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In January, kindergarteners participated in a special community-based fieldtrip to Publix and Olive Garden.  They learned about the community and our community helpers.  They also got to taste lots of samples at Publix and enjoyed free entrees from Olive Garden.  It's really cool that these organizations welcome our students.  The talk and feverish excitement upon their return echoed along the kindergarten hall.

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Oakwood's school counselor, Mrs. Meg Monaghan, delivers the Good Touch/Bad Touch curriculum to our first grade students.  Knowledge is power and in this curriculum, Mrs. Monaghan helps students to identify safe adults to report any kind of abuse. 

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Technology abounds!  Media specialist Mrs. Mary Barge assists students in transferring Excel Spreadsheets they created in Mrs. Copher's math class to the students' MY FILES storage system.  Student laptops and other new technologies are changing the way students learn and teachers teach. 
  
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Ms. Justine Miller "shares the interactive pen" with kindergarteners as they get immediate feedback from an interactive phonics game on the PolyVision interactive board in the inquiry lab.  Students are eager to learn and motivated by our new technologies.  Teachers are collaboratively creating learning objects and adventures using interactive technologies. Teachers are teaching and learners are learning as we enter a new era in education and we blend our best teaching with the most current technology.

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In December, ALL students (and staff too) enjoyed a special event - THE GINGERBREAD PIRATES.  They were treated to gingerbread and pirate punch and a special read aloud of the book by Dr. Rayburn.  This event is one of many that brings all staff and students into common experiences that will reverberate in our memories forever.

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WOW!  Under the sponsorship of Mrs. Susan Payne, The Helping Hands Garden Club is harvesting broccoli and carrots and collards and more.  Students planted the vegetables in our Outdoor Classroom and have cared for them weekly and now . . . well, it's time for salad, don't you think?

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Fourth Graders used knowledge of fractions and mathematical relationships to analyze gingerbread houses that they created using 100 candies.  It was FUN and educationally engaging as questions posed by teachers and peers challenged students to analyze fractions and to think about notions of percentages.


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Third and Fourth Graders perform FREE TO BE ME at The West Hall Cluster's Salute to Veteran's Event.  It was a great way for the students to demonstrate their appreciate for our Veterans.

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Coach David Hawkins and Occupational Therapist Michelle Shepherd have collaborated to create a motor lab for use during SOARIN'.  There is a growing body of research that supports early intervention in motor development and correlations exists between motor development and academic achievement.  Check it out at Ready Bodies, Ready Minds - www.readybodies.org.


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Mrs. Hursey's class came to the office caroling.  This event was laden in vocabulary opportunities.

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Our kindergarteners performed at the City of Oakwood Tree Lighting Event as directed by Mr. Keith Blackwell.  It was a fun night as they sang to the community and performed some Christmas favorites and a few new variations.  The crowd went wild and students smiled BIG.  It was a lovely event.

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Fifth Graders, under the direction of Mrs. Ingram, prepare the morning news program each day and help bring announcements, jokes, menu items, character value of the month, and reminders about the 7 Habits to students via closed circuit distribution.  It is a small but important exploration of video production and news media.

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Second-grader Sam Avery enjoys a book in a recycling bin.  He said it was a quiet, cool place to read.  We loved the idea that as we read we recycle our thoughts and reshape our cognitive understandings of the world in our journey through books.

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In November, Eight Faculty Members are now Certified Trainers for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  This level of certification will be important in sustaining and maintaining our commitment to The Leader in Me process and contributes to the fidelity of the process.

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Fourth Grader Logan Fox shares his TodaysMeet contribution during the Grades 3-5 SOARIN' Technology Club.  What's really cool is that these students are learning to use web 2.0 tools like TodaysMeet - tools that are used regularly in state and national conferences to engage participants.  These students were definitely engaged as they interacted with each other virtually.

