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Monday, November 7, 2011

Organizing Writing and Gratitude-November 8, 2011

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:    
On a cold, frosty, fall morning, students in Ms. Hunt’s room were hard at work writing about the cold times.  The learning target was to develop an idea with introductory, supporting, and concluding sentences.  Kids were expected to have a piece with a topic sentence, three supporting sentences and a concluding sentence.  The strategy they were using was to have the intro and concluding sentences in one color of pencil and each of the three supporting sentences in different colors of pencil. The strategy of using different colors for sentences really had kids thinking about what makes a sentence.

Nathan was hard at work.  “It was my skiing class.  When we got outside I wanted to go back inside because it was cold.  We got our skis on and we found my instructor.  Then we went on a chair lift and when we got off, it was not cold it was freezing because we were at the top of the mountain.  Finally we skied down and when we got to the bottom it was still cold because we were still outside.  When we got our skis off I wanted to go inside because it was so cold.”

Gavin wrote about his morning at school.  “On this icy cold day at my school I was so cold that I almost froze into an ice cube.  When I started playing my game of squash the ball was so cold that I almost could not touch it.  I finally was able to touch the ball so I almost didn’t get out of the game because my hands were warm.  When recess was over I was so cold that I couldn’t make it to the door because my legs were frozen.  The freezing cold weather was over. I was so glad the weather was over because I could go inside to get warmer.  I was so happy that I did not freeze into an ice cube at recess.”

Dakota had started a piece but was still working on the ending.  “Two years ago it was the coldest day in my life with lots and lots of snow and frost.  It was freezing.  I was only five.  I was with my best friend Willow.  We were going to the mountains.  It was a very long trip.  It took hours but we finally got there.  I was so excited because I never went to the mountains before.  When we finally got there I jumped out of the car but it was freezing.  I was so cold that I wanted to jump back into the car because it was colder than freezing.  Soon I started to get used to it and we started to do fun stuff like sledding and making snowballs.  When we got home I missed the mountains because it was fun.”

During the month of November, our school-wide writing theme will be gratitude with the organization as the instructional focus.  Here are the learning targets for each grade level in the writing trait of organization. Be sure to check out the sixth grade target so you know where kids are headed.

·       Tell an experience or story in a logical sequence.

First Grade
·       Write in complete sentences. 
·       Sequence two or more events.
·       Organize information using beginning, middle and end

Second Grade
·       Use correct word order in sentences.
·       Develop an idea with introductory, supporting, and concluding sentences. 
·       Sequence three or more events in a logical order

Third Grade
·       Create a single paragraph with a topic sentence, simple supporting facts and details, and a concluding sentence.
·       Organize information in clear sequence making connections and transitions among ideas, sentences, and paragraphs.

Fourth Grade
·       Writes multi-paragraph compositions that uses correct indentation and provides an inviting introductory paragraph and concludes with a paragraph that summarizes the point.
·       Present important ideas or events in sequence or chronological order.

Fifth Grade 
·       Write multi-paragraph compositions that include an engaging introduction, details to support ideas, transitions to link paragraphs, and a summarizing conclusion. 
·       Present important ideas using organizational structures such as sequential/chronological order, cause/ effect, or similarity/difference.

Sixth Grade
·   Write responses to text that demonstrate careful reading and understanding of the significant ideas of a text, using examples and evidence from the text.
·   Write research reports that pose relevant, focused questions, supporting the main idea with facts, details, examples, and explanations from multiple authoritative sources (include references used).
·   Write persuasive compositions that state a clear position supported by relevant evidence, both anticipating and addressing counter-arguments.
·   Write summaries using a formal paragraph structure that includes main ideas and significant details.

At the beginning of the year, all students in our school wrote about a treasure.  Our next school wide writing activity is going to be to write about something we appreciate.  I appreciate having an opportunity to read in a dry, warm spot. Because I know how miserable and bored I feel when I’m without a book, wet or cold, I am especially grateful for the blue chair in the corner of my bedroom. Over my head is a roof, a solid roof that protects me from the rain.  Next to the chair is a bright reading lamp.  It radiates heat.  The lamp sits on a table covered with books.  Right now Room, Mindset, The Whistling Season and College and Career Ready cover my table, just waiting to be read. Below the chair is a heater vent.  When it’s cold outside, the warm air blows on my toes.  My mom’s homemade quilts cover the arms of the chair on most days but cover me when it’s cold.  I love the patter of rain on the rooftop early in the morning.  I snuggle up with a comforter in my favorite chair and lose myself in a book. As the nights get darker and cooler, I'm finding that my son likes to sit in the same chair and read to me in the evenings.  These are quickly becoming my favorite parts of the day!  I am noticing that the great feelings associated with reading during these times are actually encouraging him to read more. 

How do you go about encouraging your child to develop positive feelings toward academic tasks?  From snuggle time and a book or a great game of cards, with darker evenings kids come in earlier so now is a great time to develop evening routines that support the love of learning. November also provides us with long weekends.  My family always looks for inexpensive ways to have fun when the kids are out of school. When we have fun adventures, we have things to write about.  One of the activities we enjoy is the Washington County Library Services Cultural Passport to Adventure.  With the Cultural Pass, we can go to AC Gilbert Discovery Village, Chinese Classical Garden, Pittock Mansion, the Children’s Museum, Japanese Garden, Rice Rock Museum or the Washington County Museum.  Each pass provides free admission to one of these spots and is available for a one-day check out from the library.  They can be reserved in advance.  Since November has so many long weekends, now might be the perfect time to have a family adventure.
Thank you for sharing your children with us!  Enjoy your long weekend.


Dr. Teresa Clemens-Brower
a.k.a.  Mrs. C.-B.

Reminders and FYI

Wish List 
*Mini-marshmallows for upcoming writing project

School Start Time
Our school day does begin each morning at 8:30 a.m. so students should be in the classroom at that time when instruction begins.  We expect all students arriving after the 8:30 a.m. bell to check in at the office. This is a procedural change from past practice at Sexton Mountain.  Please note this change on page 7 in your Student Handbook by changing the office check in time from 8:35 to 8:30.

District Goal for 2010-2015:  All students will show continuous progress toward their personal learning goals, developed in collaboration with teachers and parents, and will be prepared for post-secondary education and career success.
The Beaverton School District recognizes the diversity and worth of all individuals and groups.  It is the policy of the Beaverton School District that there will be no discrimination or harassment of individuals or groups based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, marital status, age, veterans' status, genetic information or disability in any educational programs, activities or employment. 

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