by Mrs. Nilsen on May 13th, 2014

2014 ELA Final

Our year studying together is almost over.  Your task is to prove to me that you have gained skills and knowledge in the Language Arts in reading and writing.  You will prove this to me by choosing one of the following four options for your ELA Final this year:

Option 1 – Literary Analysis Paper
This option allows you to use your writing skills and review the literary analysis terms we’ve learned this year.    Papers will be due Tuesday, June 10th.  You are to use one of the books you finished off of my reading list and analyze the literary elements that apply to it.  Explain how the author used at least six literary elements to create a work of art.  Your paper is NOT about whether you liked or disliked the book, rather why it is a good (or bad) piece of literature.  Papers must be a minimum of 500 words, typed, and use the qualities of good writing that we’ve been learning about all year. 

Option 2 – Story Cube
This option allows you to use your art skills and review the literary analysis terms we’ve learned this year.    Story Cubes will be due Tuesday, June 10th.  You are to use one of the books you finished off of my reading list and analyze the literary elements that apply to it.  Explain how the author used at least six literary elements to create a work of art.  Each side of your cube will focus on a different literary element.  Use the following guidelines in the creation of your cube:
  • The Literary element prominently displayed (big font)
  • The definition of the literary element
  • An illustration of some sort that applies to the literary element
  • A written example of the literary element from YOUR BOOK  that explains how the author used it affectively.
  • Correct spelling, grammar.
  • Colorful, carefully done, looks like a work of art!
  • Student name on at least one of the cube sides

Option 3 – Soundtrack Creation
This option allows you to use your music skills and review the literary analysis terms we’ve learned this year.    Soundtracks will be due Tuesday, June 10th.  You are to use one of the books you finished off of my reading list and analyze the literary elements that apply to it by creating a soundtrack for the movie (should there be one made).  Choose at least six literary elements and choose a song that would represent that literary element for your book.  You must write a paragraph for each song you choose and explain how it applies to the literary element you’ve chosen.    Please include the name of the song AND the artist before the start of your paragraph.  How do the words of your song fit the literary element?  How does the music or instrumental arrangement fit the literary element?
Option 4 - Online Book Club (Completed in a group – minimum of 2 people)
This option allows a group to create an online way of engaging with a book.  You are to create a blog (using a free online website such as Snappages, Blogger, or Wordpress, etc.) and set up reading due dates through posts.  Each reading due date post should also include one THOUGHTFUL question for the participants to comment on.  Through the different posts, the book club leaders must include questions that speak to at least six literary elements.  The authors of the book club must also participate (even if they’ve already read the book) and answer the questions for each post.  Minimum of 7 posts (an intro post and at least 6 reading due dates – every Monday and Thursday from May 19th to June 2nd) with reading due dates and a question attached.  The blog and reading due dates must be created by May 16th and the book must be completed by Tuesday, June 10th.   See  for an example.
Students must choose between these four options no later than Wednesday, May 14th by detaching and turning in the slip below:
I _________________________________  choose ________________________________________ for my ELA Final Project.  I will give it my best effort.  I understand that I will not have a lot of class time to complete this project, especially if I am only reading during class time.  I’m going to prove to Mrs. Nilsen that I gained skills and knowledge in ELA this year that I’m proud of!
Student Signature ______________________  Parent Signature __________________________ Date _______

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 5th, 2014

Round two for 2014 is THIS WEEK for the Seniors

We are starting the second round of OAKS testing this week for the Seniors.  Students who did not "meet" during the first round will retest May 6 - 9th from 10:30 - 11:30am.  If students "met" but were close to "exceeding" and would like to retest this week, they must have written permission from their parent/guardian.  As always, please ensure that students get a good night of rest and eat a good breakfast this week.  

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 5th, 2014

You're invited!