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Fourth Graders Dylan Hanes, Hunter Samples, Kinsey Wilson and Mr. Shirley explore leadership habits by using their student signature manuals (aka, curriculum material).  We have committed to developing leadership habits in all of our students.  This summer before school started, faculty and staff members immersed themselves in the signature leadership event and were given manuals to guide them personally and professionally.  The curriculum materials support our students in understanding the habits in a deeper way and connect them to putting the habits into action.

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Sean Hatcher and his mother purchase a book from the Book Fair.  Research continues to prove the adage that the more you read the better reader you become.  Readers are better writers.  And we also know we are more likely to read when it's a book that we have self-selected and it's just the right level for challenging us.So, at OES, we are committed to creating lifelong readers by connectiing books to readers.  Media specialist Mary Barge is taking time each day this week to help students and family members find special books to take home.

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Third graders from Miss White's classroom along with Dr. Rayburn and the office staff (Mrs. Monaghan, Mrs. Lisa, and Mrs. Susan) celebrate our themed camouflage day for Red Ribbon Week, joining the fight agianst drugs.  The school community is joining together in a special way to collectively commit to a drug-free life.

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WHHS Wrestling Coach Eric Radich and teammates demonstrate wrestling moves and then correlate their commitment to the sport and the lessons leaders can learn. Coach Radich shared connections with 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  The, our students were able to ask questions about the sport.  Mrs. Cothran finished it off with Leadership Cheers and active hand signals for each of the 7 Habits.

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Under the guidance of Art Teacher Whitney Anderson and Inquiry Lab Instructional Assistant Deborah Jarrard, third graders created FOSSILS - very cool, hands-on science.  If you haven't seen the new space for inquiry, drop in and see what's going on in the world of scientific inquiry at OES.


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And finally, kindergarten students join Dr. Crites in celebrating Crazy Hat Day.


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Oakwood students participate every day in SOARIN' - Supplemental Opportunities for Accelerated & Responsive INstruction.  This is a 30 minute segment at the end of each day when all faculty and staff members contribute to our students' needs -- we enrich and reteach daily and monitor that achievement by collecting formal and informal data.  Instructional Coach Darlene Doster works with a group of first graders here - looking at words and word chunks from a shared reading experience.  Hands were up in the air eager to answer and add to the dialogue about word work.  Students throughout the building are grouped flexibly according to need and work in other areas of the curriculum as well.


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City of Oakwood Police Officers joined us for lunch this week and will be visiting weekly to show their partnership with and support of Oakwood Elementary.  We appreciate our law enforcement and students really enjoyed the conversation with the.  Thanks to Chief Moon and the officers who have rallied together in this new effort to be visible in our community.

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In our pledge to create a Healthier Generation through a strategic and intentional plan, nurses from North Georgia College and State University assisted Coach Hawkins in collecting data for calculating Body Mass index in order to measure our achievement in this area.  The information will be shared in a confidential manner with parents at a later date and will be used to look at our overall school patterns in health.  Coach Hawkins does an excellent job of requiring students to increase their fitness capacity.  These kids work hard in physical education and it remains an important part of reaching the needs of the whole child.

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WHHS Spartan Players and Cheerleaders greeted Car Riders on Friday morning.  Then, they were featured on the OES news program so that everyone could catch the Spartan Spirit.  This was a really cool way of bringing together West Hall.  Thanks WHHS.  Students loved this event and we plan to continue throughout the season.  Go Spartans!
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We held Pies for PIEs (Partners in Education) on Wednesday.  We have terrific Partners in Education who help us throughout the year.  This turned out to be a great way to launch our continued relationship with businesses and community partners.  Check out the scrolling marquees on the OES home page.  Thank you PIEs!
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Oakwood Eagles were well-represented at the Hall County School Fit Families 5K/Fun Run held at Gainesville State College.  It was a great opportunity to commit to a healthier lifestyle.  OES has committed to a healthier generation and has signed on as a member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the organization started by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle - Healthy Kids Georgia.  Check them out at www.healthiergenereation.org and www.healthykidsgeorgia.org


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We've been busy.  Students learned aboout Bus Safety this week.  Every student learned how to be safe and how to exercise caution when being transported by bus.  This safety orientation is an important annual event.

