an updated
list of online typing practice activities
for youngsters. We can't go wrong with
his suggestions, see for yourself. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

SEL: The Time is Now

Teaching kids who they really are
and what they are capable of? 
My New Years goal......because
"waiting" isn't best for our children.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Write For Life" Saturday December 14, 2013

His large strong hands held more than paper,
tools, or luggage. He was our dad.
His children meant more than bills, a job,
or hobbies. He let us know that so often.
Our mother was not a mere woman, wife,
or parent. She was our father's soul mate.
Time together was never dull, listless or plain.
Whatever the world offered us
was made right,
and was made beautiful
because of his love.
His vision of the family meant laughter,
talent, and tremendous pride. He was our hero.
His life long lessons endure with
whispers of confidence,
courage, and devotion.  Unforgettable is he, dad.

This is lovingly dedicated to
Dave Cleghorn- special beyond just that
of father, husband, co-worker, and friend. 
 Family is the very essence of a strong
spirit.  Let us learn from each other and
embrace the lives and loves across our community.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Beat Old Man Winter at His Game

This December, winter weather has resulted in many area school closings and cancellations.  Heard of a new, local option whereby you can be notified of such happenings?   

Simply text Unit10 or Unit20 to 72727.  Doing so will automatically enroll those interested in receiving area updates.  Standard texting rates do apply to getting this information.

This brand new, free service is made possible by local Lawrence County merchants.  Thanks in advance for continuing to support the businesses that are helping make it possible.

Mr. Bill Powell from Sweet T's is coordinating the messaging and he pledges to promptly send out the specific details you're needing, as soon as he receives them.  Thanks in advance for spreading the word to local neighbors, friends, and family.   

Image compliments of The Lawrenceville Daily Record
A huge display of icicles is shown hanging off the side of a building in downtown Lawrenceville as a result of a major winter storm that rolled through the region Thursday and Friday. The storm dumped a layer of ice and then more than 10 inches of snow on the area. Schools in Lawrence County were not in session for the third straight day Tuesday due to hazardous road conditions. Lawrence County residents received an inch of new snow overnight.


Friday, December 6, 2013

"Write for Life" December 6, 2013

Photograph courtesy of Shawna Routien
No where is there much sound,
when snow falls in the heart.
For sweet memories are vivid,
lingering as if to say "Don't weep."
So gather your most precious around you
and give them undivided love
for no where is there much sound,
when snow falls in the heart.
~Rose West

Shawna's image on this wintry day awakened memories.
My father is laid to rest here in Lawrenceville, Illinois.
He would be celebrating his 93rd birthday on December 9th. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Digital Citizenship and On-Line Safety

Ninety percent of parents or legal  guardians of children ages 8-18 believe
 they should bear a lot of  responsibility for ensuring children have safe
 online experiences, although  only 34 percent see themselves as "very
knowledgeable" about how to use the Intranet safely and responsibly.  
On-line experiences can be one effective
way young people can make connections, build
interests, and explore new ideas.  All children
need guidance and it's essential to provide it.

"The Digital Citizenship" (above)
offers tools and tips to make computer 
usage creative, informative, and safe.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Doing the Right Thing

Any school experience is elevated when
professionals and staff see young people
as students who are capable and worthy.  

That's a given because kids are
just that and more, when we develop
and nurture their individual talents.
Opening the door to opportunities
for youngsters to explore and refine
their abilities is our responsibility. 
It makes looking toward the future for these 
young people as something they'll meet with hope and resiliency.  Just perhaps the district, its parents, and school community is operating out of a new and innovative mindset.  

That's so important for all of us
involved in this game we call "life." 

Therefore, let's not "drop the
ball" for any of our young students.
Thanks Coach Wood for seeing your 
players & staff through a memorable 2013
football season at Lawrenceville High School.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dads Matter

"It's doesn't take money.
It doesn't take things." 
Dads matter in the lives of children
so even showing up at school
just might be the coolest thing ever!  

Dads can make a big difference.
In writing this I remember 
my father, who's gone now.
Where was he when I was little?

Learning to ride a bike, check.
Learn multiplication facts, check.
Helping me create that huge
salt-flour map of America, check.

