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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Would you rather.......? Feb. 2, 2016

Teresa Clemens-Brower
Sexton Mt. School

Feb. 2, 2016

Dear Sexton Mt. Families:

Students at a certain grade level have been passionately writing me letters about a rumored decision to ban chocolate milk from our school.  I unknowingly added fuel to the fire by sharing with kids that I have stopped consuming food and beverages with added sugar.  As you can imagine, kids feel PASSIONATE about their chocolate milk and they have been reading and researching in order to write evidence-based letters to convince me to keep it.  They are reading for a purpose and writing to persuade!  They are doing great work BUT I honestly don’t have anything to do with what is served in the cafeteria.   

When kids have a chance to talk, read and write about topics of interest, when they have a chance to explore different perspectives, and when they have opportunities to authentically problem solve, they develop habits of mind that will help them be successful later in life.

That chocolate milk is inspiring such rigorous discussion and thinking is not surprising. I expect that later in the week, there may be conversation about the qualifications of certain football teams.  It’s likely that presidential candidates will also be a topic in upcoming months.  I look forward to comparing the conversation and thought process of those who have practiced considering multiple viewpoints and building evidence based arguments to those who have not. 

One way to inspire conversation is to ask “Would you rather…..?”

Take a close look at the pictures below.  What do they have in common?


You might notice that both pictures have an item that costs about $5.99.  You might know the store well enough to realize that all of these items are on the same aisle.   While walking down this aisle with your child you might pose the question, “Would you rather spend six dollars on candy or toilet paper?”

On the surface this seems like an easy question for a child to answer but given a bit more information, it could lead to rich dialogue.  This aisle caught my attention last weekend because of a request I’d received from the Beaverton Help Center.  The Help Center has identified and provided support services to over 1000 homeless students and their families since school started in September. Fifty-two of the students have been unsheltered, living in cars, tents or even worse.   The Help Center had requested donations of toilet paper and paper towels. As I walked down the aisle, I put items in my cart for the Help Center. 

After paper products, we encountered candy.  I held my breath.  One of my goals this year is to avoid food or beverages with added sugar. If I don’t smell it or look at it, I don’t even miss it.   So far I’ve been successful with my goal but my husband wondered how I would do as February seems to be the month of candy.  He jokingly suggested I invite kids to bring toilet paper for the Help Center instead of candy.  If you typically send your principal a cookie for a treat, know that I would much prefer toilet paper I can pass along to the Help Center.  I don’t think I could convince kids to trade in the treats for TP but it may be an interesting discussion. 

Each and every day, your family makes choices.  You may consciously weigh the costs and benefits of every choice or you may not.  I would like to invite you engage your child in some of the easier decisions during the upcoming weeks.  Help them consider the different viewpoints and build arguments that take into consideration both sides.   Talk about viewpoints as you read fiction and non-fiction. 

Students at all grade levels have worked on building evidence-supported arguments across content areas.  From explaining their thinking in math, to defending their opinion on characters in a story, they are learning to persuade. 

Perhaps you’d like to start with a hypothetical discussion about whether or not to spend $6 on candy for Valentine’s Day or toilet paper for the Help Center.  Lots of practice developing decision making when consequences are not too important, builds the decision making muscle for when choices are much more difficult. Whether its talk about groceries at the store or characters in a book, your discussions matter!  Thanks for building language skills through each conversation!

With gratitude,

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

 Thanks to the Paterson family for the donation of 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.

       Donations of foaming hand soap containers (empty or full) will be put to good use.
       Donations of paper towels or toilet paper we can pass along to the Help Center.
Upcoming Events
Feb. 11-2nd and 3rd Grade Music Program @ 6:30pm
Feb. 15-No School Presidents’ Day Holiday
Feb. 19- Talent Show @ 6:30pm
Feb. 29-Our school is scheduled to have our phone system updated on this day.
Marc 3-4-No School-Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences
March 10-Kindergarten Orientation 5:30-6:30pm
March 11-No School-Grading Day
March 21-25-No School-Spring Break
March 28- No School-Staff Development Day

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