2019 Literacy Walk is this Thursday, October 10th!

Attention Parent Volunteers:

If you would like to help out at the Literacy Walk, please click on the link below and fill out the time you are able to help:

Sign Up for Literacy Walk Parent Volunteers


Parents, Grandparents, etc are welcome to come to cheer on the Bobcats as they walk/run around the High School Track. Sign in at Bennie’s Office for a Visitor’s Badge and then walk or drive over to the High School Track.

Literacy Walk Schedule for October 10th:

8:50-9:30               4th Grade

9:35-10:15             5th Grade

10:20-11:00           3rd Grade

Volunteers’ Lunch Break

12:15-12:55            1st Grade

1:00-1:40                2nd Grade

1:45 – 2:15              Kindergarten/Young 5s

(Rain Date: Tuesday, October 15th, if necessary.)

It’s a Great Day to Get More Books for Bobcats!

Did you know that donations can come from other countries, too? Last night someone in Canada donated money to buy new books for the Bobcats to read! How nice!

As of October 7th, family and friends have donated from:

Michigan              California

Ohio                      Florida

New York             Tennessee

Indiana                 Minnesota

Wisconsin           Pennsylvania

Oklahoma            South Carolina   

Missouri               Idaho     

Arizona                Texas              

16 STATES!!!                              

And, Ontario, Canada!!!    

Did you know…

  • Mrs. Metzger will dress up in a chicken costume and do the Chicken Dance for the Bobcats to show how happy she is after we reach our goal and are able to buy lots of new book sets for the Literacy Library?  These books will be checked out by the teachers and read by our students for years to come!
  • The top fundraising upper and lower el classrooms will earn a pizza party?
  • The top fundraiser from each grade will earn Lunch with the Principal?
  • Superstar fundraisers will enjoy having an ice cream sundae with Mrs. Artman after reaching the Goal of $150?  There are already 19 Bobcats who have reached this goal!
  • Any student who is registered and their webpage shared at least one time receives a small incentive prize?
  • All students will have a Flav-R-Ice freezer pop, a Bobcat Sticker and a fun time visiting the Jags’ track at the High School?
  • Pledges can be made using cash, checks payable to Bennie Elementary and charge through the Getmovinfundhub.com site? Donations are accepted for the walk through October 18th!

WELCOME to the 2019-2020 School Year!


The first week of school is an exciting, fresh, new beginning! Students are eager to see their friends and new teachers. There is some nervous anticipation and some mixed feelings about leaving home/family to go back to school…on the part of both and teachers!

Classroom teachers are establishing routines and norms this week. Fall assessments will begin the second week in order to obtain information about which students gained, stayed the same or lost some skills during the summer months so we can meet their individual current needs. Some assessments that will be given during September are the letter and sound identification for kindergarten students, NWEA-Reading and Math MAP tests, DIBELS -indicators of early literacy skills, and the BAS Benchmark Assessment System which indicates a reading level which would be a comfortable fit for each student. A couple paper/pencil short math assessments are also given to students in grades 3-5.

The Academic Support Program will begin in September and October by servicing students who were in the program last spring and did not meet spring benchmark scores. After the teachers are done with fall testing, some students may no longer need help and new students may be added to the Academic Support Program. Parents will receive letters at that time to let them know whether or not their children will continue to receive help from our instructional aides. Usually, most of these changes are made towards the end of October. As the year progresses, children may continue to be discontinued or added depending on how they are doing. Flexibility is important to meet children’s ongoing needs!

Students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade may be eligible to receive reading support within the classroom by our highly qualified instructional aides. (Read more about them by clicking on Meet Our Instructional Aides in the menu at the top of this blog.) In addition, some students in grades 3-5 may be eligible to participate in computer adaptive math support using Reflex Math and/or Learning Farm programs to shore up basic math facts and to practice math skills which are needed for State of Michigan requirements. More information about these programs will follow.

There will be a Title I Annual Meeting on Meet-the-Teacher Night, Thursday September 12 at 5:45 p.m. in the cafeteria. At that time information will also be given regarding the Third Grade Reading Law. Program design will be discussed, Mrs. Metzger and I will be available to answer questions, and opportunities to volunteer and be involved on the Title I Parent Advisory Team and in other ways will be explained. This Annual Meeting will be held in the Bennie Cafeteria and is open to all parents/guardians. Please join Mrs. Metzger and me there!

This year I will be working closely with classroom teachers modelling strategies and supporting them in various ways. Working with them and your children is an honor. I consider myself lucky to be an Allen Park teacher and look forward to sharing information with you about literacy strategies and how you can support your child’s education at home throughout the year.

