Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015

PK-6 Principal
Sara Grimm
Twitter: saramarleygrimm
SKYPE: saramarleygrimm


Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools is again partnering with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank to provide the BackPack Program to students during the 2015-2016 school year.  The program began in September and will continue throughout the school year.

The BackPack Program is a free program that provides kid-friendly, non-perishable food for students most in-need, to eat over weekends and breaks when school meals are not available and there may be little or no food to eat.  If your family’s economic status makes it hard for you to provide food on the weekends you may apply through the school for this program.

Items distributed in the BackPacks include cereal, peanut butter, shelf-stable milk, juice, fruit cups, pop-top meals, soup, vegetables, and granola bars.  The food is distributed to children each week.

Last school year, 121,000 BackPack food bags were distributed to 121 sites within the NE Iowa Food Bank's 16-county service area. This year the bags will be distributed to over 130 sites and they should surpass 130,000 bags, over 400,000 lbs of food. 

If you are interested in helping distribute locally you can contact Fran Pearson at the Methodist Church.  All the bags are packed at the Food Bank in Waterloo and they always are in need of groups to come in and pack anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 bags. If you are interested in this opportunity to serve, contact Chris Madigan, the Volunteer Coordinator at the Food Bank in Waterloo ( ).

Parent-Teacher Conference Sign-Up

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, November 3 and Thursday, November 5.  Times for conferences are from 4:00-8:00 each night.  Conferences will be 15 minutes in length with a 5-minute transition time between conferences.  A note was sent home with students on Thursday with directions for how to sign up for a conference time. 

Online sign-up begins on Monday, October 19th.  If you don't have Internet access or simply want to schedule your child's conference directly please call Crestwood Elementary 563-547-2340 and ask for Linda Middlebrook.  It is VERY IMPORTANT for parents to attend conferences.  Kids do better in school when parents are involved in their academic lives.  Attending parent-teacher conferences is a great way to be involved and help your child succeed.

A parent-teacher conference is a great opportunity to:

  • start or continue ongoing conversations with your child's teacher
  • learn how to help your kids do their best in school
  • let your child know that what goes on in school will be shared at home

Character Counts At Howard-Winneshiek Schools!

We value good character at Howard-Winneshiek Schools! To celebrate Character Counts and Red Ribbon Week (October 20th-October 23rd, 2015) we will be having color-themed dress-up days. We encourage you to get excited along with your children, and have conversations about what it means to be a person of character and to be drug free. Thanks for all your support at home! 

 Tuesday 10/20 Respect Each Other and Team up Against Drugs!  It is also close to Red Ribbon Week, so what better way to start off Character Counts Week than by celebrating being drug free and respecting others and ourselves! Students are encouraged to wear yellow for Respect!

 Wednesday 10/21 We Pledge to be Responsible:  Our Future’s so Bright We Gotta Wear Shades!  Students are encouraged to wear green for responsibility and sunglasses this day to show our passion for learning and responsible choices!

 Thursday 10/22  We Care About Each Other At Howard-Winn!  Warm Hearts and Warm Hands.  Show your caring super power!  Be a hero and wear red to school! Donate new hats and mittens to our Warm Hearts Makes Warm Hands donation box located in the Crestwood Elem./Jr. High. 

 Friday 10/23 Give me a “T” for Trustworthy! Show your school spirit by wearing your Cadet Blue!  True Blue for Trustworthiness through and through!

Character Counts Citizenship Project for 2015:  

There will be a winter warmth donation box at the Crestwood Elementary/Jr.High School building October 20th-23rd.  Please help your students donate new hats and/or mittens/gloves that will help support Howard-Winneshiek families throughout the cold winter season.


Bedtime stories have long been known to foster parent-child bonds and prepare children for sleep. But lately researchers are bragging about the many other benefits of this nighttime routine. They say that while you and your little one are sailing with Max to the land of the Wild Things or sampling green eggs with Sam, you're actually boosting your child's brain development.  It is critical to a child's reading development to hear stories read aloud—that reading with your child will improve their vocabulary, fluency, oral language, and many other reading skills. It will enhance a child's language skills even more, if you as a parent use storytime as a stepping stone for conversation.

