Community Happenings: a space to share everything else.

Helpful Links

Be sure to check out our blog to keep updated with what students are up to with Mrs. Nilsen.

Recent Community News

Check out student's assignments expectations, due dates, and scores on Mrs. Nilsen's online "grade"book. Students and Parents can have their own log-in and password. Contact Mrs. Nilsen if you need a new student access code.
Wondering what else is going on at MRA? Check out our school website.
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit that helps teachers get the resources they need. I got our Wrinkle in Time novel set and the 4 Samsong Tablet Computers I use for classes through DonorsChoose and a few generous advocates for education.

Even when I don't have a project up, you can still give to my classroom page. The money given will be applied to the next project I write. Check it out below and thanks for your generous giving!

Artist Area

Each month will feature a different artist as we learn to recognize beauty, craftspersonship, and creativity in all we see.

June: Monet

This month, our Seniors learned about Monet though and Art Literacty lesson with a parent volunteer (thanks Aaryn and Laurel!).  While there's so much we learned about him, here are just a couple highlights that we particularlly enjoyed:

"Monet loved to paint the light because it changed so quickly.  He often painted the same scene over and over again, at different times of day, capturing different light each time.  He loved painting rivers and ponds—especially when he could show reflections in the water.

He painted right on the canvas.  Most artists at the time did practice drawings first.  Monet believed in capturing the scene immediately.  His bold brush strokes and colors give you the feeling of being right there at the moment he created the painting.

It didn’t have to be a nice warm day in order for Monet to paint outdoors.  He looked for impressions in all sorts of weather.  He would paint in the winter with three overcoats on!
" [2]

The piece above is San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk.

Take a look around to see what else we do at MRA. This page has information on it that doesn't fit with ELA or Science, but still pertains to our Seniors and surrounding community. From dances to garden work, from the annual MRA Auction, to Senior projects, there's so much going on at MRA at any given time.

End-of-the-year MRA Updates

  • Doughnuts for the Guys: Dads, Grandfathers, Uncles, Brothers and Others: Please join us Friday, June 6th from 8:15 to 9:00 as we celebrate you—the men who make a difference in the lives of our students. Bring your own coffee cup and a chair or blanket to sit on. Beverages and a doughnuts will be provided.
  • Assemblies: We have three assemblies coming up and you are welcome to join us. On June 3rd at 12:30 p.m. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department will be out to talk to the students about staying safe. On June 4th at 12:15 p.m. we will be holding our Track Club Assembly to announce track club winners. And on June 11th at 12:15 p.m. we will be sending off our MRA 8th graders with an all school graduation assembly. 
  • June 2nd—6th is Spirit Week at MRA! Dress Up and Get into the MRA Spirit!! Monday – Crazy Day (hair, socks, etc.); Tuesday – Fictional Character Day; Wednesday – Uniform Day (sports, boy scouts, dance); Thursday – Decade Day; Friday – Hat Day. Students opting not to participate in a Spirit Day need to wear MRA uniforms. Participants can dress in the spirit!
  • Field Day: MRA’s field day is being held Thursday, June 12th. We are in the process of determining stations and times. But we know we will be in need of parent volunteers! Please mark your calendars and see the attached flyer for more information.
  • Summer Reading: Next Monday, June 2nd a Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Journal will be sent home with your child that they received during library time. Please take time to read through it. The students who participate and read 8 books will be able to select a free book from B&N. There are some great books! Studies have proven that kids who read throughout the summer have a better chance at retaining all that they have learned in the previous school year. This also gives your child a goal for the summer and an incentive to get them reading. You can download the journal here if it happens not to make it home. Thank you for your continued support in helping our students succeed! Let Iva Quinlan at iquinlan@mra‐ know if you have any questions.
  • Adopt‐A‐Project: In order to continue with all of the wonderful work going on here at MRA we will be inviting families to participate in our Adopt‐a‐Summer‐Project program. Projects will include garden care, lawn maintenance and more. Information coming your way soon!
    End of the Year Dance: Our end of year school dance will be held on June 6th starting at 6:00 p.m. Students must be accompanied by an adult . If they are attending with an adult that is not their parent or guardian they must turn in a permission slip beforehand. See the attached flyers for more information.
  • Summer Newsletter:The June newsletter will be coming out just as school gets out instead of the first of the month. It will contain some wrap up information, but will also include some important information as we go into the summer months.
  • Last Day of School: The last day of school is Friday, June 13th. Please join us for lunch at 11:30 and feel free to take your student(s) home after we eat. Those who stay for the afternoon will have the opportunity to help teachers clean out