You can email me during the year at artman@appublicschools.com or leave a message for me by calling me at Bennie at 313-827-1300. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Sandy Artman

Bennie Elementary Reading Specialist/Literacy Coach

Academic Support Programs Coordinator

Summer Resources and Preventing Summer Slide

What is Summer Slide?

Summer Slide is when students lose reading and other academic skills throughout summer months when they are not in school and do not read or utilize math skills on a regular basis. Gains made throughout the school year decrease and students have to work in the fall to regain what they lost over the summer. Struggling readers and readers from households without access to reading material are especially at risk for Summer Slide.

What Can You Do to Prevent Summer Slide?

1. Use the Learning Farm Subscription

If your child is receiving Academic Support and is in first through fifth grade, he/she has a free subscription to Learning Farm which will be available all summer. (There are a few kindergarteners who will also receive a note to participate.) Take a few minutes to check out Learning Farm, which is web-based and can be used on a computer or tablet. Learning Farm has objectives that correlate to the State of Michigan’s academic goals. Children can watch mini-lessons and practice skills and play games in the areas of reading, math, science and social studies. Each student has his/her own log in name (student id#) and password to access the program. The academic material given will get easier or more challenging depending on the student’s correct or incorrect responses.

Students can use Learning Farm at home not only during the rest of the school year but also throughout the summer months.  Here is the link to use to log on: https://www.learningfarm.com/   Your child needs to use their student ID# for their user name and their regular computer password. (If your child has difficulty remembering how to log in, send Mrs. Artman an email and the log-in information will be sent back to you.) One year subscriptions for additional children are available through Learning Farm for $50 for one year.

Learning Farm   

Image result for learning farm

2. Reflex Math Continues to Be Available Throughout the Summer – Take Advantage of It

If your child received Math Support in grades 3-5, they can continue to access their Reflex Math account during the summer. It will be checked periodically to see students’ progress and move them up to higher levels if/when ready. Children who practice their math facts using Reflex Math and who practice other math skills using Learning Farm at least three days per week should maintain or improve their skills over the summer months. These resources are available to you for free so be sure to take advantage of them! (If you know that your child will NOT use Learning Farm at all this summer, please let Mrs. Artman know so that the subscription can be reassigned to a new student.  artman@appublicschools.com)


3. Read To and Read With Your Child Every Day

Set aside time for your child to read alone and to read with you. Yes, even if your child is in 4th or 5th grade. Yes, even if your child would rather play video games or play outside. There is a lot of time available for other family activities during the summer, so be sure to schedule at least 20 minutes of reading each day. Children who do not read, write or do math over the summer months usually return to school in September and are behind where they left in June. This has been shown through research and I have personally observed it happen with some students every year, as both as classroom teacher and reading specialist,. Students can self select books based upon interest and enjoyment. Adults usually don’t take textbooks and work-related books to the beach to read. They pick easier and enjoyable books, newspapers, magazines etc. Students can read books/magazines etc.  they are interested in and motivated to read as long as they are reading! With younger children you can read to them, take turns sharing the reading on different pages or read a book that they listen to while you read. Variety makes it more fun and by reading to your child they are exposed to richer vocabulary and plots than they would be able to read independently.

4. If your child needs extra help, consider hiring a tutor. Here’s a list of tutors who are in the area:


5. Visit your local library.

Allen Park and most local libraries offer summer programs and activities. Sign up for a library card, visit the library with your child and take advantage of the free resources and programs.

Allen Park Public Library website

Melvindale Public Library website/hours

Southgate Public Library website/hours

Taylor Public Library website/hours

6. Michigan Virtual Summer Learning

Home based virtual learning classes are offered on-line. Below is a link to an email I received that has more information. You can sign up for a parent account to view what courses are offered and whether the ones you are interested in are free or low cost.

Michigan Kids’ Summer Virtual Learning Opportunities

7. Summer Bennie Book Exchange (Grades Young 5s to-Grade 4) and Learning Camp (Summer School) at Bennie – Grades K-2

More information will be coming about both of these activities. Children will receive some books before the end of the school year and will be able to visit Bennie throughout the summer if they want to exchange them for new ones to read. Mrs. Metzger will provide information on the days and times of this program in her blog and through Remind.

If your child is eligible for summer learning camp, (summer school) you are encouraged to sign him/her up. This is a wonderful free opportunity for them to get help in small groups and 1:1. The teachers and instructional aides working the program are experienced and will help keep your child from falling behind this summer.  Funding is available for Bennie to offer Summer School to targeted Academic Support Program students in Kindergarten through Second grade who are most at risk of falling behind in reading during the summer months or who need to make the most gains. Invitations will be sent home if your child is eligible after spring benchmark assessment scores have been submitted by the classroom teachers (probably the last week of May or very beginning of June). The invitations will give the dates and times and other information.

