3.19.15

Letter to Third Grade Parents

Please look for this letter explaining the test results and next steps. The letter can be viewed by clicking the following link:  3rd grade letter Translated letters:  Dear Parents 3rd grade letter RUSSIAN Dear Parents 3rd grade letter SPANISH

State Testing Datessbac

Mark your calendars! The following dates have been set aside for state testing this spring. Students do best when they test with their class. Please schedule appointments around the testing dates for your children.

Third graders will be testing on the following days: March 31, April 2 and April 3 for ELA (English Language Arts), and April 27 and April 28 for Math.

Fourth graders will be testing on the following days:  April 29, May 4, and May 5 for ELA (English Language Arts), and May 7 and May 8 for Math.

Fifth graders will be testing on the following days:  May 11, May 13 and May 14 for ELA (English Language Arts), May 20 and May 22 for Math, and May 27 for Science.

Crazy Hair Day

Friday, March 27 is our next spirit day, Crazy Hair Day. Be creative, wacky, colorful! Here are some ideas!

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3.12.15

Pennies for Patientspennies for patients

Please help our students collect coins of any denomination for children with leukemia in our Pennies for Patients coin drive. Send your child with loose change this week as we wrap up our coin drive.

Book Character Day

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We celebrated reading and writing today at Valhalla. The day concluded with Literacy Night from 5:30 – 7:00 where students got to pick out a book and learn to be super storytellers.

This is how our staff celebrated Book Character Day.

 

 

Coming Soon!

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3.4.15

Dress as a Book Character

photo 1Thursday, March 12 is the day when students and staff can dress as a book character to celebrate literacy. The photo is from last year’s Character Day. Who will you be?

Plan to come to Literacy Night from 5:30-7:00 that night. Learn to be a Super Story Teller, pick a free book, enjoy a snack, and have fun with your family!

PTA Book Fair

book fair pictDue to a lack of volunteers, the book fair will NOT be open during the PTA meeting tonight from 6:00-8:00. The book fair will reopen at 10:00 tomorrow morning.

Guess the right number of pages in a stack of books for a chance to win a prize.

The book fair will also be open during Movie Night this Friday, 6:30-8:00.

 

Practice for the SBAC

Students and parents can visit the SBAC website to try out the practice tests for Math and ELA. Simply go to http://sbac.portal.airast.org/practice-test/

Use the following document to see the next steps for beginning the practice test:  SBAC note to parents

 

 

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2.24.15

PTA Meeting

The PTA Meeting on March 4th will be held in the computer lab starting at 5:30 pm for parents and students to learn about the new test practice site. This is a great way for parents of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders to see the new state testing format and try out the site with their children. The computer lab is located on the second floor in room 228.

Newsletters and Bulletins

You can find the latest newsletters (every two months) and weekly bulletins under the School Information drop down menu. Weekly bulletins go out on Thursdays. If you would like the bulletin emailed to you click on the link: send me bulletins, and you will receive the information each week.

Spirit Day

This Friday, February 27 is Pajama Day. Students may wear their school appropriate pajamas to school. Shoes must be worn. Students may bring their slippers to wear in their classrooms, only if their teachers give permission. Please consider the weather when choosing pajamas.

Mark Your Calendars!

Literacy Night is planned for March 12.

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2.19.15

calendarState Testing Dates

Mark your calendars! The following dates have been set aside for state testing this spring. Students do best when they test with their class. Please schedule appointments around the testing dates for your children.

Third graders will be testing on the following days: March 31, April 2 and April 3 for ELA (English Language Arts), and April 27 and April 28 for Math.

Fourth graders will be testing on the following days:  April 29, May 4, and May 5 for ELA (English Language Arts), and May 7 and May 8 for Math.

Fifth graders will be testing on the following days:  May 11, May 13 and May 14 for ELA (English Language Arts), May 20 and May 22 for Math, and May 27 for Science.

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2.5.15

Free Dress Day

Wednesday, February 18 is class picture day. Student may wear their choice of school-appropriate clothes that day. Remember to bring your picture envelopes!

clip_art-skating_rink_003Skating Party

Please bring the whole family to Pattison’s West Skating Center for our skating party Friday, February 6 from 5:00 to 7:00. Admission is $5 if you bring your own skates or if you rent quad skates. It is $6 for inline skates.

Class Picturescamera_-_cheese!

Lifetouch is back to take class pictures on Wednesday, February 18. This is the day after a long four day weekend (mid-winter break). You can expect the picture envelopes to be sent home next week. The cost of class pictures is $11.00. Students should wear their uniforms for class pictures.

Access Night

All parents of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students should attend our Access Night on Tuesday, February 10 from 5:00 until 6:00. The subject that will be discussed is the new state test, Smarter Balanced Assessment. Learn how students will be tested, how families can access practice tests, and what students can expect from the experience. We hope you can join us for this valuable information night.

