Saturday, April 21, 2018

Horace Mann 5th Graders "Go Wild" on Field Trip

We are very fortunate to have a world-class hands-on science "lab" nearly in our backyard.  Many readers have been there:  The Lake Erie Science & Nature Center in Bay Village.  How it has grown since my grandmother used to take me there as a little girl in the 70s!

Courtesy of our generous PTA, Horace Mann 5th graders enjoyed the wide variety of experiences available at the Center.  The awesome photos in the link show the boys and girls (so close be being middle schoolers now) learning about habitats on earth...and beyond:

Lake Erie Science & Nature Center Photos

I hope the memories of this trip are fond and last our 5th graders well beyond the 6 weeks they have left at The Mann.  Many thanks to Mrs. Martzolf and Mrs. Robinson for arranging the trip and to our PTA for covering the cost.  Horace Mann is ALL IN!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thank You, Mrs. Murphy!

Mrs. Kathy Murphy has served Lakewood City Schools as an Educational Assistant at the elementary, middle and high school levels.  Our Board of Education recognized her at the meeting on Monday, April 9, 2018.  Please read on to learn more:

Kathy Murphy shows her love for the students of Horace Mann every day by being prepared.

She shows her love by arriving at school quite early most days, to ready the special needs classroom, both in terms of materials and the game plan for the day. She is mindful of the communication, social, and academic needs of students, making sure she understands the many tasks she will attend to during the day to help students learn.

Kathy Murphy shows her love by every day by being prepared to support students with and without disabilities. Whether in the cafeteria, on the playground or in general education classrooms for inclusion, Kathy focuses sharply on opportunities to facilitate positive interactions among diverse students. We appreciate her artful mix of high expectation and plenty of support!

Kathy Murphy shows her love every day by keeping safety first. She is attentive to our building’s safety protocols and the medical needs of the students she serves. She also has made it a point to continue her own education, especially, but not limited to aspects of physical and mental well-being.

It is due to this last area of preparation that we honor Kathy Murphy this evening.  She conscientiously put her knowledge, skill and love into action by implementing what she had learned in a district CPR course.  She successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on our student, re-opening his airway.

We are so thankful that Kathy Murphy shows her love for the students at Horace Mann every day by being prepared.

Following those remarks, Mrs. Murphy (with characteristic humility) thanked her classroom team (Mrs. Cheryl Smolen and Mrs. Beth Sayler) as well as School Nurse, Katy Corrigan.

Horace Mann Principal Merritt Waters, Kathy Murphy and Ed Favre, Board of Education President

Sunday, March 25, 2018

WONDERful Doors at the Mann!

Thanks to the efforts of Team WONDER, our staff and students, the hallways of Horace Mann have become colorful, fun and encouraging!  As part of our immersion in kindness this month (inspired by the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio) a door decorating contest was held.  Nearly every door burst into creative expression, inviting passers-by to stop and look :)

Students voted on the best door from each of our three floors, and the results are in.  Congratulations to Mrs. Axford, Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Cali for their winning doors (shown below)!  Although these were the winners, there are SO many that are amazing.  I think my favorite sentiment is "Spread kindness like confetti."  Isn't that a great image?

Special thanks to kindergarten teacher Mrs. Rini for organizing this spirit-building activity.  Although the contest is over, I don't see the decorations coming down anytime soon...

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Energized Guyz at Horace Mann

Through our Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) framework, we recognize students' safe, respectful, responsible, kind behavior with an end-of-the-quarter celebration.  We had a blast at the carnival put on by PTA at the end of the first semester, and invited the Energized Guyz (sponsored by the Illuminating Company) to entertain--and teach--us this quarter.

