Title 1 News

April 2015



Hawkeye’s BookWorms is the RedHawks reading program. It is a four-week program that is integrated into schools. Each week of successful reading is rewarded with a prize from a BookWorm sponsor. At the conclusion of the program when the child has “hit a homerun” they receive a ticket to any RedHawks baseball game during the 2015 regular season.


What Does Phonics Mean?

Thanks to the popular slogan “Hooked on Phonics works for me!” phonics may be the term parents are most familiar with. Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds. For example, the letter D makes the “d” sound in the word dog and the letters oy make the “oi” sound in the word boy.

Learning these letter-sound relationships is a process that occurs over time. Your child will start to get more explicit phonics instruction in school, but there are many ways to support it at home too.

The most important thing to do is read to your child every day. Being read to helps kids start to identify letters and letter-sound relationships. A good place to start is with the letters and sounds in your child’s name since it is personal and motivating. You can build on this learning by playing alphabet games and doing ABC activities. Don’t force it though, let your child’s interest and readiness be a guide.

What Does Phonemic Awareness Mean?

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the separate sounds in a word. Let’s take the word dog again–it’s made of 3 phonemes, or units of sounds. Someone who is aware of and can identify all 3 of those sounds has phonemic awareness. This, too, is a process. Teachers are looking for kids to be able to identify the beginning sounds, the ending sound, all of the sounds and even to switch sounds and make new words.

Identifying and blending sounds together is important because it’s a big part of decoding and spelling words. Fun ways to develop this skill in kids is through rhyming words, songs and poems…and of course reading aloud to them daily!

What Does Decoding Mean?

Decoding is the process of looking at a printed word and being able to say it correctly. It sounds like something a spy should be doing, but all it really means is putting together the sounds in the word to read it aloud. It’s cracking the letter-sound code to come up with the word.

Decoding is just half of the process of reading. The goal of reading is to be able to both decode and comprehend, or understand, the text. Once kids are able to decode words well they begin to work on remembering and understanding the words they are reading.

Read Aloud 15 minutes

Every Child. Every Parent. Every day.

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Powerful Words

Help bolster your child's vocabulary with this list of strong words.

Pick a word and have it be the "Word of the Day!" Can your child use the word in the correct context? Our vocabulary grows only when we understand the word and can use it correctly. Have fun with this list!


Book Ideas for older students:

If your kids like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, you’ll want to find similiar books like Diary to keep them reading. So here's a book list of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid that are similar and just as appealing. Happy reading!


Book Series that kids love (and parents, too!)

Finding good books to read can be tough. When you get hooked on a series, you don’t have to worry about finding your next great book; you can just enjoy reading them.


ADHD: The Basics

I continue to receive questions about attention difficulties...I found this chart to be of interest.


How children and parents react to a connected world...

The #ShareAwesome campaign's website, shareawesomenow.org, includes digital safety information, a pledge to be a "positive digital citizen," and technology quizzes for parents and students.


Grade 3: March 23-April 2

Grade 4: April 28-May 8

Grade 5: April 7-April 15

Grade 6: April 16-April 24


Many of you probably read the article written by Anna Sell, Oakes Elementary School principal, in the Oakes Times pertaining to the Common Core State Standards. I am including the article in this month's newsletter as well...


By Anna Sell, Oakes Elementary Principal

I recently had a conversation with a parent and friend about the new ND state standards. He had questions about the Common Core that our new standards are based on. After the conversation, he suggested that I find a way to communicate to parents and other stakeholders the information we talked about. I appreciated his input. I hope this information will be helpful and clear up some of the misunderstandings and myths floating around on social media and in the public arena.

1. Teachers are against Common Core and are afraid to speak out for fear of retribution.

--At Oakes Public School we are currently in year 3 of implementing the standards adopted by our state. Although our teachers are required to teach to these standards, the teachers on our staff believe that the standards are rigorous and high quality. If you stop by our school to visit, you will see classrooms that are being taught by teachers that truly believe in what they are teaching. No teacher in our school district would face any type of punishment if they disagreed or spoke out about the current standards.

Standards are not new. There have always been “standards” that teachers must teach to. The first set of standards created was back in 1892 and since then standards for learning are more commonly known as graduation tests, entrance exams, etc.... Our new set of standards moves beyond what was demanded in the past, now requiring that students surpass rote memorization to being able to apply gained knowledge to solve real-world problems. The staff at Oakes Public School realizes that these skills are what our children need as we move into a global world where our children and grandchildren will need to compete with people from all over the world, no matter what career path they decide to follow.

2. Schools have to buy brand new textbooks to meet the standards.

--At this point, we have not purchased any new textbooks to meet the new standards. In fact, we are completely holding off purchasing new textbooks because we are not sure what we need for our students to be successful in meeting the standards. We strongly encourage our teachers to identify their learning target (standard) and find proven resources and strategies to meet the identified target not limited to the textbook.

Out of necessity, we must purchase new textbooks because of unavoidable wear and tear, not on the basis of need for common core alignment. At this point, we are foregoing purchases to ensure that we are using the best resources for the education of our students. Technology and the availability of quality resources has helped us in this endeavor.

3. In our school, we are teaching NEW math.

--I recently read a Facebook post (I’m sure many have seen it) that showed a math problem with a very complicated solution shown. It stated that the teacher would not accept any other answer besides the ONE way that they wanted. This in fact is the exact OPPOSITE of what the new standards demand. Our children are given a varied toolbox of problem solving skills, techniques, solutions and

algorithms of which they can choose which one(s) they want to solve problems. Our math teachers want students to be independent thinkers that can think “out of the box” to solve problems and encourage them to do just that. Although they are requiring a correct answer, how they get there is not limited.

4. How we teach our students in Oakes is dictated by the Common Core Standards

--Standards are NOT the curriculum. The curriculum is actually the plan we develop in OUR school to meet the standards. The teachers and administration have total power to decide how we teach our students...that’s the best thing, we can decide exactly what works best for OUR students.

The best way I can explain standards is to liken it to a road trip to Minneapolis with a group of friends. To have the best vacation possible for everyone involved we would first set an end meeting time and place (standards). But, how we get there does not have to be outlined, that can be determined by each family to meet their needs (curriculum). Some people may leave earlier and some later, each may take a different route, some may make stops along the way and others may drive straight through. As long as everyone gets to the agreed place and at the agreed time, it doesn’t matter how we get there. But, without a final ending goal...what a mess the trip would be and unfair to everyone involved!

If anyone has any questions or concerns about our new state standards, please contact me....I’d love to share information!


2: 4th Grade Field Trip...Lisbon

3: No School!

6: No School!

7: TOP 20...Willow Sweeny Community Supper/Presentation @ 6 p.m.

8: Willow Sweeny Classroom Presentations

15: Jose Cole's Circus

22: Teacher Inservice-dismiss at 12:30

30: Elementary Music Concert @ 7 p.m.

Mrs. Tara Steiner

Title 1 Teacher