Medcalf Minutes

Sept. 19th - 23rd

Anderson Grove Purpose and Direction

Purpose: The purpose of Anderson Grove Elementary is to prepare all students to achieve their greatest potential and to positively impact the future.

Direction: In collaboration with families and community, our direction is to support and prepare all students for success through high expectations and individualized learning in a safe and positive environment.

Values & Beliefs:

Family Atmosphere

Collaboration and Communication


Continuous Improvement

3 Be’s – Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible

Be Known

Anderson Grove is Known for Being a . . .





Expectation of the Week: Arrival

Be Respectful

  • Greet others appropriately

Be Responsible

  • Arrive on time

  • Go directly to walking club or classroom

  • Have necessary supplies

Be Safe

  • Walk around building and in hallways

  • Keep hands, feet, and objects to self

  • Stay on the designated walking areas

Social Skill of the Week: Getting the Teacher's Attention

  • Look at the teacher.

  • Raise your hand and stay calm.

  • Wait until the teacher says your name.

  • Ask your question

Upcoming Events

Sept. 23- PTO sponsored Boosterthon Fun Run in the afternoon
Oct. 3- School Pictures


Monday - Day 2 - Music
Tuesday - Day 3 - Art
Wednesday - Day 4 - Guidance/Checkout
Thursday - Day 5 - Music
Friday - Day 6 - Art

News from Mrs. Kalkowski

During the week of September 19-23, your student will take tests called Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®). This is a new assessment tool we will utilize to determine your child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth throughout the school year and from year-to-year in the areas of reading, language usage, and math. MAP® assessments are untimed, but each will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.

MAP® tests are aligned with Nebraska State Standards and also provide early projections for college and career readiness as measured by the ACT®. MAP® tests are unique in that they adapt to be appropriate for your child’s level of learning. As a result, each student has the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. MAP® will let teachers know where a student’s strengths are and if help is needed in any specific areas. Teachers will use this information to help them guide instruction in the classroom.

The MAP® assessment will replace the Terra Nova assessment at the elementary and middle-level. It will also serve as an initial screener in the High Ability Learner (HAL) identification process.

Additional information regarding the MAP assessment along with parent resources can be found at and

Gretchen Kalkowski

Anderson Grove

Literacy Coach

News from Mrs. L'Heureux

Backpacks come in all sizes, colors, fabrics, and shapes and help kids of all ages express their own personal sense of style. And when used properly, they're incredibly handy.

Many packs feature multiple compartments that help students stay organized while they tote their books and papers from home to school and back again. Compared with shoulder bags, messenger bags, or purses, backpacks are better because the strongest muscles in the body — the back and the abdominal muscles — support the weight of the packs.

When worn correctly, the weight in a backpack is evenly distributed across the body, and shoulder and neck injuries are less common than if someone carried a briefcase or purse.

As practical as backpacks are, though, they can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they're too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here's how to help kids find the right backpack.

Problems Backpacks Can Pose

Although many factors can lead to back pain — increased participation in sports or exercise, poor posture while sitting, and long periods of inactivity — some kids have backaches because they're lugging around their entire locker's worth of books, school supplies, and assorted personal items all day long. But most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

To know how heavy backpacks can affect a kid's body, it helps to understand how the back works. The spine is made of 33 bones called vertebrae, and between the vertebrae are discs that act as natural shock absorbers.

When a heavy weight, such as a backpack filled with books, is incorrectly placed on the shoulders, the weight's force can pull a child backward. To compensate, a child may bend forward at the hips or arch the back, which can cause the spine to compress unnaturally. The heavy weight might cause some kids to develop shoulder, neck, and back pain.

Kids who wear their backpacks over just one shoulder — as many do, because they think it looks better or just feels easier — may end up leaning to one side to offset the extra weight. They might develop lower and upper back pain and strain their shoulders and neck.

Improper backpack use can also lead to poor posture. Girls and younger kids may be especially at risk for backpack-related injuries because they're smaller and may carry loads that are heavier in proportion to their body weight.

Also, backpacks with tight, narrow straps that dig into the shoulders can interfere with circulation and nerves. These types of straps can contribute to tingling, numbness, and weakness in the arms and hands.

And bulky or heavy backpacks don't just cause back injuries. Other safety issues to consider:

Kids who carry large packs often aren't aware of how much space the packs take up and can hit others with their packs when turning around or moving through tight spaces, such as the aisles of the school bus.

