Blanche Sims News - Lake Orion Community Schools



Blanche Sims News - Lake Orion Community Schools
Blanche Sims News
February 19, 2016
Principal’s News
J en nif er Go etha l s, P ri n cip a l
Blanche Sims Families,
During the past few years the Sims staff has been participating in professional
development on Cultures of Thinking and Visible Thinking Routines. Some examples
of these activities are See, Think, Wonder and Chalk Talks. There are many
examples of this student work up in the building and we will be adding more before
parent/teacher conferences. We have added the Growth Mindset piece this year
which really goes nicely with the Thinking Routines. I have attached an article about
Growth Mindset to help parents understand what we are working on with students.
Penny Wars
Bw’s Dine to Donate 3
Study Skills Group
Growth Mindset
Standards Based Grading
Parent Workshop
Reminder that all the Lake Orion elementary schools will be competing in Penny
Wars the week of February 22nd. The proceeds from this will go to Blessings in a
Backpack –LO. You can find more information on the attachment. If you want to
send in a check you can make it out to BIAB-LO. The winning grade will get an
extra recess and there is a district trophy. Let’s go Sims!
We have our Blanche Sims Elementary Facebook page up and running!! Please check
us out on Facebook and Twitter, I have posted many pictures from this month’s
Have a great weekend!
Jennifer Goethals
Upcoming Events
Mother/Son Bowling
February 22 – 26 - Blessings in a
Backpack Penny Wars!
February 24th - BW’s Dine to Donate
February 25th – 8:25 A.M. Respect
Circle and March is Reading
Month Kickoff
February 26th – Middle School
Counselors visiting 5th graders
March 1 – 7:00 P.M. PTO Meeting
March 2nd – 7:15 P.M. Kindergarten
Information Night
March 4th – Variety Show 2:15 P.M.
and 7:00 P.M.
March 24th and 25th – No School for
MSTEP Schedule: Please try not to schedule doctors’
appointments or vacations during your child’s testing window.
5th Grade – 4/11 – 4/29
3rd Grade – 4/25 – 5/13
4th Grade – 5/9 – 5/27
5/6 testing days
3 testing days
4/5 testing days
MSTEP Parent Video about MSTEP Reports
Kids Standard Magazine!
Online Tools for Homework and Study Skills
In this New York Times article, Tara Parker-Pope recommends a series of online homework and study aids:
- – Students can type in a website or source name and Easybib will automatically generate a citation in
whatever style format the teacher requires.
- – A cloud-based presentation tool that allows for zooming and panning and can make presentations more
dynamic and fun.
- – Students can create flashcards and study guides to review material online or on a mobile device. Created
by high-school students in 2007, the site has more than 40 million study sets generated by users.
- – This site helps students create a story or poem or present material using a variety of illustrations.
- – Summaries of literary works with analyses of important quotes, key facts, study questions, essay
topics, and quizzes.
- – Students enter the name of a written work, a timer determines their reading speed as they
read a sample paragraph, and they’re told how long it will take to finish the book.
- – Brief tutorials on a wide array of topics and grade levels.
- Kindle books – Features include highlighting, vocabulary help, and being able to search a long book for a key passage.
- Google Docs – A group of students can create, edit, collaborate on, and store documents, which can be opened on any
computer with an Internet connection. Teachers can add notes and comment on drafts.
“Help with Homework, Pixel by Pixel” by Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times, November 17, 2015,
1st graders measuring the Statue of Liberty’s Foot!
Mother/Son Bowling
Penny War!
Battle for
Blessings in a Backpack!
All Lake Orion elementary schools are holding a “Penny War” the week of
February 22nd – February 26th 2016
to raise funds for Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion!
The school who raises the most money (calculated on a per student basis) will win the
Blessings in a Backpack - Lake Orion
Penny War Trophy
to be held at the school for a year!
(Your school’s name will be engraved on the trophy!)
So, look out that spare change and donate it to a great, local cause!
The Rules!
The GOAL of the Penny War is to collect as many PENNIES as possible in your grade’s Penny Jar –
and to put as many NON-PENNIES (nickels, dimes, quarters, notes, checks) in other grades’ money
jars! At the end of the War, the money collected in each jar is added up as follows:
Penny = 1 Point
Nickel = MINUS 5 Points
Dime = MINUS 10 Points
Quarter = MINUS 25 Points
$1 bill = MINUS 100 Points
$5 bill = MINUS 500 Points
$10 bill = MINUS 1,000 Points
Checks (made out to Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion) will count as MINUS points too!!
So, put pennies in your own grade’s money jar and put everything else – nickels, dimes, quarters,
paper money, checks into the jars of the other grades!! STRATEGY COUNTS! (However, once money
is in a jar it must stay there - it cannot be taken out and put it into another jar!)
The winning school will be announced on Friday, March 4, 2016.
All money raised will go to Blessings in a Backpack - Lake Orion
For more information about Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion go to:
Blanche Sims
Elementary - 5th Grade
A great cause
and some great food
All friends, family and supporters of Blanche Sims Elementary - 5th Grade Camp
are invited to participate in their fundraising event on
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Everyone is invited to gather at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lake Orion (770 N. Lapeer) for
lunch, dinner, or a snack. On this day, 20% of purchases* accompanied by the certificate
below will be donated to
Blanche Sims Elementary - 5th Grade Camp.