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At OES, we are getting to know each other through Communities.  Each K-5th grade classroom is assigned to a community.  K-2nd grade Communities and 3rd-5th Communities met for the first time to introduce students to each other and to discuss unique learning attributes and to explore habits of happy kids.  This group of students tossed a yarn ball to each other as they discussed ways that they demonstrated the habit of 'being procative.'  It was incredible to hear students make classroom connections to the 7 habits.  Communities will meet throughout the year to celebrate learning.  Students will learn to share and give feedback to each other.  Audience and feedback are important parts of the learning process since learning is a social event.  Through the communities structure, we hope to provide an authentic way to demonstrate pride in what you learn by sharing student products with students younger and older than yourself.

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Led by music teacher extraordinaire, Mr. Keith Blackwell, our third, fourth, and fifth graders sang the National Anthem at the Gwinnett Braves Education Day on Tuesday, August 23.  It was an awe-moment when students collectively raised their voices in a baseball stadium.  Students had studied the historical significance of the song along with musical performance standards.  It was a memorable event that will be cherished for many years.

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Students have been immersed in the 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  At recess, Claudio independently and without prompting began using chalk to display the 7 habits being practiced and taught at OES.  "Be Proactive. Begin with the end in mind. . . . . "  And he continued to recall all seven.  It is really amazing to watch our students embrace the habits and to understand what they mean.  It's even better when they apply them to real situations, and it's happening more and more every day.

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Media Specialist Mary Barge demonstrates WORDLE, tech tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. The fourth graders here are getting ready to apply wordle to their own projects.  Regularly, teachers and staff are sharing new technology tools that can help our students demonstrate learning and construct new  knowledge.

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Third grade students entered into an Olympic agreement with each other and the third grade teachers.  Each student came to the ceremony waving "Third Grade Rocks" banners. The 5 Olympic Virtues and the significance of the rings were explained by each third grade teacher and the connection was made to the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Then, the group engaged in a team building exercise to signify that we are a team that does better when we work together.  This was a really cool opportunity that built upon the third grade standards that call for students to compare ancient Greek democracy in Athens with that of the United States.  What a neat expression of learning and our joint commitment to our community!

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Third grade teacher Mrs. Copher shared with her math students to "BE BRAVE" and take a risk. "Ask questions, answer questions, volunteer responses, dont be afraid. BE BRAVE."  Within moments of her recommendation, students began raising their hands and Tyler Maynard nearly hopped out of his seat and stated, "I'M BRAVE!"  It is very cool that our teachers regularly encourage students and support them in building their intellectual confidence.  In turn, students learn to believe in themselves and participate fully in school.  Way to go TYLER and Mrs. Copher!

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Mrs. Smathers' kindergarten students are using Promethean technology to create an interactive morning message.  It is incredible to see our "digital natives" from the first days of school jumping into learning with the use of these new technologies. The technology is only a tool; the relationship between student and teacher makes all the difference in how the tool is used.  Mrs. Smathers and her students have been getting to know each other through a variety of interactive learning opportunities.  Kindergarten Rocks!

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Jaron Cote shared his "Get to know Me" Bag in Mrs. Gravitt's first grade class.  This kid is just the coolest ever.  He's not afraid to share about being born with a cleft lip and palate.  He showed pics of himself as a baby and explained to his peers about his subsequent surgeries.  As a kindergartener last year, he asked his mom if he could take pics to share at school.  She has empowered him to talk about it openly in hopes that sharing will help the world be a better place for Jaron and every child.  Now, that is cool and definitely qualifies as my first photo to be highlighted under Dr. Rayburn's Lens this year.

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