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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reading, Listening, Thinking and Learning-April 28, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families: 

During our professional learning time last Friday, teachers learned how to recognize and respond to the signs of anaphylaxis and how to work with students to help them better understand the importance of paying attention to details that provide clues about character, plot and setting as they read.  I was again reminded of the importance of reading aloud to children in order to build vocabulary and habits of mind around building an argument using evidence from the text.    As you read to your child this week, ask your child to listen for details about setting, plot or characters.  Have your child share opinions and follow up with, “Why do you think that?” 

Use the following sentence frames to provide a structure for your family discussion about the book you are reading:
  • §  The author said ___ 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…..


It seems that most before bedtime reading is fiction but families also have opportunities to read and respond to non-fiction.  My son and I have recently done a lot of reading about how to re-grout your bathroom.   Because he’s a teenager, he’s also quick to find video clips to support our learning and understanding.  (Using text and audio clips to build understanding is what kids are doing right now with the Smarter Balanced Assessment.)   My son and I have had great discussions about technique based on evidence from the video or text.  Reading to understand and do something with text is an important life skill.  Thanks for continuing the work teachers have started as you apply these skills at home during your daily reading routines.

As I walked through classrooms Monday, kids were busy learning and teachers were busy teaching.  Third graders were working to understand a fraction as a number on a number line. Great things happen at Sexton Mountain daily.  Thanks for sharing your children with us.


Thank you,


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





Reminders:
·       Staff Appreciation Week is May 4-8.  Check Sparky’s Facebook page for info on what the PTC is planning.   Kind notes are always appreciated during this time too!

Thanks:
·       Thanks to Lindsay Maher and her team for providing our families with a fabulous Science Fair and Family Science Night.
·       Thanks to Toni Fisher and her team for planning and implementing a great Jog-a-thon last week.  

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.
·       Our building will be under construction this summer so we are looking for someone to provide temporary care for the 10 community tetras (fish) and one algae eater in Mrs. CB’s office.  Please contact Mrs. CB if you have room in your tank for these fish. 

Upcoming Events

May 1 PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
May 4-8  Book Fair Open 8:00-4:00
May 7  Book Far Open 6:00-8:00pm
May 12 PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 13 Passport Club
May 15 PTC Carnival 5:30-7:30pm

May 22 Assessment Day- No School
May 25 Memorial Day-No School
May 29 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 2:00 – 3:00 PM


June 5 Field Day
June 9 PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
June 12  PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
June 12 Last Day of School


Monday, April 20, 2015

Allergies, Jog-a-thon, Earth Day, and Science Fair-April 21, 2015

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

It’s quite possible that my dog is the cutest one on the planet. When she put her head in my lap Sunday morning, I was ready to tell her so but instead responded with, “GROSS!”  She tried to rub her goopy eyes on me!  She has seasonal allergies and seems a bit miserable after she plays in the bushes and grass. Many of our students also have itchy eyes or runny noses in the spring. Remember that all medication (including allergy eye drops) must be brought to the office and signed in by an adult.  Please remind your child about the triggers that cause him or her discomfort.  Kids love to roll in the grass, shake pollen off tree branches and weave weeds into crowns but close contact with nature can cause a reaction in some.  Please plan accordingly. 

This week seems like it will be especially busy as we celebrate Administrative Professional’s Day, Earth Day, have a Jog-a-thon and Science Fair all in our 4-day school week.  On Friday, teachers will be busy learning with Epi-Pen training and further English Language Arts standards and best instructional practices. It will be a full week for students and staff.  Thanks to all who are organizing special learning opportunities for our kids.   While our schedules are packed, we are still working on maximizing every minute for learning.

Last week, I observed students comparing points of view, then contributing their own thoughts with evidence from different articles to defend their thinking.  I listened as five year olds selected adjectives to describe spring then tell a peer why the word was indeed related to spring.  I was inspired by 4th graders to consider the benefits and beauty of crown molding.  Second graders oozed enthusiasm about magnets and a visit to OMSI.  I got to visit with students at almost every grade level about sportsmanship during kickball.  Additionally, I met with several parents about different topics related to self-advocacy, perspective and preparing 4 year olds for full day kindergarten by September.  I’ve included a link to a great article that was shared with me about bullying  (from the Living section of last week’s Oregonian) as I was again reminded that how we talk, changes the way we work and live.


I love learning and watching learning happen at Sexton Mt.  Thanks so much for sharing your children with us and for collectively going the distance to create such a special environment for growth here.



Thank you,


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





Reminders:
·       For the Jog-a-thon Thursday, students should bring a water bottle clearly labeled with his or her name. 
·       April 22 is Administrative Professional’s Day.  Feel free to write a note of appreciation to our amazing office team.  Without Cheryl, Becky and Mrs. Z, our school couldn’t function.
·       Staff Appreciation Week is May 4-8.  Check Sparky’s Facebook page for info on what the PTC is planning.   Kind notes are always appreciated during this time too!

Thanks:
·       Thanks to Girl Scout Troup 46160 for providing informational posters about conserving water.
·       Thanks to the local Cub Scout Pack for cleaning up after the Run with the Eagles 5K.

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.
·       Our building will be under construction this summer so we are looking for someone to provide temporary care for the 10 community tetras (fish) and one algae eater in Mrs. CB’s office.  Please contact Mrs. CB if you have room in your tank for these fish. 
·       Children’s magazines can always be put to good use in our cafeteria.
·       Antibacterial or disinfecting wipes are needed for the computer lab.  Mrs. Kramer cleans the computers regularly and wipes make her job much easier.
·       We would love donations of child-sized rakes, brooms, and dustpans for our students to use at recess.  Kids love to help out by organizing the bark chips. 
·       Because our students love to help pick up litter on the playground, we hope to also get donations of the tools that I best describe as “grabber things” so that students can refine motor skills as they pick up trash safely too. 

