Day 18


A look at my emails over the course of any given day will tell you the same thing. My job has VERY diverse aspects. This was the topic of the course last night and it rang so true to me. On any given day I am a teacher, a librarian, an administrator, a counselor, a staff-development/curriculum coordinator, a secretary, and a tech person.

Today a look at the emails sent today (BTW, my nickname is “Rita”):

Friends,Dr. Seuss’ birthday is on the horizon. His BD in on March 2nd (during spring break.) We also have an early-release that week but we could still party it up Seuss style in a super-short week. Frankly, this is the kind of thing I’m terrible at! But, if others want to celebrate the week below are some ideas and some weblinks for even more ideas.Last year (and I suppose in lots of years before that), folks decorated their doors with Seuss pictures. Let’s do that again!
I’ve got lots of Seuss books in the LMC for you to borrow.

Anyone want to suggest something more ambitious?!?!?!?

: ) Rita

Thanks for taking care of this. I’ve been reading a lot as well. Got a Kindle for Christmas!
Hugs to you and Al!

On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM, M wrote:

Rita, may I ask you to communicate with Melissa and Kelli, please.   Am very sorry that especially needy youngsters are having to meet with so many adults.  Loreen, however, is an excellent sub and if she can stay with the kids, that will be great.

Hope all is well with you…and with John and your family.

We are taking advantage of all the new learning opportunities and time to READ!    Am catching up with books that others read years ago.   Ahab’s Wife is a keeper….one I will read again in a year or so.   Am reading Kitchen House….the type of story that is good…..and very hard to read, at the same time.  My imagination goes into overdrive.

See you in a couple months!


R,I’ll start the book club next week. I’m also going to work with the teachers on differentiation. Anytime you want to hang out and talk, let me know. But, it does sound like you’re already doing TONS at home! One thing I always spend time talking about with my upper-level groups is the idea that they are ultimately responsible for making life challenging in a good way. I’ll do this (in a loving way) with the kinders as well. We’ll talk about ways to challenge themselves during the day.Hugs to all!

: ) Rita

On Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 7:18 PM, R wrote:

Thanks for your quick response, Rita! What wonderful timing that you were just working with them this week! And I can’t believe I called Mrs. R, “Mrs. H.” E corrects me all the time.

It’s wonderful to know what you said about how Mrs. R works with the kids to excel. It should be obvious when your child has a “good” teacher vs. one who has lost their spark, but it’s not always obvious to me. It’s nice to hear your opinion, which I value. I can’t imagine just keeping 17 kindergartners fed and without injury, let alone organizing, teaching, and playing with them!

I know that having a kindergartner who reads is nothing new, and by no means do we imagine that E is superior to any of her classmates. It’s the change we see in her that has me concerned. I think a bit of challenge will be all it takes to bring her back to the excited student we saw a couple of months ago. And we are very excited to help.

I love the idea of a book club and also working with E to take responsibility for challenging herself. I’ll admit, I can’t immediately picture what that looks like at this level. I know I need to figure out a way to spend time in her classroom. Maybe if I understood better how things work, I would have a better idea how to encourage E. And we would love homework ideas. We do quite a bit already just because she loves it (Mom, will you give me some math problems? Mom, can we write a story?), but I would love advice on how to guide the activities we do.

Thanks for all your help. You’re such a star!!

On Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 6:15 PM, Rita Platt <plattr> wrote:


Funny that you wrote this today! I spent all afternoon yesterday and today at Dresser. Yesterday I worked with the teachers to begin to think about how we will meet our upper-level learners needs. Today I assessed all of the kids who are already readers. Ella was among those I read with today and she is quite a little reader! So sweet!

I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree that ALL learners should be met where they are. My philosophy has always been that each child is owed at least a year’s growth in a year’s time no matter where they start.

My plan is to spend the weekend looking over the data and thinking, thinking, thinking about how we’ll serve all of our sweet kinders. I’m thinking that we’ll need to get a plan in place for independent reading work for each child who is reading well above expectations. I do a “book club” with our high achievers and will start that next week. The kids love it and it’s a challenge. Ella will do most of the work for the club in her classroom and I’ll meet with the kiddos once a week to check in.

