The Bulldog Bulletin

Skyland Elementary School

Creating a culture of reading in your home

Have you ever wondered why teachers include "20 minutes of reading" for homework every night? Reading for 20-30 minutes each night is hands down one of the largest indicators of academic success. There is nothing more important that you could do to help ensure your child's success here at school. Reading at home helps your child with cognitive development and language skills, as well as increases their ability to sit and concentrate on a task for an extended period of time. The more students read, the greater their vocabulary, background knowledge, imagination, and creativity. Mostly importantly, this is a special time with you and your child to be free of distractions that will help to cultivate a lifelong love of reading and learning.

Here are a few tips for reading at home with your child:

15 Reading Tips for Skyland Parents

1. Make sure your child see you reading! This is one of the top things you can do to create a culture of reading in your homes, as well as show students that reading can be a life-long practice.

2. Have a child who loves technology? Use it to your advantage and look for online programs that allow them to read on a tablet like Epic Books or the Reading Rainbow app!

3. Books can be expensive, so take your child to the public library to pick out books.

4. Create a cozy spot for your child to read at home, free from distractions like younger siblings, TV, or technology.

5. Consider getting your child a magazine subscription on a topic they love. Not only will this help improve their non-fiction (or informational text) reading strategies, but will build anticipation as they wait for their magazine each month.

6. Always ask your child questions after they are done reading. Not sure what to ask? Just ask them to tell you what the story was about or draw you a picture and describe it.

7. Reading aloud to your child is just as beneficial as them reading to themselves. Find a good balance of both.

8. Celebrate reading successes at home. Have your child read 10 books (or a long chapter book if they are older) and celebrate with a trip to Frankie's Fun Park or their favorite restaurant.

9. Ever feel like you have read the same book to your child 100 times? That's okay. Even hearing the same book over and over can have benefits to your child's reading ability.

10. Always have a book with you for your child. Long wait at a restaurant for dinner? Have a book ready! Waiting at a doctor's appointment? Have a book ready! Waiting in a car line? Perfect time to do some reading!

11. Have a neighborhood book swap party. Invite each neighbor or friend to bring 5-10 books. Lay out all the books and let each child take home the same number of books that they brought. This is a great way to get your child excited about new (FREE) books!

12. Think a book might be too hard for your child to read on their own? Here's a trick: Open up to a random page and have them read it aloud to you. If they get stuck on 5 words on the page, it is probably too challenging for them to read independently. However, if they are very interested in the book, consider reading it together as a family read aloud.

13. Going somewhere special over the holidays or on vacation? Sometimes travel can spark interests in different types of books.

14. Get your child hooked on a book series. Book series provide tons of texts to keep your child engaged for awhile!

15. A new trend in children's literature is graphic novels. But these aren't your old fashioned comic books! They are high quality literature that is engaging for children. New series like Dogman, Big Nate, or the Dork Diaries are some of kids' favorites. However, some classic series are also being re-written as graphic novels, such as the Babysitters Club series. Students become highly engaged in these books and even struggling readers can experience success with graphic novels.

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Tips on Reading to Kids
Nightly Reading Homework: Best Practices for Parents

Read your way to the BIG game! - Reading Log competition

The South Carolina Reading Challenge is underway at Skyland! Each student took home a Clemson or Carolina reading log. As the students turn in the forms, their names are written on an orange or garnet football and placed on our football display in the cafeteria. The current score is Clemson- 24 Carolina 6. Mrs. Stafford will wear the jersey of the winning team! The competition is over October 25th.

Upcoming Grade Level Field Trips

Kindergarten - Orchard Field Trip - 10/16

First - Greer community trip (Fire Station, Police Station, Heritage Museum, Aerie Lane, Greer City Park) - 10/23 or 10/24
Second - Roper Mountain Science Center - 10/30

Third - Cherokee Field Trip - 10/22
Fourth - Walnut Grove Plantation - 11/22

Fifth - Washington, D.C. May 18-21

Skyland Singers - Big Thursday Event - 11/7

Skyland Calendar of Events


10/15 - PTA Skate Night

10/15 - 17 - CogAT Testing for 2nd grade

10/19 - PTA Fall Festival 11-3 pm

10/21 - 25 - Red Ribbon Week

10/21-22 - Iowa Testing for 2nd grade

10/25 - Best Day Ever Event

10/28-29 - Teacher Work Days - No School for Students

10/30 - Q1 Report Cards


11/1 - SIC Meeting 12-1 pm

11/5 - Holiday and Make up Pictures

11/5 - PTA Skate Night

11/6 - 4K 1/2 day

11/11 - Veteran's Day

11/22 - SIC Meeting 12 -1 pm

11/27-29 - Thanksgiving Break

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Red Ribbon Week Events

Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness campaign. The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Week campaign. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs in America. In recent years, Red Ribbon Week has also been a time to raise awareness about bullying in schools.

