Clarks Creek Staff News

Oct. 19-23, 2015

Clarks Creek students have PRIDE!

Ensuring that ALL students carry themselves with pride and confidence beyond our doors as honorable, skillful learners and thinkers, ready to enrich our world.
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Dear Staff,

What an outstanding quarter we have had! Celebrating our students' accomplishments with our first PRIDE convocation was a great way to end the quarter right before fall break. Special thanks to Sabrina for all of the great pictures!

While it's remarkable to think that we're already 1/4 of the way done with this school year, our students have made some great gains and are showing progress already. Now that the ball is rolling, this next quarter is the one to really build up steam and accelerate the growth that our students are showing. One way to do this is to continue working on "close reading." This is a fancy name for much of the comprehension work you already do, but there are some direct questions associated with close reading that make it very effective. Check out the article in the newsletter below for additional information.

As we begin our week of parent conferences, think about these conversations as another great way to accelerate that growth, too. Enlisting our parents' help in keeping that momentum going in the right direction is another important key in students' development. Enjoy your conversations with your students' parents and remember to listen, even when you have so little time to convey all of the information that you need to share.

Have a great week!


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To-Do List

  • You'll get a sheet to keep track of the number of parents who attend conferences this week; please turn it in by Friday afternoon.
  • If someone needs to cancel a conference or doesn't show up for a scheduled appointment, work to reschedule the appointment. A phone conference can be a last resort, but it is definitely better than not having an opportunity to talk with a parent.

Announcements and Reminders

  • Don't forget - Nov. 1 is the due date for Legacy Foundation grants!
  • Thanks to all of those who have already signed up to pass out candy at the Halloween event on Saturday, Oct. 24th. For those who are new to CC, this is a HUGE, fun event! If you're able to attend, I know you'll have a blast! It's a full costume event for kids - and adults, too! Feel free to wear that Halloween costume that's been collecting dust, or the one that's been in your head for years! The sign-up sheet is in the mailroom if you'd like to sign up!
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Close Reading

This was a great summary of an article on "close reading" that you may have seen, as it was posted on the Learning Connection, but it has some great questions that can be used to work students through a text. These would also be great to print off to use with parent volunteers who come in and work with groups of students in different texts.

John Wolf has posted a new Announcement to User Group Indiana Literacy Liaisons...Read On, Indiana! View and Respond Online

Title: Taking a Closer Look at Close Reading

Everywhere we go these days, it seems that teachers are asking about close reading. What is close reading? What does it look like at my grade level? What are appropriate texts for close reading? How often should we do close reading? Am I going deep enough in my questioning? According to Nancy Boyles (Southern Connecticut University), "Close reading means reading to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deep comprehension."

In her Educational Leadership article, "Closing in on Close Reading," Dr. Boyles suggests ways to bring "close reading" to the elementary grades. Boyles is critical of "ho-hum" text-dependent questions. Instead, she urges teachers to take students beyond the text and ask deeper questions that they can apply to other texts on their own:

  • What is the author telling me here?
  • Are there any hard or important words?
  • What does the author want me to understand?
  • How does the author play with language to add to the meaning?

"If students take time to ask themselves these questions while reading and become skillful at answering them, there'll be less need for the teacher to do all the asking," she says. "For this to happen, we must develop students' capacity to observe and analyze." Delving deeper, she suggests getting students to ask themselves questions like these:

  • Who is speaking in the passage?
  • Who seems to be the main audience for this text?
  • What is the first thing that jumps out at me as I read? Why?
  • What's the next thing I notice? Are these two things connected? How?
  • What seems important here? Why?
  • What does the author mean by _______? What exact words lead me to this meaning?
  • Is the author trying to convince me of something? How do I know?
  • Is there something missing from this passage that I expected to find? Why did the author leave it out?
  • Is there anything that could have been explained more thoroughly for greater clarity?
  • Is there a message or main idea?
  • How does this sentence or passage fit into the text as a whole?

"Students who learn to ask themselves such questions are reading with the discerning eye of a careful reader," says Boyles. The next step is to look at passages with the eye of a writer, analyzing:

  • Imagery, including similes, metaphors, personification, figurative language, and symbols;
  • Word choice;
  • Tone and voice;
  • Sentence structure: short sentences, long sentences, sentence fragments, word order within sentences, and questions.

"Closing in on Close Reading" by Nancy Boyles in Educational Leadership, December 2012/January 2013 (Vol. 70, #4, p. 36-41).

10-Day Forecast of Upcoming Events

No Staff Meeting this Week - Parent Conferences

10/19 PTO Meeting 6:30pm

10/19-10/22 Fall Book Fair

10/21 Trash Bag Fundraiser Sort

10/22 Conference Day - No Students

10/22 PTO will provide dinner 4:45 - 5:30 in lounge

10/23 Staff Luncheon from Central Office Staff- all lunch periods in lounge

10/24 Halloween Event 5-8pm

10/26 Last Good News Club Date

10/28 Community Forum - Justine Thompson 6:00pm PHS Auditorium

10/30 Fall Parties 2:30-3:15

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to These Staff Members with October Birthdays!

Chris Baker 5-Oct
Jessica Markowitz 6-Oct
Jennifer Judd 7-Oct
Megan Zeronik 10-Oct
Elizabeth Stringer 21-Oct
Randa Spencer 22-Oct
Jennifer Cook 23-Oct
Erin Shelley 28-Oct
Lucinda Kennedy 30-Oct

Elizabeth Straub 30-Oct


  • If you haven't been in the Mind Maze in a couple of weeks, you may not have seen the brand new stairs that are in there! A grandpa of two of our students made them, and they are beautiful!
  • Our students have once again won the summer reading contest at the Guilford Township Library! The trophy that is in the front office windows will remain with us for another year!


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Read Out!

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