Blanche Sims Elementary - 5th Grade Camp Fundraiser
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Present this certificate to your server at the
time of your order and 20% of your
purchases* will go to support
Blanche Sims Elementary - 5th Grade Camp.
Struggling with assignments, homework,
and tests…
Study skills will help your students:
Learn new techniques for effective learning
Work on making their own innovative study plans
Adapt innovative methods for better outcomes
Help overcome hindrances in academic
The Study Skills groups are for Elementary, Middle School and
High School students, and are FREE of charge!
Date: Elementary School: Saturday March 12, 2016
Middle School: Saturday March 19, 2016-GROUP IS FULL
High School: Saturday March 26, 2016-Limited number of
spaces left
Time: Saturday 9:30am–2:30pm
(including a break for lunch, kids bring their own)
Location: 204 Pawley Hall, Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309
For more information and to register please call the
SEHS Counseling Center at (248) 370-2633.
Metro Parent Fostering a Growth Mindset - Metro Parent
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- Metro Parent - -
Fostering a Growth Mindset
Posted By Jessica Schrader On August 24, 2015 @ 6:10 am In Parenting Issues & Tips | No Comments
“You’re so smart!”
It’s a phrase commonly used with children in an effort to praise them for mastering a topic or getting
a good grade on a test.
But despite parents’ best intentions, using the term can actually be harmful in how a child views his
or her intelligence. It’s a matter of mindset, experts say, and using words like “smart” enforces a
fixed mindset instead of a growth mindset.
With a fixed mindset, a child believes his or her intelligence is set. He might be good at math or bad
at science, and that’s just the way it is – there’s no changing it. Same can be said for personality
traits like being “shy.”
Using a growth mindset, though, a child believes hard work and persistence will lead to success in
any topic. A struggle doesn’t imply an inherent inability – it’s just part of the process.
“We want to be careful about how often we tell kids they’re smart,” says Dr. Lisa Damour [1], a
clinical psychologist, author and school consultant who lives in Ohio. “When they get to work that’s
hard, they think, ‘That must mean I’m not as bright as everybody thought I was.’ They can back
away from hard work.”
Praise the process
Parents should praise the process instead of the end result, complimenting kids on their persistence
instead of the percentile at the top of the page.
“If you say ‘you’re smart,’ that’s inducing a fixed mindset,” says Hans Schroder, a fourth-year
graduate student in the clinical psychology program at Michigan State University [2]. “Instead you
want to focus on the effort, the strategy, the specific thing that you did to earn that score.”
If you only praise the outcome, children may question their intelligence when errors are inevitably
made. If a child is told he’s “smart” for earning a high score on a test, what does it say about his
intelligence when he makes a mistake?
“Kids come to that conclusion by themselves,” says Schroder, who has been studying cognitive
processes with MSU professor Dr. Jason Moser since 2009.
So what does it take for a child to adopt a growth mindset? One way is making mistakes and finding
a way to improve, Schroder says.
“If you practice failing, making mistakes and learning different ways to overcome them, you’re using
a growth mindset,” he says.
That also comes into play when a child feels he or she just isn’t “good” at something.
“We don’t like it when we feel bad – we hate it, we do anything to avoid feeling it at all,” Schroder
says. “I think the parents can validate that feeling – ‘Yeah, it seems really hard, doesn’t it? But
maybe try a different strategy.'”
The growth mindset is “all about seeking help and trying different strategies,” he says. “The fixed
mindset is, ‘I didn’t get it the first time; that says something about me as a person.'”
Start early
Coined by researcher Dr. Carol Dweck in her 2006 book Mindset [3] ,the growth mindset and
strategies to foster it have been catching on among educators and parents alike.
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“For an academic idea that has major implications, it’s actually surprisingly simple,” says Damour,
who graduated from Yale University before receiving her doctorate at the University of Michigan. “I
think a lot of schools are picking it up. The more, the better.”
By encouraging a growth mindset early on, kids will be able to recall times that they were praised not
for positive results but for the hard work they put forth. That applies whether it’s building a Lego set,
learning to write their name or figuring out their first math facts.
“Use elementary school, when a child is really confident, to start them down the growth mindset
path,” Damour says.
One common way that parents reassure children who are struggling is to relate to their problem. “I
wasn’t good at math, either,” a parent might say. But this can also backfire, Damour says.
“It’s exactly the opposite of what we want parents to do at this point. That response reinforces the
idea that you either have a skill or you don’t, which is the fixed mindset opposed to the idea that
what you really want to learn will take effort and time to get good at,” she says.
What to say instead
Praise for effort can be offered in many ways, Damour says.
“I really see how hard you worked on this project. I’m so proud of you,” she offers as an example.
You might also consider telling your child that bringing home a lower grade on a subject they
struggle with can be even more impressive than earning an “A” on a subject that comes easily.
