Taft Elementary Newsletter - December 2021
Note From the Principal
I'd like to praise all of our students and share that things have really settled down. We went through a rough patch with behavior on the playground and in some of the classrooms for a few weeks, but the last several weeks have been much better. Our staff has stayed committed to teaching (and reteaching) rules and expectations, and it's beginning to pay off. Students are also getting into the rhythm of being in school all the time. I think last year through us all off our game, but we're almost there!
We have a couple fun things planned for the month. Aside from the typical seasonal crafts that students will enjoy in class, we have scheduled an assembly for December 17th. That may not seem like a big deal, but it's the first assembly we've had since December of 2019. Incredible! We have a group of local dancers that will entertain students for two short assemblies that day. Then on the 22nd, our staff will "let their hair down" with our annual ugly sweater fashion show for the kids. Back in the day, that used to be a lot of fun and a ton of laughs. We can't wait to get silly with the kids!
Just one quick reminder - Please remember to send kids to school with cold weather clothes. We've been having an unusually warm fall, but that's bound to change soon. It's also helpful to have kids' names on the inside of their coats and hats. They frequently leave them on the playground and end up in the lost and found if they're not labeled.
Finally, thank you ALL for an amazing first semester. I know that things are still a little "weird," but we've all adapted. We're grateful for your patience and support. We are starting to see a few volunteers helping in the building, and I encourage you to reach out to your child's teacher if you're interested in coming in to help. We love having our parents at school!
Donuts with Grown-ups was a Blast!
Julie Drews, M.Ed., LPC
I love working with our Taft Tigers! Our students in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade have been learning more about the 12 tools from the Toolbox curriculum. The Listening Tool teaches students that we have to listen with our ears, our eyes and our heart in order to effectively understand someone. A good listener makes eye contact, watches body language and uses empathy to try their best to truly understand what others are saying. The Garbage Can Tool is designed to help students “ let the little things go”. For instance if a sibling is trying to provoke you or antagonize you with mean words, you can catch those words, don’t let them hit your heart and just throw them in the trash. Try to not let the mean words bother you by walking away and doing something you enjoy. This tool helps students distinguish between big problems that require grown up help and little problems that can be solved independently. If you would like more information on Toolbox, visit their website at https://toolboxproject.com/.
Sources of Strength is the counseling curriculum for Taft’s students in grade 3-6. This past month we have been learning about connecting to help when we are having problems with our physical or mental health. Students are learning that we have to take care of our bodies by getting help from parents or a doctor when we are sick. Big emotions like sadness, anger or anxiety are sometimes too much to carry alone. We are encouraging students to talk to Trusted Adults in their lives about how they are feeling when they feel stuck in big emotions. Students are also learning that Positive Friends can connect friends to Trusted Adults, if they see signs of physical or emotional pain. For more information, you can access https://sourcesofstrength.org/.
If you have any questions about the Counseling Program at Taft, please feel free to contact me by phone, email or in person. I really enjoy working with your amazing students!
Use a PEER When You Read Aloud
The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you — what educators call "dialogic" reading.
Most parents of preschoolers realize the value of reading aloud every day to your young child. Story time is a great way to connect with your child, to share exciting stories and pictures, and to increase your child's understanding of the world.
The best story times are very interactive: You are talking about and reading the story, your child is talking, and there is conversation taking place between the two of you. Because of all the talking, this type of shared reading is often called dialogic reading.
Parents can use the PEER method to help them remember a few important ways to read in this interactive way:
P: Prompt your child with a question about the story. Prompting your child focuses attention, engages the child in the story, and helps the child understand the book.
Point to something in the picture, for example, a balloon. "What is that?"
E: Evaluate your child's response.
"That's right! That's a balloon."
E: Expand on what your child said.
"That's a big, red balloon! We saw one of those in the grocery store yesterday."
R: Repeat or revisit the prompt you started with, encouraging your child to use the new information you've provided.
