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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Self-Managers and Earthquakes-October 15, 2013

Dear Sexton Mountain Families:

My mom called Saturday morning with happy news.  They had been searching for a puppy since July and finally found one!  The yet to be named pup is described as “super smart and absolutely perfect as long as you hold her all the time and listen to her closely so you know if she needs to go out.” 

I’m not sure if she realized that her comments showed that the dog was training THEM to meet her every need but my parents were thrilled to have the opportunity to do so.   As a teacher, for decades, my mom’s goal was to make sure that all of those in her charge would develop the skills they needed to be independent of her.   

Her puppy statement is the PERFECT example of what we DO NOT want for our kids.  We want our students to grow in their ability to self-manage, self-assess and self-advocate .  We want them to be able to build the skills in the safe environment of school so that they are able to move to the next level confidently. 

In College and Career Ready:  Helping All Students Succeed Beyond High School, Conley notes that one of the academic behaviors successful students show is self-management.  Self-monitoring, self-awareness, and self-control are independent of cognitive strategies or content but should and can be practiced daily.  When I ask students to reflect on why they need to do their best work in school today, replies often include, “so I can get a good job someday” or “so I can get into a good college” but I often remind them that their work today, gets them ready for their work tomorrow.  Teachers are working daily to build skills, including self-management skills, so that students can become increasingly independent. 

THINK-KNOW-ACT-GO-You’ve likely seen the posters around our building with these words.  We want our students to THINK creatively and critically, KNOW core content, ACT in a self-directed and collaborative way, and GO into our community and world and be able to navigate locally and globally.

By Sunday, my dad shared that if she’s not being held or posed for pictures, the new pup likes to chew and runs from the house.   Because their house backs BLM land full of hawks and coyotes, she will need to learn to stick close to the house EVEN when adults aren’t around.  While they love to baby her now, I’m sure my mom will realize that this pup needs to learn how to be obedient even when she’s not being held.   By the third day in their home, the puppy was getting specific feedback on what she is doing well and what she should do differently.

On November 6 and 7 we will not have school so that teachers can conference with families to set goals for the upcoming year.  This will be a time for teachers to share with families and families to share with teachers about the hopes and dreams for the year as you work together to complete your child’s Plan and Profile.  We know that when we are honest with kids about their strengths and weaknesses they are able to focus their effort to build on their strengths to address gaps. 

We know that we need to give specific feedback in order to correct some behaviors or work habits.  We also want to provide strategies for kids to use when we are not there, as independence is our goal.  In the case of the chewing puppy, a strategy might be to provide an appropriate chew toy.  In the case of a learning student, the possibilities are endless.  Please let me know if I can help you brainstorm specific strategies for your child.

Today we had our first Earthquake Drill of the school year.  This was a district-wide drill that had been scheduled months ago so all students across the Beaverton School District participated.  During earthquake drills students are to duck under cover, cover their eyes or faces and hold on to desk legs to keep them from bouncing away.  Have you practiced earthquake or fire drills at your house?  Does your family have a plan or a meeting spot?  Today might be a great day to revisit your plan. 

As I listened to the news this morning, I heard about an earthquake in another part of the world.  I would guess that if students hear the news later in the day, they will have many questions about earthquakes and earthquake safety. Younger students have different questions than older students (especially older children who may sometimes be home alone). Knowing that you have a plan, just like our school has a plan, can reassure students.  

Thanks for sharing your children with us!


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

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 Kruhm family for the generous donation of magazines.
·         Thanks to Robyn Fuenmayor and Lori Urioste for the donation of baby wipes.
·         Thanks to Holly Heaver and family for providing scones for staff on Friday.
·         Thanks to Jessica Wang for cutting our hundreds of Eagles Eyes for us.
·         Thanks to  Judith Yan for volunteering to copy math pages for our weekly Fact Fluency Checks.

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.
       Donations of NEW child sized underwear for our Health Room. 

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