Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 Preschool & Elementary

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

The Howard-Winn Experience

When you think about what your child is doing at school, many of us tend to think about the things that happened during our school experience.  The teacher stood in the front of the class and taught.  The students sat at desks in orderly rows.  Students didn't talk without raising their hands.  The teacher taught from the teacher's manual and presented the lessons in a predetermined order.  Students were often given worksheets or workbook pages to demonstrate that they learned what the teacher taught that day.  Field trips took place rarely and usually only at the end of the school year.


Our teachers work hard to individualize the learning and the classroom experience for our students.  We work to discover what our students are interested in and tie that to our grade level learning.  Students' passions energize their learning experience.  Activities to demonstrate learning are linked to real-world experiences.  We have the processes in place to provide resources and learning experiences that meet each child's learning needs.  Our instruction is flexible and differentiated to focus on helping all students learn at high levels and master content.  We use technology to improve students' access to information and enhance their opportunities for learning.  We are transforming the learning experience to prepare and empower our students to succeed in life!

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


Sara Grimm

Teaching Children the Value of Reading

In this digital age it is more important than ever to instill in our children a desire to read and to give them the understanding of the impact reading can have on the rest of their lives.  Teaching Children the Value of Reading Infographics illustrates the value of the written word and how reading can pave the way to success.

Literacy corresponds with a child’s future ability to:
  • Attain personal fulfillment
  • Be understood and taken seriously
  • Take part in and understand civic issues
  • Earn a higher salary
  • Succeed in a chosen career path

Literate people are more likely:
  • To attend or take part in a sporting event
  • To do volunteer or charity work
  • To attend a performing arts event
  • To visit a museum

Tips for Influencing a Desire to Read
  1. Read Daily Have your child read for 30 minutes before allowing them to watch TV or play video games.
  2. Journal Writing - One’s desire to read is amplified by one’s ability to write.
  3. A Word a Day - Focus on expanding your child’s vocabulary and teach them a new word each day.
  4. Different Genres - Once your child is old enough to read regularly encourage them to read science fiction to poetry.
  5. Read Non-fiction - Encourage your child to read the news and memoirs to expand their understanding of society.
  6. Books as Presents - This gives your child a sense that books are special and important.
Apps to help
Technology isn’t solely a distraction from reading; there are many apps for the iPad that help to encourage reading in children and teens!
  1. BooksterA reading storytelling app that reads to your kids, with the recording of a child their own age. It also records and plays their voices after they have learned the book, and teaches vocabulary throughout the process!
  2. Tales2GoAn award winning read on-demand app that allows your child to pick from a catalogue of thousands of popular children’s stories. The stories can be sorted by age group and genre, and will have your kid excited for reading once more!
  3. A Story Before BedA perfect interactive read-a-long experience that makes bedtime stories a seamless experience. You can even record story time so your child can watch it while you are away!
  4. PlayTalesEngaging sounds and captivating animations make reading a magical experience for kids from the toddler age through the tween-age years. It is multilingual as well!
  5. Good ReadsThis social network for book lovers offers a place for your kid to review and share their favorite books while making friends who have similar tastes! How do you have a book loving kid? Surround them with other book lovers!

The latest research shows that one in three children is directly involved in bullying as a perpetrator, victim, or both.  Many of those who are not directly involved witness others being bullied on a regular basis.  Parents, as well as schools, have the power to help reduce bullying.  Here are some tips on how you can help.

*Talk with and listen to your kids. Spend a few minutes every day asking open-ended questions about who they spend time with at school and in the neighborhood, what they do in between classes and at recess, who they have lunch with, and what happens on the way to and from school. If your children feel comfortable talking to you about their peers before they’re involved in a bullying event, they’ll be more likely to get you involved after.

*Be an example of kindness and leadership. When you get angry at a sales clerk, another driver on the road, or even your child, you have an opportunity to model effective communication techniques. Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is okay.

*Learn the signs. Most children don’t tell anyone that they’ve been bullied. Learn to recognize possible signs of victimization, such as frequent loss of personal belongings, complaints of stomach aches, avoiding recess or school activities, and getting to school very late or very early. Talk to your child and the teacher about what is going on at school and find ways to observe your child’s interactions to determine whether your suspicions might be correct.

*Create healthy anti-bullying habits early. Help develop anti-bullying and anti-victimization habits in your child as early as preschool. Coach your child on what not to do—hitting, pushing, teasing, or being mean to others. Help your child to focus on how such actions might feel to the child on the receiving end. Equally important, teach your children what to do—kindness, empathy, fair play, and turn-taking are critical behaviors and skills for good peer relations. Children also need to learn how to say “no” firmly if they experience or witness bullying behavior. Role play with your child about what to do if other kids are mean. They can, for example, get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to “stop,” or ignore the perpetrator and find someone else to play with.

*Establish household rules. Make sure your child knows that if he or she is bullied physically, verbally, or socially, it’s safe and important to tell you about it—and that you will help. Kids also need to know what bullying is (many children do not know that they are bullying others), and that such behavior is harmful to others and unacceptable.

*Teach your child how to be a positive bystander. Although it’s never children’s responsibility to put themselves in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by yelling “Stop! You’re bullying” or “Hey, that’s not cool.” Kids can also help each other by providing support to the victim, not giving extra attention to the bullying behavior, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.

