Thursday, September 21, 2017

Doughnuts with Dads 2017

Wednesday, September 20th was a special day throughout Cuyahoga County:  it was Fathers Walk to School Day.  At Horace Mann, there was an extra incentive for the "big guys," doughnuts, juice and coffee...and extra time to hang out with their kids.

 Wednesday, while last names M-Z were invited on Thursday.  Both days had a strong turnout with a total of about 60 adults attending.

While the name "Doughnuts with Dads" is catchy and has been around a long time, we recognize that lots of men are involved in kids lives, and we want to convey an inclusive tone in the name of the event.  What should we call it next year?  Fathers and Friends?  Dudes and Doughnuts?  Please share your thoughts with me or any PTA board member.

Speaking of PTA, big thanks to them for hosting the event again this year.  If you enjoyed it, please consider becoming a member at the bargain price of $6!  Special thanks to Amy Lardi, Anne Babson, Kate McBride, and Kristy Gibbons for serving up the goodies :)  Thanks, too, to The Doughnut Pantry on Madison for the group rate on these popular pastries!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tremont Scoops at Horace Mann

One of our awesome annual traditions at Horace Mann is our PTA Ice Cream Social.  The front lawn--too infrequently used, if you ask me--comes alive with sticky-faced kids eating dairy deliciousness (usually with sprinkles), lots of chasing games and parents catching up with each other.  In short, it is community-building at its best.

This year, the community spirit went even higher as a result of neighborhood connections.  The first connection comes from having Tremont Scoops ice cream (yes, of course there was Cookies 'n Cream and Superman).  Big thanks to brand new Horace Mann family the Weinzimmers for making that possible!  The second link was the flash sale of Lakewood Black Label-designed Horace Mann t-shirts.  T-shirt sales continue for the next week or so, so please be in touch with our school if you are interested.  We love to support local small businesses!

Big thank you's to everyone who put this event together.  I've captured two photos, but be sure to check out the  Horace Mann PTA Lakewood Facebook page for lots more pictures.

It is events like these that make school an even more inviting place for kids to be, a place where they feel comfortable and joyful.  And that is exactly what we want, for it supports the academic and social growth we strive for Monday - Friday 8:45 am - 3:05 pm.  🙂

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Last Kids on Earth

It is so fun to watch kids get really excited about and engaged in a learning activity.  Last week, our librarian, Ms. Jen Johnson, was given about 30 minutes to be with our combined 5th grade class.

First, she gained their attention with a personal story about her brother preparing for the imminent threat of Hurricane Irma, activating their minds for what a person might face in a crisis.  Then, she prompted them to think about what important things might need to be addressed in the event of a flu epidemic.  Finally came the irresistible part: what would happen if there was a zombie apocalypse?!

Ms. Johnson explained this idea is the theme of a series of graphic novels by Douglas Holgate and Max Brallier written at the intermediate reading level, called The Last Kids on Earth  (  The publisher describes it as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets The Walking Dead."  As you can imagine, the 5th graders were hooked.

They worked in small groups to devise what they would need/do in such a situation, and I've captured two work samples as evidence of their efforts.  The teachers and librarians have been glad to see their enthusiasm for the activity...and that these books are now flying off the library shelf and have a wait list to borrow.

If only reading could always be this exciting?  How can we get ourselves interested in something to read and make a habit of passing that on to our kids?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Repairing Bricks and Growing Our Learners

Recently, there has been much ado about the new school buildings all around Lakewood, including the newly dedicated high school.  We are so fortunate to have a community and district that appreciates the importance of solid, attractive schools.

Our beloved Horace Mann school building is 95 years old (originally constructed in 1921).  While it is in beautiful shape after the full interior restoration about 10 years ago, it is only natural for there to be periodic blemishes to repair.  We noticed a shifting in some bricks on the front steps and eventually a few bricks came loose (Photo #1).  

When the contractors came to repair the problem, they needed to carve away quite a bit of deteriorated material (Photo #2).  While I didn't snap a picture of the completed project, I invite you to stroll by the lovely West Clifton entrance to see how they quickly completed the work with skilled craftsmanship. 

This repair to our building seems an apt analogy to our August/September Habit for Happy Kids,  Be Proactive:  You're in Charge.  By taking initiative and using the right talents and materials, something that needed attention was made better than new.  We see this principle in action at school every day--teachers notice what needs to be done with students when they have a "gap" in their learning; students respond with applying themselves to goals and challenges.  At the end of the day, we hope there is real growth in what kids know and can do, not just on the facade, but at the structural level, just like our building.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Off to a Shining Beginning!

Thanks to teamwork, the 2017-18 school year is off to a "shining" start (please pardon the eclipse pun) at Horace Mann!