As a parent, I am sure that there are some nights when you are so exhausted that it is very tempting to say, “We can skip reading tonight.” After spending your day working, cooking, cleaning, shuttling kids, etc., you may find that most nights you haven’t even had a moment to yourself until after the children are in bed.  Don't panic, you are not the only parent feeling this way!  

The Iowa Reading Resource Center has a Family Resources Collection with a great video called “How to Raise Confident Readers with Bedtime Stories.” 

It is a short video that shows how a mom and her two children read together at night in order to improve their literacy skills. “Bedtime Stories” shares how children who are consistently read aloud to perform better in school in reading AND math. It also discusses how reading aloud to children helps boost their imaginations and develop their visualization skills. This video is the perfect visual reminder of why you should be reading to your children every night.

Are you in need of a good story to read to your kids?  These stories stand out for meeting both the language and emotional needs of their target age group, according to the American Library Association in Chicago.  Happy Reading!

Birth to 3
Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker (Harcourt)
The Everything Book by Denise Fleming (Henry Holt)
"More, More, More," Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams (William Morrow)
Where's Spot? by Eric Hill (Putnam)

4 to 7
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (HarperCollins)
Good Night, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas (Dutton)
Pass the Celery, Ellery! by Jeffrey Fisher Gaga (Stewart Tabori & Chang)
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Viking)

8 to 12
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say (Walter Lorraine)
More Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron (Knopf)
A Poke in the I by Paul Janeczko (Candlewick)
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 , Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (William Morrow)
          Source: Iowa Reading Resource Center and

Substitute Teachers and Associates Needed
Do you like working with children and helping them learn? Do you enjoy working in a high-energy, creative learning/working environment? If your answer is "YES" we need you! Howard-Winn is looking for substitute teachers and associates to work in our classrooms. In the absence of the regular classroom teacher or associate you would be helping students to learn subject matter and/or skills that are required for curriculum lessons and providing meaningful instruction for our students in their classrooms. If interested please submit a letter of application and a resume to: Superintendent, 1000 Schroder Drive, Cresco, IA 52136

A look at our learning . . .
Another exciting week in preschool kicked off by having the real firefighters and fire truck visit our school. The firefighters showed students their gear and gave them a tour of their fire truck. Preschoolers also created their own fire truck for the dramatic play center. The preschoolers worked hard to paint a large cardboard box red. The students used paper scraps, cardboard, and foil to create wheels, hoses, and ladders. Check out the pictures below of their awesome fire truck!

The firefighters gave students some valuable fire safety tips which they have been discussing and practicing this week (stop-drop-roll, calling 911 in an emergency, crawling low in smoke, touching a door to see if it is hot). One of their favorite activities was playing a stop, drop, and roll game by placing a piece of “felt” fire on our clothes. To put the fire out, the preschool students practiced stopping, dropping, and rolling until the “felt” fire fell off their clothing.

Pet Cricket
This week the preschoolers asked and solved a very important question…how do little crickets make such a loud sound? After a bit of researching and observing, the preschoolers discovered that crickets rub their wings together to make sound. Mrs. T's classroom pet cricket has been fun to observe and creates a soothing sound during rest time! 

To celebrate Crestwood Homecoming last week, preschool classes had homecoming centers outside. Children played with a beach volleyball, threw mini-footballs at targets, ran a cross-country meet, had a cheerleading dance party, and listened to a story. On October 1st, Mrs. Merkel brought a pumpkin to school to be their class pumpkin.  It was still green! Students predicted if the pumpkin would turn orange by Halloween or if it would stay green. Ten students in the class thought it would turn orange, four students thought it was stay green, three students weren’t sure what would happen. Everyday they observe the pumpkin; if it is still green they add a green paper link to a paper chain. They also have an orange paper chain to count down the days to Halloween. Keeping track of time like this is more meaningful to preschool children than a calendar. It
also helps them practice counting skills using a real life situation that is important to them.

Transitional Kindergarten
How do we create a robot and what can the robot do? This was presented to the Transitional Kindergarten students.

They have continued hands-on explorations of input/output using different kinds of machines. This week students also played a coding board game. Students are now applying the skills and vocabulary they have learned in the creation of their own robots. Each student will determine how input would go into their robot and what output it would create. These just might be robot prototypes for the future!

