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Welcome to our November 2017 issue!

November 29, 2017

We’re excited to be back for our eighth year of Otter Tales! This issue is packed with school news, from teacher profiles to an investigation into the long lunch lines to a story about the day the fire alarms wouldn’t stop going off. We’ve also got some great reviews, a recipe, cartoons, and more – you won’t want to miss this issue!

Congratulations to Ruby H-E., who designed our new “masthead mascot” – the cute otter you see at the top of the page. We had a lot of good entries, and will use some of the others as artwork in future issues.

Our next issue comes out in February 2018 – see you then!


A Daughter of Oakland Returns to Help Oakland Schools

November 29, 2017
Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell

New Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell high fives fourth grade students during a visit to Hoover Elementary in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

By Sadiya T-L. and Marlow L-I.

Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell is Oakland Unified School District’s new superintendent. She is a good person. I know that because she wants to increase opportunities and increase teamwork in Oakland schools. Her vision is to create a “full service community district.” This means she wants everyone to be supportive and kind.

As you know, she is no stranger to Oakland. She was raised in my neighborhood and went to Montclair Elementary and Montera Middle School.

Because the district faces a budget deficit of $8 to $10 million we need a person like Dr. Johnson-Trammell who knows what she’s doing and cares about the community. For 18 years she has worked to help students, teachers, principals, and schools in Oakland. Based on our research we believe she wants to help kids everywhere, struggling or not struggling, because anyone can get better.

We hope she does a good job and has a good time being the superintendent. Here is a list of the things I hope she does:

1. Make math books less confusing
2. Make computer programming available for all students
3. Make more time for library time
4. Offer photography classes available for all students
5. Make Juneteeth a district holiday

Photo: Anda Chu / Bay Area News Group

Fire Alarm Havoc

November 29, 2017

Fire alarm photo

By Leo H.

On September 25, 2017 the fire alarm in Room 8 (Ms. Seltzer’s room) broke, which caused the fire alarms to go crazy all over the school all day long. It even went off before school!

It did make learning hard for kids and teaching hard for teachers, but most kids reacted well. We lined up every time for the first five times it went off randomly. Sometimes kids were going back to class and it went off on the way there! Because it went off all day the Oakland Fire Department even came.

Dr. Saddler was proud of the students’ and staff’s bravery and said she thought “it was a great opportunity to learn safety before and after school, also when it`s not a planned drill.”

Photo: Ben Schumin / Wikimedia Commons

The Halloween Parade

November 29, 2017

Halloween Parade illustration by Amoria B.

By Lily G.
Illustration by Amoria B.

Tuesday, October 31 was Halloween. There were unicorns, animals, superheroes, and much more at the MES Halloween parade! Most people know what the Halloween parade is, but if you don’t, it is when every one in the school goes to the school yard and walks around to show off their costumes. There were many high-fives this year.

We usually have the same music at the parade, but this year we had old songs and new ones. Some songs from last year we heard are “Scarin’ Alive” and “Bat Dance.”

Dr. Saddler, our principal, was dressed as a witch. Other teachers dressed as the Cat in the Hat and a bee.

Daniel G. said, “I like the Halloween parade because it is fun to look at the crazy costumes.”

Mr. Winslow‘s New Gig

November 29, 2017

Mr. Winslow teaching music by Veronica

By Lily G.
Illustration by Veronica J.

There is a new music teacher at MES! He has a growth mindset, loves crazy socks, and of course, likes music because it’s his passion. It’s Mr. Winslow! As some students know, he has been teaching at MES for three years as a 3rd grade teacher, but this year he is teaching music.

In music class, students are learning about tempo (slow or fast), dynamics (loud or soft), reading rhythms (ta ta tae tae ta), and genres of music (classical, blues, etc.). But one of the most important things is finding their singing voice.

Mr. Winslow has quite a few music hobbies. He has been teaching himself ukulele, while he has been playing the piano and has been writing a song called “The Three Bes” – be respectful, be responsible, and be safe. Mr. Winslow says, “Music changes everything.” Keep having fun in music!

Catching Up with Farmer Ben

November 29, 2017

By Miriam R.

You all know our wonderful gardening teacher, Farmer Ben. Whether he is reading “Mr. Sugar Came to Town” or popping fresh corn, he never fails to charm the nature lovers in us all.

But how did Farmer Ben become a farmer? What does he like to grow in his garden during the winter? Read on!

Q. How did you get involved with gardening?
A. I have lots of memories involving gardening. But I remember starting to become interested in vegetable gardening in high school.

Q. What are some great things to plant during winter? What do you do with the plants?
A. I plant garlic. I harvest it in the summer and make pesto. Hopefully there is some basil lying around and I’ll add that to the pesto.

Q. What is one quote you live by?
A. Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

Now you can go up to Farmer Ben in the garden and know some interesting facts about him. He won’t be a mystery anymore!

Guess the Teacher

November 29, 2017

Guess the teacher

By Amoria B.
Illustration by Layla

▪ This teacher’s favorite color is green.
▪ This teacher has been teaching for 14 years.
▪ This year is this teacher’s second year at Montclair.
▪ This teacher loves to read and dance.

Can you guess who this teacher is?
Look for the answer on the bulletin board by the office.