At Skyland Elementary School, our Red Ribbon Week is sponsored by the Skyland PTA. The PTA has worked hard to create age-appropriate curriculum and opportunities for students throughout our Red Ribbon Week. Each day students will participate in a short activity around the theme of the day and receive a small item as a reminder to "Stay Drug-Free!" including stickers, pencils, bookmarks, and more! Students will also be signing the "Drug Free Pledge" by adding their Red Ribbon to the fence on our playground. The Greenville County Sheriff's office will also be visiting our students for an assembly during the week and bringing along some special friends!

Below are some quick videos to share with your child about staying drug-free and making sure Skyland is a bully-free zone! This week provides a perfect opportunity to have some of these important and sometimes difficult conversations with your child.

Skyland PTA's Red Ribbon Week Events:

Monday - "Turn your back on Drugs and Bullies"

Students can wear shirts and hats backwards.

Tuesday - "Dream of what you can be if you stay drug free!"

Students can wear their school appropriate PJs. (NO Slippers will be allowed!)

Wednesday - "Sock it to bullies!"

Students can wear crazy socks.

Thursday - "Be a team player and support your team!"

Students can wear their favorite sports team apparel.

Friday - "RED-y to be drug free!"

Students can wear red to show their pledge to be drug-free.

Sesame Street: Sings "What I Am"
Stop Bullying Now | Jack Hartmann
Say No to Drugs Video for Kids (Red Ribbon Week Cartoon) Educational (Safe for Students)
2015 Anti-Bullying Video

What is CogAT/Iowa testing?

Starting October 15th, our 2nd grade students will be taking the CogAT and Iowa standardized tests. Have you ever wondered what are these tests and how does GCS use the results?

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) will be administered to students in grade 2 October 15-17, 2019. The CogAT is a nationally standardized aptitude test which provides an estimate of the likelihood of a student’s success in certain academic areas. The CogAT is an untimed test, but should take approximately 45 minutes per day to administer.

The Iowa is a nationally standardized test which measures students’ performance in reading and mathematics. The Iowa will be administered to students in grade 2 on October 21-22, 2019. The Iowa is an untimed test, but should take approximately 1 hour per day.

These tests are used to determine if a student qualifies for our Gifted and Talented program, sometimes referred to as "Challenge," in 3rd - 5th grades. Students can qualify based on the results of the test, as well as with a "performance task" administered by our gifted and talented department later in the school year. Results for these tests and qualification for Challenge classes are sent to parents towards the end of 2nd grade.

Testing Tips

  • Please see that your child gets rest on the nights before these tests.
  • Please make sure that your child eats a nourishing breakfast each day.
  • Make every effort to have your child in school and on time except in case of illness.
  • Encourage your child to listen attentively to the test administrator’s directions.
  • Encourage your child to read each test question and each response carefully before selecting an answer.
  • Do encourage your child to stay calm if there are questions that seem difficult. (Encourage your child to choose his/her best answer.)
  • Provide positive feedback by praising your child for what he/she does well.

Grade Level News


We are celebrating the season of fall in 4K! This week we are learning about pumpkins, including the pumpkin life cycle. Last week we learned about apples and made playdoh apple trees. We have enjoyed using our Donors Choose 'birds in a nest' manipulatives to help with sorting. We used acorns and pumpkin manipulatives to help us count 1-5. We are in our Families Unit and loved drawing pictures of our families. Next month our families are invited for a Thanksgiving Feast. It's so fun for the children to see how our families are made up of different people who love us, just like in our classroom!


We have had a great start to our kindergarten year! We have been learning to recognize, sing, sign, and sound out our letters from A-Z. Also, we have been learning about school rules and tools and cooperation. Wow! We just explored the apple orchard and petting zoo at Fisher’s Orchard and we are looking forward to a lot more fall fun with pumpkins, harvest, and feasts! We LOVE school at Skyland!

1st Grade

First Grade is getting ready for a field trip to tour around the Greer Community. They will be visiting the Greer Police Station, the Greer Fire Department, the Greer Heritage Museum, and creating an art project at Aerie Lane. Students will end their tour with a Chick-fil-A picnic lunch in Greer City Park. Students and teachers are so excited for this opportunity.

2nd Grade

Second grade has been working on a narrative writing unit which ended with lots of fun! We got to read our narratives with flashlights in a tent and enjoyed s'mores.

We have also been learning about landforms in Social Studies. After learning about landforms, our second graders were able to create a land form using play-doh and write a definition describing that landform.

3rd Grade

Third grade classes are working extremely hard in mastering the concepts of using different multiplication strategies to solve mathematical problems. Multiplication is on our radar this year, and we are excited to learn about what multiplication truly means! We are using repeated addition, skip counting, and creating equal groups to solve problems. We are discovering a lot of ways to bring multiplication to life!

Third grade is also excited to learn about the Native Americans this year! Our learning will take us to Cherokee, North Carolina to visit an authentic Cherokee village. We can’t wait to see how the Cherokee Indians once lived!