One thing to keep in mind is that Mrs. R (spelling???) really works with kids to excel in many subject areas. Especially writing. We might want to talk with Ella about how she can begin to take responsibility for challenging herself. Also, if you’d like, I can meet with you and share some “homework” ideas.

In the meantime, know I’m on the case!

Hugs to you all!


u, Feb 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM, R wrote:

Hi Rita,

I am so happy to be able to contact you about Ella! We just love that she’s reading and doing amazing things in math. Even more, we’re so thrilled to see her excitement in these areas — she just loves to “do school.”
But maybe I should back up. My mom, C, has many friends who are (and were) teachers. S and I, and my mom, have all been talking about what we can do for E to keep her moving forward and excited about learning. In the past couple of months we’ve seen a definite decrease in her desire to go to school and an increase in discussions about how school is boring and she’s not learning anything new. (Believe me, we know some of this is drama.) It seemed to us that E teacher, Mrs. H, has been doing some things to push E, but after our last conference, we left feeling a bit deflated. (We’ve been thinking of scheduling another conference, without children this time.) I am very sympathetic to teachers — I think teaching is one of the most difficult jobs there is. And I’ve seen the huge range in abilities and skills of the children, especially in lower grade levels. I often wonder, “How is one teacher supposed to meet the needs of all those students?”
Well, my mom started talking with some of her friends (primarily A). A seemed to share with her that teachers really are supposed to stretch and work to do all they can for all of their students. And this got me thinking more. If E was struggling, and I felt her needs weren’t being met, I certainly would work and fight to do all I could to make sure those needs were being met. So why wouldn’t I do the same if she’s excelling?
I watched my now 20-year-old son’s excitement for learning and school diminish greatly when S cut their gifted program. I don’t want to see this happen to another child (mine or someone else’s).
I feel at a loss, not knowing who to talk to first, and was happy when A suggested talking to you! I don’t know what the options are, but I’d love to help explore them. S and I definitely feel that parents play a HUGE role in their children’s education, and that learning doesn’t stop at 3:15. We expect to be partners!
I’ll stop here for now, but if you need more information or examples of what she’s doing in class or at home, please let me know. Or if I should contact someone else, we’re happy to do that.
Thanks for all you do for the kids at S! We are all so blessed to have you serving our families!
H,I thought this over all weekend. I’ll tell you what, I think the best response to this is no response at all. I would be happy to email / class and tell them that we’ve put _______  back in my group to reduce her “stress to infinity”, then if the conversation tilts toward it I would love to tell them that _________ is not wildly above the level of MANY of her peers. And that the stress needs to be dealt with b/c it’s not going to abate in life. Thoughts?: ) Rita

Thanks so much! I’ll continue to work with S on time management. Keep in touch!


Thank you for the reply and the encouragement you gave her upon completion today.   She told me you were happy and said “all done”.     She said she got them done and all is good.   I asked her about sentences in the future and she is under the impression that having them done by Thursday is great!       I told her finishing them on Monday would be better, but she said that would be too hard.

She says she has stress in her head to infinity.    I might try doing some practice sentences at home to help her pick up the pace a little bit.    We also talked a little bit about the small group work.   She then got stressed out about that work too.

Time management is difficult for ______ and gets worse as she gets overwhelmed.     Most people can see work piling up and say to themselves, “wow, I better get going!!”    Instead, she says “I just don’t feel like doing any of this.”      She really seems to struggle with kicking it into high gear when needed- not just in school.    This issue is strange, as she seems to do well in other areas.      Anything you can do to help her learn time management would be greatly appreciated.     She really seems to need special attention with this, we have trouble teaching her this stuff too.     Most things she picks up so easy, this she has a really hard time with.

I really hate to see her start to do worse in school due to this time management issue.   I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but to her it is a REALLY BIG deal.   Being a former teacher, I know that kids that don’t like school are going to start slipping.      She has now said many times that she hates school and that is a bummer.

Sorry for being an extra work load.    I really do appreciate all the help.


M made a deal with me to finish his Geronimo Stilton book and take (and pass!) a test on it my Monday. Can you help me hold him to it? He’s in my reading group now and I want him to grow, grow, grow!
You sure have a great kid in M. I love his smile, his sense of humor, and his very neat handwriting.