While we may have a few organizational tweaks for next year, the New Family Orientation and Supply Drop Off Night was a big success.  PTA volunteers were on hand to help families get supplies in the right place.  It was nice to a chance to get them to the classrooms before the first day of school.

We started the first day of school with music and a little looser atmosphere outside, getting rid of first-day jitters and having a little fun.  Thanks, Mr. Waryk, for providing the tunes!

Special guest Joe Morris (retired NASA scientist) and our very own Library Assistant Peggy Morris provided fun, informative lessons for our students about eclipse safety, science and lore.  Students enjoyed demonstrating what happens in an eclipse and "watching" the eclipse live on the special reflective setup.  Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Morris!

Our kindergarten students completed screening and proudly entered the halls of Horace Mann on Thursday for a short, two-day week.  They are catching on fast to the "Horace Mann Way," making friends and getting right to work!

Mrs. Sloan reads to her class 
Lastly, I was fortunate to visit the K-5 classrooms on Friday, reading a story and having a discussion with each group about kindness.  Kindness is prized at Horace Mann, and we hope this experience with the principal will help each child remember to Be Kind each and every day!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Closing 2016-17 and Looking Ahead

I hope you've enjoyed reading the blog this year, perhaps on Twitter or Facebook.  Writing it is a fulfilling experience,  as it provides the perfect opportunity to showcase celebrations and many of the neat things at happen at Horace Mann.

One last thing to share for the 2016-17 school year is the photo below of Mrs. Cramer's 1st graders hosting Mrs. Sloan's kindergarteners for a Q & A about what to expect in 1st grade.  I was impressed by the questions and the answers, too, covering topics such as reading, math, and classroom routines. Of course, the rising 1st graders wanted to know about lunch & recess--but who doesn't want to know when they'll have time for a break with friends?!
Thank you for a wonderful school year, across the board.  I wish each member of the Horace Mann family a safe, fun summer break.  Take advantage of all Lakewood has to offer and tell me all about it in August!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Talent Show and Field Day - So Much Fun!

As we zoom ever-closer to the end of the 2016-17 school year, each day boasts something special.  I know parents are enjoying the posts some of the teachers are making to their social media apps--such as Seesaw--with lots of great pictures.  Watch for more teachers at Horace Mann to start using Seesaw next year...

I'd like to celebrate the students who performed in the talent show.  Big thanks to Mr. Waryk, Mrs. McCafferty, and Mrs. Morris (as well as several parent volunteers) for organizing the whole show! A huge highlight was the emcee services provided by 5th grader Jalen Brown (pictured)--he has a future in show business if he wants it :)  Here is the "playbill:"

Leom Gabriel:  Karate
Alden Therrien, Olivia Baker:  Dance
Eve Lewis:  Guitar
Helen Alcantar, Annabelle McBride, Ellie Onyak, Owen Daggs, David Baker:  Magic
Piper Crislip:  Piano
Yanna Bonner:  Dance
Evelyn Lardi:  Singing
Lily Tabor:  Gymnastics
Ayla French, Alaina Parker, Milena Osborn, Baylee Deetz:  Dance
Jeremy Frolo:  Piano
Joanna Wright:  Irish Reel Dance
Carys Crone:  Tap

We also had an amazing blue-sky day for Field Day 2017.  Thank you to Mr. Karabaic and Mr. Hyclak, as well as all Horace Mann staff who participated and the MANY parents who volunteered to help!  The day was made "ful-filling" by the generous picnic lunch donated by PTA and other parents to culminate students' safe, respectful, responsible behavior during the 4th quarter.

There are sure to be great snapshots of Field Day on the Horace Mann PTA Facebook page--be sure to check it out!

Friday, May 19, 2017

So Many Kinds of Fun at Horace Mann!

The special events at Horace Mann came in all shapes and sizes this week!  We had an opportunity to learn about keeping our eyes safe with Realeyes classroom presentations provided by the Ohio Optometric Society (this explains why your child may have come home with a new pair of sunglasses).  We thank Ms. Wise (pictured below) for coming to our school for the lessons.

Next up were fun activities for The Lemonade War.  Thanks to our PTA, we had a lemonade stand for Horace Mann students on Thursday at recess.  It was a perfect - HOT - day and the kids drank it up :-)  There was also a Drop Everything and Read as well as daily prize drawings...

The K-Kids had their final meeting for the 2017-18 school year and showed their community spirit with a neighborhood cleanup.  Parent volunteers made this possible, and the ice pops to cool down afterwards were appreciated by all.

