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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Talent, Text Evidence, Talking about Text-January 27, 2015

 Dear Sexton Mt. Families:      


I went home from the Talent Show Friday night inspired!  I am always surprised by the life our students lead outside of school.  Break dancing, ballet, rap, piano, dance, gymnastics,  singing, tambourine, violin and comedy—who knew?!?!   I was reminded again that practice makes proficient!  Whether it’s practicing a dance routine over and over again on the playground during recess or learning fingering for different guitar chords, there was clear evidence that they had practiced and refined skills to the point that they were confident performing in front of the masses.   Thanks to all our participants for showing this and to Kate Kristiansen for organizing!  Thanks to all who helped with clean up as well!  Our community rocks!

Our teachers spent Monday learning about strategies and resources for supporting students as the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts has us shifting to:
·      An increase in reading of informational text
·      Building vocabulary needed in order to access grade-level complex text
·      Having rich and rigorous text based conversations
·      Using evidence from a text to inform or make an argument
·      Reading and writing across the content areas

To get ready for their task of developing lessons, teachers watched some short video clips and read a text to practice using evidence from multiple sources in order to form opinions.  As I’ve shared before, our children need to be able to read and think critically because they are bombarded with so many competing views.  I’ve included the links in case you want to view or read the sources to think about how you have an evidence based discussion regarding a fun topic.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ4wGDl56Zg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1XGy45F210

Think about how you would use the sentence frames below to discuss different view points and explain how that evidence connects to ideas.  Teach children to clearly link the author’s words to an idea by using some of the sentence starters below.

  • §  The text explicitly states…so I believe…
  • §  The reporter in the video said… so I think….
  • §  The video shows…and that makes me think….
  • §  The article states…..so I think…
  • §  The graphic showed…so…….
  • §  The author said ___ which suggests….
  • §  I believe ____ because according to the text it states…..
  • §  I feel____ because according to the text it states…..
  • §  I think____ because according to the text it states…..


Last week, I told you that for my husband’s  birthday, I sent him to Seattle to watch a football game.  From the comfort of my living room, I watched the first few minutes of the Seahawks-Panther game to see if I could see him in the crowd.  Because our teacher Mrs. Frame had told me about a Panther player from Beaverton, I was especially interested in Number 74.   At least during the 5 minutes I watched, Remmers, was noticeable because every time he plowed someone over (his job as a lineman) he reached down and offered a hand up.  If we were discussing the game, I might say, I feel Remmers must be a kind player because during the game, he helped others up on multiple occasions.  Have you used any of the sentence frames I gave you last week for book or movie discussions with your child?  I have some more for you this week to use with FICTION.

I read an article recently that claimed that people who tend to read fiction are more empathetic. Check it out at http://mic.com/articles/104702/science-shows-something-surprising-about-people-who-love-reading-fiction .   As students read, they can make assumptions about a character through the character’s words, actions and thoughts.  When we practice thinking about words, actions and thoughts of characters in the books we read, are able to use the patterns to develop a new understanding of the text.  We learn about the world through reading and when we read and discuss texts closely with our children, we are able to model for children how to revise and refine our thinking as we learn more.  Through discussions about characters, our children can learn strategies for dealing with many of life’s challenges without necessarily having to deal with the challenge itself!  I’ve included some sentence frames below for you to try out as you reflect on text evidence and meaning with your child.
·      I feel _____(insert character name ) must be _____  because ____.
·      My thinking about this character has changed because first  the author wrote _____ and now the author wrote ___________.
·      These characters are really different because ____________. I think this because the author wrote ____.
·      One issue I am noticing in this book is _____. I think this because the author wrote____ on page___ and ____ on page ____ followed by ____ on page _____.
·      I think the author is trying to teach me ______________. I think this because the author wrote _________.

You might use a sticky note to mark parts of the text that support thinking.  It’s easier to go back and find evidence in the text to support thinking when you do.  Just as authors provide us with evidence to use in order to make more focused and grounded ideas about text, children can also use evidence in their own lives to make informed decisions.

There are 21,500 different sources of information about #74, Mike Remmers when I Google his name.  There are MULTIPLE sources and opinions on just about EVERY topic or idea our students may show interest in so it is VERY important that we teach them now to think critically, cite sources, analyze, compare and think at deep levels.    The world is changing and our kids need to be prepared.  The mission of the Beaverton School District is to engage our students in rigorous and joyful learning experiences that meet their individual needs and help them reach their full potential.  I know that reading closely in order to make informed decisions is an important skill and I’m delighted that WE are partnering together to provide many opportunities for rich discussion at home and school.  Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Sincerely,

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


Reminders:
·       Thanks for keeping the office and teachers informed when after school plans change. 
·       Please keep daycare providers in the loop if your child will not be going home with them.
·       Please update contact information as it changes.