Let's get father's back into the education
process and into our school; dads matter!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Parent Educator Toolkit

This resource enables you to navigate
the journey from PreK through high
school. It's  designed to help us track
and support progress at each stage.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


"Change" in and of itself isn't fatal.

Yet it can be a difficult, challenging
        aspect of everyday life.       
     So recognize it, face it with
     optimism & summon your courage.  

In doing so, we're on the way
to the next moment of beauty or
accomplishment.  Surely no one
will deny us the right to persevere.  

You might have someone cheering you on.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trick-or-Treating is Serious Business

"For Halloween I'm being Twila.  My cousins are going trick-or-treating with me.  I hope I get red
mints and gum.  I go out trick-or-treating at my Aunt's house and my friends.'   ~Molly

"Right now I really do not know what I'm going to be for Halloween.  My mom and dad are both going with me to go trick-or-treating.  I hope to get lots of Snickers and Hershey candy bars.
My family is trick-or-treating at the houses in my neighborhood." 
 For Halloween I am going to be a witch.  I think 
my cousins and my Grammy are going with me.  
I hope to get Milkduds and Butterfinger candy bars when we go trick-or-treating.  I am going in
my Grandma's neighborhood and my Grammy's friends' house on Halloween."  ~Maya

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Every Day Heroes

When I think of a "hero" it
reminds me of a story
we had in Sunday school.
It was about every day heroes, and
how seemingly ordinary lives can be
truly remarkable and inspiring.   

This week I saw the work of a hero who took pictures of little girls cheering at a football game.  Among the images was a shot of a sweet little first grader who was in a wheel chair.
She was having so much fun, not "left out"
in the very least.  His images are so poignant.    

I talked with a hero who stayed overnight in
the hospital with a loved one, giving other
family members a respite from the task. 
It's a tag-team partnership that works!
"Family" is the essential spirit that sustains this man and enables him to carry on with humor and devotion in a delightful way. 

There was also a nurse who comes to my mind.......caring for a hospice patient,
with tender compassion and humor. 
The patient is her mother-in-law.

I hope you can find some every
day heroes in the coming week.  
Better yet, why not choose to be a hero
for someone in your midst? 
It's a chance to serve others
and someone will be watching.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

These Young Men

Time to consider some "support."
How about some popcorn? 
It's on sale each fall in town and  
who could resist requests from
these handsome, polite scouts?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Setting for Less?

"It's tough to give kids what they really need, and we wonder why  short-changing learners
in schools is seen as something we must
accept. It shouldn't be......I never will."

John Spencer has some excellent points
about how we can all make a difference
in creating policy that's beneficial for schools
and all those who depend on us to nurture
youngsters.  Let's improve things for kids........

The Business of "Kids"

I'm so thankful for the many people in
our schools who really care about
kids.  They inspire me to be creative,
empathetic, and forever patient.
Pass that attitude on............ 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 16th We Start School

Welcome to Parkside Elementary
and here's to a
wonderful year!

P   Personal
A   Active
R   Responsive
K   Kind
S    Safe
I    Individualized
D   Dynamic
E   Education

This is my 34th year of sharing the
lives of kids, families, and educators who
all inspire me daily to make a difference. 
Please follow us
on "Shining Moments!"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Make These "Work" for Your Kids

What Are the Seven
Reading Comprehension Strategies?
~Thank you Brenda Power

Brenda Power

Brenda Power is the founder of Choice Literacy. She worked for many years
as a professor at the University of Maine and an editor at Stenhouse Publishers. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kids, Books, and Blogs

Instill in children a curious and inviting 
passion toward words, books and reading.
You're nurturing their writing skills as well.

#What about blogs?

Learn more
at Reading Rockets!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"It's a Boy" & Ability Grouping

 While sitting in Chicago, Illinois on July 22nd at an SDE
conference an excited member of my group raised his hand.  
Why?  He wanted to share details, via his smart phone that
the press released the news that the Duke & Duchess of
Cambridge were parents of a baby boy.  Earlier my
group had jokingly talked about the impending birth,
while many participants were speculating 'boy, or girl?'
After all, the press had been camped out for over a week outside the hospital in London where Kate was anticipated to give birth. 

  Social media around the globe shared the fact
that the birth of a child destined perhaps to
be King of England one day,
was announced via a "tweet."
Things change in an instant, do they not?

