Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017 Preschool & Elementary

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

One of the most important parts of your child's education in elementary is the development of their literacy skills.  In our continuing partnership with families, we have developed a literacy contract to outline expectations.  It is our hope that you will find this contract and expectations useful in supporting your child as they work to increase their literacy skills.  Together we can create a positive learning environment for your child and help them to succeed.
Our elementary teachers have been working hard to develop a system of supports for our learners who struggle with literacy.  The Early Literacy legislation that was put into place statewide has helped to guide our system of supports.  We are again implementing a Reading Contract for Students, Parents, Teachers and Principals.  Students who have been determined to be substantially deficient (meaning that they did not meet our benchmark score on our FAST literacy assessment during two testing periods) will have a reading contract.  Parents will receive this contract during parent-teacher conferences.

This contract recognizes the important roles and responsibilities of the student, parents, teachers and principals in working together to support a student’s progress and success in reading.  As such, we commit to:
●      Respecting school staff, students, parents, administrators and community.
●      Being excited about literacy, reading and learning to read.

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) commit to:
To support my child in learning to read, I will:
●      Invite my child to read with me every day.
●      Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
●      Read from a variety of children’s books.
●      Talk with my child’s teacher about my child’s reading progress.
●      Discuss stories we have read together.
●      Ask my child questions about what was read.

Student(s) commit to:
In my job of learning to read I will:
●      Go to the library and check out books.
●      Read aloud to my parents.
●      Read aloud to my pets or stuffed animals.
●      Learn new words.

Teacher(s) commit to:
Working with students, I will:
●      Clearly state the goals for reading achievement.
●      Share the high expectations for reading with all participants.
●      Communicate with students our classroom plans for reaching our goals.
●      Share assessments used to monitor children’s progress.
●      Focus on reading and writing.
●      Work toward Parental Involvement as supporting their children’s reading and homework.

Principal(s) commit to:
In my work leading the school, I will:
●      State clearly the goals for reading achievement.
●      Share the high expectations for reading with all participants.
●      Articulate instructional means for attaining our goals.
●      Share assessments used to monitor children’s progress.
●      Focus on reading and writing.
●      Work toward Parental involvement as supporting their children’s reading and homework.

We encourage you to talk to your child's teacher about your concerns
a. Make sure you have written down your concerns before the meeting.
b. Ask the teacher what he/she has observed about your child’s academic
c. Ask questions such as – 
     -Do you think my child is having trouble with reading? 
     -What specific trouble is my child having? 
     -What can I do to help my child at home? 
     -What can be done to help my child in class?
     -How is my child reading compared to other students? 
     -Is my child receiving any additional help in reading? 
     -Do you think my child would benefit from additional help in reading?
d. Work with your child’s teacher to develop a plan for supporting your
child’s reading needs. This may include things you’ll work on at home
but should also include help in school.    

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

Sara Grimm

Preschool & Kindergarten Round-Up
It's time for Preschool and Kindergarten Registration For the 2017-2018 School Year.

Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and Kindergarten registration for the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District is scheduled for the week of February 13-16.

Preschool – A student entering preschool must be 4 years old on or before September 15, 2017.  Preschool classes will be held at the Cresco Early Childhood Center.  Preschool parents need to call in to register so that we can mail you needed information to register.

Kindergarten – A student entering kindergarten must be 5 years old on or before September 15, 2017. Current preschoolers enrolled in a Howard-Winneshiek program will receive kindergarten registration material and information.  New Kindergarten students to the district will receive their packet by mail after calling the elementary office.

Parents may register any time during this week by calling the Cresco Elementary Office and speaking with the secretary – Linda Middlebrook    563-547-2340. 
(Try to call or stop in during the following hours:  9:00-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-3:00 p.m.)  

Parents should feel free to contact the school concerning other questions they might have.

"A child without an education is like a bird without wings." ~~ Tibetan Proverb


The Howard-Winneshiek Schools want parents/guardians to feel welcome in our school and to witness the engaging activities taking place in our classrooms. The safety of our students is of utmost importance. All visitors, including parents, are required to report to the office to sign in. This is done so that we are aware of all the people in the building and also so that our staff and students know that you have checked in at the office and that you are ok to be in the building.  A visitor, at the discretion of the principal, may be required to present a photo ID. If you choose to visit your child during class time, the following procedures apply:

• The teacher must be notified at least 24 hours in advance and approve the timeframe in which a parent intends to visit their student’s classroom.

• Parents must sign in through the office. No person, other than the student’s parent/guardian will be allowed to see the student without the parent/guardian’s written permission or the parent/guardian being present.

• Classroom visits or observations are limited to 45 minutes per visit.

• Classroom visits or observations will be permitted as long as their duration and/or frequency does not interfere with the delivery of instruction or disrupt the normal school environment as determined by the principal.

• This policy does not apply to those who, by law, are permitted to visit with children.

• Younger brothers or sisters are NOT allowed to visit school unless accompanied by their parents. Children who visit alone with one of our students must be similar in age to the student they are visiting and must have teacher permission before doing so. 

• If you plan on eating lunch with your child please notify the office at least 24 hours in advance to allow the cooks to plan food amounts accordingly. 

• If you plan on visiting the school more than once we ask that you complete a background check.

Reminder for Parents and Visitors

If you come into the school, our doors are locked. You must ring the doorbell and be buzzed into the building by the office staff. You must check in to the office each time you enter the building. This is required for the safety of our students.

