Oakbrook Observer March 2014
March Newsletter Dear Parents: I always like to keep you informed about the academic progress of our students as we move forward with our five goals: reading, writing, science, math and social studies. The State of Michigan uses the MEAP scores each year to provide us with important information about how are students are doing in each area. As you know, last October, third through sixth graders took this test in various subjects. All students took the reading and math portions of the assessment. In addition, fourth grade students participated in writing, fifth graders in science and sixth graders in social studies. Just recently we received the results of these tests and are analyzing them for areas of strength and areas upon which we must improve. We not only check for grade level performance but also for individual growth. Using this information, the teachers carefully adjust their instruction to more effectively meet the needs of their students. Each area of the MEAP test showed increases and decreases for Oakbrook, based on the grade level. In the area of math, our third, fourth and sixth graders showed improvement while in the area of reading, the fourth and sixth graders showed growth. Our fourth graders did an excellent job in writing, increasing their scores by over 20%. We also showed a small increase in the sixth grade social studies test. We know that we need to continue to work on all subject areas, especially in science. Now that we are implementing the Discovery Education Science curriculum, we are looking forward to much improved scores in the future for that subject area. Our goal is to improve instruction at all grades for all subject areas. We will continue to work effectively with robust instruction. We know that our children are very capable and can learn the necessary information to be most successful. March is a very busy month for us, so please check out your calendar and mark down those special dates. The Wax Museum for third grade, March is Reading Month (a Super Hero theme!), Kindergarten Round Up, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, First and Second grade music concerts, and the Family Tree monthly meeting are all on the docket. I would also like to share that we will also be doing an Oakbrook spring candy sale. We hope that everyone will be able to participate. It may save you a bit of shopping for upcoming holidays and events and the candy is quite tasty. Let’s hope for warmer days and sunshine. I think we have had enough to those below freezing temperatures! Sincerely, Linda
Dr. Linda Schneider‐Rediske It All Starts Here!
Future IT Executive
Kindergarten Open House for 2014-2015
Tuesday, March 18
All UCS Elementary Schools
It all starts in our exemplary classrooms and schools!
Meet our staff
Learn more about our state and nationally-recognized programs
Begin the registration process
Complete registration packets available on our Web site
U t i c a Co mmu n i t y S c h o ol s
Thoughts for Improving
Produced by Teaching and Learning
Volume 1V, Issue 7
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Carol Klenow, Ed.D.
Gene L. Klida
Robert A. Ross, Ph.D.
Jennifer L. Prybys
Daniel J. Meyers
Christine M. Johns, Ed.D.
“All the research says the
single best way to improve
your child's homework performance—and bring more
peace to your home—is to
insist on a daily schedule or
routine,” says Ann Dolin,
who is also the author of
Homework Made Simple:
Tips, Tools, and Solutions for
Stress-Free Homework. In
some homes, that means doing it right after school; for
others, it can mean waiting
until after dinner if your child
is the type who needs to expend some energy before he
dives back into the books.
Dolin recommends giving all
kids at least 30 minutes to
have a snack and unwind,
with one caveat: “That halfhour break really shouldn't
involve anything with a
screen—television, e-mail, or
video games—or you may
have trouble getting kids off,”
High interest articles, stories,
videos, games and more are
available at your fingertips!
Free educational math games
that help review and learn addition, subtraction, multiplication,
and division. Even new apps
available for the iphone!
Giving kids a half-hour break
between after-school activities
and homework is a smart idea,
too. “Sports or after-school care
isn't really a break. Kids need to
let down a little at home before
launching into homework,” she
says. If your child goes to a
babysitter or aftercare program,
make a deal that while he's there
he'll work on one assignment—
something easy he can do even
with distractions—every day
before he gets home so he has
less work later.
The key is to be consistent about
the routine. Take a few weeks
before homework gets heavy to
try different approaches and see
what works best, then stick to it.
What about weekends? Everyone deserves a break on Fridays,
of course. But pick a regular
time during the weekend for
homework. After some experimenting, Denise Webster of
Portland, OR, found that her son
Alex, 7, is at his best on Sunday
mornings. “He can finish in
thirty minutes what might take
him two hours on a weekend afternoon,” says Webster.
If your child is truly stuck
on a homework assignment,
don't make the common
mistake of trying to reteach
the information. Your goal
is not to become your child's
study buddy. Plus, your approach might be too different from the teacher's.
“Imagine being a child
learning long division for
the first time. You don't
understand what your teacher is saying, and your parents teach you another method. When you get back to
school, you're bound to be
even more confused,” says
mom and former teacher
Laura Laing of Baltimore.
Instead, send an e-mail or
note to the teacher asking
her to please explain the
material to your child.
again. If your child is a
fourth-grader or older,
have him write the note
or talk to the teacher.
March is Reading Month—Take a Pledge to Read More!
It is critical that kids increase their
stamina for reading for longer periods
of time as they grow and that they are
exposed to, and have practice with,
rich, voluminous reading and
texts. Whether children read print or
ebooks, the more children read, the
better readers they become, and the
better readers they become, the more
they enjoy reading. But reading practice cannot only occur in the classroom; children need access to books
and time to read at home every day.
So…make the pledge to raise a
great reader with these 5 "raise a
1. Be a reading role model for your
children – let them see you reading
2. Fill your home with books and
reading materials – magazines,
newspapers, comic books, how-to
guides, reading material that will tap
into your children’s interests and
3. Read aloud to your children –
even after they turn 8! Don’t stop!
