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Monday, October 29, 2012

Math, Maps, and Learning Teams-October 30, 2012



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Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                              


Last Wednesday as students arrived for school, I asked them to think of a math word that started with the letter “b” for Wear-a-Word-Wednesday.  I was hoping to spark their math thinking before they picked up their math word sticker inside but I was getting some interesting responses.  “Brazil!” and “Bhuton!” were both answers and it took me a while before I realized kids had MAPS on their minds for Passport Check Day.  From our volunteer doing mini-math vocabulary lessons to our team of Passport Club map quizzers, our school was abuzz with activity.  Exciting things were happening at school that day!  In fact, as I visited classes last week, students were learning and teachers were teaching.  My weekend ended as I observed the second and third graders gathered in the pod singing together.  There are not many better ways to end a week than hearing two hundred voices reciting a poem or singing a song in unison.  Life is good at Sexton Mountain School.

The adults in our building were busy learning last week too!  At one of our bi-weekly staff meetings each month, teachers will be learning about the national Common Core Standards (CCS).  This month we learned about moving toward the CCS in writing and what that will look like at each level.  Between now and February, teachers will be gathering student work for a moderated scoring session with others at the same grade level across the District.   When teams of teachers come together to look at student work and share practice, great things happen for kids.  In addition to staff meetings, we are finding other ways to carve out time to meet as Learning Teams.

During the development of the 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, the community and School Board identified college and career readiness for all as the outcome for students in the Beaverton School District. The core strategy for achieving this outcome was identified as teacher collaboration, or Learning Teams.

In order to build shared knowledge and understanding about the role of Learning Teams in individual student learning, the District will provide various learning opportunities for parents and community members. Each school will host a parent/community meeting this fall to engage in conversations about Learning Teams. Principals and teachers will address questions as well as take suggestions from parents and community members regarding Learning Teams.  Following the PTC meeting this Friday, I will provide an information session on Learning Teams.  Look for more information about Learning Teams in upcoming newsletters as well.

In addition to our PTC meeting this week, there will be many opportunities to come to school. Please remember that EACH and EVERY time you come to school, you wear your volunteer badge or pick up a visitor’s sticker.  We want our staff and children to know that you have checked in at the office.  We also ask that all adults remind those in the building to be properly identified.  If we are in the habit of following this expectation, we will create a safer environment for our students.  Thanks so much for ALL you do to make our school a special place for our kids!

Take Care,


Dr. Teresa Clemens-Brower
a.k.a. Mrs. C.-B.
Principal
Upcoming Events
November 2        CEC Meeting at 9:00am
November 2        PTC Meeting at 9:30am
November 2   Learning Teams Presentation Following PTC meeting in Portable 6
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 Kate_Kristiansen@yahoo.com.
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.
·          Volunteer to organize our storage portable wanted.   If organizing is your gift, contact Mrs. CB.
·          Donation of bird’s nests (we are hoping to collect 36 by January) for a school-wide writing project.  Please send them in a zip lock bag.
·          Donation of $10 Powell’s or Barnes and Noble gift cards for Ms. Kimball to use as prizes for the Adopt a Bookshelf Program.
·          Donation of photos of Oregon Mountain ranges.  We still need the Steins, Siskiyous, and Strawberry mountain ranges.  Did you know that in the early years of Sexton Mountain School, each pod was named after a mountain range?
·          Volunteer needed to make math vocabulary posters for Wear a Word Wednesday.  This is a job that can be done entirely at home after picking up the materials from school.
·          Volunteer needed to make math stickers for Wear a Word Wednesday.  This job can be done at school or home but access to Microsoft Word is needed.
 
Thanks to:
·          Thanks to Steve Rawley for the beautiful picture of Mt. Hood.  As we move back to returning pod names to the Oregon mountain ranges they were originally named after, this picture will help kids understand the beauty of our state.
·          Thank you to the Namdar and Vondecamp families for generously donating gently used children’s books for classroom libraries.  Books in the kids of hands—a very good thing!
·          Kudos to Trisha Thompson for cleaning up the staff room each afternoon.  You save teacher’s time and that is a true gift!!
·          Thanks to Stacy Namdar for a beautiful picture of the Blue Mountains.  This picture shows that eastern Oregon is not only beautiful but also shows evidence that agriculture is a chief contributor to the economy and continues to be a way of life for many of the state’s residents.
 
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. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Learning, Kindness, and Family Time-October 23, 2012


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                              

The BEST part of my job is watching teachers teach and learners learn.  As I visited second and fifth grade classrooms today I saw kids hard at work learning math.  Some students were applying a “doubles plus or minus one” strategy to solve equations.  Others were comparing objects using words like heavier, heaviest, and less than.  Others were using a spring scale and a pan scale to compare items.  Children were solving number stories, using knowledge of place value to solve problems, and talking about probability.  I visited seven classrooms and different things were happening in each room yet ALL kids were focused on grade level learning targets.  Individual teacher talents coupled with different groups of children result in teachers do things differently but they are all working toward the same targets.  Great things are happening at Sexton Mountain!  Thank you for sharing your children with us!

It was certainly nice to see so many families last week for conferences!  It’s amazing how much information can be shared in 15 minutes.  Thanks for working with teachers to have such a productive time!  It was also great fun to see so many families at Family Bingo Night!  Applause to Heather Hough and Abeer Awad for planning and implementing such fun night!  Kids were actively engaged in the games and parents were too!  Kudos to Mr. Miller for being the caller for the night!

We have so many kind people in our building.  Our fourth graders are currently working to implement a school-wide Kindness Club. Kyler, Nick, Madison, Savanna, Taylor, Kristin, Esme, Jacob and Romy have been brainstorming strategies for increasing the number of kind acts displayed by students in our school.  From skits to posters, stickers to compliment catchers, this group has been focused on creating a culture of caring in our building.  At our Thursday assembly, their first invitation for action will occur.  Be sure to follow up with your child Thursday afternoon to see if he or she is inspired by this group!

As I reflect back on the past 32 days of school, I am amazed by how well our students, staff and community have adapted to all the changes.   We are continuing to work out bumps and refine our practice.  One thing that you should know is that our new student information system had a spot for families to give permission for medication like Tylenol or Advil to be administered at school.  Many of you checked this box but we will not distribute medication to students at school unless you have brought it to school, signed it in and given clear guidelines about how it is to be dispensed.  The section on the student verification form is not accurate so please know that we won’t have medicine for you child unless you’ve brought it.  Please let me know if you have questions.

Again, thank you for sharing your children with us!  Have a great week!
  
Take Care,



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

Upcoming Events
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 Kate_Kristiansen@yahoo.com.
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.
·         Volunteer to organize our storage portable wanted.  We cleaned out many things this summer but it wasn’t neat and tidy.  If organizing is your gift, contact Mrs. CB.
·         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.
·         Personal shopper needed—If you love to shop, there are often small things that need to be purchased for our school.  The shopper will be reimbursed.  If you love to shop, contact Mrs. CB.

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.
Principal


HOW MANY EQUATIONS CAN WE SOLVE IN ONE-MINUTE?

First Grade
Addition
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
***************
717
1335
1852
2785
Week of October 2
***************
1000
1497
2222
3066
Week of October 9
178
1033
1779
2668
3015

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 Kate_Kristiansen@yahoo.com.
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.