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Principal's Corner

February 11, 2014

Dear Pennekamp Parents and Guardians,

What do you love?  Pennekamp Dragons love to read because they are very logical students.  They recognize that reading is one of the best ways to develop vocabulary and critical thinking skills, become better writers, and be more successful in school and in life.  On February 10th, we launched our third annual "ROAR-ing Dragons"Read-A-Thon and all students should now be logging their at-home reading minutes through March 14th

The at-home reading minutes count towards the 300-minute goal per student.  If your child reads to him/her self, to the dog, or if another person reads to your child, these minutes should be recorded.  A Dragon can read site words, a chapter book, or a magazine and he/she may record required classroom reading minutes on the monthly log.   Please remind your child to log reading minutes over the February vacation. We want to encourage non-fiction book reading to support the expectations of Common Core, so those reading minutes can be doubled!  For example, if your Dragon reads a book about penguins or the history of the Olympics for 15 minutes, thirty minutes should be recorded on the reading calendar.

Please keep the log for the entire 5-week period and return it to school on Monday, March 17th with totaled reading minutes and a parent signature. Thanks in advance for your participation in our school-wide Read-A-Thon!  We share a common goal of developing strong literacy in our students.

As a school community, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could bring a smile and a sense of happiness to an individual today and a different person every single day this week?  This is "International Random Acts of Kindness" week so you may begin today!  

As a parent, your kindness in the home translates to kind students at school...thank you for modeling empathy and respect.
 
With Dragon PRIDE,
Debbie Mabry
Principal

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. "
Leo Buscaglia

January 28, 2014

Dear Pennekamp Parents and Guardians,

The Pennekamp teachers are grateful for the many ways you support and model literacy within your homes. I enjoy hearing stories about daily reading rituals, discussions about poetry, and debates on favorite books. These home experiences make a significant difference for our students at school as your work supports engagement in reading, writing, speaking; these skills are key components of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These standards place a greater emphasis on reading informational texts (nonfiction) and writing informative, explanatory, and evidence-based pieces across all curriculum areas.

The more opportunities provided for both sustained reading and engagement in conversations about the text, the more your child will increase his/her skills, and be better prepared for the demands of CCSS. We believe that children should read many, many books at their independent or "just right" reading level. If you would like to engage your child with text beyond their independent reading level, try reading aloud or provide audio book experiences, accompanied with text. These experiences are valuable and build comprehension, attention, critical thinking, connections between print elements, and thoughtful reflection.

In the spring, our 3rd/4th/5th grade students will participate in online CCSS field testing in both English Language Arts and mathematics. These assessments are pilot tests; therefore, parents and teachers will not receive score reports. Our students will be able to experience the new online testing system without the pressure of scores counting. This field testing experience will provide important feedback to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium so that adjustments can be made to the test before the official launch next spring.

The Pennekamp teachers are already providing instruction and classroom activities that support Common Core. If you would like to support keyboarding opportunities at home, this would be helpful for our students. All students will participate in CCSS testing in the computer lab or on their iPads. Typing Web is a free online tutorial that you may want to consider (www.typingweb.com). Thank you again for your support and commitment to your child's learning. We are very fortunate to have parents that are so purposely and passionately invested in our Dragon community.

With Dragon PRIDE,
Debbie Mabry
Principal

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