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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reading, Rain, and Preparing for the Future-October 1, 2013

Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

There’s nothing better than a great story.  When I visited Mr. Pfaff’s room on Monday afternoon, kids were listening to the teacher read a mystery.  As he read, students were charged with making meaningful predictions or connections.  Based on what they knew about mysteries, what did they think would happen?  Based on their own life experiences or other books they’d read, what connections did they make? 

The group seemed to hang on Mr. Pfaff’s every word.  They knew he would call on random people to share so all were ready with an answer when he stopped and invited individuals to respond.  The story described the main character going to the library and meeting up with a bully.  Ethan was able to describe the behaviors he labeled as those a bully would show then made a prediction about what would happen next.  Quinn added to the prediction by sharing that often in books, the child who was bullied prevailed.  He predicted what would happen as the two competed in a sailing match.  Both boys used vocabulary from the text and supported their opinion with details.  Next, all kids turned to a partner and shared their thinking about the text.  By fifth grade, students will be able to develop an interpretation of texts using a variety of skills such as predictions, and varied connections. They will support ideas with both explicitly stated and implied textual evidence.  By fifth grade, students will be able to respond to text in writing and will be able to do this independently.  Mr. Pfaff’s read aloud is teaching the habits of mind needed to move to the next level.

This is just one example of what kids are doing during the day.  The content and process coupled with all of the other exciting things makes each day an adventure!  The rain has added a new aspect to our learning this week as kids are relearning how to stay dry.  Vivian Green wrote, “Life isn’t about waiting for storms to pass…. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” On Sunday I dressed in my best rain gear and joined others for the Walk to Defeat ALS.  Green’s quote was on the back of my team shirt so I was reminded once again that attitude can certainly make the journey more enjoyable.  Though I had dressed for the weather, an especially deep puddle left me with soaked socks.  It was a treat to change into dry clothes in the car.   It seems that we have some students who frequently find the deep puddles and they love to dance in the rain!  As a result of their choices on the way to school or at recess, we sometimes have distracted learners during the day.  Sloshing shoes, soaked socks or wet clothes can take the focus away from learning.  Some kids find that an extra pair of shoes and socks comes in handy on wet days. 

Many of our kids don’t let the rain get in the way of having fun or participating in special activities.  National Walk and Bike to School Day is Wednesday, October 9.  Parents will notice that our traffic flow is AMAZING on this day because so many parents opt to walk to school with kids.  If students walk or bike to school that morning they can get a special treat from the table in front of school.  We hope to have volunteers serve at an entry table as walkers arrive to disperse treats.  Please let Mrs. CB know if you can cover this job from 8:05-8:30am or for the afternoon kindergarten session from 12:30-12:35pm.

This year we have had a huge group of kids participating on the Walking School Bus days.  Volunteers are always welcome to join the group!  Mr. Hayhurst mentioned how much he appreciates the extra adults, so know that if you join the group you will make at least one person’s day.

Great things are happening for kids at Sexton Mountain.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!


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

Talented and Gifted Services
Every year students are considered for Talented and Gifted services in Beaverton School District.  These services are provided by your child's classroom teacher(s).  If you think your child might qualify, you may wish to complete the Parent Information Form that is available in our school’s office.  Completing this form gives our school TAG committee more information about your child, but it is not required.  All qualified students will be considered regardless of its completion.

Oregon law and District policy define gifted students as those who score at or above the 97th percentile on a standardized, nationally normed test of mental ability and/or academic achievement.  Behavioral, learning, and/or performance information is also considered before a student is identified for TAG services.

The Parent Information Form must be completed and returned to our school’s TAG facilitator, Michele Cobain-Soto (, or the school’s office.

THANK YOU-We are so lucky to have an active and involved community, willing to do special things for our kids.  When we work together, our kids benefit.
·           Thanks to the Karen Stratton for writing a Beaverton Education Foundation Grant.  She was awarded $1000 to fund the We the People Project for all of our fifth graders.  This grant pays for transportation costs for a trip to Salem in May.
·           Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with Picture Day! 
·           Thanks to all the volunteers who are serving students at Art Literacy Volunteers.  Our students LOVE Art Literacy time!

Wish List-These are things or jobs that make a difference to our kids, teachers or school. Send in items or let Mrs. CB know if you can volunteer.
       Baby wipes will be put to good use if donated to our school.  Feel free to send donations to the office.
       A volunteer is needed to cut apart sheets of stickers to make them easier to give to kids.  This is a job that can be done at home and sent through backpack mail.  Let Mrs. CB know if you can do this.
       A volunteer with a long bed pick up truck is needed to take the old bike rack to Far West Fibers for recycling.  Let Mrs. CB know if you can do this.
       Volunteers willing to correct math pages at home are needed to help with our school wide fact fluency effort.  We have resumed our weekly math timed tests and need about 20 more volunteers.  Materials and directions will be sent home in backpack mail and should be returned the next day.  If you can correct a class set of papers once a week, please let Mrs. CB know.
       Volunteers are needed to serve as part of our Wear a Word Wednesday team.  Let Mrs. CB know if you can do this.  Some work can be done at home but volunteers are needed to serve on Wednesdays from 8:00-8:30am.
       Volunteers are needed to help on October 9 from 8:00-8:30 as students come for the National Bike and Walk to School Day.  This will be a really FUN project!

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