Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Spelling Program - guest post


Debra C. Kwiatek, M.Ed.

Office of Elementary/Middle School
Instructional Specialist

October 27, 2010

Dear Parents, Guardians:

This year as part of the English Language Arts initiative, we are introducing a new spelling book to students in grades four and five. The name of the book is How to Spell 3 for grade four and How to Spell 4 for grade five. The books were selected since they support the concepts presented in the Fundations program K-3.

The spelling book is unlike the conventional type book with which most of us are acquainted. These books are sounds, concepts and rules driven, based on the Orton-Gillingham approach which is explicit, sequential and multisensory in instruction. The teachers have been given a set of lessons to support the texts, a copy of the book How to Teach Spelling (a teacher resource book), and Wilson Sound Cards to support instruction.

The focus of each lesson will be to learn sounds, concepts and rules resulting in students being able to apply the new learning to any word that follows the rule. Emphasis is on teaching the students the spelling generalizations, rules and various sounds for the phonemes/graphemes in order to use the new learning in the application mode.

There is an old Chinese proverb that describes our goal for teaching spelling:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

If we teach our students the “how” of spelling rather that just memorizing a list of words we will better equip them for the riggers of writing correctly.

Sincerely yours,

Debra C. Kwiatek, M.Ed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Please contact Mr. Sprung or PTO president (Liz Rogers) if you are interested in being a Birch Meadow budget parent. See the description below. This is a great opportunity to learn and understand the Reading Public Schools budget.

Reading Public Schools
Budget Parent Information Sheet

Any parent who has children in the Reading Public Schools may become a budget parent

The breakdown by level is as follows:

• Elementary-Two budget parents per school
• Middle-Three budget parents per school
• High School-Seven budget parents, including representatives from Athletics, Drama, and Music
• Special Education PAC-One budget parent

The budget parent responsibilities are as follows:

• Participate in meetings with the Superintendent of Schools and Director of Finance and Operations in November and December to learn about the school department budget and the budget process
• Work with the Superintendent and the Director of Finance and Operations to review, critique and give input on the budget and the budget process
• Understand how the budget process works and be an advocate for the entire school department budget
• Act as a liaison between the school department and their child’s school by reporting back to other parents both formally (PTO and School Council meetings) and informally
• Participate in November Community budget forums
• Attend School Committee meetings and other pertinent meetings during the budget deliberations in January, February, and March

There will be an initial meeting in November (Date TBD) Other dates are as follows:

o November 9, 2010 – Budget forum at Parker
o November 16, 2010 – Budget forum at Killam
o November 29, 2010- Budget forum at RMHS
o January 10, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 13, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 20, 2011 – Public hearing
o January 24, 2011 – School Committee meeting
o January 27, 2011 – School committee meeting

Please note that each budget parent does not have to attend all of the above meetings. We would always like at least one representative from each school at each meeting.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Professional Conversations

This past Wednesday Birch Meadow grade level teams worked together planning lessons, reviewing new educational resources, and discussing innovative ways to meet the needs of all students. This planning time allows for grade level consistency of curriculum topics and the time of year these skills will be taught. In addition to grade level team meetings, time is allocated for planning between grade levels (see the picture of grade 2 and 3 teachers from earlier in the year). Don't hesitate to ask your teachers about their new instructional materials (grammar, spelling, and comprehension) enhancing their instruction!

See the pictures of each team during their afternoon. My apologies for the blurred/hard to see photos.

More Walk to School photos

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MCAS power point slides presented at PTO meeting

Birch Meadow MCAS presentation from PTO meeting. Follow this link to see Birch Meadow AYP information.

Walk to School Day October 2010

Walk to School Day October 2010 was a great success! Keep walking and bring your completed Traveler Tickets to the office for prizes.
Follow the "Walk to School Day" link above to see pictures!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Photo Story of Principal Walk and Pancakes

Last week we had a beautiful morning for the principal fun walk and pancake breakfast sponsored by the PTO. As you can see in the photographs the sun was shining and we enjoyed our walk through the neighborhood. I even took some time to throw in personal and school trivia for the participants. The group was very knowledgeable!

Thank you to everyone who came to join us for breakfast and a walk. I look forward to seeing parents at the PTO meeting on October 13 and students and adults for our spooky fun fair and monster mash on Oct. 30.

Pictures here!