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Welcome families to the Charter Classroom of Laurie Aguirre
I am thankful for parents that have carefully considered options for their children that are within the public school system. I look forward to serving your family in terms of providing the highest quality of education for your child in my classroom this year. As the charter application describes, your 2nd grader will be constructing knowledge and basic skills in conjunction with real-world meaningful learning in environmental topics, technology and civics.
Who is Laurie Aguirre?
As a teacher, I have extensive training in literacy, including a Reading Endorsement, mathematics and science and I have a Masters Degree in Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction. I have been teaching for over twenty five years and my passion for it continues to grow each year. My experience in many different schools in several different districts under a diverse range of administrations from Southern to Northern Oregon, qualifies me to state that the environmental emphasis and character development that is promoted at Forest Ridge/O.L.E. by several teachers far exceeds the goals/programs of any school/district that I have so far encountered. Teaching is my passion. I have had many other opportunities to do many other things, but nurturing our future leaders, remains most fulfilling.
I live in West Salem and I am a “DUCK MOM” – I have two children, Gabe and AliRae, both U. of O. graduates now living in Portland. We like to travel, snowboard, bike, golf, camp, wakeboard, and ride horseback. I am kept very busy with my own involvement in several environmental organizations and volunteer activities, so I am often “previously engaged” with commitments after school. Therefore, the best time to meet with me is before school, I usually arrive between 6:20 and 6:30 a.m. so you may schedule an appointment as early as 7:00 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. if this is convenient. However, I am always happy to schedule a meeting at other times if given enough notice.
Please take time to read the following:
- Mission Statement
- Homework Expectations
- Housekeeping – A-3 Supplies – Birthdays – Volunteering – Eco Lunches
My mission is to provide a welcoming classroom with a positive, proactive atmosphere that celebrates the whole child. My aim is to celebrate intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth. I will establish a positive relationship with each child and foster the “disposition” to learn. I will teach my students to think critically, feel deeply, and act wisely in terms of their decisions about and actions in relationship to animals, the environment and the human community. I will teach the power of virtues, character and attitude so that my students will understand that there are some things they can control and some things they cannot, but that they always have choices in their responses to situations and circumstances. I will work diligently in a celebration of spirit and performance to help my students make gains in each of the areas they need in order to be successful global citizens. Each child will experience the joy of learning and service as they are guided to become future leaders of the 21st century.
My Educational Philosophy
Children are naturally curious about the world. I use this interest to engage minds and foster the natural motivation to learn. I teach children to read and write with an emphasis in non-fiction concepts. Youngsters learn to read in order to access information about the subject in which they are interested. Children learn to cooperate and collaborate with others as part of their pursuit of knowledge. They learn to write in order to record and communicate what they are learning. Students learn to speak in order to share information and educate others. They need authentic purpose and meaningful outcomes in their pursuit of skills and knowledge. Nature and our environment provide rich content and opportunity for genuine results from learning. I teach the mind as well as the heart. Facilitating academic growth is my second goal; I feel it is ultimately important to both “To KNOW and To DO”. Students emerge from my classroom believing they can and do make a difference in our world.
KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT CHARACTER IS OF LITTLE CONSEQUENCE.
This is why you will find our classroom a very busy, engaging place.
Many people are fooled by the appearance of an orderly classroom where all children are seated quietly with books open and filling out worksheets. And although we do have “Words on Paper” time and calmer periods throughout the day, we often have hands on learning activities with lots of interaction, which is based on research that supports this as developmentally appropriate and the best practice for young children’s learning. In this non-traditional approach students have many opportunities to pursue their interests in learning centers and in flexible groupings.
In addition, students will develop presentation skills to educate other students, our community and the public at large based upon request. Joining the H.O.P.E. (Help Our Planet Earth) Team is strongly encouraged. Hope Team is a group of students that have special responsibility for facilitating our Roots & Shoots commitment to animals, the environment and the human community and represents Forest Ridge/OLE in our community and state. Students apply for this special role in November. (Students on this team present to Dr. Jane Goodall, Science EXPO and upon community request/need.)
Feel free to join us; listen and watch carefully to what is transpiring.
It is a magic place; we are making tomorrow.
In September our focus will be to create our classroom learning community which also includes learning many different procedures as well as building stamina and independence. Our October focus is ASSESSMENT. Each student will be individually assessed in reading, math, and writing. I will also be collecting information for T.A.G. (Talented and Gifted) Observation Inventory. As you can imagine, this takes a great deal of time. Additional adult support in the classroom greatly speeds this process, so I really appreciate any volunteer time you can spare during this time. All the assessment information gathered is used to plan meaningful, differentiated instruction which begins in earnest during mid-month.
While research resoundingly supports meaningful outcome project-based learning, and students have shown great success with this approach; I will employ a more traditional based style for the fall in order to accommodate CHANGES IN COMMON CORE STANDARDS and district pacing guides. Among the many materials I use are two researched based curriculum titled “Making Meaning”and “Primary Comprehension Toolkit” for reading comprehension and “Being a Writer” that develops the craft of writing. I will begin to branch off students showing intelligence, independence, and initiative into 2013 project-based instruction as readiness is shown.