 

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1.23.15

airheadsValentine Candy Grams

Valentines Day is fast approaching. It has been a tradition at Valhalla for our Student Council to sell Candy Grams during the weeks before Valentines Day. Starting on Tuesday, January 27th and continuing through Thursday, February 12, students may buy a candy gram card for 50 cents each for any student in the school or family member. Airheads candies will be attached to each card and delivered to the classroom indicated on the card on Friday, February 13We advise that students buy no more than two cards per day so they have time to write out the To and From section and write a short note without impacting their class work time. Start sending your 50 cents on Tuesday, January 27th!

Access Night for Parents of 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders

It is extremely important for you to attend our next ACCESS NIGHT on Tuesday, February 10th at 5:00 pm to be better informed about SMARTER BALANCED Test. Two representatives of the Federal Way School District will be here at Valhalla to inform you about this new computerized state test that will be taken by all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. You will also learn how to better support your child to prepare for the test. We hope you can be there!!

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1.21.15

Smarter Balanced Testing Coming to Our Schools

This spring, Federal Way students in grades 3-8, 10 and 11 will take new state assessments. They are referred to as the Smarter Balanced Assessment and all students across Washington state, and in many other states, will take them. The assessments measure student knowledge of the new state standards. This is the second year we have been teaching to these standards, which are often referred to as Common Core.

What does this mean for our students?

At our school, the Smarter Balanced Assessments will replace the math, reading and writing parts of the Measures of Student Progress (MSP) tests that students in grades 3–8 have been taking every year. Students in 5th grade and 8th grade will take the science portion of the MSP in addition to the new tests. Students in grades K, 1 and 2 will not be taking Smarter Balanced tests.

Getting students ready for online testing

Instead of a pencil and paper test, Smarter Balanced Assessments will be taken online at a computer during the school day. We know that not all students are comfortable using the computer. Teachers and staff are working with students to make sure every one of them has the computer skills necessary to successfully take the tests. Fifth-graders will take the science MSP using paper and pencil.

What else is different?

The tests are “adaptive,” which means the questions will adjust automatically depending on how a student answers earlier questions.

And, part of the assessment is called a performance activity. This means the class participates in a teacher-led activity and then students complete an assignment on their own.

When are the tests?

Students will take these tests over several days this spring. The testing period will be slightly longer than it has been in the past. You will receive information once the schedule is set.

What other assessments will students take?

At various points throughout the school year, students are assessed so that teachers and parents know where they are in their learning. We use the STAR tests for much of this, and also give assessments that are similar to the end-of-year state assessment.

Assessments are not just tests, though. Students are assessed in many ways, all through the learning continuum. An assessment could be as simple as a classroom conversation or a student presentation. These ongoing (or “formative”) assessments allow the teacher to determine if the student needs more instruction. If so, the teacher tries to teach the concept or skill using a different approach — what we call differentiated instruction.

Remember

Performance on any assessment shows only what a student knows and can do at that point in time. It does not show whether your child is capable or not, or how good his or her teacher is. There are many other gauges of a child’s capability and knowledge, and a teacher’s skill. This is especially important to keep in mind when new tests are being rolled out.

Smarter Balanced Assessments are challenging. And we know that anytime there is a new state assessment, there is always a temporary drop in test scores. We’ve been through this before with the WASL, the MSP and HSPE. It will take some time for students and staff to learn and adapt to a new assessment. Ultimately, FWPS students will be prepared for 21st century jobs and college.

Resources

There are many online resources where you can learn more about Smarter Balanced Testing at your child’s grade level. Here are just a few.

  • The FWPS Smarter Balanced Assessment webpage, fwps.org/teaching/washington-standards/student-smarter-balanced-testing/.
  • Short videos showing what students in grades K-5 should be able to do in their grade. http://milestones.greatkids.org/
  • Roadmaps to read about what your student (K-8) should be able to do in English Language Arts (http://www.cgcs.org/Page/328) by the end of the grade level. (Also in Spanish at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/261.)
  • Roadmaps to read about what your student (K-8) should be able to do in Math at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/244 by the end of the grade level. (Also in Spanish at http://www.cgcs.org/Page/263)
  • Your Child’s Progress, http://yourchildsprogress.com/, is an online publication about Washington’s learning standards and state testing (all grades) for 2014-15 school year. It has been translated into 9 languages.

Las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas Vienen a Nuestra Escuela

Esta primavera los alumnos grados 3-8, 10 y 11 de Federal Way presentarán nuevas pruebas del estado. Se refieren a las pruebas como las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas y todo alumno del Estado de Washington, y en muchos otros estados las presentarán. Estas pruebas evaluarán el conocimiento del alumno de los estándares del estado. Este es el segundo año que hemos enseñado a estos estándares, que con frecuencia se llaman el Núcleo Común.

¿Qué significa para nuestros alumnos?

En nuestra escuela, las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas tomarán el lugar de las secciones de matemáticas, lectura y composición de la Medida del Progreso del Alumno (MSP, por sus siglas en inglés) que los alumnos han presentado cada año. Los alumnos del grado 5 (y del grado 8) presentarán la porción científica de la MSP además de las nuevas pruebas. Los alumnos de los grados K, 1, 2 no presentarán las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas.

Preparación del alumno para las pruebas en línea.

En lugar de pruebas con papel y lápiz, se presentarán las Pruebas Más Equilibradas en línea en la escuela durante las horas de clase. Sabemos que no todo alumno está cómodo al usar la computadora. Los profesores y el personal están trabajando con los alumnos para asegurar que cada uno tenga las habilidades necesarias para presentar las pruebas con éxito. Los del grado 5 presentarán la MSP de ciencias con papel y lápiz.

¿Qué más hay de diferente?

Las pruebas son “adaptables” es decir que las preguntas se adaptan automáticamente según las respuestas anteriores del alumno.

Y una porción de la tarea se llama una actividad de rendimiento. Esto significa que la clase participa en una actividad dirigida por el maestro y luego el alumno termina una tarea solo.

¿Cuándo son las pruebas?

Los alumnos presentarán estas pruebes en varios días esta primavera. El período de las pruebas será un poco más largo que en el pasado. Ud. recibirá más información una vez establecido el horario.

¿Cuáles otras pruebas presentará el alumno?

En varios puntos en el año escolar, el alumno presentará evaluaciones para que el maestro y los padres sepan dónde estén en su aprendizaje. Usamos evaluaciones STAR para mucho de esto, y también damos tarea que es similar a la prueba de fin de año del estado.

No todas las evaluaciones son pruebas. Se le evalúa al alumno de varias maneras, por todo el curso de aprendizaje. Una evaluación puede ser tan sencilla como una conversación en el salón de clase o una presentación del alumno. Estas evaluaciones continuas (o “formativas”) permiten al maestro saber si el alumno necesita más enseñanza. De ser que sí, el maestro intenta a enseñar el concepto o la habilidad de otro modo—lo que llamamos la instrucción diferenciada.

A recordar

El rendimiento en cualquier prueba sólo muestra lo que el alumno sabe y puede hacer en aquel momento, y los profesores utilizan muchos métodos para ayudar al éxito del alumno. Las pruebas no muestran si su alumno es capaz o no, ni si el maestro es bueno o no. Esto es especialmente importante recordar al introducir nuevas pruebas.

Las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas son desafiantes. Y sabemos que cuando hay una prueba nueva del estado, habrá una baja provisional de los resultados de la prueba.  Lo hemos visto anteriormente con la WASL, la MSP y la HSPE. Tarda algo para que el alumno y el personal aprendan y se adapten a las pruebas. Luego los alumnos de FWPS estarán preparados para los trabajos y las universidades del siglo 21.

Recursos

Hay muchos recursos en línea donde puede aprender más acerca de las Pruebas Inteligentes Más Equilibradas al nivel académico de su hijo. Algunos se encuentran aquí:

  • La Página de Internet de FWPS sobre las Pruebas Más Inteligentes Equilibradas.
  • Videos breves que muestran lo que el alumno de grados K-5 debe ser capaz de hacer en su grado. http://noticias.univision.com/educacion/estandares-academicos-estatales/
  • Mapas con sugerencias para ayudar al alumno (K-8) lograr los estándares de Artes de la Lengua Inglesa para el fin de cada nivel escolar. También en español en http://bit.ly/1DLEPHf.
  • Mapas con sugerencias para ayudar al alumno (K-8) lograr los estándares de matemáticas para el fin de cada nivel escolar. También en español en http://www.cgcs.org/Page/263.
  • El Progreso de su hijo es una publicación en línea acerca de los estándares de aprendizaje y las pruebas del Estado de Washington (todo grado) para el año escolar 2014-2015. Se han traducido a 9 idiomas en http://yourchildsprogress.com/.

Smarter Balanced Information Flyer FWPS Smarter Balanced

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1.9.15

Highly Capable Program Accepting Applications

Click on the links below the image to connect with the online form or print a paper version.

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12.15.14

Winter Break

The staff of Valhalla Elementary would like to wish everyone a wonderful winter break. We will see you in the new year on Monday, January 5 when school is back in session.

Nominate Your Child

Nomination forms are now available for entrance into the Highly Capable classes. Click on the document link below to read about the nomination process. Within that document you will find a link to the nomination forms. Please note:  the nomination window begins on January 12 and ends on January 26.

Final Draft 1st grade to 12th grade Nominate your student hcp

Spirit Day

Friday, December 12 is Jersey or Blue Spirit Day. Students may wear sports jerseys or Seahawks blue shirts with their regular uniform pants.

BUG Awards

The Kiwanis Club sponsors our Bringing Up Grades awards. Representatives of the Kiwanis Club attended our awards assembly on December 17 to see two students from each classroom receive this award and celebrate their success!

kiwanas at BUG assembly

Important Information

Click on the following links to find out more about the new state test.

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FWPS Smarter Balanced FINAL with cor 2  FWPS CCSS Grading FINAL 2

 

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