Thursdays With North and East Oakview

    I had my coat on, gloves and mittens in place, and was pulling on my stocking cap as I walked down the hall toward my assigned spot for “drop-off” duty. Students were coming into the building due to the very cold temperatures. As I greeting one young student, who was still so bundled up that you couldn’t see her face, she looked up at me and said, “You are running a little late this morning. You weren’t outside when I got out of the car.”

    She made the statement and kept on moving toward her classroom. I headed outside with her words echoing in my mind. Our students really do notice what we do as adults. Are we consistent? Do we show up on time? Do we model the expected behaviors for our students? Can we be counted on to remember the things that our students consider to be the “important stuff?”

    The bell rang and I walked into the building. I was still pondering the questions as I walked down the hall and saw two girls working their “cootie-catchers.”

    These hand-held, personal devices answer important questions. In the eyes of an elementary school child, they are even better than a Magic 8 Ball, or Siri. They are also a harbinger of Spring. They are the first indicator that winter is on the way out. Next up are baseball/softball mitts, jump ropes, marbles, and of course the final indicator – shorts with flip flops.

    Today I learned that our Peer Support program has 28 students who are the models of the expected behaviors for six other students. Thursday afternoon all 34 kids headed over to the high school pool to share some fun.

    I participated in a “circles and stars” math activity that helped 2nd grade students learn about repeated addition and multiplication. The activity was modeled by the teacher as she included me as her opponent. I remembered that 2 times 4 equals 8 or you can count by fours twice and get the same answer. Once the demonstration game was over, kids moved into teams of two to practice on their own. Great example of gradual release methodology.

    I had three book talks. Thanks to the 4th grade kids I will need to read “Loot,” “SCAT,” and “Lincoln.” Not sure what these books are about? Visit North Oakview and have a book talk with a fourth grade student.

    Important stuff!

    …….. Meanwhile Back at East Oakview

    My coat was not yet unbuttoned when a young student made an observation and asked me a question. “We both have glasses. Why do you have a beard?” My replies were accepted – “yes we do and I have a beard because I don’t want to shave everyday.” Good start to my time at East.

    Just outside the art room a collection of self portraits were tastefully displayed. Our 1st grade kids produced the portraits based upon the work of Gustav Klimit. Yes they do know this artist and they know that they used tempera paint, oil pastels, marker, crayon, and chalk pastels to create their work.

    I continued down the hall to a second grade room. I wasn’t even all the way through the doorway when the first questions were asked.

    “Are you Dr. P? I didn’t recognize you because your beard is white. Why do you have a beard? Do you know hornets and dinosaurs lived at the same time 150 million years ago and the dinos are dead but the hornets are alive and they might sting you? Did you ever get stung by a hornet? I think that hurts but it would hurt more if a dinosaur bit you. Did you know we are having cupcakes because someone has a birthday, but we can’t take a bite before the birthday girl takes the first bite? What are those things in your ears? Are they hearing aids? Are they run by tiny batteries?”

    Three claps by the teacher restored order and the birthday cupcake distribution began. Every student waited until the birthday girl took the first bite. I really enjoyed watching the creative eating techniques displayed by the second grade kids.

    What did you learn today?

    I learned that my “life-coach” is right – “remember the important stuff.” I also learned it would be better to be stung by a hornet than bitten by a dinosaur.

    Mike Paskewicz, Superintendent
    Northview Public Schools


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