Character Education with Mrs. Paulson

We will have the extreme pleasure of having our school Counselor, Mrs. Paulson guest teach in our classrooms a couple times a month. She comes in to work with our Seniors on Character Education. Recently, she's been having converstaions with our Seniors about bullying - the opposite of treating people with love and respect.  Here's an update from Mrs. Paulson herself: 

"Hello Everyone!
Did you know that we all have an invisible bucket that we carry
around all day? This bucket holds positive feelings that you have
about yourself. When it is full, you are happy and enjoy filling other
people’s buckets. When it is low, you can be grumpy and dip into
other people’s buckets to try to feel better. When someone is being
a bucket dipper, it’s a good indication that they need their bucket
filled ASAP. Luckily, it is very easy to do! Simply by using kind
words, doing something thoughtful, or smiling at them can make
them feel better. Also, when you fill someone’s bucket it fills
YOUR bucket too. Our K-5 students have been learning different
ways to be bucket fillers in the classroom, at school, at home and in
the community. They have also learned that you don’t have to be
a certain age to fill buckets. Imagine what our communities would
be like if EVERYONE did it regularly? Sometimes, it can be tough
with how busy things can get. It is during these times that it is
even MORE important. Just remember, the fastest way to fill your
bucket is to fill other people’s buckets first!
Have you filled a bucket today?
Ms. Paulson"

Art Exploration

We explore art through our Portfolio work. We explore art through focused lessons in Electives and core content areas.  Check out some of our amazing student art below!

Morning Check-in

Community Meeting

Note: This year, Community Meeting in Mrs. Nilsen's class will be from 8:00 - 8:15 am. This is earlier than last year. Attendance will be promptly taken at 8:15 am.

Now that we're farther into the year, the students basically run our meeting.  It's a little less structured this year as students are arriving throughout the meeting.  The important thing is that we take time to be together and get to know one another more.

Each morning students in my check-in/out group spend time in Community Meeting together. Community Meeting may only be 15 minutes each morning, but it is where some of the real magic happens. Below I've listed some of the purposes for Community Meeting (adapted from The Morning Meeting Book by Roxann Kriete) [1].
  • Community Meeting sets the tone for respectful learning and establishes a climate of trust.
  • Community Meeting motivates students by addressing two human needs: the need to feel a sense of significance and belonging and the need to have fun.
  • The repetition of many ordinary moments of respectful interaction in Community Meeting enables some extraordinary moments of connection, sharing, vunerability, and community.
  • Community Meeting merges social, emotional, and intellectual learning.

There are four main parts to Community Meeting. Most mornings we do not have time for every part, but throughout the year we will participate in all of these areas together:
  • Greeting: We greet each other by name, often including handshaking, singing, games, or other activities.
  • Sharing: Students share some news of interest to the class and respond to each other, articulating their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a positive manner. We learn how to appropriately ask questions to others.
  • Group Activity: The whould class does a short activity together, building class cohesion through active participation and team building.
  • News and Announcements: Students develop language skills and learn about the events in the day ahead by reading or listening to daily memos and announcements.

Community Meeting is one of my favorite parts of teaching. I love getting to know students better and helping them discover they are a part of something, that they belong to something, for no other reason than they are here. They do not have to earn their place in community. We welcome all who are willing to share, respond, participate, and learn.
Works Cited
[1] Kriete, Roxann, and Lynn Bechtel. The Morning Meeting Book. Greenfield, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children, 2002. Print.
[2] Molalla River Academy. "Art Literacy - Monet." Lecture.
Author: Emily Nilsen
Molalla River Academy 6/7/8 Teacher
Page Updated: June 2, 2014