Fast-forward to Sunday July 28th when I was checking
my Twitter news feed, coming across an article
Classroom Q &  A with Larry Ferlazzo, entitled

Using -- Not Misusing -- Ability Groups In The Classroom

It's an excellent read!  After thinking about it, I've concluded that how I'll approach my students will always be most important.  Children are capable learners.  It's an educator's job guiding them "to be ready," and tackle the next challenge or lesson.  Ability is an ever-changing dynamic, therefore assuming kids have limited skills is wrong.  Flexible grouping is essential; with that challenge comes the necessity for us to know our kids and their abilities well. 
We can do this! 
Remember that kids are able when and if given the appropriate learning opportunities suited to their needs.  Why?  
       Things change in an instant, and they do.   

 "Grouping students should be done based on what we know about students and how to maximize their learning, not because we were told to group students in a differentiated instruction seminar. We group purposefully."                ~Larry Ferlazzo

Consider following Larry via Twitter
Don't miss his fine blog:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Forms Available

#2013-2014      #School         #CUSD 20

Registration materials
for  Lawrenceville's three
attendance centers are
available for download. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Discover Bird Sleuth!

Bird Sleuth has innovative K-12 resources that build science skills while inspiring kids to connect to local habitats,
explore biodiversity, and engage in science projects. 

Why not enjoy Pixar's video
For the Birds" to get your kids excited?

We can follow on
Face Book, Twitter and Pinterest!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kids Need Feedback

"Teaching kids is an accomplishment;
getting children excited about learning is
an achievement."  ~Robert John Meehan 
Notice the writing on the board?

In a sense, the connection depicted between teacher and students is the real 

"jewel" and purpose in the everyday
lives of youngsters and educators. 

The youngsters matter to her;

everyone knows it.  It looks like a shared
feeling of mutual respect & understanding.  

 The Rockwell painting above reminds me
of the important investments to make
with kids, and the rewarding "returns"
they'll experience when we do. 
It's what we should all be about.

It's a challenge so go after it....

you can do it.  Start with giving kids
effective feedback to improve the learning.

A "shout-out" & my thanks to Superintendent
Mr. Michael Smith for the quote above. 
We can follow him

on Twitter @principalspage
and or at

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Wisdom of Friendship

Friendships lighten
the way both day and night.

Children need the chance to
establish these relationships,
just as adults do.

Thanks in advance for making
the road toward discovering the
talents and ideas of others an
important part of
our school community.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Registering for the 2013-14 School Year

WHO:  all families with youth in PreK to 5th Grade

WHAT:  register for the 2013-2014 school year

WHERE:  Parkside Elementary via the west doors
              1900 Cedar Street
              Lawrenceville, Illinois  

WHEN:   Thursday July 31  ~4:00-7:00 P.M.
             Friday August 1   ~8:00-11:00 A.M.

                         Call the office for
                         more information

Monday, July 8, 2013

Discover "A Magical Childhood"

"We're a noisy, messy, happy, wacky
family in rural Minnesota......"
This is how Alicia describes her family.

She'll say "magical."
I can agree to an extent.
"Creative" sound better to me. 

Opportunities to explore and express,
trying things that stretch the intellect and develop talent is essential for children.
Did I mention chances to build self-esteem
and learning to cooperate with others?

Well done Alicia, well done!
I guess it really is "magical,"
are one smart mama.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ah, Naps.........

Distant Thunder by Andrew Wyeth

Sweet Sunday nap, with a friend!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Essential 55 Words


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Best Websites and Apps for Teaching

Mr. Schu's blog "Watch. Connect. Read." shares recommendations from
the AASL for July, 2013.

We can follow John Schu on
Twitter @MrSchuReads

Dale's Sweater

What started out as an accident, wearing
the same shirt and sweater for the annual yearbook picture turned out to be a
forty year "joke" between a wife and
her P.E. educator- husband Dale Irby.

A Texas resident, Mr. Irby retired this year
from Prestonwood Elementary School.  

Congratulations and thanks for
having a sense of humor.
We all need more of that! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Discover Wordle

It's fun, creative, inviting!
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds”
from text that you provide. The clouds give greater
prominence to words that appear more frequently
in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create
with Wordle are yours to use.....print, save, or share with pals.