Thanks:
Thanks to the Koppolu family for donating bags.
Thanks to the Ionis family for donating scrapbook paper.
Thanks to Xan Eriksson, Sally Ebanks, Boris Gurman, and Jane Williams for help on a district report card project.
Thanks to those who anonymously donated paper sacks with handles and ziplock bags.
Thanks to all who helped with clean up after the Talent Show.
Thanks to all who continue to send in donations for the Auction.

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.
·     We would love to have zip ties and gallon sized ziplock bags donated for upcoming projcts.
·     Donations of kids’ magazines will be put to good use in the cafeteria.
·     Donations of foaming hand soap will be put to good use.

Upcoming Events
January 27 OBOB Battles Begin (T,W,Th During Lunch Recess)
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 11 2nd Annual Run with the Eagles 5K
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



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talking about Text-January 20, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

For my husband’s 50th birthday, I sent him to Seattle with a friend and tickets to a big football game.  His buddy of 40 years lives and breathes sports just like my husband, but they have strong preferences for different players and teams.  I packed the car with snacks AND stats magazines.  I told them that Sexton Mountain students are working on using EVIDENCE from text to support opinions, so if their discussions got heated, they could look up facts in Fantasy Football or Sports Illustrated to support their opinions, just like our students do. 

We learn about the world through reading.  We hope that students will read as much non-fiction as fiction.  At school, we are teaching children to read material closely and to discuss text by using evidence from the text.  Parents can help with this by supplying more non-fiction text, reading and discussing a range of text with your child, finding books that explain things.  Talk about words and the definitions of words.  Children who have larger vocabularies and greater understanding of spoken language do better in school.  As you talk to your child about a text, explain how that evidence connects to your idea.  Teach children to clearly link the author’s words to an idea by using some of the sentence starters below.
  • §  On page___ the author said….so that makes me think….
  • §  The text explicitly states…so I believe…
  • §  The author wrote… so I think….
  • §  The illustration shows…and that makes me think….
  • §  The text states…..so I think…
  • §  The graphic showed…so…….
  • §  The author states ___ which tells me…
  • §  The author said ___ which suggests….
  • §  The author said ____ which shows…..
  • §  I believe ____ because according to the text it states…..
  • §  I feel____ because according to the text it states…..
  • §  I think____ because according to the text it states…..


As students become more proficient, they can also compare ideas across texts.  My husband may have found some information in  Sports Illustrated that provided a different perspective than Fantasy Foodball.   You can use the same discussion frames to analyze video or audio clips too.  There are so many ways of learning about the world. Discussion builds vocabulary and understanding.

Thank you for sending curious children to school each day!  Great things happen at Sexton Mountain School every day!

Sincerely,


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


Reminders:
·       Thanks for keeping the office and teachers informed when afterschool plans change. 
·       Please keep daycare providers in the loop if your child will not be going home with them.

Thanks:
·       Thanks to the Fuenmayor and Yun families for donations of children’s magazines.
·       Thanks to the Ionis, Eberalin, Goff, and Chua families for volunteer to help prep materials for Kindergarten Orientation.

Wish List-These are things or jobs that make a difference to our kids, teachers or school.  Let Mrs. CB know if you can volunteer.
·       Fourth graders will be working on a collage project and they need scrapbook paper that shows texture or depth. All donations will be gladly accepted.
·       We would love to have the following donated for an upcoming project.
o   60 gallon sized zipper bags
o   60 lunch sized plan brown paper bags
o   paper grocery sacks with handles
o   200 snack or sandwich sized zipper bags
o   zip ties  (we will use up to 500)
·       Donations of kids’ magazines will be put to good use in the cafeteria.
·        Donations of foaming hand soap will be put to good use.

