Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 15, 2016 Preschool & Elementary

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

Back To School Routines

It’s the beginning of a new calendar year—and the halfway point in the school year. So it’s a good time to take stock of your child’s habits and make needed adjustments. Spend some time talking with your child about how the school year is going. If the two of you set learning goals at the start of the year, review those goals now. Is your child making progress? How can they make the rest of the school year even better? Then make some learning resolutions. Here are three to consider:
1. Restore beginning-of-school routines. Has your child’s bedtime begun to slip? Are mornings more rushed? Is their regular study time now not quite so regular? Sleep and study routines make life easier—and help kids do better in school.
2. Spend time reading. There is no skill that will help your child more in school than reading. And reading ability, like other skills, gets better with practice. Encourage your child to read. Let them read about anything, from sports to their favorite movie character.
3. Reduce screen time. Talk about the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen. How much time do they spend watching TV? Playing video games? Browsing the Internet? A new study found that 45% of eight-year-olds exceed the recommended two hours or less of screen time per day—and 80% of 16-year-olds exceed that limit. It’s time to set and enforce limits. Source: S. Houghton and others, “Virtually impossible: limiting Australian children and adolescents daily screen based media use,” BMC Public Health,

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Sara Grimm

What You Can Do to Support Your Child's Teacher

Parents often wish they knew what teachers were thinking. What do they want parents to do? One expert asked his son, who was also a teacher, about this, and the answers were fascinating.
Teachers hope parents will:
1. Take responsibility for study time. Teachers can’t follow kids home and make sure studying takes place. They rely on parents to enforce rules about this.
2. Have high expectations. Sometimes parents let kids off the hook by saying things like, “I don’t like reading either.” Instead, expect that your child will succeed.
3. Avoid absences. Missing too much school hurts learning.  Attendance is key.
4. Attend parent conferences. You should always attend parent-teacher conferences, even if your child is doing well.
5. Communicate via email, when possible. Questions about grades or assignments may need to be researched. An email allows teachers an opportunity to find the answer before getting back to you.
6. Understand teachers’ schedules. They aren’t as cushy as you may think. On average, teachers work at least three hours a day beyond the school day itself. And many spend four or more hours over the weekends getting ready for the week ahead.
Source: R. Taibbi, “What Teachers Wish Parents Knew,” Psychology Today,

Read Aloud Time
Some parents stop reading aloud to their child as soon as their child learns to read. But reading aloud can continue to be fun, and it builds reading skills for kids, too.

To make your read-aloud time successful:
1. Do it every day. When you read aloud every day, you demonstrate that reading time is much too important to miss.

2. Pick a regular time. Making reading part of your routine also makes it easier to fit into a hectic day. Again, your child will see by your example that you consider reading to be important.

3. Read the book first—before you read it aloud. Reading aloud is performing. You’ll do a better job if you’re familiar with what you’re going to read. Previewing a book may also keep you from getting bogged down in a book that neither you nor your child enjoys.

4. Read books you like. If you like a book, odds are your child will, too. A great place to start is by reading books you enjoyed as a child.

5. Accentuate the first line. The first line of any good story will grab the reader’s attention. Your reading should make your child want to sit up and listen.

6. Use facial expressions. Widen your eyes to show surprise. Squint a bit to show you’re thinking. Smile when you are reading something funny.

7. Leave your child wanting more. Stop your day’s reading at a point where she is eager to hear what happens next.


How Breakfast Can Help Your Child Learn

As you may know It takes a lot of energy for students to concentrate in school. So it’s no surprise that kids who go to school without breakfast often lack focus. Studies consistently show that breakfast affects how well children do in school. One Harvard Medical School study looked at how breakfast affected attendance and school performance. They found that children who eat breakfast have:
• Better attendance.
• Fewer episodes of tardiness.
• Higher math scores.
• A stronger ability to concentrate in class.

