Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lakewood History Comes to Horace Mann

The kindergarteners at Horace Mann experienced some history this week, as the Lakewood Historical Society brought a traveling trunk filled with items from an old school house (circa 1180s).  Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Cassey Rini wrote, "Students held books that were used 150 years ago, used slates with chalk and tried on clothing." 

Consequences for bad behavior were also shared, such as wearing a slate with the "crime" (as shown by Mrs. Rini) and standing in the corner in a dunce cap (Mrs. Mandi Sloan demonstrates below).

Students were highly engaged in this hands-on learning experience, and we are grateful for the Lakewood Historical Society for making it available to us. 

I'm sure many Horace Mann families are already aware of the Oldest Stone House and the other resources available, yet I've linked their website here in case it is time to take another look:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Light of Kindness at Horace Mann

During a recent classroom visit, I was lucky to hear our teacher of English Learners, Mrs. Noon Kim, reading aloud from a Newberry Award-winning picture book entitled, Last Stop on Market Street (LaPeƱa & Robinson, 2015).  Last Stop tells the story of a boy and his Nana on a Sunday afternoon.  The boy asks his Nana many questions about why they don’t have certain things and why they are doing nice things for other people (such as going to help others after church).    Although he pesters her, he also follows her lead, smiling and greeting others, and pitching in to assist people.  Of course, he learns that kindness to others is a win-win situation for everyone.  It is a touching book and is available in our school library.

This story illustrates a point I found recently in a more academic format.  An article in the journal Educational Leadership (Goodwin, 2017)  noted the differences between empathy (feeling what others feel) and compassion (becoming concerned for others’ well-being and wanting to help them, yet not necessarily mirroring their emotions).  So, while connecting with the feelings of others is a step in the right direction, it is often the action that can make a bigger difference.  

Acts of kindness abound in the Horace Mann community.  I see students and adults do special things to improve the lives of others every single day.  In this season of charity and gift-giving, this light of kindness at HMES burns even brighter.  Thank you for modeling and encouraging generosity with goods, talent and time throughout this holiday season.  As a result, our children are learning to be compassionate, which bring greater happiness to all!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Witnessing Acts of Kindness

As many of you know, we have "Five Bs" at Horace Mann:

Be Safe
Be Respectful
Be Responsible
Be Kind
Be the Best You Can Be

We are always looking for opportunities to encourage and reinforce students when they behave in ways that show those qualities. It is clear that Horace Mann families also value these behaviors. We feel fortunate to partner with you, helping our kids learn to overcome the obstacles.

This week's post focuses on kindness. Now, it is just common sense that when someone is kind to you, you feel good. It logically follows that the person who acted kindly also gets a boost to their spirits. Did you know that even just witnessing an act of kindness raises the level of seratonin in the brain--thereby giving us that warm, fuzzy feeling?

So being kind is good on a physical level, not just for the giver and receiver, but all who notice.  If you’d like a dose of seratonin (and that nice feeling in your heart that goes with it), watch this 3:05 video:  Acts of Kindness

As we enjoy our Thanksgiving break, let's make special efforts to be kind, because, as we know...our kids are always watching!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Being safe, respectful and responsible with dogs...and having fun with them, too!

Many readers know that Horace Mann is lucky to have a canine staff member:  Stanley "Stan" Cramer.  Stan is a sweet, handsome Golden Retriever who comes to school on Thursdays with 1st grade teacher Patti Cramer.  Stan is a trained therapy dog and he enjoys being pet, read to and played with by kids and adults, alike!

Last week, we had an assembly featuring Cleveland animal photographer Greg Murray.  He is a born Lakewoodite (right on Norton Ave!), but has received national attention for his book, Peanut Butter Dogs. Not only did he share hilarious pictures of dogs eating peanut butter, he talked about following his career dreams and volunteering with the Animal Protective League (APL). He also provided helpful information and safety tips on interacting with dogs we may encounter.  