Riley and Jessie from the National Theater Company made us laugh with their silly costumes and corny jokes as they explained how energy is made, how it is wasted and how it can be conserved.  Between shows, the performers noticed that our audience included parents, and they thought that was pretty cool :)

We were able to have two separate performances, one for PK-2 and another for grades 3-5.  Here are a few action shots to give you a sense of the show:

Part of this performance is an opportunity for parents to receive a free energy saving kit from the Illuminating Company.  I hope you will take advantage of this resource.  Who doesn't like to save money and help the environment at the same time?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Building a Network of Neurons

Horace Mann Teacher Jennifer Frank is exploring two related neuroscience-based concepts this year:  The Growth Mindset and Mindfulness.  If you'd like to learn more about one or both of those things, read on (and feel free to Google them, too!)...

Last week, she found an opportunity to combine the two seamlessly with some 2nd graders. Students watched videos on neural pathways and neural connections, then made neurons out of pipe cleaners.  Together, they talked about how our brains can grow and be made stronger...and how putting in effort helps our brain cells increase and work better.

Students made their own neural pathways with black and white pipe cleaners, and then twined them together to make stronger, bigger neural connections.  Here are a couple pictures of their products:

It is thrilling to see advanced science come to life for young students, especially around a topic that can motivate them to try harder, experience success and feel better about learning. Thank you, Mrs. Frank, for finding a path to confidence and joy for our kids!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

All About Art

Although we have formal visual art class at Horace Mann during the 2nd quarter, our students continue to engage their bodies and minds in art throughout the year.  One simple way this happens is during indoor recess.  Students have many choices in the "game room," such as drawing with markers and building with Legos and STEM toys like Magnatiles.

Another way art lives on at Horace Mann is through the group lessons our Occupational Therapists do with students in CHAMPS homerooms.  While they create seasonal and cultural works of art, they practice skills such as following directions and using tools (such as scissors and glue).  Students' unique art decorates our halls and makes them fun!  We always make sure it is student art, and not something done by adults to be "right."๐Ÿ™‚Here are examples currently in the halls from Mrs. Crane, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Axford's classes:

Finally, a well-deserved shout out to the three Horace Mann artists who were honored by Lakewood Council of PTAs for their pieces entered in the Reflections contest Visual Arts category.  Our students (Helen Alcantar - 5th grade, Evelyn Lardi - 3rd grade, and Joanna Wright - 5th grade) were recognized at the Reflections program at Garfield Middle School on January 30th.  Congratulations, girls, and thank you for showing our community the great art happening year 'round at The Mann!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Comfortable Cafeteria is Changing the Face of Lunch at The Mann

When you close your eyes and think back to lunchtime in elementary school, what comes to mind?  Well, a lot has probably changed since then, but some things stayed the same...until recently, that is.

While lunch should be an enjoyable experience, there are times when lunch in the school cafeteria can be stressful.  Maybe it is too noisy, maybe the lights are too bright.  Maybe there isn't enough time to eat, or people aren't talking kindly with one an other.  In an effort to bring our positive behavior supports into the cafeteria, Horace Mann decided to implement a program called Comfortable Cafeteria (

Before we began, a team was created with our five lunch/recess supervisors, an occupational therapist, two PTA members and the principal.  We educated ourselves about the program, decided it was a good fit, and planned how to proceed.  We chose 3rd grade to start, and plan to expand to other grades after the pilot. 

Last week, we did the first of 6 sessions, teaching 3rd graders about noise levels in the cafeteria.  Over the last couple weeks, thanks in part to PTA, changes have been happening in the cafeteria that are improving the environment and increasing student responsibility.  For example, we have dimmed the lights with blue filters, divided  tables into smaller sections, and given kids the ability to throw away their trash and volunteer to wipe tables.  On Friday, a few ficus trees were added (the picture is PTA President Amy Lardi on her way in with the big plants).  One 5th grader commented being in the lunchroom was starting to feel like being outside ๐Ÿ˜Š

The vision of Comfortable Cafeteria is for our school to provide pleasant and positive mealtimes so that students will enjoy eating food and socializing with peers and adults.  We look forward to making this vision a reality, and welcome any feedback or suggestions.