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March Newsletter

posted Feb 22, 2011, 6:55 AM by brusin@stmarybg.org   [ updated Feb 23, 2011, 5:04 PM by Mike Tuntland ]

Dear Parents,

As parents of young children know, Lent can seem so “heavy” in comparison to the anticipation and excitement of preparing for Christmas. For many of us growing up, Lent meant “giving up candy.” That wasn’t a bad way to introduce us to the notion of self-discipline, but simply giving up something for Lent, without a whole spirituality that children can enter into, can leave kids dreading Lent more than looking forward to it.

The first and most important help for little children is that we as adults understand Lent and enter into it ourselves with real devotion and joy. If Lent makes its way into our home and into our conversations and practices that children can see, they will naturally grow up in a culture that embraces Lent as a season of grace.

Secondly, symbols are very important. Children need a context. They need to explore and understand what we just take for granted, and sometimes forget.  Telling stories helps it all “fit together” for children, and for us. So, if we have a bowl of water in a central place in our home, it can be a wonderful “entry point” to the season of Lent for the whole family. Why does this water remind us of our baptism?  Lent is a time in which we want to  renew our baptism. That’s why it is nice to find the children’s baptismal candles or baptismal garments. Perhaps we have photos of their baptism or even a video of it.

Helping children get back in touch with their baptism can help them understand that when the water was poured over their foreheads, or when they were immersed in the water, they were placed with Jesus for the rest of their lives.

The most important part of Lent can be how children are helped to make this a time to practice being more loving.  Children are naturally loving, but they can get into really bad habits of fighting with brothers and sisters or being disobedient or even talking back. Lent is a great time to build in some family practices, which can also be an outstanding renewal for parents and adults in the family. Children will notice, if part of my Lenten journey is to choose to fast from my crabby-ness or busy-ness and to spend more time with them. They will notice, if we set the example of choosing to compliment others in the family more, highlighting the good things I notice in them. If our family Lenten practice is to focus on being nicer, kinder and more generous in helping each other, the children will take part in it. And, if we fail on a given day, we can quickly apologize and ask forgiveness and model penitential and reconciling behavior that is central to Lent.

 

Terra Nova

The standardized Terra Nova, third edition, tests will be administered to the students in grades 3-7 during the week of February 28th through March 4th.  The tests offer selected-response questions as well as open-ended questions in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.  The purpose of the Terra Nova tests is twofold:  Summative – to inform us of current achievement and the curriculum assessment alignment; and Prescriptive – to identify student, classroom and school strengths and weaknesses and to develop a school wide plan as students move from grade to grade.  The Terra Nova tests are just one form of assessment used to indicate the progress of each student.

 

Many factors influence test performance.  They include:

·         A student’s true achievement level

·         The curriculum/assessment alignment

·         Effective instruction

·         A student’s motivation and anxiety level

·         A student’s ability to use testing strategies

What can I do to help my child?

·         Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep.

·         Encourage your child to eat a good breakfast

·         Sent a healthy snack each day

·         Remind him/her that there is no special preparation for taking the test

·         HAVE YOUR CHILD AT SCHOOL ON TIME

Keeping all of this in mind, each parent and child should approach this week with little anxiety.

 

Health Update

Please make sure you check the school website for updates on possible illness in school.  Fevers lead some parents to make poor school attendance decisions.  Giving your child Tylenol does not cure an illness.  If a parent gives such medicine out the door in the morning, you can be sure that school will be calling in four to six hours asking youto pick up your feverish child.

 

If your child has diarrhea he should go back to school only when his movements have become solid.  This avoids potential embarrassment as well as spread of disease.

 

Kindergarten and Pre-School Registration

We have openings in Kindergarten and preschool.  Please tell your friends, neighbors and relatives that are of preschool and kindergarten age that we are taking registrations at this time.

Annual Walk A Thon

This year’s event will take place on May…..  This is the main fundraiser that we ask all school families to participate.  Once again this year we will begin with an all school mass followed by the walk to Willow Stream Park.  More information to come.

 

Bus Update

March 2          No Bus Home

March 3          No Busing

March 4          No Busing

 

Ask the right kinds of questions to improve your child’s thinking

Experts recommend asking questions to build your child’s thinking skills.  The trick is to ask the right kinds of questions.

  A well-known classification system, Bloom’s Taxonomy, divides thinking skills into six categories.  Ask your child questions that fall under these categories:

1.       Knowledge.  Find out what your child knows about a topic.  Talk about facts.  Start with the basics, such as who, what, when and where.  “When did the war start?”  “Who was the President?’  The answers should be clearly right or wrong.

2.      Comprehension.  Test how well your child understands the subject.  Ask him to describe, explain or predict something.  “If we were tadpoles, where would we live?” 

3.      Application.  Encourage your child to connect previous learning to new experiences.  “Chickens hatch from eggs.  What do you think happens with ostriches?”

4.      Analysis.  Discuss how something work or how it’s organized.  “Name the different kinds of animals you studied.”

5.      Synthesis.  This involves thinking about old information in new ways.  “What if Christopher Columbus lived today?  Where could he explore?”

Evaluation.  Help your child be creative without worrying about right or wrong.  “Imagine you could go back in time.  What would you do during the Civil War?”
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brusin@stmarybg.org,
Feb 22, 2011, 6:56 AM
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