Empty SchoolSo this is what our building looks like on the very first day after school lets out…

We may be missing two key ingredients – students and parents – but we still have one key ingredient…teachers!

Our 2012-2013 Faculty & Staff are spending this Friday cleaning, boxing and otherwise wrapping up their responsibilities for this terrific school year that was.  But here at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School we don’t just disappear into summer…on Monday, the 2013-2014 Faculty & Staff will report for two days of important “Pre-Pre-Planning”.  We will spend two days together planting the seeds that will bloom this August into an amazing 2013-2014 school year.

Let’s take a look at what we’ll be doing:

Monday, June 17th

9:00 AM   Opening Activities

9:30 AM   “Pre-Flection”

11:00 AM  Summer Book Club

12:00 PM  Reinvigorating “Community of Kindness”

12:30 PM  Team Planning/Working Lunch

2:00 PM    Spiritual Check-in

3:00 PM   Wrap


Tuesday, June 18th

9:00 AM   The K-5 iPad Classroom & Middle School Planning & Collaboration

11:30 AM  Faculty Speek-Geeking

12:30 PM  Lunch

1:30 PM   Accelerated Reader & Jewish Studies Faculty Meeting

3:00 PM   Wrap


The goal of “Pre-Pre-Planning” is to allow faculty to best utilize their summer “vacations” [Yes, teachers do in fact work year round!] for professional growth towards our school’s learning target.  It is both a time to dream and a time to plan.  One item that we are bringing back from last year is the Summer Book Club.  I think it is nice for parents and students to know what books we think are important enough to ask our faculty to read over the summer (they all choose at least one).  When we meet together next at our August Pre-Planning, we will share with each other what we learned and how we think it will impact our practice.  What will we be reading this summer?

Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades by Kathy Cassidy

In her new book, Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades, primary teacher Kathy Cassidy makes a compelling case for connecting our youngest students to the world, using the transformative power of Internet tools and technologies. Her well-balanced text presents both the rationale for connecting students “from the start” and the how-to details and examples teachers need to involve children in grades K-3 in using blogs, Twitter, Skype and other social media to become true global learners.


Dream Class: How To Transform Any Group Of Students Into The Class You’ve Always Wanted by Michael Linsin

In Dream Class, you will learn the 15 keys that make the greatest difference in the classroom and exactly how to implement those keys simply and effectively. The goal is for you to become an extraordinarily effective teacher. Written from the unique perspective that everything you do affects classroom management, Dream Class will help you create the class you’ve always wanted and enable you to become a happier, calmer, and more confident teacher.


The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.

A breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from one of the world’s leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment.


Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning by Peter H. Johnston

In productive classrooms, teachers don’t just teach children skills: they build emotionally and relationally healthy learning communities. Teachers create intellectual environments that produce not only technically competent students, but also caring, secure, actively literate human beings.

Choice Words shows how teachers accomplish this using their most powerful teaching tool: language. Throughout, Peter Johnston provides examples of apparently ordinary words, phrases, and uses of language that are pivotal in the orchestration of the classroom. Grounded in a study by accomplished literacy teachers, the book demonstrates how the things we say (and don’t say) have surprising consequences for what children learn and for who they become as literate people. Through language, children learn how to become strategic thinkers, not merely learning the literacy strategies. In addition, Johnston examines the complex learning that teachers produce in classrooms that is hard to name and thus is not recognized by tests, by policy-makers, by the general public, and often by teachers themselves, yet is vitally important.


Square Peg: My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers by L. Todd Rose

In the seventh grade, Todd Rose was suspended—not for the first time—for throwing six stink bombs at the blackboard, where his art teacher stood with his back to the class. At eighteen, he was a high school dropout, stocking shelves at a department store for $4.25 an hour. Today, Rose is a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Square Peg illuminates the struggles of millions of bright young children—and their frustrated parents and teachers—who are stuck in a one-size-fits-all school system that fails to approach the student as an individual. Rose shares his own incredible journey from troubled childhood to Harvard, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge research in neuroscience and psychology along with advances in the field of education, to ultimately provide a roadmap for parents and teachers of kids who are the casualties of America’s antiquated school system.

With a distinguished blend of humor, humility, and practical advice for nurturing children who are a poor fit in conventional schools, Square Peg is a game-changing manifesto that provides groundbreaking insight into how we can get the most out of all the students in our classrooms, and why today’s dropouts could be tomorrow’s innovators.


Happy Start-to-Summer!  Feel free to read along with us!


About Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of Galinsky Academy [which includes the DuBow Preschool, the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School (a K-8 Schechter), the Bernard and Alice Selevan Religious School, and Makom Hebrew High] located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center. He is the Executive Director Designate of the Schechter Day School Network. Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.
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