Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016 Preschool & Elementary

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

Dear Parents and Students,
How many times have you asked your child, “How was school today?” and been frustrated by the lack of response? As a parent, everyone is guilty of asking your child this question all the time, even though we usually don’t get much in return.

Sometimes this is a struggle to have a real conversation. Other times, you may just not be able to think of what to ask. As an educator I have often wished that kids would share stories of the awesome things we were doing with their parents, but I couldn’t figure out how to make that happen.

As children get older, communication from teachers is less than it was when they were in elementary school and more stuff is happening at school that parents need to be aware of—What follows is a list of questions that draw out important information. This list may help parents hear about what students are doing in class.

The Questions
With slight wording modifications, these questions can work with children of all ages:

  1. Tell me about a moment today when you felt excited about what you were learning.

  2. Tell me about a moment in class when you felt confused.
  3. Think about what you learned and did in school today. What’s something you’d like to know more about? What’s a question you have that came from your learning today?
  4. Were there any moments today when you felt worried? When you felt scared?
  5. Were there any times today when you felt disrespected by anyone? Tell me about those moments.
  6. Were there times today when you felt that one of your classmates demonstrated care for you?
  7. Were there any moments today when you felt proud of yourself?
  8. Tell me about a conversation you had with a classmate or friend that you enjoyed.
  9. What was challenging about your day?
10. What do you appreciate about your day?
11. What did you learn about yourself today? 
12. Is there anything that you’d like to talk about that I might be able to help you figure out?
13. Is there anything you’re worried about?
14. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
15. Is there a question you wish I’d ask you about your day?

Tips for Asking Questions
How and when we ask these questions makes a big difference in the information we receive from our kids. First, you don’t want to ask all of these questions on the same day. You might ask one or two. After a while, you’ll figure out which ones elicit the most meaningful responses. You’ll want to ask during a time when you have the ability to focus so that your child feels they have your full attention. Dinner and driving in the car are sometimes optimal times for these conversations.

More Suggestions
The following can help your conversations be positive and powerful:
  • Don’t interrupt. This is a good rule for any conversation, but especially if you want to get a lot of information out of a kid.
  • Ask for more. Simply say, “I’d love to hear more about that...” Or, “Can you expand on that a little?”
  • Ask about feelings. After a child describes an experience, ask, “How did you feel in that moment? What did you notice about your feelings?”
  • Validate feelings. Whatever your kid feels is normal and okay. Let them know that. Feelings are okay. Tell them this.
  • Tell them it’s not okay for teachers or kids to be unkind or mean. If they tell you a story about a teacher who yelled or disrespected them (regardless of what they said or did) let them know that it’s not okay for an adult to treat them that way. Same goes for how they are treated by other children.
  • Thank them for sharing with you. Always appreciate their honesty and willingness to share the highlights and bright spots, as well as the difficult moments. This will fuel their confidence in telling you more.
Source: Edutopia, Parent Partnership: 15 Questions to Replace "How Was School Today"

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thank you to all of the parents and guardians who attended our Parent-Teacher Conferences this week. Conferences are a great opportunity for both parents and teachers to learn more about the students. Two-way communication is key to strengthening our partnership and providing the best education for your child. Make sure that you follow-up after the conferences. Stay in touch with the teachers. If you think of a question you didn't ask, contact the teacher. Talk with your child. Stress the positive things that the teacher said and talk about suggestions for improvement. Plan with your child how to carry out those suggestions and develop a concrete plan for what to do. Thank you for your support of your child and their education!

A HUGE Thank You to our High School Silver Cord Volunteers and Girl Scout Troop 75 for offering free babysitting to our parents during Parent-teacher Conferences! It was great for parents to not have to worry about their little ones while visiting with teachers.

Studying Smart
Does your child struggle getting their studying done? Do they think of every excuse in the book to postpone sitting down to get at their homework? Studying is a skill that your child will need for their entire school career. You can help your child to study "smart" with these tips. 
  • Create a Study Spot--Create a spot where your child is comfortable studying away from all distractions. Make sure that there are studying supplies organized there for them to use (pencils, paper, note cards, highlighters, scissors, glue, markers, etc).
  • Start a habit--Encourage your child to treat studying as a daily assignment, not just something he does the evening before a test. For example, he might study 15 minutes every night for a test that they will have on Friday. After he finishes his regular homework, he can spend a little time reviewing his notes, handouts and study guides. 
  • Tackle textbooks--When your child has a chapter to study out of a book, have him “preview” it to generate thoughts and ideas and increase his understanding. He should look over headings, graphics, and photos and go to the glossary to look up boldfaced, highlighted, or italics words. Tip: If he finds a section hard to understand, he could read a picture book on the topic. 
  • Mix it up--If your child reviews information in several ways, he’ll be more likely to remember it. He might use colored pencils to copy each spelling word or math fact onto a separate index card. Then, he can shuffle the cards and study them in a different order each time. For extra reinforcement, suggest that he spell each word or recite each fact aloud.

