Friday, December 19, 2014

Grimm - 12/19/2014

PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Sara Grimm
Twitter:  saramarleygrimm
SKYPE:  saramarleygrimm

Children who read more achieve at higher levels in school and on standardized tests. Yet many children spend fewer than two hours a week reading. And at the same time, they’re averaging three to four hours a day watching television.  Experts say that kids who spend just 30 minutes a day reading books, magazines and newspapers are more likely to become readers and do better in schools.  If the TV is easy to reach, but books are on a high shelf, you can guess how your kids will spend their time. Make sure books, magazines and newspapers are easy to get.  Reading in unusual places also adds to the fun. Look for unusual places children can read.  Books also make excellent Christmas gifts!
What book are you reading?

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to be involved in your child’s education. We use many assessments to help guide our instruction.  We regularly utilize formal assessments like MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) in grades 1 - 5 and FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) in grades K-6 and many other informal assessments.  The information obtained from these assessments helps us to determine how your child is progressing with key academic skills and to determine if additional support is needed to ensure your child’s academic success. Should you have questions regarding your child’s performance in class (academically or socially), don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.  Our next round of MAP and FAST testing will take place after Christmas break.  Your child’s teacher will send home more specific information after our holiday break.

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." --Walt Disney

Gingerbread Hunt
The preschoolers are wrapping up their “how to be healthy” study by talking about goodies/sweets. The preschoolers called goodies/sweets our “sometimes” foods (it is ok to eat them sometimes, but not all of the time).  They read Jan Brett’s book, Gingerbread Baby and decided to make the “sometimes” food…gingerbread cookies. The preschoolers worked hard to measure, pour, mix, cut out, and decorate their very own gingerbread cookie. Unfortunately when it was time to get their cookies for decorating, they ran away!! Somehow those silly cookies ended up back in their classroom…they made sure to eat them up right away!!

The Elma preschoolers were also busy baking cookies.  The students got to bake cookies, decorate a tree, and wrap presents. In the art center the students were able to use beads and pipe cleaners to make ornaments to put on the tree. In the writing center students got to cut out and decorate paper ornaments and write letters to Santa. The students were able to use story props in the reading center to retell the stories Gingerbread Baby, There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bell, and The Gingerbread Man. The students were able to do some different Christmas apps where they could practice their letters, numbers, and other skills. Also this week the students helped make fake snow using baking soda and hair conditioner. This week they read many different versions of The Gingerbread Man story. Then they compared the stories to see how they are similar and different. They used blocks in their block center to build a gingerbread house that they can go in. They used paper and other materials to decorate it.

Preschool PBIS
During the month of December, the preschool students have been showing their teachers multiple examples during the school day of HW preschool program's PWPBIS expectations: Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Respectful and on Thursday, December 18th they earned the privilege of having a pajama day, drinking hot chocolate, reading the book and watching the movie "The Polar Express".

Pictures: Students in Mrs. Vstecka's preschool class are learning the PWPBIS Cheer from Mrs. Merkel. The cheer helps students remember and recognize the three PWPBIS expectations and students in Mrs. Merkel's class drinking hot chocolate while Ms. Godwin reads The Polar Express.

We are the preschoolers (point to self with thumbs), 
We’re here to say (cup hands by mouth), 
We show Cadet Pride everyday! (hands on hips, chest out, smile) 
Be Kind (hands together then apart)
Be Safe (form a triangle with fingers)
Be Respectful (hug yourself)
Yeah! (pose with arms up and feet apart)

Kindergarten students have been working hard being writers.  Our curriculum resource, Being a Writer promotes students’ growth as “skilled writers”.  Students become creative accomplished writers and critical thinkers.  The children listen to multiple genres and authors while learning the craft of writing.  This week the children listened to the story My Favorite Bear by Andrea Gabriel. The children discussed how authors write about facts and things they know. As a class the children generated an “Animals We Know About” chart. The children used their iPads to write down names of animals that peaked their interest.  From the list the students then created their own stories about an animal and shared it orally with the class. The words are, can, have, some, and they were added to the classroom word wall. The students were able to use the word wall as a reference when they created their stories.

Cadet pride reward yummy chicken soup!       Building "read to someone" stamina

First Grade
Did you know that learning math facts is like learning how to read? There are math strategies that help students learn and remember math facts and patterns within those facts. First grade students learned this week how to identify "turn around facts" such as 3+2=5 AND therefore 2+3=5. Students are also learning how to add "DOUBLES" and they know that if adding doubles in order, the SUM is always even! Here are a few pictures from math class:
In Being a Writer, they read a book called "Mouse Views." It is a silly non-fiction book about a mouse who escapes in school and gives picture clues about what room in the building he is in and we have to guess where he is using those picture clues! The book included a map of the school, which perfectly fits into our Lead 21 unit where we are using maps to take us around our community! Following the book, students walked around our school with their iPads and took "zoomed in pictures" of various objects in our building. They then wrote in their Being a Writer Journal clues to their friends to help us identify what object they took a picture of! See our pictures of one student’s writing

Title I

"When a child struggles to read, take it personally. Then take action." ~
Every child wants to succeed. Yet research shows that the lowest-achieving students need intensive teaching to become average readers.  Mary Ellen Vachta who teaches Reading Recovery (a short-term early intervention program for first grade readers having difficulty learning to read and write) wrote a grant using   She wanted to purchase books for her Reading Recovery students.  Her grant was for $729 and was funded by C US Bank, Donaldson's, Kirstin Widell, and 2 donors from Arizona.  Thank you DONORS!

2nd grade Title I students created Animoto videos showcasing what they learned after reading "All about African Elephants"

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