Kids love to be read to and the longer you can do this the more you will
show your kids that reading is fun,
build their vocabularies, and develop
background knowledge they will
need to understand meaning and
4. Build reading into your children’s
daily schedule – help create reading
routines at home and the habit of
reading will grow with them over
5. Let your children read print,
digital or both…as long as they read!
Supporting Mathematics Common Core at Home
Master key concepts
The Standards for Mathematics ask
students to spend more time on fewer
concepts. Through intensive practice,
they will learn to carry out mathematical
procedures quickly and accurately. At
the same time, they will be challenged
to develop a deep understanding of
underlying mathematical concepts.
Students should not just get the right
answer. They should also know why an
answer is right.
Be aware of what your child may have
struggled with in previous years and
how that could affect learning this year.
Make sure he gets extra support to
develop skills he may be lacking, and
keep track of his progress and ability to
complete homework assignments. This
is important because the Standards ask students to build on their knowledge year after
How and why
Since students must spend time practicing
lots of problems in the same area to develop
speed and accuracy, parents can help by
providing the time and encouragement
needed to master Math facts and operations.
You can help your child develop a deeper understanding of key topics by talking Math. When
he solves problems, have him explain how he
did so. Make sure he always checks his work.
Your child should get into the habit of asking,
“Does this answer make sense? Why or why
Real-world problem solving
Students must be able to apply math in realworld situations. This means knowing what
mathematical concept to use to solve a particular problem. To give your child extra practice, have him compare the value of products
in a store, estimate the tax on a purchase, or
calculate the tip at a restaurant.
The Standards aim to help students see the
usefulness of Math in navigating a range of
real-world situations, know the value of perseverance in solving a problem, and develop
confidence in their ability to arrive at the right
Source: www. Scholastic Classroom.com
Your Daily Math— “Eggstreme” Color
We are just loving Steve Spangler Science,
a website full of science projects you can do
at home. One of the coolest is to make your
own geodes out of eggs. A real geode (top
photo) is a rock whose inside is full of crystals. Crystals form from materials that line up
in smooth, flat faces that make corners
where they meet. The salt you sprinkle on
food is crystal-shaped, as are the diamonds
in jewelry, and if you drop a glass it will
break into flat-sided pieces showing that
glass is crystal too. Crystals inside geodes
might be made of the purple stone amethyst,
the pink stone rose quartz, or some other
stone or mineral. Here, you can make your
own crystal out of alum powder, a salt-like
mineral that you can get at the store. You
dissolve it in water, then let it stick to the
inside of an eggshell. But the real rock ones
are a lot harder to break.
Big kids: To make these, you paint the inside of each shell with glue, then sprinkle it
with alum powder. If it takes you 28 seconds
to paint the glue and 13 seconds to sprinkle
the alum, how fast can you prep 1 shell?
Younger kids: Each geode uses half an
eggshell. If you have 5 eggs, how many
geodes can you make (assuming you don’t
break any)? Bonus: If you use those halfshells to make 2 green geodes and 6 blue
ones, how many shells are left to make red
When Writing is Hard
Let's face it: Not all kids love to write.
For some, it's hard to come up with anything to write about. Other kids have a
lot to say, but it's hard to get the ideas
written down in a meaningful way. For a
small percentage of children, every step
of the writing process is difficult —
from processing the ideas to forming the
letters to write to conveying the right
handwriting, avoiding writing, and having difficulty completing a writing assignment that makes sense. Often these
kids have to focus so much on the act of
writing that they omit simple words or
really simplify what they want to say as
a way to use easier words and shorter
School-age children may exhibit signs of
difficulty. These include illegible
Parents can provide support by having
their child type assignments when
possible, and structure homework
time to allow for extra time for completion. When reading a draft, focus
on the content of the writing rather
than the neatness or the spelling.
Once the content reflects what the
child wants to say, turn your attention
to some of the more mechanical aspects of writing, like spelling and
Attention all UCS high school sophomores, juniors and seniors:
If you can sing, have we got a deal for you!
The Utica Community Schools Foundation for Educational Excellence
(UCSFEE) is sponsoring its sixth annual Arts & Idols Gala on Thursday, May
29 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township. In addition to a gourmet dinner
and displays of amazing artwork by UCS students and art teachers, the event
will showcase some of our most talented singers competing for a $3,000 first
place prize, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for other participants.
So UCS sophomores, juniors and seniors, in order to compete for the cash
prizes at the Gala in May, you must first audition on Saturday, March 15 at
the Instructional Resource Center, 14201 Canal Road in Sterling Heights.
Here’s how to register for an audition:
If you are in a choir class, see your choir teacher. Or you can go to our website:
www.artsandidols.com and fill out an application. Your completed application
should be emailed to: [email protected]undation.org.
We would really love to hear you sing! Last year’s first place winner was from
Eisenhower and the runner-up was from Ford II. This year, why not you?!
The UCSFEE is a nonprofit organization made up of area business and
community leaders. Since 1986, the Foundation has raised more than $1 million
for scholarships to students, educational grants to teachers, support for Camp
Literacy and many other programs. Each year, proceeds from the Arts & Idols
Gala go to scholarships for UCS graduating seniors pursuing postsecondary
If you have questions, call 586.491.7131.
Lunchroom Supervisors Needed!
Please consider joining the Oakbrook family by becoming a lunchroom supervisor. We are interested in
both part-time, full time (five days a week), or substitutes. The timeframe is from 11:50 to 12:50. You
may call Diane Joseph in the Oakbrook office for further information at 586-797-5900