- Please see the Trimester Organizer that includes subject and project area outlook for the year available in the classroom.
- I will also have a Daily Schedule available in the classroom.
HOMEWORK - General Expectations
Your support at home is more important than ever. Given the rigor of COMMON CORE State Standards, 2nd graders have a great deal to learn and in which to reach proficiency. You will be “eased into” these homework subjects throughout the year. It is increasingly important that your child receive direct support at home with the 100 + standards, concepts, and principles that make up 2nd grade expectations.
The COMMON CORE standards are available on the district's CIA site. Links to these are located under Curriculum page.
Homework will come home on Thursday in the HOME/SCHOOL folder and is due by the following Wednesday.
Our Read At Home program (RAH) is the most important homework your child can do. Studies show that reading daily improves academic performance. Students should read books at their independent reading level. Reading to your child is also extremely beneficial. It’s a great bonding time and helps them learn the language of literature. We start with 20 minutes of independent reading time, but will work up to 35 minutes. This can be a combination of independent reading and being read to. The Tumble Books site is o.k. for part of the time.The main goal is to develop a habit of reading daily and for it to be enjoyable. If you meet wit h any resistance, contact me so we can come up with some ideas to make it fun.
RAH folders will be taken home daily and should be returned with your child to school DAILY. PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE back of the RAH RECORD FORM EACH MONTH.
Your child will be expected to become fluent with the addition and subtraction facts of 18. “FAST FALCON FACT cards” is an expectation for practice at home. This includes “strategies” good math students use when working with these combinations instead of forced memorization. Other 2nd grade math skills include naming and stating the value of coins – penny, nickel, dime, quarter and half dollar. He or she will also need to be able to add coins together in combinations under $1.00. Analog time telling – by the hour, ½ hour and five minute intervals is also an expectation, as is naming days of the week and months of the year. In addition 2nd grade COMMON CORE standards in math have deepened and mastery of work with large number operations and MATHEMATICAL PRACTICES is expected by year’s end. Skills in measurement and geometry are other areas of focus.
- A “HOME CONNECTIONS” game, activity or skill practice will come home weekly. Some of these you may wish to keep at home to play again instead of returning to school on Thursday. In that case, please just return a note that indicates the HOME CONNECTIONS # on which your child was able to work.
We have a school-wide expectation that all students should be practicing "FALCON FAST FACTS" 3 -5 min. per day in order to build basic math fact fluency (speed % accuracy).
SPELLING - WORD WORK
I will make available the 2nd GRADE 170 CORE SPELLING WORDS that your child will be expected to master by the end of the year. These reflect 2nd grade reading and writing in standard usage. You may use this list for reference as your child is reading or writing at home. While we will proceed through this list in a systematic fashion, each child’s own ability to spell them correctly in the context of his or her writing will vary greatly.
- SITTON Spelling/word work will be sent home weekly. Watch for spelling support rhymes on the back of weeks 5 - 10. These are often helpful as a pneumatic devise to help students store memory.
Other Special HOMEWORK PROJECTS scored on the Progress Report:
Occasionally, other homework or “special projects” will be assigned. The due dates for these assignments will be indicated.
- “ME BAG” preparation and practice for speech
- “Geometry packet” – shapes and solids
- “Kids Care Kit” speech and slide show practice
- “How To . . .” Power Point speech (text/picture support)
I am currently setting up accounts for all A-3 students in:
- TenMarks: This site includes 2nd grade Common Core Math Standards activities/assignments that support your child's learning at home. This particular program provides tutorial options when your child is experiencing difficulty with the math skills and/or concepts. This also supports those students proceeding at a faster pace in math.
- XTRA math: This site is dedicated to basic math fact fluency as your child achieves the level, it advances your child to the next.
- RAZ - Reading levels A - Z: This site provides both fiction and non-fiction selections at your chilld's independent level. It includes comprehension checks and will advance your child to the next level as needed.
- TurtleDiary.com is another fun resource for your child that does not require an account. On it you may choose tutorials and games in ENGLISH that supports many skills in the Common Core Foundational Language Standards. (It also contains general math games and science activities that kids are interested in (not necessarily aligned with Common Core standards).
P.E. and MUSIC
Your child will be attending P.E. class three days each week: MONDAY, WEDNESDAY, and FRIDAY. Students need to wear shoes and clothing appropriate for P.E. participation. They will also have MUSIC three days a week: MONDAY, TUESDAY, and THURSDAY.
We will have one scheduled library checkout time per week on THURSDAY. Please make sure that your child returns his/her book and book bag on WEDNESDAY.
Lunch is at 11:45. Families are more than welcome to come and have lunch with their students.
