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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vocabulary Development, Progress Reporting and Super Heroes-December 9, 2014

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                                                          

This morning one of our fourth graders was walking his younger brother to school when a flock of geese flew over.  The geese were honking and were flying chaotically.  Ethan told his younger brother how he knew they were geese and not ducks. He described their shape, color and sound.  I caught just a snippet of their conversation but was reminded about the importance of experiential learning and the rich vocabulary development that takes place when conversations happen. 

One of my professional goals this year is to support oral language and vocabulary development.  I believe that if children have a strong vocabulary they will do better in all content areas.  On the Easy CBM assessment students take in the fall, winter and spring, there is a strand of the assessment that measures vocabulary on the 2nd - 5th grade assessment.  Student responses give us an idea of a child’s risk level and help us to understand who might need extra help.  On the vocabulary portion of the fall assessment, 34% of 2nd graders, 42% of 3rd graders, 31% of 4th graders, and 36% of 5th graders fell in the some or high risk range.  We will be doing many things at school to reduce the number of students falling in the high or some risk range but WE need your help!  Please TALK to your child and READ to your child.  Talk to your child about what you are reading.  Take advantage of time in the car to listen to an audio book.  When you take walks, talk about your observations.  When you go to the store, talk about what you see.  When you make dinner together, talk about the ingredients, where they come from or how they are made. 

Do you need inspiration?  Visit the links below:

Report cards will come home in backpack mail today.  Remember that marks are based on year-end standards so don’t panic if you see 1s or 2s.  Pay close attention to the Learning Progress (+ significant, = steady, ‐ minimal) section of each area. At school we are using every available minute to maximize learning.  Your teacher has probably already shared some of the interventions we are trying to implement for your child if he or she is not making the progress we’d expect. If your child is making minimal progress, you may want to put a plan in place to add more support for the upcoming term.  In most cases, more time on the task of practicing the skill or concept makes a difference. 

If your child is making minimal progress in reading, provide more time for reading practice at home.  Borrow books from the leveled book room near the stage so you can match books to their reading level.  Have your child tell you about what they are reading.  See if he/she can come up with a concise sentence to describe what was read.  Practicing this orally will make the transfer to writing later come much more easily.  Practice makes proficient! 

If your child is making minimal progress in math, provide more time for math practice at home.  Have your child share math homework and what they did.  Encourage them to use their words to describe what they’ve done.   The Learning Targets are posted on the report card.  I’ve included some links below as additional support.

Teachers and students have worked VERY hard during the first trimester and gathering information to show how your child is progressing is complex work.  In honor of their super effort, I am officially declaring Thursday, December 11 Super Hero Day.  I am making soup for our super hero staff.  I invite children to honor teachers on Thursday by dressing as a super hero (in a way that won’t distract learning) AND write a note of appreciation to a staff member.  Kids can play with vocabulary, language and higher thinking skills by comparing and contrasting staff to super heroes.  Sexton Mountain School exists to make sure the children in our area develop the skills and habits of mind so that they will be ready for a wide-range of post secondary options.  I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of people!


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

  • ·       Thanks to the Chang family for donating a wagon to our school.  We need just one more.
  • ·       Thanks to Kate Kristiansen for donating bubble wrap to our school for sensory boxes.
  • ·       Thanks to all who volunteered to help with last week’s program.  
  •         Thanks to Jenny Tan for capturing the performance on video.  Check out the links below:

       1st Grade

2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th Grade
5th Grade
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.

  • ·       Mrs. CB is providing soup for a staff appreciation lunch on Thursday, December 11.  If you would like to contribute a salad, bread or dessert, please send it to school by 10:00 on Thursday.  Thanks!

  • ·       We need 1 wagon to add to our LUNCH WAGON collection.  

  • ·       A parent to run to Air Delights on 5th Street to pick up Microburst refills (see Mrs. Z)

Upcoming Events
December 9-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
December 19  PJ Day (Students have earned enough Eagle Eyes for a spirit day.  PJ Day will be December 19.)
December 22-January 2-Winter Break- No School
January 5- School Resumes
January 13-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
January 18-Martin Luther King Jr. Day-No School
January 26-Staff Development Day-No School
February 10-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
February 16-Presidents’ Day-No School
February 18-PTC Art Fair 6:30-8:00
February 19-20 Parent-Teacher Conferences-No School
March 7-PTC Learn and Play Auction
March 9-12 Book Fair
March 10-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
March 12 Kindergarten Orientation at 4:00pm
March13 Grading Day - No School
March 23-27-Spring Break-No School
April 9- One School One Book Literacy Night-6:30-7:30pm
April 14-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
April 23-Jog-a-thon
April 23-PTC Science Fair
April 24 Staff Development Day-No School
May 12-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 15-PTC Carnival
May 21-Volunteer Appreciation Day
May 22 Staff Development Day- No School
May 25 Memorial Day-No School
June 5 Field Day
June 9-PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
June 12 Last Day of School


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