With today’s hectic schedules, there isn’t always time to sit down for a long breakfast. So be prepared by keeping a few healthy grab-and-go options. A granola bar and a piece of fruit will get your child off to a good start. So will a bagel and cream cheese. In a pinch, even a piece of last night’s pizza will do!
Source: M. Levin, MPH, “FRAC: Breakfast for Learning,” Food Research and Action Center,

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

Classroom Redemption Contest

The Crestwood Cadet PTO is sponsoring a Classroom Redemption Contest. The classroom that brings in the most redemption items (boxtops, labels for education and milk moola) between now and January 29th, will win a class party. Be sure to ask friends, neighbors and out town and in town relatives to start collecting on your behalf.

Our Learning This Week.....

Preschoolers are excited for a great second semester in preschool! They have stayed busy reconnecting with peers, sharing stories about their holiday break, journaling about their break, and reviewing classroom rules and routines.

Over the next few weeks they will be starting a classroom study about snow/winter. The preschoolers have already shared some fascinating knowledge about snow/winter and they have a few questions they would like answered…Why is it too cold to play outside some days?...Is it OK to eat the snow?...Why can’t I build a snowman each day I play in the snow? They are looking forward to researching these questions and doing some experiments to discover the answers!

It was too cold outside so we brought the snow inside!

The preschoolers enjoying a little ice fishing for magnetic letters!

Transitional Kindergarten
The Early Childhood program at Howard-Winneshiek was the recipient of a Pint Size STEM grant for the 2015-2106 school year. Materials and resources were provided for two studies. The Transitional Kindergarten class has already completed the first study- Bits and Bots. During the months of January and February the focus will be on the second study- Classifying Creatures. The materials and resources are about animals and the characteristics that make them unique. The students started the study by selecting their own animal of interest for individual study. Group lessons this week were about different habitats that animals can live in.

Students cut out pictures of animals and attached them to posters labeled with the habitat they thought they would find that animal living. They began the posters as a large group and students will continue to add more animals during their choice time.

Kindergarteners used calendar pictures to jumpstart their ideas for writing. They practiced writing sentences with spaces between their words. Another goal for them was to write beside their friends without visiting. A new goals! Always working hard in kindergarten.​

Students learned that some animals hibernate to stay warm and some animals migrate to stay warm, but penguins huddle to stay warm. They decided to try to huddle to see if they were warmer.

These students read many books about snow. The favorite book this week was Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor. The class discussion focused on winter weather and blizzards. The children then created their very own snow globe to display in the hall.

First Grade
Students are working on Unit 4 Earth’s Treasures. The theme question that they are discussing this unit is: How do we use and keep Earth’s treasures?
Students are also working on the comprehension skill making connections
  • Text to Self-when we connect what we read to our own knowledge and experiences 
  • Text to Text-when we connect what we are reading to other books that we have read 
  • Text to World-when we connect what we read to issues and ideas in the world 
In math students they are discussing place value and comparing numbers. They are also going to be working with addition facts.

These students worked on math facts and played Two-Fisted Penny Addition.

Students read the book Knuffle Bunny by Mo Millems (a story about a toddler that left her stuffed animal at the laundromat and threw a LITTLE fit about it) then wrote stories about something that made them sad or mad.

Second Grade
Second grade theme book this week was Akiak by Robert Blake. Students enjoyed the story immensely and learned some interesting facts about the Iditarod sled dog race. They furthered their knowledge by reading about Alaska and recording facts and opinions as response to their reading.

STEM time--Designing their marble run

Third Grade
Students are learning about renewable and nonrenewable resources. They each designed their own "Crestwood Playground" using 3-5 renewable resources and nonrenewable resources. Then they had to explain why they would use those resources. They had unlimited funds to create the playground of their dreams! They did a great job!

Fourth Grade
Math, math, and more math! This week students were introduced to another way to multiply using the lattice method. At first, some students were very confused and not understanding, but after some practice they really caught the hang of it! "I get it!"

