Friday, January 27, 2017

January 27, 2017 Preschool & Elementary

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

School/Family Partnerships

Research shows that reading proficiency by third grade is an important predictor of school success. Early identification and support of a child who is a struggling reader is essential and increases their chances of success. We look forward to partnering with you in order to improve your child’s reading skills.

As part of this partnership, we would like to work with you to ensure you have access to resources for your child. At-home support is critical to improving students' reading skills. You may already have some resources, but, if you are interested, we are willing to share the following ways that can help families support students at home.

IRRC Family Resources:

The Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) has an online collection of literacy resources. The IRRC works with parents and educators across Iowa to evaluate online literacy tools that will effectively support students at home. The link below is where the online collection is located:

Community Resources:

We have many local community resources that you can use to help support your child’s literacy growth.

Cresco Public Library
320 North Elm Street, Cresco, IA 52136
(563) 547-2540

Lime Springs Public Library
P.O. Box 68
Lime Springs, IA 52155
(563) 566-2207

Elma Public Library
710 Busti Avenue
Elma, IA 50628
(641) 393-8100

Decorah Public Library

202 Winnebago Street, Decorah, IA 52101
(563) 382-3717

Resources provided by school:
Online Literacy Resources
Our school has many resources available that you can use.

Howard-Winneshiek Library Website:

Howard-Winneshiek’s Online Library Catalog: Students can search for print and electronic books in our library collection.

Each student has a username and login. They may contact the teacher librarian or library associate for their username and password.

Keystone AEA’s Online Resources: Students can choose their grade span.
Username: kaea137
Password: kaea01

Students in grades 3rd and up may access Follett Shelf’s eBooks, and they each have their own username and password for this resource. Contact the teacher librarian, Mrs. Shekleton, for the password.

Howard-Winneshiek Community Schools Title I Website:

Parents and Students may access this resource for help with reading strategies, reading at home help, reading websites, and reading apps for use on iPads or Smartphones.

If you have any questions about using these resources, please contact your child’s teacher. We will work with you to provide the tools to ensure that your child receives support at school as well as at home.

Keystone AEA has added StarWalk Kids Media eBooks to their collection of online resources. The eBook collection includes many fiction and nonfiction titles. The students can read to self or listen to reading using the “Let Me Read” and “Read to Me” features. Students have enjoyed exploring the new resource and have shared new learning from the texts. Did you know a car called the Thrust SSC went over 763 miles per hour on a special track in the Nevada desert? Wow! Check out Cool Cars by Seymour Simon to learn more.

Elementary students can access these ebooks on their iPads through the SWKids Reader app. Students with laptops can access the books on the Keystone website. There are two ways to access the resource at home. Using a computer, students can go to the Keystone AEA website (, click Online Resources, K-5 or 6-8, and enter the username and password. The other option is to download the SWKids Reader app and log in using the same username and password.
Username: kaea137
Password: kaea01

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

Sara Grimm

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." ~~ Thomas A. Edison

Early Literacy
This post will be used to share with you important information regarding your child’s school progress and how new laws impact our school’s plan to improve our students’ reading skills.

Iowa Law

Iowa law was changed to support statewide literacy efforts for students in Iowa. This law requires that Iowa’s school children read at grade level by third grade. As a result, the rules below were put into effect in order to improve reading within the state.

Your Child’s Progress
We know you want your child to be successful in his/her education. We also want your child to be successful with learning in the classroom. The ability to read is critical to your child’s success in school.

We are currently working to complete another round of our universal screening assessments for reading at our school. From the results of this testing, some students will be identified as persistently at risk; that term is in state law. Persistently at risk means that a student has shown difficulty in the area of reading during two consecutive testing periods, Our current testing periods are the Fall, 2016 testing and the Winter, 2017 testing.

School Implications:
Students are identified as persistently at risk when:
Their reading skills are below grade level on screening tests and they are making minimal progress. At our school, we are doing the following, as required by Iowa law, to support students who have been identified as persistently at risk:

Progress Monitoring:
All students who are identified as persistently at risk or at-risk for being deficient are required to receive weekly progress monitoring. This allows our school to monitor the improvement students are making toward end-of-year goals (i.e., spring benchmark) given the intervention they receive.

Intensive Interventions:

All students identified as persistently at risk are required to receive intervention to remediate their reading difficulties. This intervention is required to continue until the student meets grade level expectations at the next screening period. But the intervention may change frequently between screening windows to ensure that students are making progress.​

Laws Currently on hold:
Original legislation passed by the state of Iowa included a provision that required all schools to provide an intensive summer reading program for any student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading. The summer reading program must meet the standards and implementation guidelines established by the Iowa Reading Research Center.

Also on hold is the provision of the legislation that required schools to retain in the third grade any student who is not proficient in reading by the end of third grade unless the student meets any of the following criteria:
1. The student completed the intensive summer reading program.
2. The student is a Limited English proficient student with less than two years of instruction in an English as a second language (ESL) program.
3. The student has an individualized education program (IEP) and the student’s IEP indicates that participation in the assessments required by 279.68 is not appropriate.
4. The student has demonstrated an acceptable level of performance on an alternative assessment based on scientifically-based research.
5. The student has demonstrated mastery through a portfolio review that meets Department-required criteria.
6. The student was previously retained and has received intensive remediation in reading for at least two years.

