Dear Families -
December has arrived quickly this year, and we are looking at yet another busy month. It is amazing to think we are already reaching the year 2017. As we approach the halfway point of the 2016-2017 school year, we are excited to see the growth and changes in our students since August.
As we work with each student, we strive to create lessons and opportunities to not only increase knowledge but to increase the application of knowledge. Naperville School District #203’s mission is to graduate students who think critically, solve problems, make decisions, and have the skills necessary for productive citizenship and lifelong learning by providing excellent, comprehensive programs and services in partnership with the community. One of the many ways we develop that application is by helping students practice thinking behaviors. The “Habits of Mind” is a group of sixteen thinking behaviors that you may have heard your child mention. These habits can assist both students and adults in school and everyday life as they encounter problems and dilemmas, with resolutions that may not be immediately apparent.
Although these sixteen habits are interconnected and are highlighted throughout lessons, each grade level provides more specific instruction on three target habits each year. You should have received the latest communication from your child’s teacher regarding the grade level habit focus for the second trimester. Our kindergarten works on Managing Impulsivity (Think before you act. Remain calm, thoughtful, and deliberate.) all year. First grades are focused on Gathering Data through All Senses. Second grades are practicing Thinking Interdependently. Third grades are exploring what it means to Take a Responsible Risk. Fourth grades are looking at Finding Humor. Fifth grades are analyzing Responding with Wonderment and Awe. If you would like to learn more about Habits of Mind, several books are available for parent check-out in our LRC.
During this busy time, it is easy to get caught up in the hectic pace. Enjoy family and friends and special times together. I ask that you join me in “Responding with Wonderment and Awe” (Let yourself be intrigued by the world’s phenomena and beauty. Find what is awesome and mysterious in the world.) and “Finding Humor”(Laugh a little. Look for the whimsical, incongruous, and unexpected in life. Laugh at yourself when you can.)
I do want to take a moment to thank you for sharing your awesome children with us. They are such wonderful gifts. Enjoy them this holiday season.
The school year is well on its way. Our students seem to have settled into routines and are doing a great job. When a school year begins, teachers spend a great deal of time teaching and modeling behaviors which they want students to demonstrate throughout the year. We know that time and effort given to this early on will pay dividends as the year moves forward. This might include how students treat each other during cooperative groups, how primary children navigate the washrooms individually, or how a student might go about asking another child to be part of a recess game.
The same is true for our work with Habits of Mind. As we prepare our students for the world ahead of them, we need to be thoughtful about our teaching and modeling. We need to manage our impulsivity and strive for accuracy, two of the sixteen worthwhile habits of mind our students will be exposed to at Naper School. The staff at Naper will try to build habitual thinking skills, much like we have habits like brushing our teeth, letting our dog out, or being kind to people. Habits are not behaviors we pick up and lay down whimsically or arbitrarily. They are behaviors we exhibit reliably and automatically on appropriate occasions and they are smoothly triggered without painstaking attention.
Ways to incorporate the Habits of Mind at home:
• In books and movies, identify and discuss which habit of mind a character is using. By having these discussions, you are reinforcing how the habits are interwoven and their impact on decision making.
• Share with your child how you utilize the habits (at work, in your social settings, in managing a home, etc.) This is important to emphasize that the habits are not just something that is done at school, but are a component of all our lives.
• Compliment your child when he or she uses a habit of mind. For example, “I know you have been practicing that (piano piece, ballet turn, juggling that soccer ball). You persisted even though it was difficult. And now you have improved.” In giving specific descriptive feedback, you are encouraging your child to engage in that specific behavior again.
These habits are our intentional focus to help students become self-directed learners and complex thinkers across all settings: at school, at home, and in their daily life now and in the future! In order to extend learning for our students, we need to keep on growing as learners ourselves. If you should have any questions about our thinking focus, please give me a call or stop in to have a conversation. I really enjoy sharing our work!
Welcome to a new school year! We are off to an exciting start here at Naper. Our new space has created options for the many terrific learning opportunities we have planned for the year.
As we work together in providing opportunities for student success, our focus remains aligned to our district mission which is to guide each student to be a self-directed learner, quality producer, critical thinker, collaborative worker and community contributor. The Naper staff works collaboratively to provide an outstanding collective knowledge base regarding the K-4 learner in order to develop learning opportunities to build a strong foundation for life-long learning.
Each family should have received a Naper School Parent/Student Handbook at Orientation. For those unable to attend Orientation, the handbook was sent home. Please read this handbook. It contains important information regarding the school district and important information specific to Naper School. You will find our Naper Knight Code of Honor, how to call in an absence, and a variety of other key elements and procedures in this book. We hope this will be helpful in answering questions you may have about Naper School. Our goal is to support one another in creating the best learning environment possible for the children.
I would like to take a moment to focus on safety with this first letter. If you are driving your child to school, please use the area along the playground as a drop-off zone. If our parents will let their children off in that area and move on, other parents can then do the same. If you plan to walk your child to the door, please park in a space located on one of the nearby blocks. If everyone follows the procedures, this will allow the maximum number of cars to pull in and drop off or pick up students easily. Please remember, the driveway on the south side of the building is reserved for our buses before and after school.
I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to those of you who have already volunteered to help in the many activities that make Naper School so special. You have helped to get our school off to such a great start. Speaking of a great start, please check out the August 22, 2016 edition of Chicago Magazine. Naper School was listed as one of the Top 10 Elementary Schools in DuPage County.
We look forward to the new opportunities for learning this year. Most precious to all of us are your wonderful children that you share with us each day. They are the heart of this building. I look forward to working with all of you.
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM Board of Education
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM Open House
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM Board of Education
7:00 PM Grade 2 Musical
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Home and School Meeting
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Sweetheart Dance