Students have been using a new ways to solve 2 digit by 1 digit numbers as well as 2 digit by 2 digit numbers called, partial product. As they are becoming more familiar with this type of multiplication, they're finding that some friends really like this way.

Wrapping up their study on the solar system by making a model of it and drawing the elliptical orbits of the planets.
Students working on scale and relative size. They have taken the distance from the sun to each planet and used the scale of 1 cm:5000 km! Using that scale, their model of the sun has a diameter of 278.4 cm!

How awesome are these readers! In small group reading they read about a telescope with a lens eight foot in diameter! They discussed how big that was and before their teacher could talk about it they had yard sticks and step ladders to measure the height of their room from floor to ceiling! Yup! The lens is almost as big as their room is tall! Now THAT is interactive reading!!

These 4th graders are learning and practicing the vocabulary strategy, Sort And Classify Words! After practicing as a class, students were given a partner and challenged to use their Theme Readers and find words that would be sorted into the categories LAND or WATER. After this activity they discussed some of the words that were new to them and would help expand their vocabulary. One of these unfamiliar words was marsh! They did a great job. These CAFE skills will surely increase their reading abilities!

Fifth Grade
In math class this week students have practiced MANY skills. Students have been working on more complex multiplication and division and they worked on landmarks (mode, median, minimum, maximum), equivalent fractions, and fraction of problems. They enjoyed playing an equivalent fraction game called Drive the Route and doing a Kahoot on their iPads to practice concepts.
The pictures show the Wonderful Wackos engrossed in their Kahoot. 
You can also see that they love the competition!

Students have been thrown into the "real world" of research, analyzing and advertising. Their 2-month long project of Research Product Analyst in literacy class has given them many eye-openers to the amount of work, effort and details needed to be successful at a job. The 5th graders started by "exploring" with products that were brought in from home or supplied by the teachers. Even as 10-11 year olds, playing with race car sets, dolls and toy trucks was quite a treat!

After observation, analyzing and recording, students read real customer reviews on each of the products they were assigned to sell! Common Core Reading and Writing Standards were present in each step of this process. It was great to show the students how important our learning is everyday in school. It is absolutely necessary to be successful in our world! Sales pitches and advertising reports were submitted to their "bosses" with the possibility of being sent back to training, being fired or being promoted! We're happy to share no one was fired! The project ended with student-written commercial scripts and recordings of commercials. They thought they were done. Nope, one last step was to Rate the Commercials based on criteria that shows appeal to audiences! Creativity, determination and responsibility were shown through and through! Yep, these How-Winn. 5th graders are ready for the REAL WORLD! Student commercials will be shared at conferences to parents!

Sixth Grade
In science class, students covered natural hazards and disasters before Christmas. The standard that were addressed included: Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects. During this unit, they learned about the tectonic plates and how they influence natural hazards occurring. Students used the app iQuake Lite to track in current time. They also discovered the following natural hazards: earthquake, tsunami, tornado, thunderstorm, flood, avalanche, mudslides, forest fires, and volcanoes. They discussed how these natural hazards can lead to natural disasters. Thier study led their investigation into how they can prevent natural disasters from happening using technology and scientific instruments that would save human lives. They invited Mr. Suckow, an expert in avalanche survival, to talk to all of 6th grade about how he uses safety procedures to help him stay safe in the event of a avalanche. As an culminating activity, they studied engineering principles that engineers use to design building that can withstand an earthquake. Students were then given the take make a structure that could withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Students tested and improved their designs to make their structures more durable. They then held a showcase in each class where the students placed their building on the shake table.

In science, they are currently on a unit of study, provided by Alliant Energy, on how they can conserve natural resources. Students were placed in small groups to research a renewable and nonrenewable resource. They developed presentations on their iPads to teach their classmates about their assigned renewable or nonrenewable resource.


January 25         No School (Teacher Inservice) 

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