“I love it when parents say things to their children along the lines of, ‘I’m much more impressed
when you stick with it and persist even if you bring home a B or a C,'” Damour says. “Put your
money where your mouth is in terms of your praise. As a culture we love the idea of the perfect,
polished finished product and anyone who can create that. When we’re always celebrating that. It’s a
very fixed mindset message.”
Of course, some kids won’t have to work as hard as others to achieve the same results – and
children are likely to notice this fact. Remind your child that in some cases, those students are
putting in more effort than you think.
“Often kids feel like, ‘Wow, that’s so magical that she knows the answer’ and what they don’t
appreciate is that yeah, she went home and did her homework for two hours and didn’t look up.
What looks like magic is actually a lot of work,” Damour says.
In other cases, very bright students can serve as an inspiration – and the chance to teach an
important life lesson.
“Really hold out the idea that people who are stronger than us can either be a source of humiliation
or inspiration,” she says. “And given that there will always be someone out there who can do better
than they can, the earlier kids can see that as an inspiring thing, the better.”
Challenge for parents
If your child feels frustrated because of her struggle with a subject or because one of her peers is
performing better, your role as a parent isn’t only to use words to encourage a growth mindset – you
also have to accept and believe it yourself.
“If a parent wants to reassure children along these lines, they have to really have a comfortable,
easy and confident tone,” Damour says. “If the parent is saying that in a frantic and anxious tone,
the words don’t really matter.”
Parents should also emphasize that the brain is a muscle, and every chance to work hard at
something is exercising and building that muscle, Damour says. You can also use real-life examples
from the child’s life.
“‘Hey, remember how when you were building that fort outside and it kept falling down and you
stayed out there for three hours? That was you showing us just how much persistence you have.
That kind of persistence will help you here with your math facts,'” Damour offers as an example. “It
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gives parents a way to talk about their kids from a position of strength. You have this skillset, you
just need to put it over here also.”
The school setting
Debbie Himelhoch, a second grader teacher at Cranbrook Schools Brookside Lower School in
Bloomfield Hills [4], says part of encouraging perseverance in the school setting is teaching kids that
it’s not only acceptable but expected that they ask questions and seek out help.
“It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t understand. Can you show me a different way to learn?’ As teachers, we
really work hard on giving them the language to feel confident and how to ask for help when
needed,” says Himelhoch, who has been teaching at Cranbrook for 30 years.
Kids sometimes set an expectation for themselves that they should know everything or be able to
pick up on a topic quickly, she says, but they should know that isn’t realistic.
“Not everything in school is going to be easy, but we want them to know that they can do it. Keep
trying, put the effort in,” she says. “I’ve said so many times to my kids, ‘We don’t expect you to know
it all. That’s why you’re in school. You’re here to learn.'”
Sometimes a child simply needs time to work through a challenge.
“Giving them time to figure out what works and how to solve problems – that’s really important, too,”
Himelhoch says.
She encourages parents to be specific in their praise: “‘I noticed that you learned all your
multiplication facts,’ or, ‘You’re reading slowly, just the way we talked about,'” she suggests. “Give
them specific things that you’re observing.”
As a parent, Himelhoch has also found that showing her children their old projects from previous
school years can be a great way to highlight how much they’ve progressed.
“I think they don’t realize it,” she says. “Sometimes those concrete things are really helpful.”
Illustration by Mino Watanabe
Article printed from Metro Parent:
URL to article:
URLs in this post:
[1] Dr. Lisa Damour:
[2] Michigan State University:
[3] Dr. Carol Dweck in her 2006 book Mindset:
[4] Cranbrook Schools Brookside Lower School in Bloomfield Hills:
Copyright © 2015 Metro Parent. All rights reserved.
9/9/2015 9:27 AM
Assessment and Grading
in Schools Today
Thursday, March 10, 2016
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Oakland Schools
2111 Pontiac Lake Road
Waterford, MI 48328
Community Members
Come join us with International Speaker Tom Schimmer.
It promises to be an informative evening.
He will cover the following topics:
How educational research has influenced classroom instruction
Why classroom instruction has changed since you were in school
Why grades aren’t necessary to learn
How grading and reporting is changing
How you and your children can be more involved in the learning
Understanding Assessment and Grading in Schools Today
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Name:____________________________________ District: _____________________________
School:____________________________________ Address: _____________________________
Four convenient ways to register!
Contact Phone:_____________________________
click on Register Online, locate Email:_________________________________________________________________________
2.Email complete registration
information to: [email protected]
3. Mail registration form to:
Content questions:
Event Management,
Call Larry Thomas at 248.209.2297 or [email protected]
2111 Pontiac Lake Road,
Registration questions:
Waterford, MI 48328
Call Event Management at 248.209.2500
4.Fax registration form to 248.209.2021.
Oakland Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, sexual
orientation (subject to the limits of applicable law), age, genetic information, or disability in its programs, services, activities or
employment opportunities. Inquiries related to employment discrimination should be directed to the Director of Human Resources
at 248.209.2059, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI 48328-2736. For all other inquiries related to discrimination, contact the
Director of Legal Affairs at 248.209.2062, 2111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI 48328-2736.