Week of November 6

What’s On My Mind:

Happy Sunday!  We hope you all enjoyed a relaxing weekend.  If the weather will cooperate this week we will have a fire drill.  Fingers crossed for some sunshine this week!  Wednesday there is no school in honor of Veteran’s Day.  We hope that you all will spend some time this week reflecting and reminding students why we have this very important day off.  On Friday, November 13th, at 9:00 the Community Builders 8th grade practicum group will be hosting a Veterans Day ceremony on the front field.  Please make sure your class joins us out around the flag pole for this special ceremony as we honor our veterans.

Thank you all for the great discussions we had around the topic of homework last week.  We really appreciate everyone’s openness and reflection around this topic.  As a reminder please remember that we do not assign students homework over holiday breaks.  With the holidays fast approaching please make sure you take this into account as you are planning for the coming weeks.  We want to make sure that families have ample time to spend together as a family and not having to focus on school work.

Please take a moment to read this week’s Choice Literacy article below.  As teachers and parents we can often get so hung up on what “level” a student is reading at that we forget the purpose and intent of reading.  The ability to be able to lose oneself in a book and to be able to connect with the characters so that you can hear them speaking in your mind is pure joy!  We can accidentally squash this joy when we focus too much on the level of a book.  The message in the article below explains perfectly how we need to pay attention to our words and notice when a child is excited about a book no matter what the level.  It is great food for thought as we head into our week.

Daisy: A Cautionary Tale
Education has produced a vast population able to read, but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.

G. M. Trevelyan

Once upon a time, there was a third-grade girl, Daisy, who loved to read. She read all the time. While she liked to read about horses and outer space, she especially loved to read stories. She had read every single Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones, and Amber Brown book ever written.  Recently, she had been into reading books about animals, and had devoured Shiloh and Charlotte’s Web.

One day, as she browsed through books at the school library, she found a book with a beautiful cover of a girl wearing glasses and holding a comic book. When she saw it, she thought, “That girl looks like me!” She ran her fingers over the letters scrawled grandly across the cover and read the title aloud: Flora and Ulysses. It was then that she noticed a small animal tucked up in the corner, which compelled her to read the back cover. As her eyes skimmed over the words describing a story about a squirrel who gets run over by a vacuum cleaner and strangely develops superpowers, she opened the book and began to read.

Before she knew it, the librarian was shouting a last call to check out books.  Daisy hurried to have her book scanned and joined the rest of the children lined up at the door to return to class. Ms. Wright, her teacher, walked up and down the line surveying the children’s choices. Every now and then she’d murmur things like, “Oh! Great author!” and “You’ll love this one.”  By the time Ms. Wright arrived at Daisy, she was nearly bursting with excitement.  Daisy couldn’t wait to tell her how she loved what she had read so far, and she longed to hear Ms. Wright say what a great choice she had made, choosing a book with a medal on the cover.

However, when Ms. Wright glanced at the book in Daisy’s hand, she looked between the book and Daisy and said, “Oh sweetheart, you’re going to need to return this book.”

Return this book?  Did she hear correctly? Confused, Daisy looked at her teacher who kneeled beside her, looked   her eyes, and said, “You’re a level R.  This book is much harder than that.  Run and put this back. You can choose something from the R bin when we get to the classroom.”

Crestfallen, Daisy handed the book back to the librarian. In her head, she kept hearing the echo of Flora’s voice speaking the same words she said when she witnessed Mrs. Tickham vacuum up the squirrel: Holy bagumba.

What was she going to read now?

Back in the classroom, Daisy dragged herself to the R bin and without even looking, grabbed the book that was on top.  She returned to her seat and muttered the title: Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets.Grudgingly, she began to read.

Moral of the story: Holy bagumba, don’t let reading levels flush away common sense.

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris

Contributors, Choice Literacy

The Week at a Glance:
Monday, November 9th:
Juli at DPI meeting
Randolph – Huntersville Oaks
Tuesday, November 10th:
Elementary Day of the Dead Celebration – 10:00
Staff Mindfulness Training – Session 2 – Mental Effectiveness – 3:30
Wednesday, November 11th:
Veteran’s Day Holiday – NO SCHOOL
Thursday, November 12th:
Book Fair
Friday, November 13th
Book Fair
Elementary Veteran’s Day Program – 9:00 a.m. on Green
6th Grade Greek Day

Looking Ahead….
November 16 – Teacher Appreciation Luncheon
November 17 – Staff Mindfulness Training – Session 3 – Goals – 3:30
November 17 – MS and HS Band Concert at 7:00 in 8th Grade Theater Space
November 19 – 2nd Grade Performances
November 20 – Africa Day
November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Holidays – NO SCHOOL
December 1 – Staff Mindfulness Training – Session 4 – Priorities 3:30
December 2 – K-7 Staff Meeting
December 9 – Staff Mindfulness Training – Session 5 – Energy Management 3:30
December 15 – K7 Teacher Appreciation Breakfast
December 16 – 5th Grade Proof of Concept
December 16 – Staff Mindfulness Training – Session 6 – Work-Life Balance
December 17 – Kindergarten Gingerbread Houses
December 21 – January 3 – WINTER BREAK

Teaching Tips by Marianne:

One of my favorite reading strategies to engage learners was the use of anticipation guides.  The link below gives a clear explanation with great examples on how to implement this strategy.  It can be used at any grade level!


Here are two examples taken from Active Learning and Engagement Strategies by Paula Rutherford.

IMG_2890 IMG_2891

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