Friday, January 13, 2017

January 13, 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 8-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,

We Need Your Input

The Howard-Winneshiek School District will be asking our patrons to complete a survey. The Clarity BrightBytes survey will be open from Jan 23-27. You will be receiving more information soon. It is very important that we get your input. This survey gives us the ability to use real data to drive our district’s decision making and is an invaluable resource allowing us to analyze our data against research-based frameworks which helps us to easily identify areas to celebrate and those to improve. Thank you for your help in completing this survey.

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


The preschool students do many activities that help them think differently. They really seem to enjoy the activities that incorporate STEM. Pint Sized Science activities like "Science Sprouts" Sodium Polyacrylate-Diaper Material Demonstration and Water Crystals were a lot of fun for them.

Transitional Kindergarten

We are off and running on second semester! The students got right to work where we left off. We continue to practice letters, sounds, and learning how to apply sounds in beginning reading and writing.

Making words with puzzles.

Journaling about our breaks.

Reading Jolly Phonics books. 


Learning to sequence daily events! 

Cadet Time sight word work on the smart board.

Problem solving together in kindergarten.

Enjoying puzzles for inside recess. 

Students learned about making connections. "Readers think about their experiences and what they know to make connections." The children made connections with Peter from the book The Snowy Day. They drew pictures/wrote about what Peter liked to do in the snow and what they liked to do in the snow.

First Grade
Learning about mentor sentences.

Teachers are getting ready to introduce math fact fluency in first grade. The difference between a fact and a problem is that a math problem requires you to use a strategy like your fingers, number line, or drawing a picture to solve it. When you memorize a math fact (much like tricky words), you are fluent in that fact!

We have worked on subtracting 1 or 2 from a number. The kids did great!

Second Grade

Building symmetry in math--beautiful, creative fun.

Using our basic addition facts and applying it to solving 2--3--even 4-digit addition problems

We have been learning about pronouns.

Third Grade

Yeah! Awarded another #XtraMath certificate today! 

Introducing liquid capacity by making Gallon Guy or Gal! 
We will be exploring both US standard and metric units this week.

The kids did a lot of reflecting this week and wrote posts about their learning and behavioral goals for 2017. 
Check them out at....

Fourth Grade

Here are some pictures of the students wearing virtual reality goggles exploring different space crafts. This was an extension activity to go along with our solar system science unit. We AirPlayed to the smart board so the whole class could share in the experience! 
 This activity was lead by Ms. Klenke, our Technology Integrationist, from her electronic device (her cell phone). In order to make these tours possible, we had to have someone "lead" these tours, and we had to "follow" them. Ms. Klenke was able to direct us to different areas on each of the space crafts and tell us real information about them! It was pretty awesome! If you have virtual reality goggles at home and want to take these tours, just download the app, "google expeditions" and let the learning begin!

Sun, Planets, and rotation today.

Part 1: Reading, processing and discussing a science story.

Part 2: Blogging about what we learned using KidBlog.

Math work - What's the variable?

Fifth Grade

Students choosing to share their writing during read with someone round! 
Excited about writing!

Working on writing

Indoor recess: This guy chose to come to the library. 
Researching mythology to help him write a Percy Jackson style story. 

Indoor recess fun...

Sixth Grade

Students are learning to use They are setting up their accounts and doing the interest inventory. After they finished the interest inventory, they started the Diagnostic Test to determine skills they are working on mastering. In literacy, they are working on main idea, subject, and theme. Students are differentiating between those terms and are learning the differences between them.

This week we had the pleasure of working with a technology expert, Zach Vandervort. Zach is a graduate from Howard-Winneshiek. He attends Western Iowa Tech. Zach introduced the 6th grade to Garage Band. We are beginners, but we can create great stuff!

In literature class, we have been learning to differentiate between main idea, subject, and theme. We can differentiate between these three terms by knowing their characteristics. We studied each literary term and then compared these terms using a Venn diagram. After we came to an understanding of the differences between the terms, we moved on to identifying the subjects of different stories.

In Social Studies class, we are starting our unit on Ancient Egypt. The students will be participating in a group research project over a section of Ancient Egypt that they are interested in researching. We have spent a few days front-loading students with information on Ancient Egypt. As a class, we have used these videos to help us identify what we would find interesting and added these ideas to a chart. We then took the information from the chart to identify key topics and subtopics. Students will be looking at the topics and decided which area of Ancient Egypt they would like to research. Students will be selecting their top three choices on Friday.

In math we have been multiplying and dividing fractions, along with reducing or putting into simplest form. We often discuss different size slices of pizza to help visualize equivalent fractions. We have been using the website Learning Farm to connect lessons, activities and games to the Common Core.


After school tutoring started today!

Jennah made a beautiful purse out of duct tape in response to the book The Invention with a Thousand Uses. Well done!


Monday, January 16                           Report Cards Go Home

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