Students are often injured when they trip over large packs or the packs fall on them.

Carrying a heavy pack changes the way kids walk and increases the risk of falling, particularly on stairs or other places where the backpack puts the student off balance.

Lighten the load. No matter how well-designed the backpack, doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry packs of no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight — but less is always better. If you don't know what that 10% to 15% feels like, use the bathroom scale (for example, the backpack of a child who weighs 80 pounds shouldn't weigh more than 8 to 12 pounds).

News from the Learning Center

Tips for improving behavior…

Remind your child that they should be proud of themselves (e.g., “You worked so hard on that science project. You should be so proud of yourself!”). This helps build internal confidence in them, so they can learn to be proud of themselves for being persistent, working hard, being kind to others, etc. If they feel successful they will be successful.

Learning Center Team


Fall Conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 6 from 3:20 to 7:40 both days. Anderson Grove uses and online scheduling system for parents to schedule the time that works best for their child’s conference. The online scheduling system will open on the morning of Sept. 16 and be active through Oct. 3. Detailed instruction will be emailed next Thursday, Sept. 15 for online conference scheduling.

Because we share many of our specialists with another school, Mr. McMahon (PE), Mr. Becker (Music), Ms. Levin (Art) and Mr. Witt (Band) will be at AG for the Tuesday evening conferences.

A Peek at our Week

In Class: This week we explore the question “Why is everyone’s role on a project important?” In the historical fiction selection Pop’s Bridge, a boy learns about teamwork while watching his father help build the Golden Gate Bridge. The informational text Bridges offers an illustrated overview of different types of bridges. Target Vocabulary: balancing, tide, crew, disappears, foggy, stretch, excitement, cling.

At Home:
Vocabulary: Ask your child to use at least four of the Target Vocabulary words to describe a rainy day.

Go Team! What role does teamwork play in the your family’s daily routine? Talk with your child about how each member of your family helps other family members.

Write About Teamwork Ask your child to write about a team he or she is part of. It can be your family “team” or a team at school or in the community. Ask your child to include details about his or her responsibilities and those of other team members.

In Class: Writers will begin a new writing piece using what we have learned about personal narratives. During this unit, we have worked on small paragraphs to practice the skills we have learned about. This week and next week we will brainstorm, draft, edit, and revise a longer personal narrative story, incorporating a strong beginning, events, interesting details such as thoughts, feelings, and dialogue, and wrap up our stories with a strong ending.

At Home: Ask your student to share the small moments of their life that they can write about. To be a good personal narrative topic, our writer should be able to recall the main events of the event as well as dialogue they heard (if any) and what they were thinking and feeling at the moment.

In Class: Mathematicians will practice subtraction facts by finding the difference between 2- and 3-digit numbers and the nearest multiple of hundred. We will also work on finding the difference between two numbers on an open number line by starting with the smallest number and adding up to the larger number or subtracting back from the larger number to the smaller number.Either way, we will make the same number of jumps on the number line!

At Home– Ask your student to find the difference between 2- and 3-digit numbers using an open number line, adding up or subtracting back. Also, continue to check out these websites with your child to practice adding and subtracting three-digit numbers.

Addition of 3-digit numbers

Subtraction of 3-digit numbers

3-digit Learning Subtraction

Social Studies
In Class: Students will review concepts about our branches and levels of government, how to be a good citizen in our community, and people who worked to make our laws fair. We will wrap up our first Social Studies unit this week with an assessment at the end of the week.

At Home: Check out these websites on famous Americans we have studied this unit.
Susan B. Anthony
Thurgood Marshall
Cesar Chavez

Mary McLeod Bethune
Clara Barton

Eleanor Roosevelt


In Class: Students will continue to practice spelling routines this coming week. Please take some time over the weekend and throughout the week to review the word list with your student. Words for the week are: load, follow, open, glow, told, sold, yellow, window, soak, coach, shadow, almost, foam, throat.

At Home: Your child should practice his/her words everyday for 10-15 minutes. I recommend keeping a spelling notebook at home. Have your child try using each word in a sentence and then writing it out in the notebook. He/she can even draw a picture with each one to show understanding of the word. We also have access to our spelling list words on This site has fun games for students to play while studying their spelling words. There are parts of the site that require payment but please do not feel like you need to pay for them! The free games are a great way for students to review!