Please sign up promptly to save a spot for your child! If you have any questions about the program, don’t hesitate to contact Mrs. Metzger or Mrs. Artman.

8. Look at the June/July/August Daily Activity Planners for activity ideas that will help your child learn each day.

Find the links to the Helping Children Learn newsletters and the Activity Planners in the menu at the top of this blog. Even if you don’t do the activities in the exact order suggested or every single activity, it’s worth taking a look and using the ones that you choose with your children.

9. Visit or Revisit the Parent Resources located in the menu at the top of this blog.

During the school year, you may have been too busy to utilize these resources with your child. But, if you’re looking for ways to keep your children busy and learning this summer, check out the links and resources listed on this blog.

 10. Remember……..




Marvelous May

Does Your Child Need a Tutor this Summer?

Here is a list of individuals who are available to tutor. Parents need to contact these individuals to see who would be the best fit for their child. The list is provided as a courtesy but specific recommendations cannot be made. The teachers on the list included their areas of expertise and experience to help with selection.

Click to see SUMMER TUTOR LIST 2019


Advisory Team Meeting  – May 7th

A Title I/Academic Support Program Parent Advisory Meeting was held on Tuesday morning, May 7th. The meeting was held at 8:40 in the Media Center Conference Room. Survey results were shared and discussed.

Below is a link to the slide presentation that was shared at the meeting:

Academic Support Program End of Year Report

New May Parent Newsletter & Daily Planner Available Now – Click Links Below

May Helping Children Learn Newsletter

May Daily Activity Planner

(Paper copies were also sent home with Academic Support Program students.)

Benchmark Assessment Continues

Benchmark Assessment is continuing throughout May. All students in the school participate. The tests used for Benchmark testing include NWEA-MAP, DIBELS, and BAS.  Students who are currently in the program and who do not achieve benchmark spring goals will continue to receive service in the fall. If they achieve proficiency on fall benchmark assessments, which are given to all students in September and October, they may then be discontinued from the program at that times and parents will be notified.

Congratulations Tempy and Isabel!

Mrs. Metzger congratulates Tempy and Isabel for achieving their most recent Reflex Math goals. Great job, girls!





Awesome April

You’re Invited! Title I/ Academic Support Parent Advisory Team Meeting Tuesday, May 7th at 8:40 a.m.

We will be reviewing Survey Results and discussing Program Design for next year. If you are able to join us, please let Sandy Artman know through a note or email: artman@appublicschools.com The meeting will last about 30-45 minutes. Check in at the main office and you will be directed to where the meeting will be held.

Preschool to Kindergarten Transition Resources added to Blog

In the menu at the top of the Home page of this blog are some preschool to kindergarten transition resources for parents and children. If you have a child who will be entering kindergarten in the fall be sure to check them out. More resources will be added to this page in the future so check back later in the year.

Preschool/Young 5s to Kindergarten Transition Information


Before spring break, Academic Support Program surveys were given out to students, parents and classroom teachers to get feedback on program design, best times for meetings/workshops and program effectiveness. Answers have been being tabulated and results will be shared at the May School Improvement Meeting and at a May Advisory Team Meeting. If you have questions or concerns, remember you can contact Mrs. Artman directly at any time. Don’t wait for a survey to provide your input. Parents are valued stakeholders and members of Bennie’s Academic Support Program. Your input is always appreciated!

Parent Workshops

Most parents requested reading and math parent workshops for next year, followed by writing. If you are aware of presenters who give quality reading and/or math parent nights, please let me know. We are looking ahead to line up the best presenters possible for our Academic Support Nights. The workshops can be parent only or parent/child. This year, Eastern Michigan University hosted one of each for us. The parent/child one was the most well received of the two, according to surveys handed in on those two evenings.


Twitter is useful for communicating to and learning from a wider educational community. If you use Twitter, Mrs. Artman can be followed on Twitter @sandyartman

Spring Benchmark Testing and State Assessment

Students in all grades have begun to complete spring benchmark testing with their classroom teachers. Benchmark assessments are given in the fall, winter and spring so that student growth can be measured and monitored. These assessments are also used to determine who would most benefit from receiving Academic Support and who no longer needs assistance and can be discontinued from receiving support. Students in all grades take the computer-based NWEA MAP assessment, Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS), and DIBELS assessments.  In addition, third through fifth graders have been taking the state MSTEP assessment during their assigned testing windows.

Classroom teachers will let parents know how their children have progressed once spring testing has been completed. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.


March Moments & Memories

Enjoy some March pictures of our busy Bennie Bobcats!