All students received a coloring/activity book about pet safety, and three students received their very own copy of Peanut Butter Dogs. Congratulations to Will McBride (kindergarten), Andrew Babson (1st grade) and Erin Gerity (4th grade)! The presentation was quite interactive and many students were able to ask questions about Mr. Murray's work.

Special thanks to Mrs. Cramer and her student teacher, Samantha Vidnovic, for bringing Mr. Murray to our school. Check out the picture below with Stan, Mr. Murray, Ms. Vidnovic and Mrs. Cramer's class.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

We Celebrate Our Veterans!

Veterans Day (originally Armistice Day) provides an important opportunity for students to learn about and appreciate the men and women who have served in the United States military.  Did you know that there are about 22 million vets in the US?  They certainly do deserve this day of acknowledgement.

With many staff and students wearing red, white and blue and other patriotic themes, we were fortunate to have 20 veterans join us for our assembly on Friday, November 10, 2017.  It was a treat to see students walk in with their veteran family member(s)!  We were inspired by the theme music for each of the five branches of the military.  At Horace Mann, we have a few Army and Marine vets, just a couple from the Air Force and no one who served in the Coast Guard.  The overwhelming majority of our vets were in the Navy.

Special thanks go to Mr. Waryk for leading us in singing patriotic songs and to our PTA for the refreshments to welcome our guests.  I'd also like to thank several 4th graders who participated in the program:
Scouts of the Color Guard:   Nathan Bruwer, Michael Frend, Kelsey Karban, Greydon Rosser and Jacob Tannous
Readers:  Ava Brooks, Erin Gerity, Nate Lewis and Justin Lewis

Thank you, veterans!  We look forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of this holiday in 2018.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Book Buddies are the BEST!

There's a long and treasured tradition at Horace Mann called Book Buddies:  5th graders are paired with kindergarten students for a weekly get-together.  Both the older student and the younger student bring a book to share and teachers often coach the older students about how they can help their young friends who are just learning to read.  As kindergarten students become better at making familiar storybooks sound right (using expression, "reading" the story in memorized phrases), they often join in as their older buddy reads a common story.

It is a joyful thing to see our oldest and youngest students so engaged together over books.  Of course, sometimes Book Buddies do other fun things, such as designing jack o' lanterns in honor of the season.  Please scroll down to see a few pictures of the Buddies in action last week.

We hope that books coming home with every K-5 Horace Mann student on their reading level--and from our well-stocked library--is encouraging plenty of reading together at home, too.  Thank you for everything you are doing to partner with your child and his/her teacher to make reading a high priority.  If you are interested in learning more about the Reading Workshop here in Lakewood and how you can help your child at home, please join us at the PTA meeting on Tuesday, November 14th at 7:00 pm (childcare provided).  I'll be recapping the K-5 Literacy Night hosted by the district last week at Emerson.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

A Guide for Parents: Common Sense Media

Technology and today's media resources provide ready access to amazing resources for Lakewood students and adults, alike.  At the same time, we are increasingly aware of the challenges created by improper use of technology, including physical unhealthiness, decreased personal relationships and empathy, and exposure to inappropriate content.
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Even savvy parents can find it difficult to navigate this ever-changing landscape.  Fortunately, we have Horace Mann's new Curriculum and Technology Teacher (or CaTT) Julie Ferrone to help!  Mrs. Ferrone is a longtime Lakewood teacher (and parent), and we are fortunate to have her at The Mann on a part-time basis this year. 

In addition to supporting classroom teachers and students with fantastic technology enhancements to the curriculum and being lead adviser for both Future Club and Future Club Jr., Mrs. Ferrone has created a handy resource to help parents with issues like digital citizenship, online safety and finding the right ways to handle media at home (check out "Device Free Dinner").

Here's the link to Mrs. Ferrone's Common Sense Media resources:  Common Sense Media

If you have any questions or ideas, she'd love to hear from you on Twitter @LKWDjferrone or