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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tests, Lollipop Ladies, and Reading Across the Content Areas-December 10, 2013

Dear Sexton Mountain Families,

I spent my Budget Reduction Day at the Sherwood DMV with a very nervous 15 year old. I was reminded about several things related to assessing a child’s knowledge and skills while there and made some connections to the report card (coming home in backpacks today).

  • §  Passing the knowledge portion of the test does not mean that skills are at the same level.  The last question on Jacob’s test had to do with how far in advance to put on the turn signal.  He aced it on the test but an hour later, could not remember to do so as we came to intersections in an empty parking lot. 
o   Scores on the report card reflect a students’ progress toward end of year targets.  It could be that they have the basic knowledge now (like my son on his test) but end of year expectations call for the student to apply the knowledge (like my son during driving).  Knowing the year-end targets will help understand grades.  Visit the link below to become familiar with the targets.

  • §  Reading comprehension, really understanding what is being asked of you, is essential on any government form.  Part of college and career readiness is being able to navigate locally and globally.  Strong reading and critical thinking skills make life easier near and far.
o   Reading grades on the report card include accuracy, fluency and comprehension.  Comprehension goes beyond recalling basic facts.  Evaluative and inferential comprehension require deep thinking. Reading skills are applied in every other content area. If kids can answer basic questions about a text (ie-what color is the dog) it doesn’t necessarily mean they are comprehending at the level they need to in order to score at the proficient level. 

  • §  A strong vocabulary is necessary for strong comprehension.  “Maiden name” was an unfamiliar term for Jacob on one of the forms.  There were many other words that I assumed he wouldn’t know but because he understood word origins, he figured them out. 
o   The academic vocabulary used in each content area along with the process vocabulary for describing and defending thinking are taught at Sexton Mountain every day.   When you check out the learning targets, check out the Speaking and Literacy targets in the Literacy section to see what kids are expected to do.

  • §  Friendly people make all the difference in the world.  Though he was very nervous, the greeter at the Information Station, the testing person and even the man who took his picture SMILED, joked and gave important information in a way that he understood.
o   Our teachers have worked very hard to transition to the new grading system.  Friendly conversations to answer questions are always appreciated as we figure out this new tool for communicating progress.

Because driving is the focus in our family right now and my son has such a strong desire to drive to school, school zone safety has been a topic of discussion.  For the first time in his life, he really understands why crossing at a corner is much safer than anywhere on the street.  He was actually irritated by a pedestrian when one crossed where he wasn’t expecting them to.   He is asking questions about the Lollipop Lady (a term our friends uses for school crossing guards) and why some intersections near schools have them and some don’t. (In Beaverton we get them for the more dangerous or heavily traveled streets like 155th).   He was shocked to find the survival rate for pedestrians (hit even at slow speeds-like at 20mph in a school zone) is not 100%.  In just one day, the number of questions asked, theories tested and big “ah-ha” moments have been too many to count. 

As our children grow up, we realize how critical the years, weeks, days, and hours have been in making sure they are ready for the next step.  All of their experiences prepare them for independence (or not) so we must use time wisely!  Thank you for sharing your child with us on this very special journey! 


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 ISB student Nezar Awad and Mason Lunz for organizing all of the boxes for the canned food drive and for keeping things organized.
  • §  Thanks to Xan Eriksson for a donation of kids’ magazines for the cafeteria.  Kids love to read these!
  • §  Thanks to the McColl family for Kerig cup cocoa and coffee for our staff.  What a treat!!
  • §  Thanks to Holly Medell for a generous donation of coffee grounds for the staffroom coffee maker.  What a treat!

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.
       Volunteers to help with our Canfield (Senior Citizen) Lunch Buddies on the last Thursday of every month from 11:15-12:15 as they have lunch with our second and third graders.  This month we need helpers on December 19.
       Mr. Miller would like tripods to mount ipads for students to use in PE.  They are using really cool apps to analyze performance but we need more tripods.  If you have a sturdy tripod to donate, please send it to Mr. Miller.
       Donations for our teachers projects. 
  •           Please cross 155th with the crossing guard.
  •           There are parts of 155th where a parked car can block traffic, causing quite a traffic jam.  Please avoid parking near the speed bumps and median.  A non-example is below.

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