(More will be added after break. Check back.)

Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Graders learn about letter-sound relationships, sight words, reading strategies, build reading stamina, and engage in reading age-appropriate books independently and with others. They work on speaking, listening, reading and writing activities which are essential literacy skills. Flexible seating gives students choice. Teachers model fluent reading with read alouds, and the children have an opportunity to work alone, in pairs and in groups. Lots of learning was observed as teachers participated in “instructional rounds” and visited other classrooms this month.


3rd, 4th & 5th Graders work on Literacy Activities such as Read to Self, Read to Someone. Word Work, writing summaries, listening to read alouds, working in guided reading groups, using technology, etc.

Students also have flexible seating options and choice built-in to activities by their classroom teachers. This better meets different learning styles and needs.

Teachers have an opportunity to visit other classrooms during planned “instructional rounds” time in order to see and share ideas, affirm best practices and celebrate students’ and colleagues efforts.


Interactive Read Alouds modeled by Mrs. Artman:

Ms. Davis’s students are excited to infer what the author meant while reading John Rocco’s book Blizzard!

Mrs. Artman uses the book Blizzard by John Rocco for an interactive read aloud with Mrs. Quisenberry’s class.

5th Graders Using Reflex Math and Learning Farm Math programs to practice math skills:



3rd and 4th Graders Using Reflex Math:


Congratulations On Reaching Your Reflex Math Goals Ellieanna and Kaitlyn! (posted March 22)

  Ellieanna worked hard all year and achieved her Reflex Math goal!

Mrs. Metzger is proud of Kaitlyn for achieving her latest Math Reflex goal.

Parent Advisory Meeting

A Parent Advisory Team Meeting was held in March. Parents reviewed and updated the Bennie School Parent Participation Plan. This plan is available under Important Documents on this blog and on the Bennie School website. Parents and staff also discussed current and future program design and upcoming program  plans such as parent surveys which will be distributed and collected from all stakeholders this month.

Survey results will be shared and discussed at an upcoming Parent Advisory Team Meeting later in April. The date and time will be announced through REMIND and notes sent home with students.

Program Updates

More Helpful Tips for Parents Shared on this Blog

Either click the link below or look under the Helping Children Learn Newsletter tab in the menu above to access February and March editions of Helping Children Learn and Activity Planners. As usual, they are available in both English and Spanish versions.

New Parent Resources Now Available

Benchmark Testing and Changes in Academic Support Service

In January and February all students in grades Kindergarten through Fifth grade took part in Benchmark Assessments. The purpose is to monitor if and how much students have grown since the beginning of the school year. In addition, the assessment results are used to target students’ needs and goals and inform decisions about whether or not students need academic support services. Children took the NWEA Reading and Math tests, Benchmark Assessment System reading level assessment, and DIBELS early literacy skills assessments and a couple other assessments.

The results have now been analyzed and adjustments to the Academic Support Program caseload have been made. Most children will continue to receive extra help with an instructional aide. Some students were added since new scores indicated they would benefit from extra help. Some students scores had improved enough since fall that they were able to be discontinued. Letters are being sent out today and tomorrow to parents of children who are entering or exiting the Academic Support Program.

Children who leave the program because of improvement will be monitored and if they need the service again in the future they will be able to get support again at that time.


Parent, student and teacher surveys will be distributed in March in order to get input from all as we plan for the program for next year.

Parent Advisory Team Meeting in March – You Are Invited!

At least a few parents are needed (but all are welcome) to participate in a Parent Advisory Team meeting at Bennie to discuss the Bennie Parent Participation Plan and Program Design. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 12 at 8:40 a.m.

If you are able to attend please use this Sign Up Genius Link  Sign Up for the Meeting  or email me at artman@appublicschools.com.

Enter through the main office and you will be directed where to go. The team will look over the results of surveys to determine recommendations for the program for next school year.

Welcome to Our Team, Mrs. Krakow!

Mrs. Keri Krakow was recently hired to join our Academic Support Instructional Aide Team. She will be working inside the classrooms helping students improve their reading skills. Mrs. Krakow is also a Bennie parent, current President of the Bennie PTA and a former Bennie lunch aide.

Mrs. Krakow
Instructional Aide

Be on the Lookout for One Book, One School Information on March 1st

On Friday, March 1st, Bennie students and staff will all receive a copy of the book Poppy. There will be a kick-off assembly at the end of the day and the whole school will begin a shared reading experience by reading the same book during March is Reading Month. Children will bring home more information. Older students may read the book by themselves, while younger students will need an adult to read it to them.

    Bennie Bobcats listen to Mrs. Metzger explain One Book, One School at the assembly.

Mrs. Artman reads Poppy at home.