December eNewsletter

LETTER FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Dear Parents,

We first want to extend the warmest of Holiday greetings to all our Ware Bear families.  We are so thankful to be able to share in your child’s life while you are stationed at Fort Riley.  We hope you are able to spend the holidays together with those you love and enjoy this time away from school with your family. School will resume on January 4th and the second semester will fly by in no time.

I would like to use this newsletter to provide a little information on topics that have caused some stress for some parents.  During Parent Teacher Conferences, we asked parents to sign Impact Aid forms verifying that the family was affiliated with the military.  Most parents signed the form and understood the purpose for the signatures.  However, due to social media chatter regarding this process, I feel the need to explain.  Schools are funded with tax dollars based upon a per pupil basis.  Parents who reside on military installations do not pay property taxes. Instead, schools receive money from the federal government to educate students residing on military installations.  The only avenue the school has to receive the funding necessary to educate your child is to submit the signed Impact Aid form verifying you are affiliated with the military.  If we are unable to secure your signature, we do not receive funding for your child and all children are adversely affected by less funding provided to the school overall.  Thank you so much for your support with this effort.

Another challenging issue is the topic of students on school provided computers or devices at home.  During school hours, our firewall prevents students from gaining access to inappropriate sites or material on their computers.  In the absence of this firewall at home, your child may be able to access these sites.  Please be careful to monitor your child’s computer use at home and review their “computer history” from time to time to make certain you are comfortable with their computer usage.  This is a good idea with any device your child may have access to as there are challenges associated with children and the internet.  Children can even access these sites by accident.

We completed our safety drill week and appreciate the parents support during our drills.  We will continue to have fire, tornado and intruder drills on a regular basis for the purpose of establishing muscle memory in case of an emergency.

Once again, thank you for all your support and dedication to Ware Elementary.  We appreciate our parents and love our students!  Have a Blessed and Safe Holiday Season!  Watch our social media sites and newsletter for upcoming events!

Dr. Deb Gustafson, Principal

KINDERGARTEN

It doesn’t seem possible but we are almost half way through the school year! It has been great to see your child learn and grow in our classrooms! As winter is upon us, we wanted to take a few moments and let you know about some changes that are happening in the classroom.

Please make sure your child dresses appropriately for the weather.  On most cold days we will wait inside for arrival and dismissal however, we will conduct school monthly drills throughout the winter season.  Also, please work with your child on zipping his/her own coat at home.  It would be a huge help to us and would very much ease winter dismissals.

As you may be able to see at home, your kindergartner is beginning to sound out words and read simple sentences, and LOVING every second of it!  Throughout our next themes, our students will continue to be reading their Shared Stories.  These are the simple readers that your child practices daily at school.  These readers should continue to be used to complete the R&R.

We will begin our new SFA unit, Winter Weatherland this month.  Your child will be learning about the winter season and different weather conditions.  We will be doing some weather related experiments as well as exploring more thematic concepts through our learning labs.  In math we will start quarterly testing as well as review concepts that we’ve previously taught.

Each class will be having their own holiday parties later in the month.  You will get more information about these parties from your child’s teacher on a later date.

FIRST GRADE

As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and on those who have helped to shape our lives in the most significant ways. We are truly thankful for all of the support we have from you at home. It is very important that your child is attending the entire school day every day (8:00am-3:15pm). When they are gone for parts of the day, they miss out on core instruction, learning interactions with classmates, and valuable time for testing.

During the month of December, the first graders will continue to work with the concepts of composing, decomposing and subtraction of numbers to twenty. We will be assessing throughout the beginning of December, so please communicate with your child’s teacher about any absences.

Continue to read with your child at least 20 minutes each night, especially while on break. We are able to see an increase in the students’ reading confidence and fluency as they continue to read nightly and actively participate in reading class.

This time of the year can be hectic for many so remember to check your child’s Ware Bear folders for important and up-to-date information throughout the month. Stay informed on inclement weather updates that may result in early dismissal or school closings.

SECOND GRADE

Ready or not, it’s  December!  We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving break.  Now it’s time to get back to work and make the most of our three short weeks before Winter break.

We will begin December by reviewing our  second quarter math topics in preparation for our quarterly formatives.  We will talk about solids and liquids in science and we will finish up our writing unit about food.

It is ever so important that students are reading for 20 minutes each night and completing their Read and Respond forms.

We will be giving our quarterly formatives during December.  It is  extremely important that you let your child’s teacher know if he/she will be missing any days so we can ensure that all testing is completed.

As the temperature continues to drop and we get closer to winter, please make sure your student is dressed appropriately.  Students will go outside for recess, so they need proper clothing.

The last day of the quarter for students will be December 19th.  We wish you and your family a very fun and relaxing holiday break!