The Iowa Department of Education is working to provide guidance for school districts regarding how to proceed regarding summer school and 3rd grade retention. To learn more about the new laws and how they impact students, visit the link below.

Our Partnership
We are partnering with all parents in order to improve student’s reading skills. Part of this partnership will include regular communication.

We will provide updates to parents on their child’s progress throughout the school year. We encourage all parents to talk with their child’s teachers about any questions or concerns they may have.

Parent/School Contract:
The school will follow up with a contract for parents whose child is persistently at risk. That contract will outline the school’s responsibilities and how we will partner with parents to improve students’ reading skills.

We look forward to partnering with you in order to improve your child’s reading skills. Please contact your child’s teacher with any questions or comments you may have.

We are partnering with BrightBytes, an educational software company, in order to learn more about our students’ school and home technology use for learning. 

For that reason, we are reaching out to ask you to take part in the Clarity questionnaire. Your participation is essential in helping us form a more complete picture of technology use for learning in your students’ lives. Please know that all of your responses will remain anonymous to protect your privacy.

Howard-Winn students, staff and patrons will begin taking the online BrightBytes, Clarity questionnaire. The link for PK-6 parents is
THANK YOU to all for your participation and cooperation. 

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 . . .


This week the preschoolers were introduced to the new vocabulary word “hibernate.” We learned that bears, bats, bumblebees, frogs, and groundhogs hibernate. We also read a story about two friends, a hibernating bear and a migrating goose that will reunite during the spring season. This story motivated the preschool students to create a bear or goose from a variety of art materials. Next, we created a hibernation cave and migration beach to house our animals for the winter season. We are anxiously counting down the days until spring when our animal friends will be reunited (wake up or fly home). Only 61 more days until spring!
Working on creating our hibernating bears and migrating geese.

 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) 
The preschoolers used the Bee-Bot Robot to plow ice/snow just like the Cresco snowplow drivers this week. We worked together to program/code a path for Bee-Bot Robot to plow the snow (cotton balls) off the road. 

Transitional Kindergarten

We didn’t let more snow stop us from practicing our literacy skills this week. 
Here are some of the things we did…

  Practicing sounds and writing letters.

Playing alphabet bingo in small groups.

Using the computer to practice blending.

Matching rhyming pictures.


The students were working away making connections during a shared reading activity in this kindergarten classroom. The presidential inauguration was on the SMART board with the volume turned down. The teacher told the students that when Mr. Trump was going to take the oath of office she would turn the volume on for them to watch. When they noticed that this was going to happen the students came up and sat by the SMART board. All of a sudden they stood up and put their hand on their heart. It took the teacher a second to realize what was happening. The students had seen the American flag and were showing their respect. Great CADET Pride!

Instruments and polka music (by request) to celebrate meeting our Cadet Pride goal! 

Measuring with cutouts of our feet. 

Retelling Snowmen At Night! 

First Grade
First Grade started their STEM science unit called Rolling Things. They got to explore with the cars and ramps. Then they observed which car would make the block move the farthest. Lastly they observed if the height of the ramp affected the distance the block would move. They will be enjoying more exploring with the ramps in future lessons.

3rd graders helping 1st graders learn about the app Epic! for reading books. 

Second Grade

It's so much fun to finally be able to play outside at recess! 

A few projects from Tech time, using speech bubbles in the halftone app on our iPads.

Love seeing kids engaged in reading!

Third Grade

Life is never boring in third grade! We have been keeping busy. In literacy we have been working on our Fluency Bootcamp to help us prepare for our winter FAST tests. Our mentor text has been Martin's Big Words and we are using it to practice a lot of reading strategies and skills. We have also shared reader's theatre scripts. We have also started preparing our portfolios for student led conferences in February. Enjoy a few pictures from our adventures.

Our current unit of study in reading is centered on the book Martin's Big Words. While reading this book, we have been determining important information using the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why), checking our understanding, studying vocabulary, creating collages of Martin's "big" words, determining cause and effect and we have even done some research about Martin Luther King Jr.s life! Wow! That's a lot of learning from just one book!

Miss Miller joined this classroom during January for coursework from Luther. She has been teaching whole group math lessons and meets with individual students regularly in reading and math conferences. The students love this extra one-on-one time! We are glad to have you Miss Miller!

Fourth Grade

Mr. Sund (a Luther College student) gave his last lesson on measuring in millimeters. In this lesson, students practiced measuring different pictures of invertebrates. Mr. Sund had a special surprise for the class today to make this lesson memorable. He brought in a real, live cockroach!!! Students thought it was pretty awesome to see this creepy crawly in our classroom! THANK YOU MR. SUND!

We had guidance today! It is ALWAYS a joy when Mrs. McCabe comes to our room!! During this lesson Mrs. McCabe taught about what to do when you have uncomfortable feelings - stop, name your feeling, calm down! Here are pictures of the kids role playing while practicing these skills!

Fifth Grade

Luther student Katie Koenning conducting the 5th grade band.

Students reading graphic novels in preparation for the Author Skype.

Students have created propaganda posters for Social Studies.

Sixth Grade

Creating a simple and complete subject/predicate foldable in writing.

Increasing our vocabulary skills by reviewing our Daily Dose Vocabulary on KaHoot! 

Studying for their vocabulary quiz using the Quizlet app 


Monday, January 30                  Parent-Teacher Conference Scheduler Opens
February 1-3                             Celebration of Global School Play Day                                                                         (Classroom Teachers have sent out individual information)

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