We Want You to . . . invite a Veteran to Lunch

Crestwood Elementary Schools would like to honor our Veterans by hosting a special lunch in their honor. Students are being asked to invite a Veteran that they know to have lunch with them at school. This event will be held on Friday, November 11th during the student’s regularly scheduled lunchtime. A note will be sent home on Monday with all elementary students containing details. We hope to see many Veterans here for us to thank and honor at lunch that day.

Winter Weather

The winter weather will soon be here. Please make sure that your child is dressing appropriately for the weather. Once the temperatures start dropping they will need to wear warmer coats, hats, and mittens. Snowfall will also mean snowpants and boots. Now is a good time to make sure that your child has all of their gear together and to make sure that it fits. Winter will be here before we know it. If your family does not have the resources to provide these items for your child please contact the school and we can help get you prepared.

Weather Alerts, School Delays and Closures
As we move into the winter weather season, keeping informed about weather conditions and school closures is a priority. If road conditions are in question, we will always start with a 2 hour delay. The two hour late start gives us time to completely evaluate the situation. The goal is to have "2 hour late starts" announced prior to 6:00 a.m.  

How will this be communicated? You have several options:
Twitter at #2020HowardWinn (Instantly know!)
School Messenger: This is an option you can subscribe to in PowerSchool. It will give you the option to receive an email, text message or voice mail to your phone. You may call the office at the elementary if you have questions (563-547-2300).
IOWA SCHOOL ALERTS HAS CHANGED: If you used to receive notification in the past please sign up with the new system Go to: to subscribe.

Area TV and Radio station will also be notified. Please note that if you use a text service from a TV station it may be as much as 30 minutes lag time from when they post it and when it is announced on Social Media.

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, substitutes would be helping students to learn subject matter and/or skills  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 Collection
The Crestwood Cadet PTO continues to sponsor a Classroom Redemption Collection. Students are encouraged to ask friends, neighbors and out of town and in town relatives to start collecting on their behalf.  Funds raised from these efforts are used to purchase materials, supplies, and other things for the building and students.  Please be generous in your support for our PTO.

Here's what we've been up to this week . . .

We read the book “Go Away Big Green Monster” with the apron and felt/Velcro props to help tell the story. We also read “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat”. We have read two other versions of this story “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Book” and “There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Leaf”. Every time we read a version we talk about what is the same and different and each child picks his or her favorite!

Everyone had fun at our special Halloween centers! During centers we played in sensory materials (goop and corn/soybeans), “ghost” painted, listened to a spooky story, played a guessing game, drew silly pumpkin faces, created a shape witch, and made a pumpkin snack.

Halloween Centers in Preschool

Building letter ID & hand-eye coordination with hammers, golf tees & pumpkins!

Transitional Kindergarten

The TK students were excited to participate in a virtual fieldtrip with a local farmer. We connected with Brandon Reis via Skype. Brandon talked about his farm, shared facts about the combine, and took the students on a ride as he harvested some corn. The students had prepared questions and made connections to their learning on machines. We thank Rachel Myers, Howard County Farm Bureau Outreach Coordinator, for organizing this learning opportunity.

Our other big excitement was the start of our Makerspace! This is a place where students will extend their learning by participating in the plan, create, and share process. The students used straws this week to represent their plans.

After reading Spookley, TK built 3D pumpkins.


Be nice to spiders!

A special thank you to our volunteers for helping out with our Halloween party. 
The kids had a great time!

Vowel Work

The Grouchy Ladybug

Guided Reading in Kindergarten

First Grade

Practicing our tricky words

Students respond to reading

Just because it's November, it doesn't mean you can't snuggle in for a scary story!

Second Grade

We have been working on reading with expression during a monster reader's theater. 

Second Graders demonstrating fluent reading using Reader's Theater for First Graders

Loving our new story writing options with Scribble Press

Third Grade

A fun ZOOB Challenge on Halloween.

Learning how to give feedback that is kind, helpful, & specific.

Using Chatterkid, SeeSaw, and QR Codes with literacy skills

Fourth Grade

Students reviewing how to comment on blogs.
The Students love all the classroom connections!

Showing what we've learned about animals

Practicing out states and capitals is more fun with this app

Today we did a really fun enrichment activity to better our understanding on ordered pairs and coordinate grids! We played BATTLESHIP! Who knew math could be so fun?!

Fifth Grade

Working on our grocery sacks for Character Counts

Multiplication Bullseye

Prime factorization

All three fifth grade sections got together today to play board games. 
A great way to celebrate fall!

Sixth Grade

Partner reading the scary story "The Lift" and creating the plot diagram

Creating our own digital Halloween poems in writing

Decimals & Fractions

Language and Proofreading practice on the computer


Congratulations to our library media center Pumpkin Contest Winners:
1st place)   Anelise "Todd from Fox and the Hound"
2nd place)  Erica "Arthur"
3rd place)  Grayson "Cat in the Hat"

Students practice rhythm/prosody with "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat"

These students are working on mentor sentences. They "noticed" a lot!!


Friday, November 4               NO SCHOOL
Wednesday, November 9      RSVP is due for Veteran's Lunch
Friday, November 11             Veteran's Day Lunch

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