THIRD GRADE

It’s hard to believe that December is here!  The third graders have worked extremely hard with mastering concepts.  We look forward to their continued success with second semester.

In math students have continued working on multiplication and division.  We have also recently started finding the area of shapes.  Please continue practicing basic multiplication and division facts with your child because this will help as the concepts keep getting harder.

The whole second quarter we have been reading non-fiction text.   We have really been focusing on the topic (main ideas) of the story.  When your child does their R&R each night, try asking them what the main idea was that they read about.

If your child wants   to practice some reading and math at home,      he/she is welcome to get on Zearn and Front Row Ed.  All students know their usernames and passwords. Students will be excited to use the device while practicing math and reading skills.

Thank you for all your support throughout the year so far.  We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

FOURTH GRADE

The Ware Bear fourth graders are rocking their way into the holiday season with all of their hard work!  In math we are continuing to learn about multi-digit multiplication and we are diving into long division.  We will really be focusing on multiplying numbers by 10, 100, and 1,000.  Then we will be moving into division with remainders.  Students really need to be able to reason about their answers and think critically when solving word problems.  The more “how” and “why” questions you can ask them about their math, the better they will become at reasoning and explaining.  We will continue to learn our multiplication facts.  All students need additional practice with their multiplication facts at home. The website: Xtramath.org is a wonderful resource for practicing facts!

In Social Studies we are working on learning the states and capitals of the Southeastern part of the United States.   The students are having a lot of fun.  In Science we are learning all about energy! We are exploring energy sources and how we can create energy.  We will focus on circuits, magnets, and energy transfer. We will be doing many hands on lessons with the students to really get their minds thinking about science in a new way!

Please continue to have your student read for 20 minutes every night and write a 2-3 sentence response about what they read.  This will really help to improve their vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.

Be on the lookout for information regarding classroom holiday celebrations! We hope all families have a safe and happy holiday season!  Our good wishes go out to those families who have a loved one deployed.

FIFTH GRADE

In December the learning continues as fifth graders extend their work on multi-digit division. We will be moving from whole number division into division involving decimals. Encourage your student to improve their math skills by working through problems together at home!

In reading classes, students continue to work on skills that improve their comprehension and fluency.  Students should be reading a variety of materials over the Winter break to keep their skills fresh! We encourage students to improve their fluency by reading out loud to a family member, pet, or stuffed animal at least once a week.

In Science, students will shift their focus from outer space to mixtures and solutions. In Social Studies, the study of world exploration continues as students research well-known explorers and present that information to their classmates.

We look forward to some special events before the end of the month.  Fifth graders have been working hard to prepare for the Nutcracker which will be performed on Thursday, December 14. We hope to see all family and friends at the performance! Additionally, we will be holding a second quarter incentive and classes will host their Christmas parties on Tuesday, December 19.  Please look for additional information about these activities which will be sent home with your fifth grader.

The fifth grade team wishes you and your  family a happy and memory filled Holiday Season.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Hello from the gym! This month fitness assessments will be administered for all fourth and fifth grade students. These students will receive an individual Fitness Gram report with fitness assessment data and other information to help educate students and parents about the various components of health-related fitness. The tests will assess each student in the health-related fitness components of upper body strength (Pushup Test), abdominal muscular strength (Curl-up Test), back strength and flexibility (Trunk Lift Test), hamstring flexibility (Back-Saver Sit and Reach Test), and aerobic capacity (20 meter PACER Test). By assessing the health-related fitness components for each student, we can identify the overall fitness level of each student as well as the potential for any health concerns. For example:

  • A student with low hamstring flexibility would be susceptible in the short-term or long-term to muscle strains in the legs, back, and hips, which may also cause lower back pain (LBP)
  • A student with low trunk extensor strength and flexibility would be prone to spinal injuries and LBP
  • A student with low upper body strength would be prone to shoulder injuries.
  • A student with low abdominal strength and endurance would be prone to chronic and acute back injuries (gradual onset of pain and symptoms or rapid/immediate onset of pain and symptoms)
  • A student who scores low on cardio-respiratory endurance might be at a higher risk of developing heart and lung-related conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure

Learn more about FitnessGram by the Cooper Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt_1l5BRmNg

Mr. Scott derekscott@usd475.org

Miss Wheaton jessicawheaton@usd475.org

MUSIC

Sugar plum fairies, Russian bakers, Chinese teacup dancers and more have invaded the music rooms at Ware Elementary as the fifth grade students prepare to present the 10th annual Nutcracker musical play. They will be singing and dancing their way through Tchaikovsky’s traditional Nutcracker Suite on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. on the stage of Ware’s auditorium. We welcome all Ware Bears and family members to attend our performance.

