Sunday, February 26, 2017

Growing Reading Workshop

At Horace Mann, we (along with the educators in the other six Lakewood elementaries) are continuing to grow our practice with the Reading Workshop model from Teacher's College at Columbia University.  We are in our second year of implementation for grades K-2 and it is the inaugural year for the intermediate teachers in grades 3-5.

This is a rich--and therefore, complex--curriculum.  As we develop expertise, we are very fortunate to have embedded professional development provided several times during the year with staff from the Columbia Teacher's College Reading & Writing Project.  While we recognize it is a sacrifice for teachers to be out of the classroom, we believe the carefully-planned instruction, observations at lab classrooms (Horace Mann teachers go to Lincoln to observe) and debriefing the modeled lessons taught by the trainer are well worth it.

Last week, our teachers in grades 3-5 had sessions, and in the week to come, our K-2 teachers will be involved.  We also are pleased that there will be additional professional development for teachers in advanced week long workshops provided locally during the summer of 2017.

We thank you for learning about Reading Workshop with us, getting to know new things such as what your child is working on as a reader and the various genres the curriculum covers.  We always welcome feedback and questions, and appreciate you as partners on this important journey.

Of course, we have a focus on reading next week, too...Reading Spirit Week! We hope to see you at one of the events and look forward to the fun outfits we'll be sporting according to the daily themes :-)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Valentine's and 100th Day @ The Mann

Tuesday, February 14th was quite a day at The Mann!

Due to our two snow days, Valentine's Day and 100th Day ended up sharing space on the calendar.  In Kindergarten, this meant two very important--and fun!--things happening in one action-packed day.  The kindergarten teachers (Mrs. Rini and Mrs. Sloan pictured) dressed up, along with many of their students, predicting how they will look when they are 100 years old.  It was a day of canes, half-moon glasses and baby-powdered hair :-)  Next year, we might all dress up like we're 100...what do you think?

Of course, PTA volunteers were on hand to make Valentine's Day special for everyone.  Before school, there was Starbucks coffee and homemade baked goods brought to classrooms for staff members on a coffee cart.  Great way to start the day!  At the end of the day, classic Valentine's classroom parties were held, with valentines,  treat bags and age-appropriate activities for all classrooms.  Check out the pictures of Mrs. Cramer's and Mrs. Harkness' classes.

Special events like these make it fun for me to come to work...and I see lots of smiles on kids and grown ups' faces, too.  Thank you to everyone who helps make these activities possible, all the while helping us keep the energy level within reason for school.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Harriet Beecher Stowe Visits Horace Mann

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the abolitionist who most famously wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) visited Horace Mann last week.  She addressed our 4th and 5th grade students, vividly describing her life and how she came to be a vital voice for human rights in her time.  The students were absolutely captivated by her, listening intently and answering questions when she asked.  In fact, students showcased their learning about that period, including the Fugitive Slave Law (1850) and the Underground Railroad.

Of course, Mrs. Stowe was not able to be here herself, however, she was convincingly portrayed by Mrs. Ruth Pangrace, a Lakewood teacher who retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year.  Mrs. Pangrace is part of a performing group called Women in History, founded right here in Lakewood, Ohio, in 1991. For more information, please go to their website:

Many thanks to Mrs. Pangrace and to our 4th grade teachers, Mrs Rolfe and Mrs. Kehn, for  hosting this important American hero.

We hope to see future performances by Women in History, and encourage you to do so, too!