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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dance, Math, Community Service and More-November 20, 2012

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                

Radiant!  Yes.  She was RADIANT!  Aglow with the joy of making connections with friends, having FUN at school when it’s usually hard work, and energized by 90 minutes of moving and grooving to her favorite songs, she asked, “When is the next dance?”

Kate Kristiansen, Family Dance Coordinator, missed out on this RADIANT student’s enthusiasm about the event but hopefully, Kate knows that MANY enjoyed this community-building event as much as our RADIANT student did.  Students seemed to know the lyrics of every song.  Kids love watching 50+ fifth graders go from Zombies to Michael Jackson backup dancers as they performed Thriller.  Many stopped to catch their breath at the writing table.   Thirty-one minutes after the disco ball was turned off, the whole cafeteria was cleaned up and the school was quiet thanks to the tear-down crew.

Family events bring our adults and kids together for fun or learning.  Without amazing volunteers like Kate and her team to set up, clean up, and monitor, our school wouldn’t as often feel like the hub of the community.  The gifts and talents of many contribute to the success of Sexton Mountain.  I am grateful that I work in a place were kids can have fun and where sometimes reluctant learners can RADIATE with joy!

Not only are our parents serving our school but we have community members doing so as well.  When my son and I pulled into the parking lot Sunday afternoon, ready to assemble math games, we found a team from Generations Church (the group that rents our cafeteria on Sunday morning) raking leaves and loading them into trucks.  Small kids worked next to parents and grandparents to joyfully do the task.  With knee-high boots and yellow slickers, they didn’t seem to mind the rain and our school grounds looked so nice!  Again, we are lucky to have so many willing to make our school awesome!

Though we’ve had a very short week of instruction, our teachers have been hard at work making sure that students are building skills they will need for future success.  Fifth graders were all engage in math activities as I did my learning walk Monday afternoon.  In Mrs. Tanksley’s room, Sadie and Thomas were drawing angles, estimating the measure of the angle, describing the angle then measuring each angle.  Watching them refine their estimates through practice was interesting.  In Mrs. Krueger’s room, Tommy described the characteristics of scalene triangles, Wanis described isocesels triangles and Ayu described equilateral triangles.  In Mrs. McGill’s class,  students were working in three different groups to complete tasks related to angles.  Some were working independently to measure and label line segments using different tools.  Others were working with a volunteer to measure and discuss obtuse, acute, straight and reflex angles.  A third group was also working on a project related to angles.  In Mr. Tsakistos’ room, students were drawing different polygons then deciding if they tessalate.  A volunteer was helping Mr. T. support individual students as they worked.  ALL students were using higher level thinking skills as they worked toward 5th grade geometry targets.  Though teachers were using different approaches, I could easily see how their work would support end of unit goals.   

I know from the many notes of appreciation you sent my way to share with teachers that I am not the only one who is thankful for the work our staff does on a daily basis for our students.   I invite you to continue to share your child’s success stories and enthusiasm with your child’s teacher.  Your words of encouragement mean so much!  I am encouraged daily by the support parents, staff, students and community members offer.  On Thanksgiving Day, my family will talk about things we are thankful for and the Sexton Mountain community will be one of the things I list.  Have a great long weekend!

Take Care,

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

Thank you!
Thank you Generations Church for cleaning up the leaves last weekend!
Thanks to Tracy Peterson for a generous donation of gift cards for Staff Eagle Eye type drawings.  Thanks also for this great idea!
Thanks to Jim Holmen for sharing great videos to encourage kids to get to the library!
Thanks to all who wrote letters to staff members.  Monday was a fun day as teachers enjoyed reading their letters.  They were presented in a file folder so that the collection can be added to throughout the year.
Thank you Steven Simpson for sharing ideas for math problem solving.  Your framework for systematically solving problems was helpful.
Thank you Heidi Elliott for making laptops in the 2ndand 3rd grade pod usable.  The kids were thrilled to easily use the computers.
Thanks to Jacob Brower for assembling 50 math games for teachers.
Thank you Quach family for your generous donation of hand soap.  It will keep 600 hands clean for two weeks!
Thank you Aki Mori for coming back to help with the Family Dance last Friday.  Thanks for sharing your high-school perspective and reminding me what a joy it is to work in such an amazing elementary school environment.
Thank you Herring family for your donation of scented liquid hand soap.  Students delighted in this special treat!

Upcoming Events
November 21 Budget Reduction Day-No School
November 22-23  Thanksgiving Holiday-No School
November 29  Spirit Assembly at 8:35am
December 3  Grading Day-No School
December 2-7  Beaverton Elks Canned Food Drive
December 7  CEC Meeting at 9:00am and PTC at 9:30am
December 7 Barnes and Noble Family Literacy Night and Book Fair (at Tanasbourne) 4:00-8:00pm
December 7 Dining for Dollars Night at Red Robin Tanasbourne
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.
·           Math correctors needed.  We have a team who corrects student math papers from home but we could use 4 more. 
·           Gallon sized Ziploc bags—We are in the process of assembling math games for students to play with volunteers, at home or in the class. Having all materials together in one bag will save teacher prep time and student learning time.
·           Donation of benches for front entry. We’d love to have a spot just inside our doors for kids or parents to wait on rainy days at dismissal time.
·           Volunteers to help with a Career Day/College Day later in the year.  Would you be willing to share information about your career with students?  Later in the year we are going to have a day when kids can learn about different jobs in our community and how different colleges a better matches for some careers..  
·           Donation of liquid hand soap.  With recess before lunch, we have supervisors making sure that students wash hands before going to the cafeteria.  Hand washing is required by the Health Department.  We’ve found that if kids get a pump of hand soap before they go into the restroom, they leave the restroom with cleaner hands. 
·           Donation of $10 Powell’s or Barnes and Noble gift cards for Ms. Kimball to use as prizes for the Adopt a Bookshelf Program.

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