Just tried our new student’s password and it’s not working.
_______ Dillon  (Be’s class)
And, B, his username is going to be a problem for him before we know it. Can we change it to something less….well, you know….)
: )
This weekend I read a GREAT book, The Book Whisperer. Thanks to Barb for the suggestion! If you like to read, pick up a copy of this book. It is incredibly inspirational and grounding at the same time. If you don’t think you can fit it into your own reading life, take a minute to consider the author’s basic beliefs about teaching reading. Might even make a good PLC discussion…

  1. ALL children are readers. To be human is to be a reader.
  2. High expectations for all readers is critical. Students must have goals and must be helped to follow-through.
  3. Students must have choice, choice, choice.
  4. But, students must be pushed to read various genres and to read more than they otherwise might have.
  5. Reading is the way to be a better reader. You learn to read by reading. There is no substitute for nose-in-a-book time.
  6. Our class structure (including both time and physical space) should be organized to permit as much reading as possible.
No problem, D! But, now you’ll have to watch it again! (Or at least hear it in the background while you do other work…)

On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 8:20 PM, D> wrote:

No idea there was a problem, or that M had sent an email. Randy forwarded me the email from J and I have already watched the video and printed out my certificate.  It was my understanding from J’s email that it could be done independently or in PLC group.
On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM, Rita Platt < wrote:

M & D,

This is in response to M’s email…

J sent this link to PLC leaders only. You have not missed anything. We have been asked to view the video as a group during PLC time. Is there a reason that won’t work?

: ) Rita

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Thu, Feb 9, 2012 at 2:35 PM
Subject: Fwd: Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting and Training


Please read below.  At the next PLC meeting or after school, please watch this video with your group.  It is 16 minutes long.  Submit a document attesting who was present.  This is required of all staff.  If you have questions please let me know.  Thanks.


———- Forwarded message ———-
Dear R,
This week our student of the week is Jack _____ He is a 2nd grader in Mrs. P’s class. He lives at home with his wonderful family. At home Jack likes to bug his older brother! But they love each other! At school Jack loves to learn math. He thinks, “Math is pretty much the key to everything. Physics, construction, and science all need math.” When he grows up he wants to be a scientist.

You are seriously the best teachers I’ve ever worked with. You ALL should consider working on National Board Certification next year. Benefits include a $2,500 stipend from the state each year, the BEST professional development experience in the world, and a Master Teacher License that you don’t have to renew for 10 years. Also, at a time when teachers are looked down on, it brings some professionalism and respect back to the profession. 

I earned mine in 2009 and loved the challenge. It’s hard, it’s deep thinking, it’s work. But, it’s worth it. I would LOVE to help anyone who is interested. There is a teacher at the middle school who’d like to do it and at least one here at the ES that is considering it. 

Read about it. If you’re interested, let’s start a cohort. You need support to do it and again, I would LOVE to help with that support. 

: ) Rita
 Note to self:
Get teenaged volunteers to read with kids.
Wear PJs and read in the library.
Show mom’s & dad’s what the library has to offer and answer questions.
Read/tell a story to all.
Cady,You are VERY dear! I’m not sure how teachers are going to put kids in intervention groups. But, no matter which teacher you end up with we know that you’re a great reader!I’m so glad that you enjoyed the “push” you got in Battle of the Books. I am VERY proud of you!: ) Mrs. P

On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM, C wrote:

dear Mrs. Platt,

I hope i can be in your intervention group As you know, I am a awsome reader and i really think I should really be in the intervention group. Thanks for pushing me so hard that I won all them except one at the semi battle when we lost our minds an had a brain freeze Once again thanks so much
Here ya go!

Hi Rita~
We have a new little friend in Mrs. Scr’s class.  His name is A and his lunch ID is 7240.  Could you send me a UPC for the library check out sheet?

Thanks and Happy Valentines Day!!!


About ritaplattlibrarian

I am an elementary school librarian and I love my job more than it should be possible to love a job! A Nationally Board Certified teacher, my experience includes teaching learners of all levels from kindergarten to graduate students.
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