Friday, January 30, 2015

Grimm 1/30/2015

January 30, 2015
PK-1 Principal/Director of Teaching & Learning
Sara Grimm
Twitter:  saramarleygrimm
SKYPE:  saramarleygrimm

Early Literacy
This post will be used to share with you important information regarding your child’s school progress and how new laws impact our school’s plan to improve our students’ reading skills.

New Laws
In 2014 Iowa law was changed to support statewide literacy efforts for students in Iowa. This law requires that Iowa’s school children read at grade level by third grade. As a result, the rules below were put into effect in order to improve reading within the state.

Your Child’s Progress
We know you want your child to be successful in his/her education. We also want your child to be successful with learning in the classroom. The ability to read is critical to your child’s success in school.  

We recently completed universal screening assessments for reading at our school. From the results of this testing some students have been identified as having a substantial reading deficiency; that term is in state law. Substantially deficient means that a student has shown difficulty in the area of reading during the testing completed in the Fall, 2014 and the Winter, 2015.

School Implications:
Students are identified as having a substantial difficulty when:
1)   their reading skills are below grade level on screening tests and
2)   they are making minimal progress.  
At our school, we are doing the following, as required by Iowa law, to support students who have been identified as having substantial reading difficulties:

Progress Monitoring:
All students who are identified as substantially deficient or at-risk for substantially deficient are required to receive weekly progress monitoring. This allows our school to monitor the improvement students are making toward end-of-year goals (i.e., spring benchmark) given the intervention they receive.

Intensive Interventions:
All students identified as substantially deficient are required to receive intervention to remediate their reading difficulties. This intervention is required to continue until the student meets grade level expectations at the next screening period.

To learn more about the new laws and how they impact students, visit the link below.

School/Family Partnership
We are partnering with all parents in order to improve student’s reading skills. Part of this partnership will include regular communication.

We will provide updates to parents on their child’s progress throughout the school year. We encourage all parents to talk with their child’s teachers about any questions or concerns they may have.

Parent/School Contract: 
The school will follow up with a contract for parents whose child is substantially deficient. That contract will outline the school’s responsibilities and how we will partner with parents to improve students’ reading skills. 

We look forward to partnering with you in order to improve your child’s reading skills. Please contact your child’s teacher with any questions or comments you may have.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." ~~ Mother Teresa

Preschool Program-Wide PBIS
Staff Member Highlight
Donna Miller is the transitional kindergarten classroom paraprofessional. Mrs. Miller encourages the students to put forth their best efforts in everything they do. She is an excellent role model for being kind, safe, and respectful.

Transitional Kindergarten
The transitional kindergarten students have been reviewing the rules they helped set for the expectations: Be kind. Be safe. Be respectful. The students worked in small groups to create photographs demonstrating each rule. The students were in the pictures and took turns taking the photographs using the iPad. These will be posted in the room and made into a class book. 

Students in transitional kindergarten are finishing their first STEM unit. We have been doing a variety of investigations to learn more about solids, liquids, and gases. Our investigations have included changing milk into different colors, learning about absorbers, and a bubbling chemical reaction. More investigations as we conclude this unit of study will include creating goo worms and rockets.                                
Pictures: Mixing water and sodium polyacrylate. This is a super absorber most commonly found in disposable diapers.

Preschoolers have been busy with their Pint Sized STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) program. Recently they worked with the module “Science Sprouts”. They observed scientific tools, read a book “What is a Scientist?” and made a chart about what they thought a scientist was. They completed the experiment “Color Changing Milk”. They will work in small groups for all of the experiments in the science sprouts module. For each experiment one child in the group is the recorder. He or she draws and writes on the SMART board to record the observations and ideas of the group. The recorders work will be printed and displayed along with pictures and charts from the experiment. Students are able to discuss what science tools they are using, what they observe during their experiments, and make predictions about what they think will happen.

The preschoolers have also been busy learning about snow and the winter season! They have observed and experimented with snow melting. After making predictions, they were shocked to see the small amount of water that comes from a full cup of melted snow. They were also surprised to see how dirty the snow water was. The dirty snow encouraged the preschoolers to create a new rule on the playground…no eating snow!

This week the preschoolers were introduced to new vocabulary words “hibernate and migrate.” They learned that bears, bats, bumblebees, snakes, and frogs hibernate. They also read a story about two friends, a hibernating bear and a migrating goose that will reunite during the spring season. This story motivated the preschool students to create a bear or goose from a variety of art materials. Next, they created a hibernation cave and migration beach to house our animals for the winter season. They are anxiously counting down the days until spring when our animal friends will be reunited (wake up or fly home).

Hibernating Bear Cave
Migrating Geese Beach
The start of our Pint-Size Stem Project
(Preschool Scientists Making Insta-Snow)

It’s hard to believe, but we have been in school for 100 days. The kindergarteners got to celebrate by sharing the excitement with their friends in the other classrooms.
Students were able to go to any kindergarten room to do centers of celebration. The centers were all about “100”: 100s Day Crowns, Necklaces with 100 Cheerios/Fruit Loops, trial mix, 100th glasses, 100 stamps, 100th Day grid, 100 stickers, purse/wallet, 100 gumball machine, 100 spots on a dog, 100 snowflakes, balance scale, 100s Day books!

First Grade
Working on building fluency during Cadet Time with Five Little Monsters Jumping On The Bed.

The first graders started their explorations with STEM this week. The students explored "Rolling Things" and how changing the ramp height and vehicle weight would affect the momentum of the cars. As they continue to explore "Rolling Things" the students will answer questions, record observations, and discuss results with the rest of their class.

Students were asked to draw a picture of a car that they think would crash the best! We have many monster trucks, semis, and tractors! I think they are taking away the big ideas that heavy vehicles crash well!

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