Jackson Primary is home of the Jaguars… and a bear

I couldn’t help but smile when I pulled up to Jackson Primary and saw a huge banner hanging outside with a welcome message for me. I made a request to bring it to my office – I will be looking for a place to put it!   Principal Susan King greeted me in the lobby where three students read their handmade greeting cards to me. They also happen to be fantastic artists!


My first stop was Ms. Swalm’s kindergarten class where I met “Backpack Bear”, the class mascot. He goes home with one lucky student every Friday. Students then journal and photograph all the activities they do with Backpack Bear for a whole week (read the full poem down below). I couldn’t resist when Ms. Swalm said I could take him home this Friday. He’s already had such great adventures with students, I think I may need to plan some events to match class expectations. I can’t forget the Star Student information form. I plan on filling it out as well. The teacher read out loud my assignment which was prepared in a poem:

Backpack Bear is our friend so true.

Today, he wants to come home with you!

Oh sweet Dr. C! Hip!Hip! Hooray!

You are the THE CLASS STAR today!

 As STAR of the WEEK,

Backpack Bear goes home with you.

Introduce him to your family

And to your friends too! 

Please handle him with EXTRA CARE.

He has LOTS & LOTS of hugs to share! 

He likes to read and sleep and sing.

He likes just about EVERYTHING!

Please return him in his special red sock.

Ms. Swalm and Mr. Norris must have him back! 

He wants to visit all the other kids too!

Return him on  December 11th.

Can we count on you?

Don’t forget to take pictures!

Write your adventures down!

You can take him to places all around town!

Ms. Swalm has been at Jackson 14 years. She and paraprofessional Mr. Norris have such an energetic and exciting class. I even jumped in and joined them in a Backpack Bear dance to “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes”.

Ms. Alteri’s kindergarten class was also singing, dancing and learning the months of the year.

What I saw reminded me why I do what I do. It’s incredible how a song and a dance can create positive change and fill these little minds with hope and a desire to learn.

In Ms. Sparks class, students were making gingerbread houses. Of course, Backpack Bear took a seat at a table full of incredible sweet treats. Ms. Sparks is a 26 -year veteran of education, and we’re thankful she’s spent 19 years of them at Jackson.

Ms. Laurent has been teaching almost just as long, at 16 years. Her kindergarten class is reading “Snowmen at Night” and her students enthusiastically explained the difference between fiction and non-fiction. I mean snowmen can’t drink hot cocoa!

I participated in a phonics lesson where the children used sound stretching to help them spell.  Ms. Laurent also showed me how an ice cream cone can be used as a writer’s rubric to remind students to use meatball spaces in between their words and the importance of proper punctuation.

I had so much fun with the students and staff at Jackson Primary. “Backpack Bear” was a very exciting addition to my family this weekend! I can’t wait to share more about his adventures with you this week. He even helped me blog Friday night!!!

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