Luxford Elementary School Scoop

October 13, 2016

The Teaching and Learning Scoop

Dear Parents,

I hope all of you stayed safe and your homes did not incur any damage last weekend. It is hard to believe we lost three instructional days due to inclement weather already in just a few weeks. As we enter the second half of the first quarter, I want to provide you with an update. It is important to the teachers and me that you feel knowledgeable and informed about what your children are learning and how to enhance their learning at home.

During the first half of the quarter, the focus of reading instruction in all grade levels was on making connections and summarizing (in K-1 students are asked to retell rather than summarize). This means when your student reads fiction text/books they should be thinking deeply about the characters in the story and connecting to the emotions and problems a character experiences. They should try to figure out how the characters feel (e.g., sad, happy, proud, jealous) and what the character’s traits are (e.g., nice, honest, mean). Understanding the feelings and traits of a character and the lesson a character learns is the foundation of understanding fiction.

When reading nonfiction, your child should be noticing the text features (pictures, maps, table of contents, glossary, bold words, headings) while reading and explaining how they help him/her better understand the text. Students make connections to nonfiction by thinking about what they already know about the topic and what they want to learn from reading it. They can tell you the new facts they learned after reading with you and explain what the text was mostly about (main idea). How can you enhance this while you read a book to your child at home? Ask good questions! Check out the quarter 1 suggested questions to ask your child when reading for fun at home with your child on the last page of this newsletter.

Your little readers are also becoming stronger mathematicians! They have been busy solving problems and computing! Kindergarteners have been counting to ten and counting sets of numbers. First graders have been busy learning counting patterns and writing numerals through 120. They are beginning geometry now and will be discussing plane and solid figures. Second graders are busy gaining an understanding of the base-10 system so they’ll be ready to compare and round numbers. They are also practicing counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s to extend numeric patterns. Third graders are studying place value and beginning to round and compare numbers. They are also beginning to develop strategies for multiplication. Fourth graders are busy studying numbers through the millions and applying strategies learned in third grade to use all four operations (+, -, x, ÷) successfully to estimate and solve problems. Fifth graders are describing prime and composite numbers, solving multi-step real-world problems, and beginning to classify and measure angles and triangles.

After receiving the progress report today, some of you may have questions about Standards-Based Grading. It is different for many parents and even for our teachers. However, it is research-based and proven to support our children in achieving a standard at their own rate. Many states use standards-based grading now because it is much more informative to students, parents, and teachers as to what a child has mastered on a grade level standard. Getting a “B” on a report card does not tell a parent much about what their child actually knows or is able to do. However, getting a “P: Proficient” rating on summarizing nonfiction and including details to support the main idea” tells us a great deal about what our child can do. The most important thing to understand is that children learn at their own rates, and they must know exactly what they need to achieve and learn to achieve a P. With standards-based grading, parents and kids know what has to be mastered to get a P, and the expectations for earning a P mean the same thing in every classroom with standards-based grading because it’s based on the requirements of the standards. An AP (Advanced Proficient) does not equal an A, and a P does not equal a B. This is a common misunderstanding. P simply means your child is demonstrating mastery on a grade level standard. An AP means your student has consistently exceeded the grade level expectation on a given standard.

I hope this helps you to feel better informed on the performance of your students and what they are learning right now.

Thank you for all you do for our school and for your kids! We appreciate all the wonderful parents in the Luxford community! Have a wonderful weekend!


Danielle Colucci

Principal, Luxford Elementary School

Upcoming Events and PTA News

Onto other news! The PTA has been working hard to support our school and provide us a nice outdoor courtyard. We would love to be able to have science experiments, gardening, and other fun STEM opportunities to engage our learners in outside. They hosted the Krispy Kreme fundraiser in an effort to fund this and obtained a grant from Lowe’s. They will do another fundraiser to help finish this project. Our PTA President, Claudine Baggett, will be in the café tonight from 5-6:30 handing out the pre-ordered Krispy Kreme certificates if you purchased any.

October 19th: Other ways to support our school? Please come to Chipotle on October 19th! We need iPads and technology, and Chipotle has agreed to give us back 50% of what is purchased between 2pm-9pm on the 19th! This is incredible! Just bring your Luxford Chipotle flyer in when you arrive, get dinner for the family and half your purchase goes back to your kids! I’ll be there from 5-6:30 pm in costume too! So, your kids can get more use of their costume and take a selfie with me to add to the fun!

October 21st: The PTA will also be hosting a Parent Connect Social on October 21st in the café. This is a chance to get to know other Luxford parents/families. Refreshments such as coffee, juice, bagels and pastries will be provided by your Luxford PTA. Feel free to bring younger siblings, as they are part of our Luxford family. Please RSVP at so we make sure there will be enough refreshments for everyone. If you haven’t joined the PTA yet, please consider supporting our school by purchasing your $5 membership. Our office staff can help you with this.

October 24th: School day now. Students attend all day.

On October 26th: Haygood Skating Night! $7 gets kids skating and all you can eat pizza! This will be a super fun night out for our kids and families!

October 31st: Book Character Parade! Students can wear their book character costume to school on October 31st as well for the Book Character Parade! This will be a fun event for our kids and families. Please sign and return the costume guidelines flyer that came home last Friday. Your teacher has extras if you need another. After the parade, some teachers will be having small Fall Celebration parties in their classrooms which you are also welcome to attend. Please sign your child out with your child’s teacher if he/she will not ride the bus home or go home their regular way. This is VERY important for student accountability and safety.

November 8th: Parent-teacher conferences. Please request a conference time if you have not already scheduled one.

Supporting Your Students While Reading Together at Home

Q1 Suggested Reading Questions to Ask (Fiction)

  • “How do you think the character is feeling right now in the story?”

  • "Have you ever felt this way?"

  • “What problem did the character have in the story/on this page?”

  • “How did the problem get solved?”

  • “Did the character learn a lesson?” (this is the theme or main idea of a fiction story)

Always ask “How do you know that?” or “What did you/we read that made you decide that?” after your child gives you an answer. Making sure your students are able to provide evidence in the text to support their thinking is very important. If they struggle, you can help them find the information. Reading at home needs to be fun so don’t overdo it. Just asking a few of these questions and talking about the story will really help your child. Remember, it’s ok to read to your child at home. Developing a real LOVE for reading will carry your children to success. If it becomes hard work, your kids probably won’t love reading. If your child struggles to answer a question, just talk to them about the text and what you think the answer is so you don't frustrate your child and ruin the experience of reading together.

When K-1 students retell, they should tell you the setting and the character's names. 2nd-5th grade students summarize, they should be including the setting, the characters, the problem/conflict, and the solution/resolution. Grades 4-5 should also include the theme (the lesson the character learns like “honesty is the best policy” or “hard work pays off”).

Q1 Suggested Reading Questions to Ask (Nonfiction)

When reading nonfiction, students will connect to what they already know about a topic. They will preview the text features before they read (text features include: pictures, table of contents, glossary, headings, bold words, graphs, maps, etc.). Do a text features preview with your child. Ask these questions:

  • “What text features do you see?”

  • “Why would the author include those text features/how do they help readers?”

  • “What do you think you’ll learn by reading this?”

  • “What do you already know about this topic?”

  • “What do you wonder about this topic?”

  • After reading nonfiction, ask your child, “What did you learn? Why is this important/why did the author write about this?”

  • “What is it mostly about?” (main idea)

  • “Which sentence/what information would be most important to include in a summary?”

**KG-2nd grade students can simply retell new facts they learned from reading the text and what it was mostly about.**