Sunday, February 15, 2015

Grimm - 2/13/2015

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

Literacy is a focus of our elementary teachers this year.  We have been working hard to develop a system of supports for our learners who struggle with literacy.  The Early Literacy legislation that was put into place statewide has helped to guide our system of supports.  One new thing that we have implemented this year is a Reading Contract for Students, Parents, Teachers and Principals.  Students who have been determined to be substantially deficient (meaning that they did not meet our benchmark score on our FAST literacy assessment during two testing periods) will have a reading contract.  Parents will receive this contract during parent-teacher conferences.

This contract recognizes the important roles and responsibilities of the student, parents, teachers and principals in working together to support a student’s progress and success in reading.  As such, we commit to:
      Respecting school staff, students, parents, administrators and community.
      Being excited about literacy, reading and learning to read.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) commit to:
To support my child in learning to read, I will:
      Invite my child to read with me every day.
      Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
      Read from a variety of children’s books.
      Talk with my child’s teacher about my child’s reading progress.
      Discuss stories we have read together.
      Ask my child questions about what was read.
Student(s) commit to:
In my job of learning to read I will:
      Go to the library and check out books.
      Read aloud to my parents.
      Read aloud to my pets or stuffed animals.
      Learn new words.
Teacher(s) commit to:
Working with students, I will:
      Clearly state the goals for reading achievement.
      Share the high expectations for reading with all participants.
      Communicate with students our classroom plans for reaching our goals.
      Share assessments used to monitor children’s progress.
      Focus on reading and writing.
      Work toward Parental Involvement as supporting their children’s reading and homework.
Principal(s) commit to:
In my work leading the school, I will:
      State clearly the goals for reading achievement.
      Share the high expectations for reading with all participants.
      Articulate instructional means for attaining our goals.
      Share assessments used to monitor children’s progress.
      Focus on reading and writing.
      Work toward Parental involvement as supporting their children’s reading and homework.

We encourage you to talk to your child's teacher about your concerns
a. Make sure you have written down your concerns before the meeting.
b. Ask the teacher what he/she has observed about your child’s academic
c. Ask questions such as – Do you think my child is having trouble with
reading? What specific trouble is my child having? What can I do to
help my child at home? What can be done to help my child in class?
How is my child reading compared to other students? Is my child
receiving any additional help in reading? Do you think my child would
benefit from additional help in reading?
d. Work with your child’s teacher to develop a plan for supporting your
child’s reading needs. This may include things you’ll work on at home
but should also include help in school.    

It is our hope that you will find this contract and expectations useful in supporting your child as they work to increase their literacy skills.  Together we can create a positive learning environment for your child and help them to succeed.

"A child without an education is like a bird without wings." ~~ Tibetan Proverb

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week
Many classes celebrated Random Act of Kindness Week this week at Howard-Winn.  Here’s a sampling of our celebration.

Our kindergarten classes made valentines to give to veterans or mail to veterans in the hospital. Mrs. Wilson's fifth grade class made some with us during our mentoring session also. Over 215 valentines are being mailed.

These kids are on fire this week with random acts of kindness. From notes to Ms. Shekleton for "being nice and cleaning up" to thank you's to the kitchen staff, book marks for the library, notes to staff, spending time in the kindergarten class, volunteering in the library, high fives at indoor recess, and valentine hearts to Ms. Rausch's class.

To show Random Acts of Kindness we made Valentines for the local nursing homes.

Our class is integrating Random Acts of Kindness week into our curriculum. We have used graphic organizers to come up with ways we can be kind and wrote sentences about kind things we can do. We are been giving our classmates coupons when we see them do nice things and we are building a tree of kind acts that we have done. We are also making secret trips to other classrooms and leaving gifts to show we do not have to be recognized for our kindness to fill our hearts Today we are using our writing time to write letters to teachers and other staff members who help us. 

Here’s our random act of kindness board.  We tried to see how many we could accomplish.

Our class did a #bookitforward. We chose Mrs. Bohr's room to pass on a book from a popular series in 5th grade. The #bookitforward is a campaign that Kid President started.

Preschool Program-Wide PBIS
Staff Member Highlight

Rhonda Bronner is the PWPBIS staff for the Friday, Feb. 13th weekly update spotlight.  Rhonda does a great job of documenting students' behaviors so that as a team we can choose and implement effective Positive Behavior Instructional Support (PBIS) strategies to help children be successful. 

