Category: Events

Dancing For Deb Cancer Benefit

IMG_0392As some of you know, our secretary, Deb Welsh, is battling cancer for the 2nd time.  We had a cancer benefit for her last Sunday and we had such a great turn out.  KWWL came to interview Deb, we had a Zumba dance marathon, bags tournament, bake sale, vendors, and silent auction.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who came to the benefit and helped make it such a great success.  Thank you to the Lowell teachers who made silent auction gift baskets, and the Lowell teachers and staff who volunteered their time to work the benefit.  We made $1,400.00 in tshirt sales and when we add everything up, we raised just over $6,000.00 for Deb.  Wow!!  An extra big thank you to my teammates Janelle Bown and Gretchen Peterson-Kobriger (picture at the top) who really helped organize and get everything together.


UNI Up Close

IMG_8371A big thank you to UNI for inviting me to speak at your UNI Up Close event for the 2nd year in a row.  I’m always so honored to be asked to talk about all the great things happening at Lowell, the great education I received at UNI, and inspire students of all ages.

Happy Valentine’s Day

IMG_8064Happy Valentine’s Day from Penthouse B at Lowell Elementary!  Go read a book with someone you love!

Lowell Ice Bucket Challenge

We did it!  The Lowell staff was nominated to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket challenge and each staff member was able to have 2 of their kiddos pour the water on us at an all school assembly.  This was a lot of fun for everyone involved, the kids loved it, and it was a great opportunity for the kids of Lowell to get involved in a charity event.  Enjoy our video! 🙂


We have nominated everyone down at ESC (Educational Service Center) to complete the challenge next.

I would say the staff at Lowell is pretty darn cool!  It’s a great day to be a Lowell Cougar!

IMG_4213Oh my!  It feels so good to be back.  I’ve missed all of you wonderful readers, parents, and my students!!  You know I like to have a “theme” for each year and this year is all about bringing out the SUPER hero reader in each of you!  So DROP on in to Ms. Acuff’s room and read a SUPER book!

Also, don’t forget to visit us at Lowell tonight for our Back To School night from 4:30-6.  You can meet your teacher and drop off your school supplies.  We can’t wait to see you!

Assessment Week!

This week Lowell kicks off our Iowa Assessments testing.

If you are a teacher here is a link to creative assessment treats, posters, strategies, etc. you can use with your students.  I am supervising/helping with test directions in a 5th grade classroom this week and I will be making the Smarty Pants (Smarties candies), Blow This Test Away (Blow pops), and Kiss those test jitters away (Hershey Kisses) for the classroom I am in tonight so they are ready for the kiddos tomorrow. Link:

If you are a parent with students taking the Iowa Assessments just remember to:

  • have your child get to bed early each night as a good night’s rest is super important.
  • If your child isn’t eating at school in the morning make sure your child has a nice big breakfast to get their body/brain jumpstarted.
  • Also, make sure your child gets to school ON TIME!!!  Testing is from 9-10:30 Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  We won’t allow students into the classroom after 9am so there are no disruptions during the testing.  Students will need to wait in the office until testing is finish.
  • Use positive language with your child: “I know you are going to rock that test!” “I believe in you.” “You are able to work so make sure you try your best on the test so we all can see all your hard work.”  “Don’t be nervous.  Just try your best with each question.”


UNI Up-Close

IMG_9561Thank you to University of Northern Iowa’s Ed Tech department through the university’s College of Education (COE) for inviting me to speak via Skype to prospective Ed majors on how UNI has impacted my teaching and gave me the tools I needed to be a successful teacher.  I was very honored to be asked to speak, answer questions, and give advice students and parents had about the College of Education’s programs they offer.

I will be getting another opportunity to speak with students and parents again tomorrow and look forward to doing so.  Thanks again for the invite UNI, with special thanks to Magda Galloway and Dr. Zeitz for arranging everything!!  They actually happened to be two of my professors when I was at UNI.  Here are some photos from the last UNI Up-Close seminar.


Fall Festival

IMG_8310Thanks to everyone who came to Lowell’s Fall Festival on Tuesday night.  We had over 100 people visit us in the library to write a limerick on the child’s name.  The limericks were absolutely adorable.  We have hung the limericks up outside of the office so when you’re in the building please check them out.  We look forward to seeing families again at conferences on Tuesday, October 22nd and Thursday, October 24th.

IMG_8299Woo!  It feels good to be back at school.  I was at the UNI Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy Reading Recovery conference these last 2 days, but with the weekend, I feel like I’ve been away from school for a week.

The conference was GREAT!  I got to meet Linda Dorn (pictured above), who is the author of many books, some of which we are implementing at Lowell.  You know how I talk about Interventions That Work and Guided Reading Plus, Interactive Writing, IMG_8298Writing Aloud, and Comprehension Focus Groups??  Those are all from her.  She talked a little more in depth about adding in some Teaching for Deep Comprehension (also by Dorn and Carla Soffos, who I also got to hear at the conference)  I took away a lot of great things that will help improve my teaching with groups.  I have heard Dorn speak several times, but this is the first time I have actually gone up and talked with her and the first time I’ve seen her since Lowell started implementing Interventions That Work.

I also am a HUGE fan of Dr. Barbara Schubert (pictured on the right), who spoke on Reading Recovery.  I got to hear her speak at the National Reading Recovery Conference in Ohio 3 years ago and it was a treat.  She is an expert in Reading Recovery and brain based teaching and I always take away so much from her after her seminars.

IMG_8302Author Lester Lamanick spoke to the whole group and emphasized the importance of reading aloud to our children.  With everything they want us to pack into our day this often gets put on the back burner.  It was inspiring to hear him talk about his positive and negative experiences in education as a child and how that shaped him into the person he is today.  It just reminded me of how I am in the business of loving and caring for our kiddos and need to do all I can to make them all feel smart and important.

Lastly, I was really surprised when a reading teacher from another school showed me that I am in one of the photos in the Jacobson Center for Comprehensive Literacy brochure!!!! (Photo on the left)  I was really excited to be a part of the promotion to help other teachers learn more about what Waterloo is implementing and how they can help their struggling readers and writers, too.

OK, my planning time is about up, so I will sign off and go get my Reading Recovery kiddos! 🙂

What: Lowell’s Cinco de Mayo Family Night

Where: Start off in the gym to hear our students perform several vocal pieces and then you’ll have the opportunity to travel through different centers: family photos, sombrero walk, craft making, and then head to the cafeteria for a delicious dinner!!  Last year I think we had home made tamales!  You don’t want to miss out on that.

When: Tuesday, May 7th at 6pm

Who: All Lowell families!

It should be a wonderful evening with your family.  We hope to see all of our wonderful families here!