Saturday, February 27, 2016

Music, Art, Spain & Sport

It was quite a week at The Mann, with a wide variety of special things happening:

Music:  The 4th graders travelled to Severance Hall to hear a performance of the Cleveland Orchestra.  Our students looked so grown up in their dressy attire, and they conducted themselves accordingly!  We hope this experience encourages them to a lifetime of enjoyment of fine music.

Art:  The Beck Center for the Arts Creative Art Therapies Department began a residency at Horace Mann involving weekly adapted art classes for our students with moderate-intensive disabilities. Thank you so much, PTA, for making this experience possible for our students!

Spain:  Let's welcome Senor Cruz from the Cleveland Spanish Academy (he is a native of Spain) to Horace Mann as he provides instruction in this popular world language for students who signed up for the weekly lessons.  Senor Cruz's students are also fortunate to have Mrs. Carney and Mrs. Smith as volunteers for this awesome experience.

Sport:  To show support for our Cleveland Caveliers, we had a CAVS Spirit Day last Wednesday.  Isn't this a great picture of Mrs. Robinson and her students?!  We have a full spirit week coming up March 7-11, and hope to have plenty of pictures to share on the blog as we have a little fun at school.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Teaching the Writer

Teaching reading and writing is one of the most important things that happens in any elementary school, don't you think?  That said, there are lots of different curricula out there to help teachers do just that.  As many of you know, Lakewood City Schools has adopted The Teachers College Reading & Writing Project Reading and Writing Workshop as the framework for teaching our students these important skills.

If you venture to this organization's website (, you will see what a "deep" resource it is.  In order for Lakewood teachers to learn how to use these tools for the benefit or our students, some serious professional development is taking place right here in our schools.  It is taking place in stages, so that each session is a targeted, small group learning opportunity for our classroom and curriculum/technology teachers, as well as administrators.

Last week, the 3rd-5th grade Horace Mann teachers and I attended sessions on writing with an amazing staff developer from The Reading and Writing Project.  Our developer, Simone Fraser, taught us many things, and I'll share two of them here.  First, she emphasized the importance of choice for students as they are practicing their reading and writing skills.  Another gem she shared is that we need to teach the writer, not the writing.  That means we are considering the writer's skills and matching our instruction in the key elements of writing at that grade level to his/her needs.  This is powerful stuff!

I hope you are enjoying talking with your child about reading and seeing the pieces of writing s/he is creating.  I know I am :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Kids Love Musicals, Art Therapy & Valentine's Parties

Our awesome Horace Mann PTA made a lot of magic happen here at school this week.  The beginning of the week featured Kids Love Musicals, an opportunity for our KG - 3rd grade students to perform songs from favorite shows such as The Jungle Book.  Songs, choreography and costumes are all used to bring the shows to life for students.  Big thanks to our Artist-in-Residence, Molly,to the PTA Volunteers who helped Molly and HMES music teacher Mr. Aaron Waryk with the whole operation!  Double thanks to PTA who funds the whole experience each year!

Music and movement took center stage mid-week, too.  Courtesy of a Horace Mann PTA grant--and the efforts of Intervention Specialist Mrs. Cristina Smith--Creative Arts Therapies at The Beck Center sends a music therapist to HMES to provide wonderful experiences for our students with moderate-to-intensive disabilities.  This week, parents and other special guests were invited to watch students sing, play instruments and have sensory/music experiences as they do during the weekly sessions.  A good time was had by all!

The week closed with an old favorite that made its return at Horace Mann for the first time in years: classroom Valentine's parties.  PTA room parents provided a small treat and age-appropriate activities for students--in addition to the tradition of passing out valentines to classmates.  Friendship and fun were bountiful on all three floors of our beautiful school!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

School Spirit & Star Students

Each month, a new group of Horace Mann star students is chosen.  These students have been safe, respectful and responsible and are entered into a drawing for the additional perks that come from being Star Student of the Month.  If you visit our school, look for their pictures posted in the gym hallway.  January's Star Students are:
5th Grade:  Danny Lavelle and Rinesa Beqiri
4th Grade:  Amalija Marich and Mar Lar Prae
3rd Grade:  Mark Magda and Connor Pierce
2nd Grade:  Caitlin Pesta and Alexandra Adamov
1st Grade:  Gianna Careccia and Lennox Wallace
Kindergarten:  Peyton Diemert and Evan Catteau

Even in elementary school, we want our students to be thinking about their options for post-secondary education.  One fun way is to wear college/university clothing and talk about why it is your favorite.  Although the Buckeyes were the most common pick, there was pride in lots of other schools, too!  Here are some great pictures showing kids--and staff--in their spiritwear: