Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Election Day

November 4 is election day and Sioux Trail hosts precinct #1 voters. Those that are in the know are predicting very large turnouts so it will be an exciting day at Sioux Trail.

Previous elections have always been in the main hallway, but this year the elections are in the gym. The easiest access to the polls will from the rear parking lot. All voters are asked to part in the back lot and enter through door #7.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tie Day!

Tie day started off as a pretty informal thing, but it is growing in popularity. Here is today's tie wearing crew. This is open to anyone that wants to wear a necktie to school. I think Mr. Khamratthanome and Mr. Kleven started this, but lots of people are getting involved and having fun. Thursday is tie day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MAP Assessment Information

You are invited to an informational session on the MAP assessment. This is an opportunity for families of students in 2nd - 6th grade to meet with Mr. Akin, learn more about the Measure of Academic Progress and get answers to questions you still have. Please note that Mr. Akin may not have time answer specific questions about your child or an individual score. MAP information night is on Tuesday, October 28 at 6:00 PM in the Sioux Trail Media Center. Please contact Mr. Akin at (952) 707-3301 or takin@burnsville.k12.mn.us with questions or for more details on the informational session.

Can’t attend the session, but still want additional information on MAP? Try these websites:

NWEA Website: www.nwea.org

Lexile Website: www.lexile.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fire Safety

Burnsville firefighters visited Sioux Trail today and met with students in Kindergarten, Grade Two and Grade Four. Firefighter Brian is reviewing his turnout gear with kindergartners and going over the various parts, what they do and why he wears it.

Daylight savings time is coming up soon and this is a great time to check your smoke detectors and replace batteries. Unlike a remote control or other battery operated appliance you don't want to wait until your smoke detector batteries are dead before replacing them. Firefighters recommend testing your smoke detectors once a month and replacing the batteries when you reset your clock (Daylight Savings Time).

We have at least five fire drills each year at school. Families should also have fire drills at home. Practice makes perfect and when there is an emergency you do not want to waste time getting out of your home. Create your plan, set a meeting place for everyone when they get outside and then practice it.After chatting with firefighters in the media center the students got a chance to visit the fire engine and and an ambulance. I thought this was a great photo, because it captured the truck, Sioux Trail and the students. When I looked closer I noticed that three of the firefighters are leaning on the fence, no they aren't taking a break, they are cheering on Firefighter Brian (the guy in the turn out gear) as he runs laps with students. Another great role model at Sioux Trail!

Here is a great web resource for more information on fire prevention:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The break that we all refer to as "MEA" is upon us. MEA refers to the Minnesota Education Association which ceased to exist ten years ago. MEA was one of two teacher's unions in Minnesota, the other union was the MFT or Minnesota Federation of Teachers. Both unions were integrated into one that is now Education Minnesota. the MEA break exists because there is a professional conference in St. Paul that is designed for educators, but open to the public.

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in education (public, private or any other kind!) to learn more and better themselves. Teachers in most public schools are not paid for these days (at Sioux Trail teachers have Wednesday off for working two 12 hour days with conferences and Thursday and Friday are not paid days).

Yes, it is a great conference with some good professional development activities, but there is also great benefit from a couple of days off to rejuvenate and rest from the typical work week that averages 50-60 hours.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The art of teaching

This is but one example of the incredible work that takes place at Sioux Trail. Teaching isn't easy and takes a lot of work in order to engage all learners and it is an ongoing challenge to make that learning exciting. Here is an excellent example of how great teachers pull all of these things together.

The photographs are from the first grade Dinosaur Dig which involved learning on many different levels. The first graders started the lesson with an expert in paleontology. While the students were learning the basics the set up was taking place outside. Several volunteers were burying "dinosaur bones" and setting up the dig site. After the first graders knew how to properly work the dig site they set out in small teams to conduct a dig. They worked meticulously using toothbrushes and trowels to unearth the mysteries from another time (even if it was just minutes ago). After they had a collection of bones they assembled them to form the animal that may have been there, drew it and wrote about it as a team.

I captured one example, but there are many others taking place at Sioux Trail.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

National Fire Prevention Month

Tomorrow (October 5) is the first day of fire prevention week. In addition to being an educator I am also a firefighter in Lakeville. The basic idea is that as firefighters we are trying to put ourselves out of business.

We practice fire drills on a regular basis at school and families need to do the same thing at home, but most families do not. It is important to establish a routine for evacuating the house, have a meeting place outside of the home for the family to gather and account for everyone and then practice the routine. There needs to be a primary evacuation route and then a secondary route. When daylight savings time rolls around it is an excellent time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and test them.

I have the opportunity to talk to students about being a firefighter on a regular basis and one of things I have shared with them is that I host a cable television program for the Lakeville Fire Department. The program is accessible in iTunes by searching "Lakeville Fire Department", the show is produced every other month and is also available on the city of Lakeville's website on the Government Television page. Here is the link: