Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The weather has been stupendous and I hate to see it change, but I know that it will be back and the flowers will blossom again. I love seeing  flowers bloom. I also love seeing all my students begin to bloom on their own as their reading skills bud and blossom.  Like perenials that come back year after year, their reading skills will continue to expand and grow stronger with time. To symbolize that yes, their reading skills will grow even though they might not notice it for a while, we planted some bulbs. Everyone planted some beautiful iris bulbs that will continue to make our school and world a better place for a long time. I hope they see their flowers and remember that they had to water them, plant them in good soil and make sure they had enough sun and fertilizer to grow. Just like their bulbs need special attention, their reading skills also need attention to grow. I can't wait to see how the garden is going to look! Hey, maybe we should read to the bulbs! I think that's a bright idea!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kids using hypertext with their writing!

I'm so excited! I just learned a new skill as you may have seen in the last parent letter, called hypertext. It's when a word or phrase is highlighted and linked to something else such as a picture, video clip or more details. The students are finishing their first informational paragraphs and they are using hypertext with appropriate links to enhance their paragraphs. It's cool. Here's an example from a 7th grade girl in class. I think this is going to make writing more enjoyable and meaningful for them and well as for the readers.
               Music In My Community

          Immigration transformed my community in Newport by bringing music to help us express ourselves.The coolest thing I see is people walking down the street listening to music from all over the world. For example, there are lots of people who watch “Dancing With The Stars” and they dance to Latino music. Also,there is someone famous named PSY from South Korea who did the song “Gangdem Style” that everybody loves. Another example is Japanese techno music that many people listen to. In conclusion, immigration is making this community a better place with more ways to share how we feel.
                                                               By D.F.

September Letter to parents

September 19, 2014

Dear Parents or Guardians,

    We are off to a GREAT start in READ 180 at Sebasticook Valley Middle School ! I wanted to share some information about the program, especially if I didn’t get to meet you at  open house. READ 180 is a 90 minute class of 8-13 students where students are broken up into smaller groups of 3 or 4 and rotate from station to station during the period. All students have taken their first SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory), which provided a beginning lexile score. Your student’s individual score is included in this letter. It also shows the end-of-the -year proficiency target range that we are working toward.
    Our stations include whole group work, small group work, independent reading, and instructional software. In both whole group and small group we work with a text book (r book) on reading and writing skills with interesting stories and articles that incorporates social studies, science, literature and college and career readiness. We have skill tests at the end of each workshop. The writing activities are carefully scaffolded to help students successfully move from sentences to paragraphs to multi paragraph writing. In the first workshop we have been working on writing an informational paragraph on how immigration has changed our community.
    The students also read books at their independent level based on the lexile score. There are audio books they can listen to as well. They take computerized quizzes after reading. We have class goals and awards built in that add a little fun. Each class is trying to reach 1,000,000 words to earn an ice cream party. As of right now, the 8th grade is ahead with 191,315 words already!  Students can also do eReads or go to the READ180 eBook Library to read books or short stories online at home. Go to Read 180 Next Generation Student Access  and be sure to change the district by typing in our zip code (04953) to get to RSU19. They can then come to school and take the quiz for credit and help their class reach that million!
The instructional software has some awesome topics that always start out with cool
videos. Students then read short stories and work through reading, word, spelling and writing zones to get to the success zone. There are four segments(stories) in each topic  and the eReads correspond with the topics. When students log on, they come to their dashboard where they track their progress and awards they’ve earned.  
Grades for READ 180 are evenly divided into four categories worth 25% each:  tests and writing prompts, independent reading, topic software, and group work with rbook. The books students read as well as the topics they complete, can also be used for their Language Arts reading goal of 25 books.
I’m really pleased at how well all students have transitioned into the READ 180 class and I know this is going to be a great year! They’ll work hard, but have lots of fun along the way and their reading and writing skills will definitely do a 180!  I look forward to seeing you all at student led conferences, but call or email me at any time if you have questions.
rstevens@rsu19.org   207-368-5492 (ext. 202)