Upcoming Events


April 23 Jog-a-thon
April 23 PTC Science Fair 6:30-8:00pm
April 24 Staff Development Day-No School

May 1 PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
May 4-8  Book Fair Open 8:00-4:00
May 7  Book Far Open 6:00-8:00pm
May 12 PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 13 Passport Club
May 15 PTC Carnival 5:30-7:30pm
May 22 Assessment Day- No School
May 25 Memorial Day-No School
May 29 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 2:00 – 3:00 PM


June 5 Field Day
June 9 PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
June 12  PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
June 12 Last Day of School

Monday, April 13, 2015

Close Reading, Collaborative Reading, Reading to Learn-April 14, 2015


Dear Sexton Mt. Families:
 
When I was in college, I worked at Chevron as a pump block attendant.  Now, every time my family travels out of state, I am the one elected to pump the gasoline even though gas pumps have changed since Chevron was my employer.  On our recent trip to Florida, I was once again reminded of the importance of READING FOR MEANING as I struggled to figure out how to get fuel in my car.  Even the most basic tasks can require deep thinking.

This reinforced my belief that the single most important thing we can do to prepare our children to be college or career ready is to teach them to use and apply the information they read.  Reading allows one to master content, think critically and creatively, see examples of how others contribute locally and globally, and provides opportunities to use new knowledge to act in self-directed and collaborative ways.  Our strategy for building this skill is close reading.  Close reading is thoughtful, critical analysis of a text that focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text's form, craft, meanings, etc. It is a key requirement of the Common Core State Standards and directs the reader's attention to the text itself.

At the Fort Lauderdale gas station, with the nozzle in hand, I read and reread the directions but couldn’t get the fuel to flow.  My children COLLABORATED with me, reading each step slowly and checking that I understood and followed but to no avail.  Luckily, a nice person nearby took pity on us then explained and demonstrated what the term “select” referred to in the situation.  I was reminded that my old knowledge of how to “select” the type of gas strongly influenced my way of thinking and that varied experience and interactions build methods for thinking critically and creatively to apply information as we read.  For this reason, I want to implore you to encourage your children to READ a wide range of materials daily and DO things with the information. 
 
As I visited classrooms last week, kids were reading.  Students recorded and sorted facts about Lewis and Clark, discussing and defending what the most important facts from a passage should be included.  Others discussed endangered species and read an article about what could be done in order to disrupt the destructive habits of humans.  Partners read math problems and talked about what was being asked of them then how to attack the problem.  Kids read for the joy of learning about favorite topics or getting lost in a great story.  Our fifth graders are creating sounds to represent different parts of text and the music and rhythm they create are incredible! 

I delight daily in the work I see your children engaged in!  Thank you for sharing your children with us!  Great things are happening at Sexton Mt. Elementary School because we have kids who love to learn, teacher who love to teach, and a community that supports this important work.

Thank you,


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


Reminders:
·       If your child will miss school, please make sure you call the attendance line with the information at 503-259-7635.
·       April 22 is Administrative Professional’s Day.  Feel free to write a note of appreciated to our amazing office team.  Without Cheryl, Margaret and Becky, our school couldn’t function.
·       Staff Appreciation Week is May 4-8.  Check Sparky’s Facebook page for info on what the PTC is planning.   Kind notes are always appreciated during this time too!

Thanks:
·       Thanks to Jacqui Carpenter, our PTC, the Sexton Mountain NAC and all those who made the Run with the Eagles 5K a success.
·        Thanks to all who have contributed chewing-gum.  Students are enjoying it during testing.
·       Thanks to the Vitruk family for donating disinfecting wipes for the computer lab. 
·       Thanks to Renee Wilkins and Robyn Fuenmayor for donating buttons.

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.
·       Our building will be under construction this summer so we are looking for someone to provide temporary care for the 10 community tetras (fish) and one algae eater in Mrs. CB’s office.  Please contact Mrs. CB if you have room in your tank for these fish. 
·       Children’s magazines can always be put to good use in our cafeteria.
·       Antibacterial or disinfecting wipes are needed for the computer lab.  Mrs. Kramer cleans the computers regularly and wipes make her job much easier.
·       We would love donations of child sized rakes, brooms, and dustpans for our students to use at recess.  Kids love to help out by organizing the bark chips. 
·       Because our students love to help pick up litter on the playground, we hope to also get donations of the tools that I best describe as “grabber things” so that students can refine motor skills as they pick up trash safely too. 

Upcoming Events

April 14 PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
April 14  Principal’s Q & A 7:15pm
April 15 Passport Club
April 23 Jog-a-thon
April 23 PTC Science Fair 6:30-8:00pm
April 24 Staff Development Day-No School

May 1 PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
May 4-8  Book Fair Open 8:00-4:00
May 7  Book Far Open 6:00-8:00pm
May 12 PTC Meeting at 9:00am
May 13 Passport Club
May 15 PTC Carnival 5:30-7:30pm
May 22 Assessment Day- No School
May 25 Memorial Day-No School
May 29 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration 2:00 – 3:00 PM


June 5 Field Day
June 9 PTC Meeting at 6:30pm
June 12  PBIS Assembly at 8:30am
June 12 Last Day of School