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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Evidence, Elaboration, and Equipping Children with the Skills for Their Future-February 3, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:                                                                                                  

Sunday night my husband would not stop talking.  He went on and on about last minute decisions and what he hoped different people learned by what he perceived as a mistake.  Learning from mistakes or disappointments can be powerful.  In fact, Carol Dwek’s Growth Mindset talks about how resilient children do just that.  They consider failure as an opportunity to refine and improve practice.  Michael Jordan was a great example of an athlete who modeled this for his fans.  I hope that our students will get to learn great lessons from powerful models this week too.

Last week I shared information about using evidence from the text to build understanding at deeper levels and I provided some sentence starts that you could use to help your child think more powerfully and purposefully about characters. By having evidence based discussions, children are able to develop a new understanding of the text and therefore learn about the world.  We are preparing children for an ever changing world and close reading is a skill that will help them think critically and creatively, know important content, act in a self-direct and collaborative way and be able to go into the world to navigate locally and globally.

This week, I am going to revisit building a robust vocabulary through reading by looking for evidence in the text to build a better understanding of word meaning.  Again, close reading is a skill that will build college and career readiness skills so that our children will be prepared for a wide range of post-secondary options.  It’s important!  I’m going to share with you my observation of first graders using evidence from the text to build vocabulary. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sub when a teacher was called away unexpectedly.   The students read an article in a Scholastic News magazine about Martin Luther King Junior.  Nonfiction articles often use the text feature of putting a word in bold print when it’s important, so I asked students about the word “segregation” and if we could use evidence from the paragraph to make a best guess about the meaning of the word.  We read the paragraph then came back to the meaning of the word.


The students decided that segregation meant separated and they provided evidence from the text to support their thinking. Dominique referred to the example from the text telling how groups of people couldn’t use the same drinking fountains.  Jakob noted that signs in other books he’d read said, “whites only” and Isabella referred to the part of the text that told that people of color  had to sit in separate parts of the bus than white people.  One word in one paragraph provided a rich opportunity for discussion about vocabulary.  Ainsley compared the article to a book her family was reading and she was able to elaborate on Isabella’s statement using evidence from the text she had read.  Six and seven year olds had a rich discussion on the meaning of the word and they were able to use evidence from the text to support their thinking. 

Curious kids construct meaning through conversation and conversation becomes more precise and purposeful as kids play with language.  I hope that students will know when they come to a word they don’t know the meaning of they can work to determine the meaning by reading around the word.  Families can model this for children with bedtime stories.  The rich language you teach builds on the rich languge we teach and this empowers children not only to think critically and creatively but also to be self-directed and efficient learners.  Thanks for sharing your very special children with us!

Sincerely,

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

Reminders:
·       Please update contact information as it changes.
·       There are books available in the office for parent check out on the topic of teaching children about internet images.

Thanks:
·       Thanks to the Hodgkinson family for the donation of soap.
·       Thanks to the Jaber, Lipets, and Washburn families for the donation of a microwave.
·       Thanks to Robyn Fuenmayor for delivering books for us and saving a ton of money in shipping fees.
·       Thank you to the Yau Family for children’s magazines for the cafeteria.

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.
·       Children’s magazines
·       Sugarless chewing gum
·       Small dry erase boards or small erasers for dry erase boards

Upcoming Events
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
February 25 Passport Club
March 6 Final OBOB Battle
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 18 Passport Club
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 15 Passport Club
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 13 Passport Club
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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