Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Shirley Sovereign
Twitter:  ssovprincipal
Skype:  shirley.sovereign

The image above is from Mrs. Tiffany McCabe's recent post on her H-W Elementary Guidance blog. Mrs. McCabe assigned district 5th graders to create a Pic Collage to respond to her question, "What is respect?" There are several examples of students' work posted on Mrs. McCabe's blog at  Great thinking and insight 5th graders!

It is American Education Week, and I am thinking about what it means to have, "Student Success." I am certain that students, teachers, parents, state education departments, political figures and many others have varied ideas of "student success." At H-W, we have made the commitment to transform the education for our students so it is personal, authentic, challenging, and relevant to the needs of students in the 21st Century.

These goals are stated in five of the H-W System Design Essentials:   
  • Meaningful relationships connect learners. 
  • Processes are in place to provide resources and learning experiences to meet individual student needs. 
  • Instruction is differentiated. Structure of the education system is flexible for learners. 
  • Curriculum is relevant and demands deep levels of understanding and thinking.
  • Systematic use of technology improves accessibility of information and enhances opportunities for learning.
I took the opportunity this week to read through recent blog posts by teachers across the district. I will share just a few of the relationship-connected, student-centered, inquiry-based and technology enhanced learning activities that are going on in the district.  

In Mrs. Galvin's class, the students have been working on Literacy inquiry projects. They brainstormed ways they use their senses to learn about the ocean. Then, they created a collage in an app called Pic Collage to present to the class. Proud students!

The kindergarten featherless turkey is growing! This November tradition was an excellent way for families to spend time together. Students were asked to decorate their feather with as many family members as possible. Besides sharing their creativity, they were able to take time to share things they were thankful for and favorite fall memories. 

2nd Grade
In Mrs. Tuchek's class the LEAD 21 theme question for Unit 2 was, "How is science a part of our community?" In this unit, the students learned about the concepts of building communities, tools and technology, nature, and transportation. The students came up with questions throughout the four weeks. The students then decided what question they wanted to research. The four questions were: "How are skyscrapers built?", "How did the city of Chicago grow into a big city?", "What are fiber optics used for?" and "What are radio waves and what are they used for?" They learned about research using safe search engines and collaborated in groups to make class presentations.
Using Keynote to create a class presentation.

Doing research on sky scrapers.

3rd Grade
Students in Lime Springs/Chester and Mrs. Adams are partnering with ISU Extension to bring the "Farm to School" program into the classroom. Michael Schwab of the Howard County office will be visiting each month for a "tasty" lesson. The goal is to learn about locally grown foods, nutrition concepts, and provide food tasting to encourage the trying of new foods. 

Mrs. Buehler's class did a fabulous job during Character Counts and Red Ribbon Week.  They wore red on one of the days to show they are working on caring and being kind to one another.

Mrs. Kerian's students were busy learning about measurement in math. They were even measuring each other! They will continue by learning about perimeter and area as well. Mrs. Kerian also shared photos on her blog of students engaged in work during "Genius Hour." Students are learning, thinking, planning, experimenting and collaborating during Genius Hour, and they have a particular passion for their work during this time each week.
Measuring to the nearest 1/4 inch.

Preparing Lego creations for a Lego Movie.

4th Grade
Students are learning social studies, economics, financial literacy and entrepreneurial concepts by creating a mini-society. Mrs. Fretheim shared in her blog the work 4C has been doing on their mini-society: 
We have been learning about profit and loss.  We also learned about scarcity.  We discussed items at Christmas in high demand due to scarcity.  The students have received their first payments.  With this money, they will need to begin to create items to sell in their shop.  We also worked on our interview skills for applying for a job.  The students were able to select jobs that were available in our society where they would earn a little more cash.  I was so impressed with all the student’s interviews.  They were very polished in answering the questions given to them. I have met with each student to discuss their items that they would like to create.  It looks like we will be having a very competitive market.  Currently, the students are designing their shop sign.  I look forward to seeing their creations.  At this time, we are planning on having our first market next Wednesday,  November 27.  This is our small market with just our classroom.  The number of items that the students need to create does not have to be huge.  Our class size is 25 with the two adults included.  The best plan is to create enough items for the whole class with a few extra in case someone wants to buy more than one item.  I am looking forward to watching the students participate in their first market.  I am planning on having a work day in class for the students on Tuesday, November 16.  We refer to this day as a "Production Day."  The students will be given time to create their items if needed and prepare for market. 

These are but a few examples of learning activities posted recently in classroom blogs. Activities like these are occurring in the elementary, middle school and high school classes throughout the district. There is a continuous stream about student learning and classroom activities on Twitter, especially at #2020HowardWinn and #CadetNation.

Preschool Activities
  • Students in Lime Springs/Chester went on a field trip to C US Bank, Lime Springs. Preschoolers are learning about businesses in the community. Their PBIS skill, at this time, is  learning how to share.           
Mrs. Marr's class touring C US Bank in Lime Springs.
  • Preschoolers in Elma have been learning about families. They have been reading books by Jan Brett to prepare for their field trip to Vesterheim Museum. Their special guest last week was Angela Bries who came to do her program "Turkey Trouble."
  • In Cresco, preschool students went on field trips to Fareway and Kwik Star. They found healthy foods to eat. Students have been learning about germs and staying healthy. They learned proper hand washing. The classes ended their study of Fall by making pumpkin pie. The transition-kindergarten students in Mrs. Vsetecka's room have been making patterns with rhyming words, learning the sound of the letter e, and how to write the letter P/p.


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