Sunday, August 28, 2016

Wildcat Summer Challenge

Throughout the summer, Gary D. Wright Elementary School students had the opportunity to participate in the Wildcat Summer Challenge.  Students were challenged to complete the following tasks each week: engage in 45 minutes of iReady Math lessons, 45 minutes of iReady Reading lessons, and pass at least one iReady Math and Reading lesson.  For each week students met this criteria, they earned a chance to win cool prizes including Chicago White Sox tickets, Culver’s custard, bowling at Brunswick Zone, and more!  Thank you to our PTO for providing the funds to create yard signs for the Wildcat Summer Challenge, and to all of our community sponsors who donated prizes in support of our students’ accomplishments throughout the summer!

Congratulations to GDW fourth grader, Ploylinn Xaypharath, for winning the Wildcat Summer Challenge grand prize – an iPad mini!  Additionally, congratulations to all of our Wildcat Summer Challenge participants!  We would also like to thank our Wildcat families for promoting the challenge with your children.  For those families who submitted their child's photo, thank you!  We have included them in this blog post!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Welcome Back to School, Wildcats!

Welcome back to school, Wildcats!  We have spent the summer preparing for what is sure to be the best year ever and it was so exciting to kick things off this past week!

Our first day of school began with our first ever Boohoo Yahoo Breakfast sponsored by the PTO. Parents of incoming kindergarten students were able to meet in the cafeteria to enjoy breakfast, find out about the many ways to become involved in our learning community, and network with one another.

To commemorate the first day of school, we gathered around our school's flag pole to celebrate our annual balloon release.  We were honored to have Mr. Gary D. Wright himself in attendance.  Mr. Wright addressed the students, staff, and families.  He then spent the first day of school with Dr. Unruh and myself visiting classrooms, where we had the privilege of welcoming back our students and engaging in many creative getting to know you activities that our incredibly talented staff planned.

This week, students were able to have fun on our newly installed playground equipment, thanks to the support of our PTO and Wildcat learning community!  Additionally, Mr. Krivosik, our Band and Orchestra Teacher, held an assembly for our fifth grade students to preview instruments.

Our first week back to school was amazing and I look forward to what our future will hold throughout the 2016-2017 school year!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Rewards of Reading

Encouraging children to read at home is one of the most powerful ways that parents can support students' learning.  Just 15 minutes of reading at home per day can make a difference in students' reading fluency.  

Each month, the National Association of Elementary School Principals publishes its Report to Parents.  This month's Report to Parents, "The Rewards of Reading", offers families strategies to get kids reading more at home.  

Monday, June 27, 2016

Reinforce Math Skills With Everyday Activities

Each month, the National Association of Elementary School Principals publishes its Report to Parents.  This month's Report to Parents, "Reinforce Math Skills With Everyday Activities", offers families fun and easy ways to incorporate math into daily life.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Google Expeditions Pioneer Program

Today, the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program brought virtual field trips to the students and staff of Gary D. Wright Elementary School.  Expeditions is a new product that allows teachers to take their classes on virtual field trips, immersing students in experiences that bring abstract concepts to life and giving students a deeper understanding of the world beyond the classroom.  Thanks to the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program, GDW Student and staff were able to virtually visit and explore destinations aligned to our curriculum, including desert habitats and national monuments.  The Wildlife Conservation Society, PBS, the American Museum of Natural History, the Planetary Society, and the Palace of Versailles contributed to developing these virtual field trips for our students.  The trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° photo spheres, 3D images and video, ambient sounds — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions. We had a blast visiting places we have learned about throughout our studies this year!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bill Buczinsky Visits GDW

Mr. Bill Buczinsky, poet, performer, and teacher inspired the poet in each of us this week as he completed a two day residency at Gary D. Wright Elementary School.  Bill kicked off his visit with an assembly, where he introduced the game of poetry to us.  He continued by conducting poetry writing workshops for our 2nd-5th grade students.  Bill wrapped up his visit by hosting Poetry Open Mic Night, where students and staff joined him in sharing poems and coming together in the name of poetry.  A huge thank you to our PTO for providing the funding to support this educational opportunity for our students and their families!

Bill's visit inspired students to write and share poems, such as the following poem written by GDW fourth grade student, Andrew Belshan.

The Poet Tree 
By: Andrew Belshan
The Poet Tree
Is to explain to you or me
What is poetry

The trunk of the tree
Is the dictionary
Poetry is all about words
But it isn’t just for nerds!
The Poet Tree,
The Poet Tree

But what grows up from the trunk
Is complete fun.
Poetry without fun
Will make you feel glum
The Poet Tree,
The Poet Tree

What comes next you will not gripe
Every branch is a different type
From a haiku to a sonnet
You will definitely want it
The Poet Tree,
The Poet Tree

Instead of a leaf
There is a poet
Now you know it
They’re usually on
The branch they like best
But they can always
Visit the rest
The Poet Tree,
The Poet Tree

But when writing a poem
The most important part
Is you.
You are the leaf
You are the leaf
You can be big
You can be small
You can stay on one branch
You can visit them all.