Upcoming Events
January 21 Passport Club
January 21  Highland Park Band Performs for 5th Grade 10:30-11:00am
January 21 OBOB Mock Battles During Lunch Recess
January 22 Talent Show Dress Rehearsal at 3:10pm
January 23 OBOB Mock Battles During Lunch Recess
January 23 Talent Show at 6:30pm
January 26 Staff Development Day-No School
January 27 OBOB Battles Begin (T,W,Th During Lunch Recess)
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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Practice, Proficient, Affordable Consequences-January 13, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:    

I was watching my son drive Sunday morning when suddenly the tail of the car started fishtailing.  He was clearly losing control.  The fishtailing turned into full on spins and the squeal of tires and brakes wasn’t really loud enough to cover my screams.  On I-5, semi-trucks zoomed by but the car my son was driving came to a stop 200 yards away.  Check out this 40-second clip for a better understanding of my experience.


Luckily, his out of control spins took place in a parking lot.  Instead of hitting other cars (with even a small ding costing hundreds) or being plowed over by a semi-truck at a high rate of speed (costing a life), his driving errors resulted in knocking over cones.   The consequences were affordable.  When cones on the course were knocked down, the car would come to a stop (sometimes in a Dukes of Hazard fashion), a teen in the back seat would get out, set them up again, then my son would start over.  Each time he had more control over the car and every time he failed (by hitting a cone) he learned from his mistake.   He failed, then failed better and failed again but even better.  While he is not yet ready to be a stunt car driver or even be on a snow covered road with other cars around, he now knows what it feels like to lose then regain control of a vehicle.  Practice makes proficient and this extreme driving class was a great use of his time.

Several times in the past week I’ve had opportunities to remind kids about learning from failure. When students are able to identify mistakes they’ve made, figure out where they got off track, make plans for correction, practice the new way and then readjust and refine with the focus being on continual improvement, they learn important lessons.  The best part about learning these lessons when in elementary school is that consequences are affordable.   Students learn to take risks, deal with a wide range of people, and that effort pays off!  Learning from failure is, in my opinion, one of the most important habits of mind in preparing children for a wide range of post secondary options. 

Learning from mistakes can take place at home and school.  I want to bring attention to a new problem kids seem to be having difficulty with.  Knowledge is power so I wanted to share a few resources too.  I’ve noticed that many of our students got new electronics for the holidays.  Some of these devices put the world at their fingertips.  Teaching children how to navigate safely is very important.  Does your child know what to do if an inappropriate image pops up or if they receive a message from someone they don’t know?    As this has been a problem that’s been brought to my attention, I wanted to let you know about a book that several Sexton Mountain parents let me know about.  Good Pictures, Bad Pictures is a resource intended to help parents teach children about inappropriate images.  Several families have mentioned that it’s a great book for teaching children about digital safety.  We will have several copies of the book available for check out from the office if you are interested.  Here is a link to another resource:  http://www.themoreyouknow.com/topics/digital-literacy/

On an entirely different note, according to Beaverton City Cody 5.05.033, “any person responsible for any animal, except for animals of the species Felis Catus (domestic cat), shall be in possession of tools for the removal of, and shall remove, excrement deposited by the animal in any public area not designed to receive those wastes, including but not limited to streets, sidewalks, parking strips and public parks.”  Unfortunately, our younger students don’t seem to notice when people don’t follow the law and we’ve had a lot of icky shoes recently.  Please teach children to watch their step on your way to school and encourage pet owners to clean up after pets.   Speaking of fecal matter, an adult goose can drop up to two pounds of excrement daily. The goose population on our field has grown.  As they land and take off, we’ve had several children get splatted.  Students are learning to be more respectful around the gaggle as they’ve learned a possible consequence of startling them into flight.  Was it Frank Zappa whose lyrics included “watch out for those fliers in the sky?”  We are teaching children to have a great awareness of surrounding.  Please encourage this at home too.

As I’ve visited classroom this week, kids have been hard at work on a range of things.  January is one of my favorite months to watch learners as children seem to go through a bit of a learning explosion during the winter!  Thanks for sharing your children with us!

Sincerely,


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


Reminders:
·       Thanks for keeping the office and teachers informed when after school plans change.  Please keep daycare providers in the loop too.
·       Please update contact information as it changes.

Thanks!
·       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 kids’ magazines will be put to good use in the cafeteria.
·       Volunteers are needed to do several “hands on” projects in preparation for upcoming events.  The jobs can be done at home and materials can be sent home with students via backpack mail.  Please email Mrs. CB if you can do a project for us.

Upcoming Events
January 13-PTC Meeting at 9:00am
January 18-Martin Luther King Jr. Day-No School
January 21 Passport Club
January 22 Talent Show Dress Rehearsal at 3:10pm
January 23 Talent Show at 6:30pm
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
February 25 Passport Club
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