This week preschool completed another Science Sprouts Pint Sized Science experiment, “Goo Worms”. During the STEM experiments they have been using science words like prediction, liquid, solid, and gas. Each student predicted what he/she thought would happen when we mixed the two liquids together. They also talked about how scientists ask questions. Student questions: “Will the broken goo worm go back together if we put it back in the liquid?” and “Will the goo worm get bigger if we leave it in the liquid?” They made predictions about whether the groundhog would see his shadow or not on a chart on the SMARTboard. They watched a newscast of Groundhog’s Day on the SMARTboard. We found out the groundhog SAW his shadow…six more weeks of winter!

Preschoolers are also making their way out of the Winter study and into Dental Health/Teeth as well as Valentine’s. The dramatic play center is full of toothbrushes, flossers, rubber gloves, masks, and pretend “patients.” Students practice brushing and flossing the teeth. They are also able to schedule appointments for people needing to get in to see the dentist. The sensory bin has scissors and Valentine colored paper where students are able to snip away and cut this paper however they would like. A table activity that students love is using white goop and ‘making’ teeth to fit the cutout of a mouth.
Here are some pictures of preschoolers making, feeling, and observing the chemical reaction of creating "Goo Worms." Ask your child what color they were. 

Another preschool class completed the STEM activity exploring water temperature and melting ice/snow. The preschoolers were surprised to see how fast ice melted in warm water versus cold water. After exploring with ice, the preschoolers decided to explore jello mix in hot water versus cold water. This activity introduced the vocabulary words condensation and dissolve. The hot water dissolved the jello and the cold water left the jello in clumps.  They decided to use their “hot water jello” for snack but ran into a problem when we discovered our little refrigerator did not have enough space to hold the jello. The preschoolers brainstormed solutions to this problem and decided that snow was cold like a refrigerator. The preschool class worked to fill a large container with snow and we placed our Ziploc baggie jello into the snow outside. The snow worked just like a refrigerator and our jello tasted delicious for snack!
Transitional Kindergarten
TK has begun their new STEM unit- Gizmos and Gadgets. Students were asked to share about machines and start with what they already know about machines. During the week they were introduced to six simple machines: inclined plane, wedge, screw, lever, wheel and axle, and pulley. The students will be learning about these simple machines during the month of February. Look for examples of machines in your home and places you visit. This investigation also includes Lego Education materials. They are a big hit with the students!

The Kindergarten inquiry project for Unit 4: Outdoor Explorers consisted of looking for pictures online of the four seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring).  The students saved the images that they wanted to talk about.  Each student then recorded a video using the app Videolicious.  During the video the students talked about what they like to do during the season of their choice.

Another kindergarten class created a different inquiry project about the seasons.  The children had fun creating pic collages using internet resources and season reference books.  The children also listened to the story The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.  They then made 3D replicas of the little pink house throughout the four seasons.  The children worked very hard and had a great time creating their projects.

Writing first and last names, blending sounds for words

Working together on puzzles

Learning about famous presidents

Consistent readers on Raz-kids!

First Grade
In 1D this week students are integrating Random Acts of Kindness week into our curriculum. They have used graphic organizers to come up with ways they can be kind and wrote sentences about kind things they can do. They have been giving their classmates coupons when they see them do nice things and they are building a tree of kind acts that they have done. They are also making secret trips to other classrooms and leaving gifts to show they do not have to be recognized for our kindness to fill our hearts.

They just started a new literacy unit on "What does history teach us?" This week, their focus is on what they can learn from stories of different family histories. The students are excited to be reading non-fiction chapter books at our small group time and are learning how to find the "message" in a text. In math, they are learning some new strategies for finding sums. The word sum is a new word this week and they are finding different numbers and different methods they can use to get the same sum. 

Students have been working on addition facts in first grade.  They played Dice-Roll to record math facts, the turn-around fact, and the double.  In Being A Writer they read the book I love Animals and wrote stories about an animal that they love.  To show Random Acts of Kindness they made Valentines for the local nursing homes.  As they finish Unit 4 in LEAD 21, Earth's Treasures, they will begin to gather materials to make habitat dioramas for their inquiry project.  We will begin our inquiry projects next week.

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