I hope students gave out their invitations, but just in case, I thought I'd add one on here.  Please join us for our 2nd Annual Ladies tea this Friday, May 9th from 8:15 to 9:00 am.  Bring your own chair and a cup for tea/coffee.  The students have a special surprise for you as well.  :)  

See you Friday!

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 5th, 2014

Thank you to any and all who were able to make it out to our Annual Auction this past Saturday.  We appreciate your support!!

by Mrs. Nilsen on May 1st, 2014

Senior Teacher May Newsletter Piece

"Persistence, problem-solving, planning, and logic; traits learned in math class? Yes, but more importantly, traits that one learns in arts classes that help improve comprehension in other more traditionally academic classes. A 2003 report from the National Association from the State Boards of Education compiled data from multiple reliable studies across the United States showing the positive correlation between arts education and academic achievement, including but definitely not limited to scores on standardized tests. Molalla River Academy shares the belief that the arts are important and incorporates the arts both as separate classes and within other subjects that lend itself to an artistic component. 

Thanks to Laurel Glasmire and a few wonderful parent volunteers, MRA aims to expose students to art through Art Literacy units. Each set of lessons focuses on a different artist and style, walks students through some of the history and important features of the particular artist, and then invites students to make art in the style presented. This month, Claude Monet was our focus and inspiration as students painted outside, right on the canvas, and in an impressionistic style. 

We've been integrating the arts into computer literacy this term as well. Our seniors have been exploring graphic design using the Open Office Draw program. They're discovering how to create original artwork using a variety of drawing tools. They have each designed a box for a real or imaginary product, making them realistic and visually attractive to the consumer. They will also be designing a poster promoting the MRA Showcase. We will run this as a contest. Teachers will judge the posters and the best design will be chosen to represent the event throughout our community. With April being National Poetry Month, our 4th and 5th graders are learning word processing skills this term as they type and illustrate their poems, both originals and published favorites. Make sure to check out the computer lab during the Showcase, where many of our students' “computer” artwork will be displayed.

Our seniors also get the option of an art elective where they get exposure to drawing,
painting, sculpting and more. Through a variety of mediums, students are developing visual and spatial awareness while learning about contrast, shape, form, shading, and contouring. All of the wonderful art being created by the students at MRA will be available for viewing at our annual MRA Showcase on May 15."

MRA Senior Teachers,
Mrs. Nilsen, Mrs. Davidson-Parker, Mrs. Hood, Mrs. Lowenberg

See the post below to see some samples of these fabulous pieces of art!!

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 24th, 2014

Special Art Projects by the Seniors

MRA is a school of the arts and sciences.  We try to work art into our curriculum and lessons as well as educate our students to be appreciaters of the visual and preforming arts.    Below are some sneak peaks of some of the amazing art the Seniors are doing through a few different venues - a salmon display, auction art, connections to poetry, Art Literacy lessons taught by parent volunteers, etc.  They're even better in person, but I had to show them off!

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 24th, 2014

Good morning Parents and Seniors,
Just a quick reminder that drop in conferences are TODAY from 10am - 7pm. Tomorrow is used for individual conferences by request only, and often for more serious concerns. I will be in Sally's room (back of the quonset hut) with all the Senior teachers plus Danielle Reeber and Jessie Paulson. The K-5 teachers plus Rachel Blythe will be in Rachel's room.
I hope to see you today and look forward to conversing about your student.
Take care,
Emily Nilsen

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 21st, 2014

May 24th and 25:

Please note: Conferences will be drop in only on Thursday, April 24th.  Scheduled conferences will be Friday, April 25th on an as needed only basis.

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 18th, 2014


I just wanted to say well done to all who participated in today's talent show!  Especially to the Seniors who worked so hard on "Frozen in 4 minutes times 2 according to the MRA Seniors."  You were fantastic and I'm so proud of you!!  