All students are preparing for our sixth annual Caroling Day which we will celebrate on Monday, December 18, 2017. Students will go caroling on that day during their Music and P.E. time around the neighborhood and throughout the school.

Second semester our kindergarten, first and second grade students will present their programs. More information will be sent out later with students.

Have a safe and happy holiday season and as always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Your Music Teachers,

Susan Gillespie SusanGillespie@usd475.org

Zachary Seckman ZacharySeckman@usd475.org

KSU Intern – Kodi Shouse

LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER

Ware Bears continue to impress us with their drive and motivation in taking Reading Counts tests.  Our Bears have passed over 2,700 Reading Counts tests this school year!  This is so exciting!  Please encourage your student(s) in grades 1-5 to read a “dot book” and take a Reading Counts test.  A “dot book” illustrates the Lexile Level of the book.  It also indicates that there is a Reading Counts test available for them to take on the computer at school.  To learn more about reading counts, explore scholastic.com/readingcounts.

During Kindergarten block activity time in November, students explored a variety of educational games on abcya.com.  According to their website, “ABCya is the leader in free educational computer games and mobile apps for kids.  The innovation of a grade school teacher, ABCya is an award-winning destination for elementary students that offers hundreds of fun, engaging learning activities.”  You can check it out at home!  In December, Kinder students will discover books that our non-fiction section has to offer.

During December students will be participating in The Hour of Code at school.  They will learn how to code on a website called code.org.  Coding is basically the early stages of helping students learn about computer programming.  This website instructs students on a very basic level then gradually progresses them through the stages as it becomes more difficult.  Coding is used to make apps, websites, the possibilities are endless!  Here is some information from code.org:

Dear Parents,

We live in a world surrounded by technology. And we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly depend on understanding how technology works.

But only a tiny fraction of us are learning how technology works. Fewer than half of all schools teach computer science.

That’s why our entire school is joining in on the largest learning event in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10). More than 100 million students worldwide have already tried an Hour of Code.

Our Hour of Code is making a statement that Ware Elementary is ready to teach these foundational 21st-century skills.

See http://hourofcode.com/us for details, and help spread the word.

Veronica Wait – Library Media Specialist

Mrs. Kidwell & Mrs. Gimble – Library Clerks

NURSE

Happy Holidays! I love this time of year and know your children are eagerly anticipating all the secret joys it will bring!

We have been very busy this first few months of school completing vision and height and weight screenings.

If you received a notice requesting further vision evaluation by an Eye Doctor, please have this done as soon as possible.  Good eyesight is essential for learning.

I have also sent notices to those of you who have students who are missing physicals and/or immunizations.  If you received one of these notices, please make it a priority to get these done and turned into the Health Office.

Thank you very much to all of you who have already taken the time to get this done and for helping keep our Ware Bears healthy and safe.

 

When Should Students Stay Home From School !

If your child has a constant, heavy cough or if nasal drainage is thick and colorful. You should speak to a doctor before sending him/her to school.

If your child has a fever of 100 degrees or greater, please keep them home until they are fever free for 24hrs. They will need plenty of rest, plenty of water, and possible medical evaluation.

If your child is vomiting or has uncontrolled diarrhea keep him/her out of school. They may return to school  when they have NOT vomited/or had diarrhea for 24hrs.

If your child has a fever with a rash, speak to your doctor before allowing your child to come to school.

If your child has strep throat , pink eye, or a bacterial infection KEEP them out of school for 24hrs after he/she started taking medication.

Suspected Communicable diseases like Chicken pox.

If you suspect your child has ring worm please treat and cover affected area.

Karen Roles – School Nurse

SPEECH

December is our favorite time of year in Speech & Language. The holidays, and traditions that go along with them, lend themselves to so many opportunities for vocabulary and language development. They also are the perfect chance for students to develop their narrative, or story-telling, skills, as many of them are eager to share their own holiday experiences and traditions. We have seen a lot of development and growth this year in our students, but it is important that you continue to target your student’s speech and language skills at home, especially with the holiday breaks. This year, be sure to discuss traditions celebrated in your family, talk about the vocabulary that goes along with your traditions, make predictions with your child about upcoming events, and try to find holiday-specific words that contain the sounds your student is practicing in speech. As always, please contact us if you have any questions about your child’s speech and language. We hope you enjoy this season with  your family and wish you a very happy new year

Laura Thompson – SLP

Brittany Chatmon – SLP-Assistant

STUCO

Ware Mart will be open on Fridays before school.  Student Council sells school supplies with prices ranging from $0.25 to $5.00.  All profits will be used for school projects and community service by the Student Council.  All Ware Bears may shop, but must eat breakfast first.

Spirit Day: Our next Spirit Day will be on December 1st  and it will be NERD DAY! 

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