In line with our CHARTER Environmental - Premier Oregon Green School curriculum, encourage 100% Reusable – ZERO WASTE lunch from home. We discourage individually packaged products that add to our garbage waste stream and encourage containers that can be recycled or re-used. A-3 eats lunch in the Naturescape or in the classroom to view Planet Earth and other science related content ON FRIDAYS.
Family members are invited on Fridays during nice weather in September/October) . Please check in at the office with enough time to arrive outside A-3 door by 11:40 and come to A-# outside door and knock. (I need initial supervision to take the cold-lunch students that are ready to eat out to the Naturescape. I then take the hot-lunch students to the cafeteria.) Bring a lunch packed using your reusable containers instead of throw-away packaging, a towel or blanket upon which to sit and enjoy your lunch outside with friends and family. Learn about the native plant species in our Naturescape as time allows.
Family members INVITED – Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles – bring your picnic lunch, blankets, chairs and enjoy the NATURESCAPE that the kids are learning about and caring for each day.
SUSTAINABLE PLANET EARTH LUNCH
On Fridays that the weather does not cooperate, we have "Planet Earth Lunch" in the classroom . During this time I show cds such as Planet Earth, Living Planet, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Magic School Bus, and other related internet sites. Join us! Bring a lunch packed using your reusable containers instead of throw-away packaging. As described above 11:40 and come to A-# outside door and knock.
Any FAST FOOD purchases outside of school will be accommodated in the school lunch room, not in A-3.
BATHROOM AND DRINK POLICY
Students may use the restroom any time during the day except during instruction/teaching time. Students will however, need to check with me one at a time if this becomes a problem in anyway. Exceptions will always be made for emergencies.
Students are allowed to get a drink at any time during the day as long as it is not during an instruction/teaching time. You are welcome to provide a “SHORTIE” drink container that will fit inside his/her desk. (Sorry to exclude taller desk top containers due to the many past tipping accidents that have ruined materials and or work.) Expectations are that use of the container is for taking a quick drink of water. If this becomes a distraction to learning in any other way, students will be asked to take the container home and use the drinking fountain instead.
We share pencils, glue sticks, and FULL SIZED BOXES OF TISSUE. If possible, please send an inexpensive pair of ear buds or headphones for your child to use with our computers, MP3 players and tape recorders. They can be purchased at Wal-Mart or Target for about $5.00. This will provide your child with personal head or earpieces and they won’t have to share.
See last Friday of the month (3:10 -3:30) Shared Birthday Celebration Schedule. (Parents fill in contact information so that you will be able to coordinate your child’s shared celebration with one and other.)
I discourage individually packaged products that add to our garbage waste stream and encourage containers that can be recycled or re-used. See “Healthy Celebrations” following.
Please do not bring birthday invitations to be distributed at school unless the entire class is invited. (This action is very hurtful to those excluded.)
H.O.P.E. (Help Our Planet Earth) Team is strongly encouraged. Hope Team is a group of students that have special responsibility for facilitating our Roots & Shoots commitment to animals, the environment and the human community and represents Forest Ridge/OLE in our community and state. Students apply for this special role in November. (Students on this team present to Dr. Jane Goodall (when she comes to Oregon), Science EXPO and upon community request/need.)
Our classroom PTC volunteer coordinator will contact you to ask for help for school wide projects, such as Family Fun Night or the Jog-a-thon. If you do not want to be contacted, please let me know and I will remove you from the list.
Other volunteer opportunities include field trips, classroom volunteers to read with children or work with small group presentations, filing, grading, cutting and collating. Please remember that all volunteers for field trips and those that work with children need to have a completed criminal background check on file with the office BEFORE volunteering. The process to become approved takes several weeks. If you are unsure if you are approved please let me know and I can look it up.
IN CLASS VOLUNTEERING
We have GREAT need for volunteers on a REGULAR basis (hopefully each week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays especially – morning (literacy block) or afternoon (math block). You are of course welcome to join us at anytime – just check with me ahead of time.
All VOLUNTEERS GREATLY APPRECIATED !!
While you are welcome in the classroom at any time (school policy is to inform the office prior to visit), the students benefit most from regularly scheduled, consistent volunteer support. I have a variety of areas that require assistance:
- Reading practice (both individual and small group)
- Writing - assistance during “words on paper” time + publishing
- Spelling – help with individual student management of recording
- Mathematics – skills support math problem solving
- Slide Show Presentation practice
- Naturescape activities and bird feeding with students
- Project Work – small group support
Each year I intend to do a better job of posting, but I REALLY NEED A PARENT TO HELP WITH THIS PARTICULAR TASK. My hopes are that the children will publish accounts of what is happening and upcoming. You can find the blog by visiting our school website at: http://forestridge.salkeiz.k12.or.us/
QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
If you have any questions or concerns about your individual child, please contact me to make an appointment. I am available VERY early in the morning (I arrive at school most days by 6:20 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays I have 7:45 Professional Development and PLC meetings, so a Monday, Tuesday or Friday is better. I can also do after school with plenty of notice.
503-399-5548 (leave call back number)
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(Allow one week for response.)
I’m looking forward to a great year!