P.S. - if anyone has pictures or videos, please let me know!!  I'd love to post some on here and as I was helping, I wasn't able to film it.  

by Mrs. Nilsen on April 18th, 2014

Theres a lot going on at MRA in April.  Here are just a few things to be aware of:

  • Auction 2014—Countdown: 14 days to go!!!
    1. Baskets:
    This year we will have three school themed baskets to auction off. We are asking every family to donate one item to one of the baskets. The themes for the baskets are; a kid basket (items such as games, books, summer items, arts and crafts etc.), an adult basket (things like gift certificates, games, entertaining items, movie tickets etc.) and a pet basket. Please feel free to collect these items by donation. Please check with Jaylene or Aly Ensrud for a current list of businesses that have donated. The bins to collect these items are on the landing outside of the office. Please email Stacey with any questions at 
    2. Auction Invitations: We are taking reservations for the 2014 MRA Auction Fundraiser. You can get your tickets on line at: Or you can pay Jaylene Slinger in the school office. Prices and details about tickets, tables and sponsorships are attached to the memo and available on the MRA Website 
    3. VIP Table Is Available Now! Do you want to have the best seat in the house for you and 7 of your guests? Bid on the VIP table. You will receive 8 dinner tickets, 3 bottles of wine, a specially decorated table in front of the live auction, special appetizers, 8 drawing tickets (Winner picks any live auction item before bidding begins!) , and a take home gift. This year we are running an online auction for the VIP table. Bidding will remain open until 11:59 PM on April 21st. Register online at and place your bid on our new auction website for this fabulous item.April
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences: Conferences will be drop in only on Thursday, April 24th. Scheduled conferences will be Friday, April 25th on an as needed only basis.
  • Whole Foods Helping MRA: Don’t forget your reusable bag! In honor of Earth Month, Whole Foods Market—Portland Bridgeport is doubling the bag donation to Molalla River Academy every Tuesday in April when you shop!
  • The Scholastic Book Fair is Coming to MRA! The spring book fair will be held in the MRA library May 12th—16th. See the attached flyer to sign up to help. And—go to the Scholastic Book Fair page at: to download the Scholastic App!Path Help Wanted! We are looking for a couple of parents to build 12 art easels for our new walking/running path. Please let Shelley know if you can help.Parent
  • Book Club: Laurel Glasmire and Beth Breiten would like to invite you again to please join us on Friday, April 18th for our first Parent Book Club meeting after school in Ms. Breiten's classroom. We will be reading the book Outliers, a great read for anyone interested in learning, education, and understanding success. Please email Laurel at lglasmire@mra‐ if you wish to join us and we'll see you on the 18th!
  • MRA Dance Pictures: Many thanks to Sarah Webb for taking pictures at the MRA February Dance. To download pictures please do the following: Go to To save a picture click on it to open it in a new browser. There will be a side bar on the right side. Click on the line of three dots, which will bring up a drop down menu. Choose “download/all sizes” and then “original” and right click and save.Ladies Tea: May 9th, 8:15 to 9:00 a.m. is our second annual
  • Ladies Tea:  Invitations from students will be going out in the next couple of weeks. This event is to celebrate the women who have had an impact on the lives of our students. If a male representative wants to attend, he is certainly more than welcome! Please bring a chair or blanket to sit on and a coffee/tea mug. Light refreshments will be served.
  • Bowling in Molalla: Please see the attached KidsBowlFree flyer on the parent memo. Molalla Bowl is participating in the program which is great for kids. Check it out and keep your kids busy this summer!
  • Tshirt Orders: We are doing one last t‐shirt order for this year. Check out the order form on the weekly memo and return it to Jaylene in the office by Wednesday, April 30th. Please note that we have added Women’s T‐shirts for those of us who prefer a more feminine style!
  • Track Club: Track club has begun! We will be running every Tuesday and Thursday, rain or shine, from 11:30 to 12:15 and you all are more than welcome to join us. Feel free to run or walk. Our goal is to think about and practice healthy living. Hope to see many of you out there on the track.

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