Saturday, January 31, 2009

A School Climate that Thaws Snow Storms

Over half of the teachers in the building were at school on Friday. It seemed like they had a variety of tasks. Some were getting caught up, while others were planning ahead. Two were already considering plans for IEP students taking the Achievement Tests in April. It seemed like one might have shown up just to argue politics (See the State of the State post to see the right/optimistic side of the discussion).

So, what's the big deal, you ask? It was a snow day. School was canceled. The roads were nasty, and it was cold and windy. The teachers did not have to be there. The fact that so many 4 - 6 grade teachers battled the snow and ice to come to school is reflective of the attitude at Laurelville. Teachers want to be there, and want to do well. There is an interest in seeing the students succeed.

There's more to it than that though. There is a certain hominess to the building. In a day when schools are facing so many challenges, this building is different. There is a distinct feel to the building. Teachers feel a part of the school and want to be there.

School climate was a hot topic a few years ago. School climate is the learning environment of the school and how it makes students feel. Lately that has been forgotten with NCLB and all the emphasis on testing. The focus in education is on scores and achievement, and intervention, and the School Report Card.

When you are in a building where there is a warm climate, where people feel a part of the school, you know you are part of something special. There is an attitude that you can feel. It is hard to describe, but when you are lucky enough to be a part of it, you know it's there.

The road conditions were way too bad to have school. I can't help but wonder though, if we had told students, come on in if you can, how many would have showed up. Maybe a few would want to do some research for their persuasive essay. One or two might want to work on their online journal. Some might have wanted to come in and trade books, and just read for a while.

How about it students? Would you have stopped in for a while? Would you have spent a little time just hanging around and catching up? It seems to me like some days it's sunny enough on the inside to thaw out even the worst of the snow storms.

Image from http://flickr.com/photos/28603429@N06/2667617304/

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17 comments:

Cassy said...

I long to work in a school like yours. Where I'm at, it's lonely. The folks at my grade level do not collaborate on anything. Everyone works behind closed doors. It's my kids and me. There are some artificial attempts at bringing everyone together, but people have lost the feeling, and some never had it to begin with.

Taylor said...

I loved the snow days that we had off!I got to go out side and sled down my huge driveway.What did you do over the break Mr.McGuire?

Mr. McGuire said...

Cassy,

I am lucky to teach in such a great school. I even have students like Taylor that enjoyed her snow days but missed school soooooo much.

To answer your question Taylor, I spent a lot of time on the computer, a lot of time eating, and a lot of time reading.

Christian W said...

Mr. McGuire
I thought that the snow days were a lot of fun, but I thought that we missed a lot of school which means there is a lot of work. I wish I could have came to school and got a new book and just did a little work. When all of us get back to school it will take a lot of effort to get our minds off of the snow. It got boring after a while. After five days without electric, and counting, you realize that the snow loses all of its fun. Over this long break I hunted rabbits, slept a lot, and wished my electric would come on.

Mr. McGuire said...

Christian,

I hope by now you have electric. Maybe we need a plan for multiple snow days. Any ideas?

rachaelj said...

OH MY GOSH! I am so bored of the snow. I thought it was really cool the first two days, but come on... the whole week!?! The sad thing is I think a lot of people will go to school saying "Drrr...what was the question?" It's amazing how little students use their brains after a long break from school! Next time there's a snow storm comming I will stock up on work!

Gabby L said...

Mr. McGuire

I was bored the whole week. I couldn't stand the snow. I missed school so much. I wish I had homework to give me something to do. I wish I could come to school even though school is canceled. Next time school is canceled I am going to study.

Makayla B. said...

I Enjoyed the break. Big time. My electricity was out for four days. I had a couple of books to read. At night we used the generater. I did get pretty bored. I read 30 minutes everyday. I would have kind of liked to come back.

Mr. McGuire said...

We definitely need a plan for when we have extended days out of school. I am waiting for someone to come up with a great idea.

heatherp. said...

If we think that we are not going to have school then the teachers should give us something to do. Like some of the
other kids I got very bored too. I think that the kids that wanted to go back to school should have been able to.Their is probably a lot of people like me because our power went out.We were going in town and every where else in the world. Well not every where in the world.

kyndrah t. said...

I thought the snow days were fun. I went out in the snow a lot. Hether spend the night at my house and when me and my dad took her home we couldn't get back up my hill into my driveway. So my dad got the tractor out and went up the driveway.

Kim H said...

I have to agree the first day or two was ok but it got old very quickly..if you would have said any students who can or want to come in Colin would have been right there, he was very bored to be at home with out the electric on, says he had nothing to do. He did alot of reading and playing in the snow but that too lost his interest after a couple days..even given the chance to have electric and play video games he opted to help with snow removal at school..so I know that he would have been there awaiting anything the teachers had for him to do.

Lily W said...

I have a great idea! Every Friday in the winter teachers give out tons of homework to do in case we miss that week but kids don't have to do it if we don't miss school. I was so lazy I didn't want to write down what I read. The only reason I would have come to school is to research for my persuasive essay.(My mom wouldn't have driven me anyway!) I did not get bored because my electricity was on!

Mr. McGuire said...

Lily,

Interesting idea. It seems to me though, that the assignment should be something special, instead of just regular classwork. What type of assignment could we create that would be challenging for students, but still fun?

Mrs. Stevenson said...

When senior citizens receive Meals on Wheels, they also get a Blizzard Pack in case a fresh meal can't be delivered.

At the beginning of January, maybe we could give students a Blizzard Pack full of fun brain teasers and suggested activities. It could be used when we missed three or more days of school (only opened in an emergency, of course). Extra credit could be given for completion.

What do you think?

Mrs. Walters said...

I like the idea of the blizzard pack!

Kim said...

I think the blizzard pack idea is awesome!