We would also like to say thank you for all of your support and dedication to Skyland! We serve in the BEST community in Greenville County! We are very blessed to teach your child each day! Thank you for all you do to make Skyland a great place to be!

4th Grade

Fourth graders have been busy! Students have been reading and writing narrative stories for language arts, learning about early explorers in social studies, experimenting with light in science, and using factors and multiples in math. Moving forward, students are beginning to write opinion essays where they will decorate their teacher for Halloween and provide reasons for the chosen costume! Sound energy is coming up in science, while students will be learning about the early settlements in social studies. Speaking of early settlements, the first field trip this year for fourth graders will be the trip to Walnut Grove Plantation on Nov. 22. Be sure to send in $10 between Nov. 1st - Nov. 15th.

5th Grade

Fifth graders went to the Peace Center on October 8 to see Diavolo perform. This group, which was one of the top 10 finalists on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, defied gravity and boundaries as they danced and performed acrobatics.

Fifty-five fifth graders were inducted into the National Junior Beta Club on October 7th. This is a first time event for Skyland. We are proud of these students and their accomplishments and are excited for this new endeavor at our school.

Related Arts

Music News:

4th and 5th Graders are beginning our Recorder Karate unit. Students may purchase recorders from the school store for $6.50. Recorders can be used in 4th and 5th grades!

Skyland Singers will perform at the annual Big Thursday luncheon on November 7 at Fairview Baptist Church. We will also perform for our annual Veterans Day program on November 11.

We are excited to have Mr. Michael Cheek from NGU as our student teacher this semester.

Michael is a graduate of Blue Ridge High School where he participated in band and chorus. He continues to perform with the SC Singing Churchmen and with instrumental groups in the area. We wish Michael all the best as he graduates from NGU in December.

Art News:

In the art room, 2nd-5th grades are working on our American flag projects inspired by Jasper Johns. We hope to hang these up in the atrium just in time for Veterans' Day! We read "The Wall" by Eve Bunting. It is a story about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Kindergarten and 1st grade just got finished learning ALL about lines, and now we are learning about shapes by creating our very own "Shape Zoo." We read together, "When a Line Bends... a Shape Begins." How exciting!

PE News:

Mrs. B will be back on November 5th! We are all so excited for her return back to Skyland!


For the past two weeks, students have been practicing coping skills to utilize in times of stress and/or big emotions. All students have been exposed to deep breathing, stretching, and guided meditation (i.e., "Go to your favorite place in your mind. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel when you go there?") to calm the body. To practice calming the heart and mind, students have practiced creative journaling, creating positive self-affirmations, and identifying one peer + one adult to chat with when overwhelmed.

From October 14th-October 25th, students are learning about friendship skills and how to recognize the difference between rude, mean, and bullying (i.e., bullying acts are negative verbal and/or physical acts that are repeated). Some books that are being used to explore these differences are: Enemy Pie by Derek Munson; Bully Beans by Julia Cook; and Stand Tall Molly-Lou Melon by Patty Lovell.

Looking ahead, we are going to spend time in November talking about self-care. Students will design their own self-care plan to bring home, so be on the lookout!

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Perfect Attendance Parent Drawing

Did you know?

· Research shows that missing 10 percent of the school year, or about 18 days in most school districts, negatively affects a student’s academic performance. That’s just two days a month and that’s known as chronic absences.

· Being late to school or picked up early for 15 minutes can add up to the equivalent of missing 8 days over the course of the school year.

· When a child misses one day, it takes them two days to catch up with what they missed.

· When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating.

Skyland Elementary wants to motivate our families to help us improve our school-wide attendance!

Each month, all parents of children with perfect attendance (no tardies, early dismissals, or absences) will be entered into a drawing to win a $20 Spinx gift card and two Spinx car wash coupons valued at $40! Winners will be announced monthly on Facebook and parents of the winning students will be contacted directly!

Thank you to Spinx for sponsoring Skyland’s Perfect Attendance Parent Drawing!

Note: Prize drawing will take place during the months of November, January, February, March, and May based on prize donations.

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Skyland PTA Fall Festival

Saturday, Oct. 19th, 11am-3pm

4221 South Carolina 14

Greer, SC

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Skyland Elementary Veteran's Day

Monday, Nov. 11th, 10:30am-1pm

4221 South Carolina 14

Greer, SC

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Staff Birthdays!


14- Kathy Ensley, Special Education

15- Susan Menard, 3rd

16-Courtney Hagan, K5

16- Andrea Thomason, Nurse

18- Kenna Brannon, IC

19- Leah Stafford, Principal

19- Alice Prentice, Cafeteria

22- Sara LaPage, 2nd

26 - Carol Godfrey, Music


5 – Jenny Roberson, 4th

6 – Kathleen Ross, 1st

10 – Holli Fears

17 – Caridad Garcia, ESOL

28 – Amy Forrester, 5th

28 – Jessica Styles, 1st

29 – Kristina Fleming, K5