Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What! Five more days of Winter Break?

Everyone looks forward to winter break. However, no matter how badly the kids and parents are ready for it, it seems as though we are just as ready to head back to school. Sometimes this time can be booked with fun filled activities that makes time fly by while other times, it seems like the break drags on and on. Well, here are a couple of thoughts for you to consider over your break. 

Typically, there is a lot of snow to help our kids stay occupied outside. Well, that is not the case this year. It is as spring like as can be. This type of weather will make it easier for the kids to find something to do outside. They can ride their bikes, play at the park, go for a walk, and play with a friend to name a few. 

But, what do they do when they are tired of doing these things? We should continue to encourage our kids to pick up a book and read daily. Continuing this daily reading will make the transition easier when returning to school and resuming the daily homework practice. Besides that, everyone could use a little daily quiet time. What else can we do? Each child in the elementary has an IXL account that they can log into from home. Let them practice their math and reading skills. In addition to IXL, many teachers have links on their classroom homepage to other sites that kids can access to practice reading and math.

Don't forget to sit down and enjoy a good movie or two with your children! Watching a movie and seeing the delight in your child's eyes and listening to their laugh can be so enjoyable. These can also provide great opportunities to talk about lessons learned throughout the movie.

Finally, remember to enjoy your time together and of course cheer on the Iowa Hawkeyes! And, if your children give you any grief about doing any reading or math practice, just say, "Mrs. Jacque said so!"

Have a great holiday!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

And We're Off....

And We're Off..........

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year! This will be another great year had by all Lone Tree students! To get the school year started, we of course welcomed several new teachers to the building. We welcomed Barbara Wilson as a kindergarten teacher, Donda Nebergall as a first grade teacher, Elly Huston as a third grade teacher, Brittany Decker as a fourth grade teacher, and Tiffany Haman and Kati Ploeger as new fifth grade teachers. We are very excited to have them here with us and blessed to have the opportunity for them share their knowledge and experiences with us.

We would also like to welcome our new students to the building. It is so wonderful when we are able to add to our student population. This year, we have added fourteen new students in the elementary. Below is a picture shows a warm welcome to one of our new students. Thank you girls for being so caring!

Go Lions!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Moving Forward.....
During a time of change, people can question what they are doing and sometimes even become frustrated. As a leader, it is important to recognize these feelings and encourage people by pointing out or recognizing all of the positive things that are happening because of this change. The Lone Tree Elementary staff was given that opportunity to encourage one another before beginning our PLC meeting this week. Each teacher was given an envelope that had a statement about something positive happening as a result of our Wednesday early out meeting times. Below is a list that some may regard as minor statements, but rather are positives that need to be recognized in a time of change.

We have unpacked and learned new concepts in the math standards.

We have worked positively in a collaborative group.

We have worked with others outside of our grade level.

We have become better listeners to one another.

We have had the opportunity to speak in front of our elementary group.

We have shared personal classrooms stories with one another.

We have allowed our peers to plan and lead change for us.

We have asked good questions along the way.

We have become better teachers.

We are more focused on what our students should be learning.

We have read and used research to support our goals.

We are more focused in the classroom.

We have practiced building consensus.

We have learned the content of other grade levels.

We are working as a group and keeping an open mind.

We have practiced agreeing to disagree.

We are making progress and moving forward in the education of our students.

Throughout the week, the students in grades 2-5 were participating in the Iowa Assessments. To prepare the students for these tests, teachers have worked with students on test taking strategies and have provided them with test taking practice homework. As part of the preparation, I also met with every student in grades 3-5 to talk about their Iowa Assessment scores from previous years. Showing students their performance scores in the areas of math and reading allows them to understand how close they are to meeting the grade level goals. These "Test Talks" are always fun to do with kids because we are able to have a conversation about how important the assessment is, where the students are in relation to meeting the goal, and identify all of the things that the student should do during the assessments to ensure they are able to score their very best.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What is Happening in the New Year?

FAST Reading Assessments............
Three times per year, the students in grades K-5 are assessed on their reading skills. The Lone Tree Elementary uses the FAST Reading Assessment as recommended by the State of Iowa. The teachers just completed the winter assessments and the results are in. Below you will find the percentage of students that were proficient (those meeting expected grade level benchmarks) in the fall compared to those in the winter.
                                                Fall                              Winter
Kindergarten                           73.91%                        95.83%
First Grade                              81.08%                        84.21%
Second Grade                          53.66%                       54.76%
Third Grade                             56.67%                       55.17%
Fourth Grade                           47.47%                       59.46%
Fifth Grade                              52.17%                       67.39%

The kindergarten and first grade assessments focus primarily on word parts and putting them together. Beginning in second grade, the assessment is a fluency passage that students must read in one minute. During that one minute, the teacher is checking for accuracy and rate.

Helping your child to become a better reader..........
Each night, the teachers send home reading passages or grade level practice work as homework. This practice work is just that; for practice. It is important to build their reading skills, endurance, and fluency with reading that they complete this every night. Additional ideas for students would be to read simultaneously with your child, read aloud to your child, model good reading skills,and ask questions throughout the reading for comprehension purposes.

Rocket Math....
Rocket Math is a math practice program being implemented in the elementary. The purpose of this program is to help students with math fact fluency and automaticity. Automaticity with math facts is important because the whole point of learning math facts is to use them in the service of higher and more complex math problems. We want students to be thinking about the complex process, the problem-solving or the multi-step algorithm they are learning — not
having to stop and ponder the answer to simple math facts. So not only do we want them accurate and fast (fluent) but we also want them to be thinking about other things at the same time (automaticity).

Helping your child to become more fluent with math facts.........
Students have math practice sheets they bring home each night. Remember, these are practice sheets. Each night these should be completed to help the child become more fluent with a specific set of math facts. Another activity would be to use flashcards with your children. When doing this, if the child gets the math fact wrong, it is imperative to tell the child the correct answer and then have them repeat the problem and the answer again orally. Playing math games is also another way to practice math skills.