Last but not least was our Spring Concert.  It was another amazing show, thanks to the students' talent and energy, the instruction and coaching of Mr. Waryk (K-5 Music Teacher) and Ms. Mallchok (Orchestra and Adapted Music Teacher), and the support and enthusiasm of kids' families.  Thank yous all around for a wonderful performance and community-building event!

Finally, good luck to our Girls on the Run as they participate in the 5K in Akron with over 1,000 girls from northeast Ohio on Saturday, May 20th. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bagels and Reading Go Great Together!

At Horace Mann, we know that family involvement in our school brings big benefits for everyone.  So, we are always looking for new reasons to invite adults to visit!  The latest event was the Family Reading Breakfast, held on May 11th before school.

Our art room was full to capacity with students, parents, siblings and even a neighbor or two who came to play reading games and find some resources to support reading at home.  The atmosphere was lively, yet definitely on task with reading activities and conversations.

Big thanks to our Horace Mann reading specialists Heather Phillips and Katie Testen, as well as our Family Resource Coordinator, Therese Schwind, for hosting the event.  Also, we appreciate the generosity of Einstein Bros Bagels (14615 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood) for their donation of bagels. Delish!

Here are a few pictures from the event:

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Congratulations to Jalen and Jason!

     Each year, the Cuyahoga County Educational Service Center invites nominations for Excellence in Education.  Last Friday, two students from Horace Mann were honored at the Annual Excellence in Education Awards Recognizing Students with Disabilities, and Educators.  

     We are very proud of Jalen Brown and Jason Lowe who were honored at the breakfast, along with the staff members who referred them (Ellen McCafferty and Cristina Smith).  Lakewood City Schools were well-represented at the event with students, family, and staff members from many of our school buildings.

     Great work, Jalen and Jason, and kudos to the adults who took the time to nominate them!

Jalen Brown - 5th Grade
Jason Lowe - 2nd Grade

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Lemonade War is On!

After a week of clues to build anticipation, Horace Mann kicked off our 2nd annual One School, One Book challenge on Friday afternoon.  There was plenty of work behind the scenes in order to stage this fun "reading pep rally," so BIG thanks to the following:

Horace Mann PTA--Prizes and preparation
Lakewood Schools Technology Department
Mrs. Chanter, Mrs. Phillips, Miss Testen, Mrs. McCafferty, Mrs. Kehn, Mrs. Harkness, Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Atkins and Mrs. Johnson--Planning and skit

Each student received a packet with tickets to participate in daily prize drawings for reading one chapter each night, and each family received one copy of The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. As the first book in a series, we hope your family will be hooked!

Here are a few pictures from the controlled chaos in our gym on Friday afternoon:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Walking Field Trips for CHAMPS Classrooms

One of the wonderful things about Lakewood is the ability to walk places--we don't always need to get in the car!  This easy access also provides great learning and entertainment opportunities for Lakewood students.

Last Friday, all six of the homerooms for students with moderate-intensive special needs (sometimes known as CHAMPS classes) braved the snowy weather to walk to the Beck Center for a "sensory-friendly" (meaning lighting, noise, etc., were adjusted to make people with sensitivities to those things more comfortable) performance of The Ugly Duckling ballet.  The students--and adults--enjoyed the performance. Notably, two Horace Mann students (Carys Crone [2nd Grade] and Milena Osborne [4th Grade]) performed in the show (pictured) and HMES student teacher Mrs. Jessica Farmer stage managed the performance.  Love those Lakewood connections!

In other walking field trip news, several CHAMPS classrooms are strolling over to The Dollar Store on Sloan Ave. with a dollar in their pocket and an item from the classroom shopping list.  This is great practice with many, many skills.  While most students go to the store with their parents, this is a whole new level of responsibility!  Kudos to Horace Mann Speech Therapist Mrs. Ellen McCafferty and her student teacher, Ms. Chelsea Girash for planning and leading the trips :-)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Amazing Air and Opinions to Share

Two different kinds of celebrations occurred at Horace Mann on Friday.  First, we marked the end of another successful quarter of being safe, respectful and responsible with a fun, yet educational, assembly.  Thank you to our PTA for sponsoring the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Amazing Air performance.  Our visiting scientist Courtney demonstrated lots of interesting experiments using good ol' air!  Star students for the month of March had a special treat as helpers.  Below are a few pics to give you the flavor:

There was also a 1st grade writing celebration on Friday.  Students have completed their persuasive writing pieces (isn't it cool that 1st graders have persuasive writing pieces?) about books they have read.  Mrs. Harkness and Mrs. Cramer brought their classes together in the library to share their writing with friends from the other class.  It was great to watch and hear the conversations as students listened with interest and had conversations about the books, too.  Again, we have PTA to thank for making our library such an inviting, kid-friendly space!