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News From Mrs. Talley
Welcome to December!
I wish you and your family a very happy holiday season! ~ Nicole
This month’s topic… Math!
One of the most frequently asked parent question is, “How do I help my child with this ‘new’ math?” Over the last decade there has been an intentional shift to provide students with conceptual understandings and a strong place value foundation rather than memorizing facts and algorithms. This change continues to be a topic of conversation between teachers and parents and we are in the midst of another shift in math standards.
The Shift to the Common Core: Math
Washington State has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in both K-12 Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) in July 2011. Until now, every state has had different learning standards. Common Core fixes that and raises the bar for learning. The K-12 standards in math and English language arts will be fully implemented in Washington classrooms in the 2013-14 school year. The standards focus on helping students build the skills and knowledge they need after high school.
Why Common Core Standards?
Common Core goes deeper into fewer topics and focuses on developing students’ deeper understanding of key concepts. The standards build on one another, allowing students to apply the skills and knowledge they learned in the previous grade to real-life situations.
- Focus: fewer big ideas; learning of concepts is emphasized
- Coherence: articulated progressions
- Application: apply concepts and skills to new situations
New Standards for Mathematical Practices
1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
4. Model with mathematics.
5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
6. Attend to precision.
7. Look for and make use of structure.
8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
To learn more:
Come hear PTO Guest Speaker: Jeanette Grisham- District Math Coordinator
Thursday, Dec. 5th at 6:30 p.m. in the library
IXL Math is a GREAT resource for specific math skill practice that is aligned to the Common Core Standards. Every 2nd-5th grader at Silver Beach has an account. Thanks PTO!
Happy November! I would like to share two great projects that are underway at Silver Beach. Both projects could not happen without the support of enthusiastic parents.
Project 1: Watershed Rain Garden
This summer, the final stage of the Silver Beach Watershed grant was completed with the installation of a rain garden in front of the annex. It is now up to us to design and plant this area. The first phase of the project was completed Earth Day 2011. Kids and parents covered the grass in the bio swale (center of bus loop) with cardboard and added layers of soil, mulch and native plants. This summer the drainage was improved and rocks added.
Why a rain garden?
- Educational – for students and the community. To provide information on what a rain garden is and types of plantings utilized in a rain garden. The City of Bellingham will provide classroom lessons on the effects of storm water on the Lake Whatcom Watershed.
- Currently, approximately 50% of the rain run-off from the sloped lawn and the asphalt entrance to the play yard will be diverted to the rain garden to provide natural filtration instead of going straight into the existing storm drainage system.
- This area will also be used as a school garden. A team will look to have raised planters and garden plants in place before the end of the school year.
Community partners to support planting and education:
- The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) could provide education similar to their “Students for Salmon” program. They may also be able to donate some plants.
- WSU Extension providing Master Gardeners to help with plant selection and proper planting procedure (http://mastergardener.wsu.edu/). WSU can connect us with wholesalers for lowest pricing.
- RAM Construction completed both the underground work and rain garden install as well as the construction of the work at the bus circle. Most likely, they will be donating tools and assisting with the planting day.
- Friday, November 1st: Curtis Lawyer and Robin Brown will run a Friday Club to involve students in the selection of plants and education of native plants.
- Thursday, November 7th: PTO meeting: Eli Mackiewicz, from the City of Bellingham, will present on the rain garden, storm water and be available to answer questions.
- Friday, November 15th: Fall rain garden planting. We will need many volunteers to make this happen.
If you would like more information contact Curtis Lawyer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project 2: Family Support Network
Many of our families wish to support those in our school community that are struggling. Families with specific needs can contact classroom teachers and/or the school counselor, Mr. Gilmore. The FSN will then be activated to anonymously provide donations. A flyer went home last week recruiting families to participate in providing support. Another flyer will go home soon explaining the process for accessing support. The first big project for our Family Support Network will be to provide food, clothing and toys during the upcoming holiday season. If you would like more information please contact Vibha Maheswaran, email@example.com or Nicole Talley.
October 1, 2013
Dear Silver Beach Families,
It’s hard to believe it is already October. We are off to a great start and welcomed 33 new students to Silver Beach in addition to our 73 new kindergarteners. The school theme for this year is Expect the Best and that is what our staff does each and every day. We expect the best from our students and each other.
With three daughters I understand the challenge parents face in trying to balance work, sports, community activities and homework; there never seems to be quite enough time in each day. Below you will read about our family engagement model and homework policy which will confirm the important role you play in your child’s education. The staff here at Silver Beach will do all that we can to ensure you feel a close connection to our school and have access to support and resources. Please reach out to us if there are ways we can partner together to support student learning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful children with us each day.
~ Nicole Talley
Building a Strong School-Family Partnership
Family engagement is a key strategy of The Bellingham Promise. http://bellinghamschools.org/sites/default/files/district/documents/BhamPromiseFlyer2.0.pdf
Research is clear; your involvement in your child’s education matters! Students whose families are engaged in their school lives attend class more regularly, achieve at higher levels, and generally have better behavior both at home and at school.
As you know, last year Bellingham Public Schools changed its approach with elementary conferences. The past practice of having a week of early dismissals in November has changed. This change is designed to provide more flexibility on when and how schools engage families while also reducing the disruption and lost instructional time caused by a week of early dismissals.
The Silver Beach family engagement model includes a wide variety of ways for teachers, parents and the school to communicate with one another about student learning. Some examples include:
- School and class newsletters
- Curriculum nights and open houses
- Silver Beach website
- Student work samples
- Home learning journals
Homework at Silver Beach: Home Learning Journals
Mission Statement: We provide homework structure that give students and families relevant practice that supports learning at school. We value a balance of traditional homework (reading, writing, math) and enrichment (sports, the arts, etc.).
Together with our Parent Advisory Council, teachers recommend that homework:
- Be relevant, engaging and individualized
- Extend practice
- Encourage self-guided learning
- Develop responsibility and time management skills
Every student has been provided a Home Learning Journal. Students are required to track reading and math practice (district policy) as well as keep a journal of other learning experiences. Our hope is that families will develop consistent routines for practicing reading and math at home. We know students of all ages can learn lifelong study skills by taking responsibility, developing time management and producing quality work.
Inside the cover of each journal are the grade level expectations for weekly homework. Grade levels have also provided examples and resources to help parents know exactly what their child should be practicing at home. Additional resources provided at Silver Beach include:
- RAZ-Kids-online, leveled reading K-2 and for kids needing additional reading support in grades 3rd-5th
- IXL-online math practice that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards- grades 2nd-5th
- A parent resource section in the library
- The Homework tab on our website lists great websites for worksheets or online practice
On Fridays, students will be given the opportunity to share their journal with their teacher and peers. If a student does not return their journal on Friday, they will complete reading and math work at study hall instead of attending their Friday Club. Our goal is 100% participation in the clubs and will seek ways to support families with the resources they need to help their child at home.
Also under the Homework tab on our website, you can find additional information on homework research as well as background on our homework policy. We appreciate your support, suggestions and questions…BRING ON THE LEARNING!