Cold and Flu Season

The cold and flu season is upon us. If your child experiences any flu-like symptoms, we ask that they stay home from school. They may return to school 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol. If your child is vomiting, they need to have been able to keep food down for 12 hours prior to returning to school (so vomiting the night before, no breakfast and returning to school is not acceptable). Teachers are prepared to help students catch up upon their return.                                                          

Releasing Students from School

Any student leaving the school at any time other than dismissal time must be released through the office and needs written permission from a parent/guardian before leaving the school. If a child is to leave school in a way other than which he/she is accustomed to, he/she must have written permission. Going home with another student or staying in town are examples of children leaving school other than in the accustomed manner.

Parents and students don’t forget there is NO SCHOOL on Friday, February 17th and on Monday, February 20th.

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


The preschoolers continued our snow study by reading the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. After reading this story, they retold the story by going outside and acting it out (making snow tracks, snow angels, putting snow on our hats, climbing a big hill, sliding down the big hill, and putting snow in our coat pockets). 

Angela from Cresco Nature Center also came to talk to the preschoolers about animal tracks in the snow. We also talked about the holiday, Groundhog’s Day. Did you know that a groundhog is a hibernating snow animal and sleeps in a burrow? The preschoolers have become curious about shadows and have learned that bright light creates a shadow. They used the projector light from their Smartboard and created fun shadows during choice time.  They also went outside to check for their shadow.

It's always fun to play!

Transitional Kindergarten

The students are learning about animal characteristics and habitats. Each student chose an animal they want to learn more about through books and other resources. 

One of our lessons was to observe different animal furs and 
think about what animal it might be from. 

Number bingo was a fun way to practice numbers 0-20. 


In literacy, classes are reading some great books. Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and Ice Bear by Nicola Davies have been favorites of the students. The children worked on visualizing, retelling, and making connections. They also worked on silent e, identifying long and short vowel sounds, segmenting words, and Tricky Words.

In Math the students were able to work with a variety of measuring tools to practice measuring objects throughout the room. They also worked on making tally marks for a given number, understanding the concept of more and less than, interpreting a graph, and sorting and classifying objects.

Check out our Groundhog headbands!

Working hard during literacy in Kindergarten

Making predictions about a story using Doodle Buddy

We love our new OSMOs.  Thanks HW Foundation!

Working on reading our sight words during Cadet Time. 

First Grade

The classes had so much fun participating in Global School Play Day. What a great way to practice taking turns, sharing, cooperating, following the rules and role playing.

These students are working on their fluency reading. When they read fluently they read like they are having a conversation. They practiced reading their sentences many times. They even had some fun trying to read them in different ways like with a silly voice or a monster voice.

Learning about how technology changes over time-- ice harvesting to refrigeration with Mr. Knobloch. 

Building words with an iPad app.

Excited to use our new OSMO game kits. 
Thanks to the HW Foundation!

Second Grade

Tuesday was awesome! We called it STEM Day. We mixed up all the second graders and each second grade classroom and teacher had different activities and STEM challenges. This classroom had Lego challenge builds, robots Ollie, BB8 and Cubelets, marble tower, and the Lego partner game. Great fun, good thinking, cooperation, and creativity. 

 Bridge building challenge, robots, coding, mazes and Lego creating!

Third Grade
In science we are learning about friction. It was a lot of fun to experiment with our sliders to determine what materials had the least amount of friction.

We enjoyed a Skype call with a ranger at Denali National Park in Alaska this week. 
Denali is the only national park that has a working dog sled team. 
We learned a lot about sled dog adaptations.

In science, we have been learning about Forces and Motion! We have completed a lot of fun experiments to help us learn about force! Here we are creating and experimenting with our Hopper Poppers! In this experiment, we learned about the two different types of force - push and pull. There are also pictures of our most recent experiment - making magnets levitate! 

Today we looked closely at our multiplication and division facts table. We looked at all the facts we already know and the few we have left to learn. We also introduced our new contest called Gumball Multiplication. Students can test on each fact family and when they have mastered the family, they get to color in a gumball. When they know all of them, 0-10, they are entered into the drawing for a gumball machine at the end of the year. Also the first student to color in all gumballs wins the first gumball machine. 

Gumball multiplication is in full swing

Fourth Grade

It's Global Play Day in fourth grade! We are "unplugged" and having fun! 

This group gave a wonderful Google Slides presentation to their class on their book, Tuck Everlasting! Great book!!

Fifth Grade

Here are some more pictures from Global School Play Day!

Math games on this cold winter day.

Reflecting on their learning as they prepare for Student-led Conferences next week!

Heads bent over math work.  Love these thinkers!

Math problem solvers at work!

 DARE Graduation 2017 Excited and Proud!

Sixth Grade

Working with Hieroglyphs-active engagement with Egypt Research Projects

Sometimes math is messy and needs to be worked out!

Busy little bees in writing! Working on No Red Ink or planning stage of explanatory writing piece 

Recording a video while we describe our interactive grammar notebooks to share at conferences


Students cooperatively create snowman using lots of descriptive adjectives 


Monday, February 13               One hour early dismissal for P-T Conferences
                                                 Parent-Teacher Conferences from 4:00-8:00

Thursday, February 16             One hour early dismissal for P-T Conferences
                                                 Parent-Teacher Conferences from 4:00-8:00

Friday, February 17                  NO SCHOOL

Monday, February 20               NO SCHOOL

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