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Monday, October 15, 2012

Science, Vocabulary and Conferences-October 16, 2012

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                

Monday morning seemed so quiet here at Sexton Mountain.  Was it the overcast sky?  Perhaps the patter of rain on the rooftop all night lulled kids into a mellow state.  Maybe it was the nonverbal communication strategies that teachers were using from their Friday training.  All in all, it was the perfect morning for learning.

I slipped into the back of Mr.  Tsakistos’ fifth grade classroom as students were talking about the Felix Baumgartner’s world record free fall jump.  Students discussed questions they had about the fabric of the suit he wore and other variables that may have added to Baumgartner’s success.  Mr. T. then shared the learning target for the science lesson they were about to have, kids linked the conversation about weekend news right to their learning.   By the end of the lesson, students would be able to explain how scientists investigate problems in different ways. Using the document camera, the teacher showed the book and referred students to the learning target posted there too.  Next, children watched a short video clip of a Ferrari in a wind tunnel.  Kids listed questions that scientists might be trying to answer by observing this.  They were hard at work when I left. 

As I made my way back to the office, I was thinking about several things.  First, students need to have a lot of academic language in order to talk about the work of scientists.  I was reminded that the more students read, the more likely they are to have a strong vocabulary.  I’m glad the science program our 4th and 5th grade teachers are using provides so many opportunities.  Second, I thought about how much technology was used in my short visit.  From projecting the book so that all could see as he pointed out features of text that make reading non-fiction more understandable to showing a short video clip that illustrated a point, Mr. T. used tools to captivate the kids.    Finally, I thought about how quick kids were to generate questions about the clip and textbook.  Next they wrote the questions on index cards.  This helped the room feel quiet and focused while helping kids organize their ideas.  It was a good day to be a learner at Sexton Mountain School.

Great things are happening here every day!  I’m sure that you are looking forward to your conference this week!   It will be a power-packed 15 minutes!  Teachers also look forward to goal setting with you.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Take Care,

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


First Grade
Second Grade
Addition and Subtraction
Third Grade
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
Fourth Grade
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
Fifth Grade
Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
Week Of Sept. 24
Week of October 2
Week of October 9

Thanks to our amazing volunteers for correcting all these equations!

Number Story Problem of the Week
Here is a problem for your family to think about and discuss.  This is just for fun.  We know that talking about it together will build math vocabulary.  This week take your child with you to the grocery store.  There are likely piles or bins of pumpkins.  Carefully help your child lift a pumpkin then estimate it’s weight.  Take it to a scale and see how close their estimation was to the actual weight.  Do this several times.  How many pumpkins could you buy for $10?  How much do you think all the pumpkins at the store might weigh if added together?  Talk about how you could figure this out.  What other math topics could be discussed using pumpkins?

Upcoming Events
October 17     Family Bingo Night 6:30pm in the Cafeteria
October 18     Conferences-No School
October 19     Conferences-No School
October 24     Passport Club Check Day(Grades 3,4,5)
October 25     Spirit Assembly at 8:25am
November 9   Staff Development Day-No School
November 12 Holiday-No School
November 14 Passport Club Check Day(Grades 3,4,5)
November 16 Family Dance 6:30-8:30pm
The Family Dance is intended to bring families together for a fun, social opportunity.  Parents will stay with children and enjoy time as a family so that everyone has fun.  The evening will start with a special time from 6:30-7:00pm just for kindergarten students.  Wiggles songs, the Chicken Dance, and songs targets for the younger group will be featured during this time. The success of the event is dependent on volunteers.  If you can help, contact Kate at
November 21 Budget Reduction Day-No School
November 22  Thanksgiving Holiday-No School
November 23 School Closed-No School
November 30 Holiday Bazaar
December 3  Grading Day-No School
December 2-7  Beaverton Elks Canned Food Drive
December 7 Barnes and Noble Family Literacy Night and Book Fair (at Tanasbourne) 4:00-8:00pm
December 19 Passport Club Check Day(Grades 3,4,5)
December 20 Spirit Assembly at 8:25
December 21 First Day of Winter Vacation (Yes this is a Friday with no school.)

Wish List--These are little things or jobs that will make a difference to our kids. Feel free to send them in.
·         Celebrations-Please e-mail me if you have a school related celebration or send in a written note about the celebration. Celebrations inspire our work.
·         Volunteer to organize our storage portable.  As we cleaned this summer many things when out there but it wasn’t neat and tidy.  If organizing is your gift, contact Mrs. CB.
·         Volunteers to distribute math vocabulary words before school once a week.  Kids will wear a word in the form of a sticker once a week.  Would you like to help pass out stickers from 8:05-8:25 on a day of your choice? 
·         Donation of small prizes for the music class prize box.
·         Donation of snack sized baggies for upcoming school-wide writing project
·         Donation of Indian Corn for upcoming school-wide writing project
·         Donation of colorful popcorn kernels (ie-Amish Country Rainbow Blend popcorn) for upcoming school-wide writing project
·         Donation of bird’s nests (we are hoping to collect 36 by January) for a school-wide writing project.  Please send them in in a zip lock back.
·         Volunteer to assembly booklets for emergent readers (this job can be done at home and sent home with your child through backpack mail)
·         Loan of hot air popcorn machine November 2-15

Spotlight on Staff-Meet Holly Cohn
Please join me in welcoming Holly Cohn to our first grade team.  Teaching is Mrs. Cohn's second career. In her earlier life she was a medical writer and editor for Oregon Health Sciences University. She wrote articles explaining advances in medical care, took photographs and coordinated design of publications for the university.   After her two sons were born Mrs. Cohn volunteered to help children with math and writing in their classrooms. She loved it and decided to change careers.  Mrs. Cohn grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Other things you might not guess about her: She once rode a camel in Israel just to see how it compared with horseback; she spent some time living and studying in Avignon, France; and she recently visited the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany to help an older family member reconnect with his past. Mrs. Cohn loves teaching first grade. When she's not at school she likes to be outdoors walking her dog, hiking with her husband, or visiting  their sons in San Francisco and New York.  We are thrilled that Mrs. Cohn has come to Sexton Mountain.

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