Marvelous Math Tips
With short winter days comes a lot of indoor time. And, with many winter holidays coming up, it also brings some chaos and stress to our world. How can we make time for fun, get all the tasks completed, and feel like we are helping our child succeed in school? We can make lists! Lists of activities, tasks, and goals help us SEE what we want to accomplish, FEEL the pride in getting to cross something off our list, and DO the most important things we need to. Lists help us keep track of information and stay organized. Making lists together as a family will allow your child to feel included in making decisions. Lists are also an important part of mathematical thinking. When we stay organized, follow a flow, and keep focused we are using mathematical thought processes. The lists I use have meal ingredients, reminders for phone calls to make, and extra reminders for important appointments I need to keep. Children can use lists to tell their favorite things, choose games to play, or even in negotiating for things they want to earn. What does your list look like?
Taft Tiger Book Fair!
Also, a big shout-out to Collister United Methodist Church for donating $75 to our classroom teachers to spend at the book fair for their classrooms! Thank you!!
SoleKids 5K Race Day
The Book Nook
The holidays are in full swing and everyone is celebrating in our community and around the world. Have fun celebrating all of the different holidays that are happening. Eat some latkes, spin the dreidel, light some candles and enjoy this holiday season. There are many reasons to celebrate.
Diwali - November 4
The Diwali Gift by, Shweta Chopra & Shuchi Mehta
Hanukkah - November 28 - December 6
Simon and the Snow Bear: a Hanukkah Story by, Eric A Kimmel
Winter Solstice - December 21
The Shortest Day by, Wendy Pfeffer
Christmas - December 25
The Polar Express by, Chris Van Allsburg
Kwanzaa - December 26-January 1
Seven Spools of Thread by, Angela Shelf Medearis
Chinese New Year - February 1
Bringing in the New Year by, Lin Grace
Community Schools Update
Community Schools Coordinator
News from your Taft Community School!
News from your Taft Community School!
The Taft Family Food Pantry continues on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, right in front of the school! This is a great time to meet other families, do some shopping and enjoy our wonderful Taft community. The Taft Family Food Pantry day happens from 3:00-3:30 on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month - please bring your reusable grocery bags if possible!
Our Taft clubs have been enjoyed by many of our students this fall! During the school day we offer Robotics Club to the 5th/6th grade students, Knitting Club for 3rd/4th grade and after school Chess Club for all ages. Clubs provide different experiences and opportunities to learn new skills… and the students have a lot of fun!
We celebrated last month with “Give Cold Feet the Boot!” and the generous donation of boots for every Taft student, thanks to community partners Optum and D and B Supply. This month, the Sunrise Rotary Club will gift every student at Taft with a new book! We’re so grateful for our community partners and the ways they help us serve all of our students and families.
Grade Level Highlights
Mrs. Miller's Class is Amazing!
2nd Grade is starting to understand that math is everywhere around us. They have been counting objects throughout our school. They are able to draw models, determine place value, and even write the numbers in word form. In reading, the 2nd graders are making tremendous strides. They are well on their way to becoming masters of the "rules" of spelling and reading, and are learning to apply more complex phonics patterns. I am so proud of how hard they have been working.
Taft Chess Club is Packed!
Calendar of Events
- December 20, 21, 22 Secondary End of Semester Testing - Early Release *7-12
- December 21 - 8:00-10:00 AM, Pediatric COVID Vaccination Clinic (1st or 2nd dose)
- December 21 Early Release K-6, No School Pre K
- December 22 End of First Semester - Early Release K-6, No School Pre K
- December 23 - January 7 Winter Holiday Break - No School Pre K-12
- January 10 School Resumes
- January 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day - No School Pre K-12
- February 18 No School Pre K-12
- February 21 President's Day - No School Pre K-12
- March 3 Kindergarten Registration 3:30-5:30 p.m.
- March 18 End of Third Quarter - Early Release K-6, No School Pre K
- March 21-25 Spring Break - No School Pre K-12