Dear Solomon Family--

“As students engage with a task, they must be mindful about the strategy they employ and assess whether it is productive. When they find they are at a dead end, they must be willing to abandon one strategy for another. When students labor and struggle, but continue to try to make sense of a problem, they are engaging in productive struggle.” -- Marian Pasquale, “Productive Struggle in Mathematics” (2015)

"Encourage kids to engage in productive struggle by giving them difficult assignments and praising them for their persistence. Research shows that when students solve problems that are challenging, but still within their abilities, they deepen their learning. Allow students to wrestle with problems before intervening. When work is completed, try to avoid praising your child for “being smart;” the studies show that praising a child for inherent qualities tends to make them risk-averse and discourages trying new or challenging things. You want your kids to continue to push themselves, and praising hard work is more effective for building endurance and tenacity." -- Laura Lee, "7 Guiding Principles for Parents Teaching from Home" (2020)

I am sharing a few quotes on what we as educators refer to as "productive struggle". In short, it is the process of new learning that develops persistence, grit, and sometimes creative problem solving. I've seen productive struggle described as the learner's "sweet spot". When students face problems or questions that they don't immediately know, we don't want them to give up.

Remote learning poses a number of challenges, as we all know by this point. One observation from remote learning is that parents and caregivers can, often unconsciously, hinder the ability for students to engage in productive struggle. We want students to practice and develop skills as independently as they can, and in some cases parents and caregivers working alongside their child(ren) will whisper answers to the child (or less obviously, directly answer the question.) Mistakes and gaps in knowledge are a key part of learning, because without them, we don't have a starting point. Additionally, we want to students to try to persevere through their initial struggles with a question or problem to provide a response. That helps teachers provide authentic feedback, and when a student is able to be successful when persevering, that teaches students the value of not giving up.

Obviously, this is not applicable to all situations and all students, so take this for what it is worth. For all students, though, maximum independence is always preferable, knowing that what independence looks like differs for each student and each learning context.

Thank you for all that you do to support our students and each other in this remote learning environment!

In partnership,

Chris Gamble
Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School
News and Notes
  • Cluster and Pre-K families: Looking for more information on district and Solomon re-opening plans? I will be hosting a parent town hall meeting on Tuesday, October 27, from 5-6pm to provide re-opening information and hear your questions and concerns. The event will be recorded for those who cannot attend. To join us,
Google Meet:
Phone: ‪(US) +1 920-485-1328‬ PIN: ‪708 416 921‬#

  • This coming week is Red Ribbon Week, which is our yearly commitment to support our students with drug- and bully-free choices. One way that we will celebrate Red Ribbon Week is through a spirit week. Please see here for the events each day, and if your child is particularly festive, please send a picture to me at so that I can share it with our community. Most exciting for students is the costume dress-up on Friday, October 30, so please be sure to share those pictures. If we get a lot of pictures, we will create a "virtual" parade that we can then share with the community!

  • To go along with Red Ribbon Week and National Bullying Prevention Month, please check out the Solomon Bullying Prevention Awareness Room. Click here for student activities and to see our Bullying Prevention Awareness Library!  .

  • We will be having our annual Scholastic Book Fair from October 26 to November 8. It will be an online shopping opportunity to build up your book shelf for the coming months, all the while supporting literacy practices at Solomon. See the flyer below for more information!
Friends of Solomon School PTO Updates
  • Thank you to Alderman Nugent of our 39th Ward and the two dozen or so families who joined us at the Community Clean-up Day at Peterson Park on Saturday, October 24!

  • Our school is participating in a creative fundraiser with Art to Remember that allows you to purchase keepsake products customized with your child's art. There are over 60 products and many are less than $15. These make great gifts and a percentage of every purchase goes right back to our school. The exciting part is that you can select any piece of artwork from home! You can use art from e-learning, choose a piece from earlier in the year, or create something new. Just click on this link, click the "upload" button, select a piece of artwork, search for your child's name, and start shopping. You can upload additional pieces and save them in a digital family gallery. Have fun creating and shopping!

  • Online shopping through Amazon's charitable giving site Amazon Smile gets you what you need, while Amazon gives back to our school. Make sure you log in to and choose Friends of Solomon School Parent Teacher Organization as your designated charity and watch the donations add up! To date, Amazon Smile has donated a total of: $106.99 to Friends of Solomon School PTO!

  • Information about upcoming restaurant giveback events--coming soon!

  • And please remember to "Like" Friends of Solomon School PTO on Facebook!
8th Grade High School Applications
Be sure to check out which schools are hosting virtual open houses, to help you with your research. Click here for more information.

Save the Date: Want to hear more about the CPS high school experience from Solomon alumni? We are hosting our first graduate panel for current students on November 12 at 6pm.
Technology Assistance
We have staff available from 9:00-4:00 daily to assist you with any technology needs that you have. Please reach us at 773-534-5226 for assistance, or stop by Door #1 if you require in-person help.

Need more information on technology and CPS accounts? Click here for a link to district resources. You can also reach out to the district's Parent Tech Help Line at 773-417-1060 for technical assistance.

Need more information on the Chicago Connected program and access to free internet? Click here for a link to more information.

The district is hosting live webinars for parents accessing the Google Suite (Classroom, Meets, etc.). For information on upcoming webinars, click here.

Click here for the district "Frequently Asked Questions" document that address some common questions about the Google Suite and technology assistance.
Solomon Calendar
The most up-to-date place where you can find important events at Solomon is our school website's homepage, Logins for each of the virtual meetings can be found in that same calendar. Additionally, please be mindful of the following upcoming events:

October 27: Solomon Re-opening Town Hall, 5pm

November 3: No School (Election Day)

November 6: No School for students (School Improvement Day, end of 1st Quarter)
Community Corner
Student meals are available from the district on a grab-and-go basis. While Solomon is not a distribution site, neighboring schools Sauganash Elementary (6040 N. Kilpatrick) and Peterson Elementary (5510 N. Christiana) are both open daily between 8:00-1:00. For more information on the CPS Grab-and-Go Meal Sites, click here.

CPS's Parent University is going to be offering free, virtual ESL classes this winter and spring. For more information, click for more information in English and Spanish.

From our district's Office of Family and Community Engagement: We invite you and your student to participate in a free, virtual math program (October 13-December 18, 2020) that combines online math education and live tutoring from experienced Blueprint math tutors! We are here to provide extra educational support to your student during this challenging school year. Register here.

Our friends from Young Rembrandts are hosting an "ARTastic Halloween Party" on October 31. For more information, click here.
Solomon Spirit Wear
I am excited to announce that we have a new partner for Solomon spirit wear this year, SquadLocker. Great new gear--t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, shorts, polos, face name it. Peter the Cougar never looked so good. And, you can order at any time, and it will be delivered to your door. This replaces the once-a-year order that our staff and volunteers had previously organized in the building.

Click here to see what is available now, and be the first on your block to represent Solomon in our new gear!
To have your email address added to this distribution list, please complete this form.

Newsletters are also available via our website, Newsletters are sent out weekly, with the exception of holiday and summer breaks.

Questions or concerns? Contact the main office at (773) 534-5226 or email Principal Gamble at