09-01-2017


Dear Ray School Families,

        I make it a point to ask students every chance I get: "What are you learning today? Teach me something."
        Third graders in Mr. Simmers' class taught me something important yesterday, our second day back at school. I swung through the classroom during lunch and popped my question.
        "We're learning the difference between rules and expectations," one girl offered, munching on a carrot.
        "Right," said a boy to her left. "Rules are all about 'no' and 'don't' and what not to do. Expectations are positive and about what you should do."
        Another child pointed to a sheet of blue newsprint stuck to the board at the front of the room. It was brimming with positive expectations, more than 20, generated by students themselves. Persevere. Be okay with being wrong. Raise your hand. Listen to others. Work hard, play hard. Try your best...
        "If you could choose just one of these," I asked, "which one do you think would make the biggest difference to you as a learner?"
        Hands shot up. And without exception, every child chose the same expectation: Have fun.
        Not surprising, I thought to myself. These are seven and eight year olds. So, playing devil's advocate, I decided to dig a bit deeper. "Fun, schmun. We're in school. We're serious scholars. Fun just isn't that important."
        Your children pushed back, respectfully. "Yes it is," said a dark-haired girl, the one who a few sentences later told me she aspires to be President of the United States. "Fun makes me want to learn." Other students concurred and, each in his or her own words, established a direct link between fun and motivation.
        Likely Mr. Simmers' kids haven't read the book Play by Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist, clinical researcher and director of the National Institute for Play. They don't need to. Through their own lived experience, children know that play and fun are anything but trivial. Fun can open us up to new ideas, spark new insights, reduce anxiety, and create the positive feelings and mindsets that help anchor "serious" learning to last over time. 
        I look forward to learning a lot more, and having fun, with our wonderful students and the utterly devoted and talented faculty and staff who serve them. 

Enjoy the long weekend! 
Lisa

Volunteer Opportunities
Please check this space for ongoing volunteer requests this year! Please email Kerry Artman (kerryartman@hanovernorwichschools.org), our District Volunteer Coordinator, with questions or to volunteer for any of these opportunities. We appreciate you sharing your time and talents on behalf of our school.
  • Room Parents: Every year we look for a few parents to assist their child's classroom teacher in organizing parents/guardians to help with events within the classroom. Depending on the teacher and the grade level, those responsibilities may include: lining up volunteers to read, cook, or do projects with students, or organizing classroom parties throughout the year. If you would like to be a Room Parent for your child's class this year, please email Kerry by Wednesday, 9/6. There will be a Room Parent orientation meeting on Tuesday, September 12th, at 8:30 a.m. in the Ray Cafe. 
  • Library Assistance: We are looking for volunteers to help with restocking bookshelves next week (September 5-8). Drop by any time you are available during school hours. 
  • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Volunteers: Beginning in October, our ESOL team is looking for volunteers to read with students who are practicing their English skills. Proficiency in another language is not required for this role.

Computer Lab Requests

The Computer Lab is seeking donations of used and well-loved LEGO bricks and LEGO people.  Kindly send them in a ziploc bag or envelope labeled with your child's name. Thank you. 

School Supplies for Houston
The Ray School is collecting school supplies next Tuesday through Friday to send to students in Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Independent School District is accepting donations including but not limited to: paper, binders, folders, pencils, pens, crayons and scissors. Please bring supplies to school next week; there will be a donation box outside of each classroom. Thank you for your compassion and generosity.



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