Efforts to effectively address bullying require the collaboration of school, home, and community. Bullying is a serious problem, but if we all work together, it’s one we can impact.

Source: National Association of Elementary School Principals Report To Parents By Guest Editors: Shelley Hymel, Amanda Nickerson, & Susan Swearer

Web Resources’s Bullying Special Edition explores bullying, action steps to take if your child is bullied, and more. 
Check NAESP’s Bullying Prevention resource page for top resources, including articles, sample policies, and videos.

Snow Day Activities
With all the snow days that we’ve had recently I thought some suggestions about how to spend the day might be useful. Here are a few suggestions for sprinkling some reading and writing in-between sled rides and hot chocolate.

1. Getting ready for any winter storm usually includes a trip to the grocery store. Use these simple ideas to focus on vocabulary and math skills at the grocery store.

2. Do you subscribe to a newspaper? If so, dig out the paper from the snow, and try a few of these newspaper ideas for developing research and comprehension skills. It might be fun to write a review of your favorite sledding hill or creating a recipe for the best hot chocolate.

3. Time on your hands means a chance to take a fresh look at your home library. Spend an afternoon with your child sorting through books and organizing them in a meaningful way. Donate any books they’re ready to part with and make some room for new ones!

4. Ready to get creative? Let your creativity flow by thinking like an inventor. Being curious and making mistakes are all part of the fun.

5. Last, don’t forget to spend time reading aloud. This one activity can make a huge difference in your child’s literacy growth. Remind yourself of some of the simple yet powerful things to do while you read aloud.

"We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how." ~~ Anonymous

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

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


The preschool students welcomed Angela from Prairie's Edge Nature Center. She came to talk to the preschool students about Animals in Winter on a very Wintery Weather Day! We learned which Iowa Animals Hibernate (go to sleep), Migrate (take a trip), and Adapt (stay active).

Preschool students have been acting out "The Mitten" by Jan Brett. Each student got an animal from the story. When it was that animals turn to go in the mitten, the student put his or her legs under the blanket. Students loved grabbing the edge of the blanket and shaking the animals off when the bear sneezed! It was a fun way to re-read the story! Students also sewed their own paper mittens and used small paper animals to re-tell the story. They also had the book, big knitted mittens, and stuffed animal props checked out from our AWESOME Keystone lending library for re-telling in our classroom library center.

Thank you to Mrs. Thiele and her husband for bringing their lamb to school to show the students. Students were very interested in petting the cute black and white lamb named Speckles and learning that it needed to be fed by a baby bottle three times a day!

Transitional Kindergarten

 Our Makerspace has become a map making area. The students are taking what they have learned about maps and using those lessons to create their own maps. They drew a plan and used that plan to guide their work.

Students are working on applying letter sounds in a variety of activities. Initial sounds have been our focus first semester. These students are matching letters to the magnetic pictures.


Well, Mother Nature was back at it again this week. It sure would be nice to have a full week of school!  Last week during shared reading classes we continued to focus on reading strategies. They resumed their activities based on the book Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats. They worked on making connections and stating their opinion. They also continued to work on Jolly Phonics sounds, Tricky Words, and onset sounds. In math, students worked on number stories, writing equations, writing numbers 0-20, and counting.

During the week of January 23rd the students will be taking FAST Assessments (Formative Assessment System for Teachers). The universal screening materials include: onset sounds, word segmenting, nonsense words, and letter sounds. The aReading assessment will be the final component of the winter FAST for kindergarten students. It would be beneficial for students to be well rested and have a nutritious breakfast during our testing week. The FAST results will be shared during February conferences.

"Splat the Cool Cat" in Kindergarten library

Reviewing our expectations during a discussion

Kindergarten students using Eagle Eye strategy: use picture clues to help read the word.

First Grade
Miss Harris (our Luther J-Term student) taught us a new reading strategy!! When we determine the author's purpose, we can help identify what we (the reader) should get out of the text!!

We are back at it! Working hard!!

We had a visitor come and teach us a new activity. Mrs. Murray came and taught us about mentor sentences. She talked to us about a sight word from our story and we used that in our sentence. We also learned about and have been using plural nouns in our learning and reading our small group books.

Second Grade

Building math skills using a game

 Immersed in our writing

ST Math work

Third Grade

Math Station: working on ST Math

Discussing weight and using a scale to compare the weight of a paperclip and a book

Math Stations using word problems to develop a math problem to solve

Fourth Grade

While reviewing antonyms and synonyms, we played the game, "I have, Who has." This was a hit and the kiddos wanted to play it again and again! 

While studying the solar system, Ms. Klenke came into the classroom and we did a virtual tour using Google Expedition. The kids thought it was pretty cool to see inside actual space stations!

The topic of our science lesson was that planetary orbits are not circles. The shape of Earth's orbit is like an oval called an ellipse. We took some time to draw a circle with one focus (the center point) and also an ellipse with foci, or two centers.

In honor of MLKJ day, we wrote our own dreams!

Fifth Grade

Students were busy in literacy this week.
Listen to Reading

Small group discussion with the teacher

Reflecting on what we've read through writing

Natural breathing exercises in band

Sixth Grade

Group work strategies in 6th grade

Subject and Predicate work

Math work


Monday, January 23                           Clarity BrightBytes Survey Opens
Monday, January 30                           Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduler Opens

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