North Side Paw Prints

Staff Newsletter

April 11, 2014

Volume 5, Issue 31

Mission Statement: "Maximize potential in all people every day"

Vision Statement: "To create a culture in which all children can learn lifelong skills to succeed"

Congratulations Laura Pepple and Ann Robbins for Going the Extra Mile this Month!

Weekly Quote

"Time is not something you FIND or MAKE – the clock and the calendar move on at their own pace with or without you. Your choice is how you use it." — Michael Josephson

Weekly Reflection

How will you be remembered?

Upcoming Dates


April 12th - eLearning Day; Champs n Tramps Dog Wash 11-2

April 14th - Leadership Meeting 3:10 in conference room

April 15th - Kindergarten Round-Up 6:00pm

April 16th - Mclass reading and IRI window opens

April 16th - Safety Committee Meeting

April 17th - ISTEP Practice Test

April 18th - School in Session -Good Friday

April 23rd - Mclass math window opens

April 28-May 2nd - ISTEP Multiple Choice & IMAST testing


May 1st-7th ISTEP & IMAST Testing continues

May 1st - Staff Meeting 3:10 in library

May 2nd - Nelson's Port-A-Pit Chicken Fundraiser 4:00-8:00pm in Walgreens Parking Lot,

May 7th - Spring Pictures & Class Pictures

May 9th - PTO Carnival 6:00-8:00pm; 2nd grade field trip to Botanical Conservatory/Science Central

May 10th - SOM names due to Venita

May 12th - Breakfast with Mom 7:00-8:00am; Leadership Meeting 3:10 in conference room

May 13th - Middle School Staff visit for 6th grade; PTO Meeting 5:30 in library

May 14th - mclass reading and IRI window closes

May 15th - 5th grade field trip to McMillan; 6th Grade Parent Meeting at the Middle School

May 16th - Snow Make-Up Day: School will be in session

May 21st - Retirement Dinner; mclass math ends

May 22nd - 4th and 5th Grade Music Program

May 23rd - Snow Make-Up Day: School will be in session

May 25th - TinCaps Game 7:05pm at Parkview Field

May 26th - No School - Memorial Day

May 29th - 6th grade Band Concert at South Side (students arrive at 6:00; concert at 6:30)

May 30th - Laptop Collection

This Week's Case Conferences

April 14th @ 10:00 - Johanson

April 14th @ 1:50 Demske, Garner

April 15th @ 10:00 Johanson

April 15th @ 2:30 - Stoll, Savage

April 15th @ 3:00 - Demske, Wilder

April 16th @ 1:45 - Demske, Garner

April 17th @ 3:00 - Demske, Wilder

April 17th @ 3:30 Demske, Moore

April 18th @ 11:00 Pepple

April 18th @ 12:30 Stoll, Everage

Featured Instructional Strategy of the Week

Teach readers to discern text structure

Authors organize their information intentionally. They present their ideas in an organized pattern. This is called text structure.

Understanding text structure empowers readers. When students can identify a specific structure, they know how to categorize all the details coming at them. And seeing relationships between all these ideas improves overall comprehension.

Recognizing the structures of all texts

Literature (narrative text) always reveals its plot in a chronological sequence. Because it has such a predictable pattern or organization, it's easy for students to follow.

However, informational text (expository writing) can be presented as chronological, categorical, compare-contrast, cause-effect, problem-solution, or proposition-support.

Because informational text structure is not predictable, students have to read for more than just ideas and details. They have to read for how the details are related to one another.

However, recognizing text structure doesn't come naturally. This kind of inferential thinking requires explicit instruction.

Revealing mentor texts

The easiest way for students to see the difference in organizational patterns is to show them similar information presented in different text structures.

For more examples of mentor text:

Identifying relationships with transitions

We can help students discern what structure a text is written in by noting key words. Transitions act as road signs to help readers navigate a text; they signal to the reader how the next detail or idea is related to the previous one.

By highlighting the transition words in a passage before reading it, students begin associating certain transitions with particular text structures. For practice applying signal words accurately, check out this transitions word game.

Advancing from simple to complex examples

Most texts are not pure examples--meaning the entire passage is NOT written in one text structure. Most informational texts contain a mixture of text structure types. A paragraph or two may be organized as a compare-contrast. Then the next paragraph block outlines a sequence. The last paragraphs may be patterned as a problem-solution.

That said, it's important to first teach text structure in simple texts that are short and use only one text structure before challenging them to navigate longer more complex texts.

Scaffolding text structure

Not all text-structure types are to be taught in all grade levels. Scaffold your instruction honoring developmental readiness. Organized below from simplest to most complex, provide instruction in the following order. NOTE: Primary teachers teach 1-2. Intermediate teachers teach 1-4. Secondary teachers teach 1-6.

  1. Chronological Structure--Fine-tune students' ability to retell the sequence of a text. This will include retelling stories (literature) or processes (informational text) like explaining the life cycle of a butterfly or the change in the seasons.
  2. Enumerative/Categorical Structure--Show students how to sort information in the text, grouping like ideas and clustering details about similar facets. Foldables are great for taking notes while reading about the different facets of a big concept.
  3. Compare-Contrast Structure--Using T-Charts, show students how to separate comparable information about each of the topics. Here's an example completed after reading about two birds--eagles and owls.
  4. Cause-Effect Structure--Using the concepts of before and after, teach students to identify the relationships of cause(s) and effect(s).
  5. Problem-Solution Structure--The concepts of problems and solutions are not foreign to students. They have heard from an early age that they need to compromise and cooperate. Teach students to read for the problem first, and then read for the solution(s).
  6. Proposition-Support Structure--All argumentative writing is organized in this single text structure. The opening paragraph identifies the author's claim--what is his topic and stance on the topic? And all the information that follows supports that proposition. It's someone's opinion for how to solve a debatable issue that has no "right" answer.

Teaching text structure gives students a glimpse behind the scenes of what they're reading to discover a framework of meaning.

CCR.R.5 Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.

Character Counts Pillar of the Month

April: Trustworthiness