Friday, February 6, 2015

Grimm 2/6/2015

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

Early Literacy
As a part of efforts to support improvement of literacy outcomes for Iowa’s Children, the Iowa Department of Education in collaboration with Iowa’s school districts have implemented a system to assess each students’ literacy skills. During your child’s Parent-Teacher Conferences on February 17th or February 19th your child’s teacher will be sharing the results of our most recent literacy assessments. These literacy assessments called the FAST Tests (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) are mandated by the State of Iowa. We will be giving this screening assessment and collecting data three times a year to determine if our instruction is sufficient for the students to master the skills. Students who are struggling in reading may be identified to receive more thorough or intensive instruction to help them learn and stay on track. Once identified, a plan is put into place to help the student. Progress monitoring is then done to measure the benefit of the additional instruction and decide if the plan needs to be modified or changed to increase effectiveness.

How will additional instruction help my child?

  • Students who struggle in reading may come into the classroom at a lower reading and comprehension level than their peers (though other subjects may be at grade-level or higher). Intensive instruction can help struggling readers reach a higher reading level than they could with a traditional classroom approach and stay on track with their grade-level.
  • Students who struggle in reading may benefit from different reading techniques; helping them identify words more easily, read aloud and to oneself more fluently, and comprehend written stories and instruction more effectively.
Since reading is a primary tool for learning, identifying and helping children who struggle in reading early on can greatly benefit their learning capabilities in the future. Providing them with the right tools to be effective readers and heightening their potential for success.

"Take a deep breath. It calms the mind." ~~ Regina Brett

Preschool Program-Wide PBIS
Staff Member Highlight

Marge Dohlman is a para in Jenny Vsetecka's preschool classroom. Marge does an excellent job of watching students to catch them doing the three school expectations of: Be Kind, Be Safe, and Be Respectful. When she sees students doing these things, Marge gives praise and positive reinforcement. She also does a wonderful job of handing out purple cards to students that follow these expectations. Thanks for all you do!

Mrs. Tieskoetter’s preschoolers explored with snow and ice this week. After their visit from the Cresco snowplow drivers, they pretended they were snowplow drivers using toy tractors and loaders to move snow and ice. They also spread sand and salt on the snow and ice and observed the changes. They now understand why those snowplow drivers spread sand and salt on the highway.
They have also started talking about the holiday, Groundhog’s Day. Did you know that a groundhog is a hibernating snow animal and sleeps in a burrow? The preschoolers have become curious about shadows and have learned that bright light creates a shadow. They used the projector light from their SMART Board and created fun shadows during choice time…it was a BIG hit!

Preschoolers have also continued their Pint Size Science STEM project by talking about static electricity. They explored with balloons, mirrors, felt, and static tubes. They were amazed to see that static electricity makes things “stick!” They also made observations about static electricity when coming in from recess…their hats and hair provided a perfect example.

Mrs. Merkel’s class completed another Science Sprouts Pint Sized Science experiment, “The 3 State Reaction”. They will keep the same 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 recorder's work will be printed and displayed in the hallway along with pictures and charts from the experiments. Children worked on answering the following questions about The 3 State Reaction experiment:

What liquid did we use? (Vinegar)
What color did you make your liquid? (Red, Yellow, Green, or Blue)
What solid did we use? (Baking Soda)
What happened when you added the solid to the liquid?
(Bubbles-gas; it exploded like a volcano!)

Transitional Kindergarten
Students have been busy working on writing letters. They are beginning to recognize that capital and lowercase letters look different. Writing words is modeled. During journal times students are encouraged to label their drawings. For some students this may be identifying the first letter and sound of a word. Other students are ready to begin writing letters for multiple sounds in a word. Vowel sounds (a, e, i, o, and u) are going to be left out or mislabeled. That is okay for beginning writers!

Social Skills are also a focus for transitional kindergarten students. They have been learning about feelings and recognizing feelings in themselves and in others. Students created a class book on the SMART Board sharing a feeling and when they have had that feeling. Students also modeled different feeling looks. They took pictures of those with the iPad and posted them in the classroom.

Is Your Child Ready For Kindergarten?
As we prepare for parent/teacher conferences the preschool teachers would like you to start thinking about your child’s placement during the 2015-2016 school year. The kindergarten teachers have provided a list of characteristics of a child who will be successful in kindergarten.

Characteristics of a child who is ready for kindergarten…
  • Writes first name
  • Holds pencil correctly
  • Cuts on a line with scissors
  •  Counts 0-25
  • Correctly counts groups of objects
  • Counts backwards 10-0
  • Recognizes basic shapes
  • Extends and creates patterns
  • Chooses to read
  • Follows words left to right, top to bottom, and page by page
  • Identifies letters and sounds
  • Puts on own coat
  • Uses restroom independently
  • Shares, takes turns, plays fairly, listens to others
  • Transitions easily
  • Works independently
  • Attends in a group
  • Follows directions
  • Follows rules and cooperates with adults in charge
  • Finds acceptable ways to show emotions
  • Copes when separated from parents
  • Caring of others and others’ property
In kindergarten math, they have been learning about money. The students have worked hard on identifying the penny and the nickel by name, knowing how much each coin is worth, and being able to make exchanges (5 pennies for 1 nickel). They have even learned information about the president that appears on the penny and the nickel.

Here are some more pictures of our “100th Day” Celebration!
    100 Dots on our ladybug                      100 is an even number!

    Our 100 cup stack!                                  Groundhog Day!

First Grade
Building fluency by choral reading with a partner.  On-the-ball and reading like crazy!!

Building fluency in Cadet Time by building sentences.

This is what it looks like as we start our day and wait for all classmates to arrive.

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