Last week Mrs. Galvin's students had the opportunity to have p.e. class with their high school buddies. Teachers commented that watching them interact and enjoy p.e. together was neat. I'm not sure who had more fun!
In math this week Mrs. Franzen's class focused on counting and recognizing teen numbers. They used shaving cream to practice writing numbers. It was messy, but a lot of fun!

First Grade
Some of our Homecoming fun from last week . . .

Organizing, representing, and interpreting data through the use of Fruit Loops!
In science this class worked on creating a pic collage to record their predictions if an item will sink or float. They took pictures of the items and said what they thought would happen. They will test the items and see if our predictions were correct.

Exciting news for our first grade this week as one of our first grade teachers, Mrs. Rausch had her baby. Kortlynn was born October 14th. Congratulations to Mrs. Rausch & her family! Mrs. Judy Morgan will be subbing in 1st grade while Mrs. Rausch is on maternity leave. 

Second Grade
There has been much excitement over the caterpillars and waxworms in second grade over the past couple of days. Several of the caterpillars have climbed to the lid and have attached themselves, hanging in a "J". So far they have only one that is in a chrysalis. As for the waxworms, several have turned black, which we now know means that they're no longer alive. Some have turned a tannish color and we think they are in a chrysalis too. We will keep you posted on any new developments.

Students learned about how a butterfly survives its predators using camouflage. They were given a paper butterfly to camouflage and place somewhere in the room. Can you see them?
This week this class has been reading the story, Stellaluna. The kids searched the story for strong verbs and weak verbs. They did a great job working together!

Here is a new addition basic fact strategy. Can you guess what this strategy is called? Flip-Flops! It's hard to see in the picture...but there are flip-flop facts written on their flip-flops!

Third Grade
In third grade they launched Word Work this week which is their spelling. They choose their list on Mondays and practice throughout the week then assess on Fridays.

These students are in a guided reading group and they took on a new role this week. After starting a book together about snakes, the students each picked a section they thought would be great to read alone. Their goal in reading was to become the teacher and teach the important information/main ideas and key vocabulary to their group members as well as work on summarizing their selection. They each took their new role very seriously and worked hard "preparing" their lessons. 

These students are wrapping up their science unit on animal and plant populations. Student partners have been completing a review packet and they will start their final project soon. They are excited about the animals they are researching.

Fourth Grade
This week in fourth grade students are having a blast in math as they dig into DATA! They have learned about pictographs and bar graphs, how the same information could be represented in both, and some key components of each of them! They then moved on to ordered pairs and coordinate grids. After teaching the lesson there's of no better way of having students apply these skills than by playing BATTLESHIP! Students did a great job and their understanding deepened as they practiced this skill in a memorable way! 

Students in 4th grade are working on becoming a more fluent reader. Each student has a binder filled with fluency passages. Everyday during a Daily 5 choice, he/she is to read into an iPad app called: Showbie. This records the students' voice and he/she then uploads the recording to a fluency folder that the teacher has created. The same passage is read for the entire week. Students are excited to see the difference from the beginning of the week until the end!!

Fifth Grade
Our 5th grade is piloting a new program to help with their literacy skills.  The program is called Lyrics2Learn.  It is a reading fluency and comprehension program that infuses music/singing into the reading and rereading of passages and answering questions of

different levels of thinking (literal, inferential, paragraphing and more). 
The website is     

Students can be found using it during literacy (reading block) and they are absolutely loving it and singing away along with the lyrics to the reading passages. 
Sixth Grade
This week the sixth grade students handed in their atom projects. They developed a 3-D model of an element that illustrated the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons.  They made some very awesome creations.

Helping verbs are verbs that come before the main verb, or the verb describing the action of the sentence. Helping verbs do just what they sound like - they help verbs by making them complete. Helping Verbs help find the predicate in a sentence!

Support our band program and students . . .

                                Chili/Soup Supper

Crestwood High School Cafeteria
    5-8 P.M.  
 $7 per person
includes all-you-can-eat chili/chicken noodle,
crackers, cinnamon roll, and beverage

Get out of the cold and help the Band Boosters raise for funds for Instrument Repair and Replacement

Monday, October 19            NO SCHOOL--Teacher Inservice 
                              Friday, October 23               End of 1st Quarter

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