Monday, April 27, 2015

Grimm 4/24/2015

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

PLTW Pint-Size Science Scale-Up Grant
Congratulations to our Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten teachers for being awarded a grant for their Pint Size Science Program.

The Northeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory Board reviewed many applications from teachers, administrators, and non-formal educators eager to implement exemplary STEM programs. The northeast region received more than 160 applications requesting a STEM Scale-Up program for 2015-2016.

This is the 2nd consecutive year the Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten Teachers have been awarded a Scale Up Grant for Pint Size Science.  The Northeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory Board has been a tremendous supporter for providing STEM opportunities for our students.

Enrollment guidelines for Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten
If you are the parent of a 4-year-old we would like to invite you to enroll your child in our preschool program in Cresco or in Lime Springs. This is not a mandatory program, but it will help provide your child with learning experiences that will prepare them for a more successful learning experience when they reach Kindergarten. If your child will be age 5 by September 15 they are of compulsory attendance age and you must enroll them in either our Transitional Kindergarten Program or our Kindergarten Program. The only exception to this is if a parent notifies the district, in writing, of their intent to withdraw the child from the school district. If you have questions or need more information we invite you to call us at (563) 547-2340.

The preschoolers’ journey with recycling continued as they were busy creating boats out of recycled materials and testing them out in water. First they made sink and float predictions about their boats. After predicting, the preschoolers set their boats to sail in water and were surprised by the results. The preschoolers have also been working hard on their final portfolio assessments! It has been rewarding to watch the preschoolers grow throughout the school year.

Preschoolers have also been learning about static electricity and how lightning is static electricity just in a bigger form. Students were able to explore with static tubes, which are plastic tubes with little Styrofoam beads in them. They then rubbed the tubes on their hands, the floor, and their shirts.  It made the beads move up and down the tube. Then they rubbed a balloon on their heads, shirts, and the floor and tried to get it to stick to the wall. They also touched a spoon to the balloon after they had rubbed it on one of these things to see if it would make a little spark they could see. They never saw the spark, but they could hear a little noise when they touched the spoon to the balloon.

As part of learning about farms the students planted some vegetable and flower seeds to see how things grow. Over the next couple of weeks the seeds will start to sprout, and the students will be able to watch them grow.

Officer Godman and Eddie Eagle!
Officer Godman talked with the preschoolers about things that are “Safe” and “Unsafe." He showed the preschoolers pictures and asked us to give a thumb up for “Safe” and a thumb down for “Unsafe.”  Officer Godman showed the students a video about Eddie Eagle that taught them what to do if they see a gun. It has actions and is like a dance. If you see a gun…. STOP, Don’t Touch, Leave the Area, Tell an Adult!

Transitional Kindergarten
The Transitional Kindergarten students have been focusing on their insect learning. They are working on recognizing the difference between living and non-living things and talking about habitats. They are excited to go outside and look at habitats up close.

Spring AssessmentsThe end of April will include spring skill checks, Get Ready to Read screens, and spring FAST and Reading assessments. We are excited to see how much growth the students have made over the course of the year.

Thank you all for attending Kindergarten Round-Up last week. The children had fun and it was a great opportunity for the students to see the rooms, meet the teachers, and do some fun activities. The next step is a parent meeting, which will be held May 5th at 5:00. More information will be coming to you soon. We look forward to partnering with you in your child’s education.

Title I

This group of students is working on phrasing, fluency and reading with expression. They are using the book "He Bear, She Bear" for their Reader's Theater. The book discusses that it doesn't matter what gender you are, you can do anything you put your mind to, whether you are a boy or a girl. Students will be working on making their reading sound fluent, just like talking, and they will also have to work together to read in unison for parts where both bears speak. They hope to video tape the Reader's Theater and possibly use Berenstain Bears stuffed animals or puppets to tell the story. 

These students have been using Keystone's Playaway MP3 players to listen to books. They listen to the stories then read them independently. They've found that reading along with the MP3 player first really helps with their reading fluency and figuring out tricky words when they read silently. The kids love them. There are 5-8 books on each playaway, and they come with all the books and head-phones. 

These students are practicing sight words with the app "Word Bingo"

First Grade teacher, Casey Rausch, and Second Grade teacher, Karen Kuhn, are culminating their studies with the University of Northern Iowa Master’s Degree in Elementary Education program. For the past three months, they have been developing and executing an Action Research Project. This Wednesday, April 22nd, Karen and Casey presented to our elementary teaching staff at in-service.

This study explores the relationship between utilizing nonfiction text in primary-aged classroom and explicit teaching of reading comprehension and vocabulary strategies, in comparison with utilizing fiction text. For 8 weeks, students in classes 1B and 2C participated in this study. Data was collected and analyzed. Findings provide evidence that utilizing nonfiction text had a positive effect on student attitudes, comprehension, and vocabulary development. Statistically Significant evidence was shared with teaching staff, with the implications that students prefer to interact with nonfiction text and it is found that they learn more effectively!

The Title I teachers had the opportunity to attend the National Reading Recovery & K-6 Reading Conference in Ohio this year. On Wednesday, April 22 they presented what they had learned to the staff.

Several teachers had the opportunity to win “prizes” that will be utilized during their classroom instruction.

Band Together Campaign

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