The WOHE's What's Up

Willard Orchard Hills Elementary's Monthly Newsletter

Hello WOHE School Family!

Here's your December Newsletter! We hope you enjoyed your break and got some wonderful time with family, friends and loved ones.

As a reminder, this newsletter is a hub packed with information about what's going on at WOHE each month!

You can expect this newsletter near the end of each month (on in this case at the start of the following month) so that we can update you with all the exciting things happening across the building!

We hope you'll continue to enjoy this monthly update!

What's Up at WOHE this month:

WOHE School Family Excitement:

We hope you had the best break!

ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education):

We have enjoyed creating holiday themed decorations as we practice painting, coloring, cutting and gluing. The temperature may limit our opportunities to enjoy recess outdoors, but we do have several fun indoor activities. It’s a great time to work on our turn taking and socialization while playing indoor games. Stating the alphabet song has been an overall focus. We encourage you to sing it with your child each day - watch out for that “l-m-n-o-p” section. We hope you have enjoyed our updates through See Saw. Please share a holiday fun picture with us as well!

Speech Therapy - ECSE:

As the second quarter comes to a close I have the opportunity to reflect on the progress that each child has made since the beginning of the year. Our routines are established and the students are all feeling safe and loved, so we have really gotten into a groove with our learning. This time of reflection reminds me of how far these students have already come. I’m excited to see what the second half of the school year has in store for us..

I’ll miss all of my students during the break, but can’t wait to hear about all of the special memories they created at home while they were away from us!

Occupational Therapy - ECSE & K-4:

In ECSE, OT has been participating in lots of reindeer games! :) We continued to work on our fine motor skills, bilateral skills, motor planning and core strength in fun ways. On our last day of therapy, the students even made a snowman snack, working with a variety of textures. We look forward to seeing our kids back in January!

In K-4, OT continues to focus on handwriting. One of the underlying skills that could be affecting handwriting is letter size. Size matters is a handwriting curriculum that really focuses on that. We focus on talking about the different sizes of the letters and discussing where they go on the line. The students love receiving stars for their “Just right” letters! We look forward to seeing our kids back in January!

Physical Therapy - ECSE & K-4:

All the students have done a really nice job the past 8 weeks working with my PT student, Miss Lauren, and she enjoyed her time at Willard Schools! Unfortunately we did not get to have our ECSE group this month due to a snow day so are looking forward to our next one in January.


We have enjoyed creating Christmas crafts, practicing counting into our teens without skipping numbers, and identifying numbers 1-10. We continue to learn new letters and sounds weekly. Mrs. Danielle's last day will be the 20th so be sure to say goodbye!


Kindergarten has enjoyed wrapping up this quarter with our gingerbread and holiday theme. We read several versions of the story The Gingerbread Man, and we were able to compare and contrast these stories after reading them. Please remember to mail off the gingerbread man your child brought home. We love getting these in the mail after our Winter Break, and it is a great opportunity to help us learn about different states and where to find them on a map.

We are so proud of how much everyone has learned during this first half of the school year. Please continue reading and working on skills at home!

1st grade:

We have been reading and writing all about nonfiction topics, and are becoming experts. We have also learned how to solve addition and subtraction problems up to 20. We have had a busy December.

2nd grade:

Second grade has been working on learning how to count and use money! We collaborated with 4th grade and worked to figure out how to budget for, buy, and order hot chocolate during a book reading!

3rd grade:

Third grade has been working hard on solving two step word problems, rounding to the nearest 10’s and 100’s, and adding and subtracting 3 digit numbers! We’ve been writing informational books on some pretty amazing topics and finding the main idea and details in informational texts. We’ve also been learning about MO history and famous Missourians!

4th grade:

Fourth grade has been working hard on using all the math skills we have learned to complete multi-step word problems. In writing we finished up our opinion unit by using some research about weather events in reading to support our opinion. Our reading research project unit finished up with students teaching each other about the weather event they spent time researching!

Cross-Categorical Special Education with Mrs. Raby:

We have continued to focus on the 7 Habits of Happy Kids. Our focus this month was Habit #3 and Putting first things first. Taking care of our big rocks. My students have done an amazing job taking care of their big rocks and working so hard to grow and achieve their goals for this month!

Essential Skills with Mrs. Carter:

We spent the last few weeks of the semester learning all about snow and cold weather. We had some fun during the last week with some Gingerbread Man crafts and activities, after reading the book.


In the short month at hand we were able to conquer our second pacer (BEEP) test with 75% of our 3rd and 4th grade students improving their scores!


We are focused on creating art with personal meaning. The kids used clay techniques to create an ornament/trinket that represents their family traditions. Will will finish the projects by using paint with deeper meaning and exploring some new types of paint.

In Preschool we focused on parts of a snowman for our theme.


In December, all grade levels participated in The Hour of Code. They got to choose their coding activity. K-2 used our Code and Go Mouse to code through a maze that they built.


In December, all grade levels participated in the Hour of Code for Computer Science Education week.

On a personal note, best wishes to all as I’m moving on to my next endeavor--I wish you well!


What a jam packed, fun filled 1st semester we have just wrapped up in the WOHE music department!! 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades presented fabulous musicals, 4th graders embarked on learning what is most likely their very first instrument EVER as well as the playing experience to go with it...the RECORDER!! We will continue to dive deeper into this marvelous instrument during the 2nd semester. 4th grade parents, please encourage your student to practice at home by utilizing our recorder website. PW is wohemusic

Before we break for Christmas, all grades are getting a taste of the wonderful classical musical tale of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. This is always a favorite during this time of the year. From sugar plum treats & fairies to being whisked away to countries with amazing dancers, to snowflake and flower waltzes and a handsome prince battling an evil mouse king, you just can’t get any better than this. Ask your child about this magical, musical story.

The Spring semester will be filled with many adventures as well. 1st grade and Kinders will begin preparing for their spring musicals, several grades will begin larger musical units such as Instruments of the Orchestra, Carnival of the Animals, Peter and the Wolf, etc. Exciting times are around the corner!! It’s never a dull moment when musicians are hard at work creating masterpieces!!

Speech Therapy - K-4:

I cannot believe we are nearing the end of the year. I am in awe of the wonderful progress my students have made since the beginning of the year in speedy speech and speech groups. I feel very blessed to work with such an amazing group of kids. I hope you and your family have a wonderful break and enjoy time together making memories. When we return in January, we will pick right up where we left off. :)

Counseling with Mrs. Perryman:

Our guidance lessons for the month of December have been focused on giving and how we can show others we care. When we return from break we will begin to talk more about responsibility and how we can become more responsible for ourselves and our actions.

I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and enjoy some time together!

Food Service Ladies:

We love seeing our student's smiling faces everyday for breakfast and lunch!


Thanks to everyone for helping us keep our school clean.

Nurse Amber:

We have seen several cases of pink eye recently. Please remind your student of the importance of good hand hygiene.

Reading Recovery / Title-1 Services:

Tips for Reading aloud

Did you know that the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children? Did you know that even after children learn to read, you should continue to read aloud to them? When you read aloud, you create background knowledge in your child, develop her vocabulary, expose her to new information, and provide her with a reading role model.

Get the most out of reading aloud by following these three tips:

1. If the book has illustrations or pictures, hold the book so your child can see the words and pictures while you are reading.

2. Take your time and don’t rush the story. Reading at an appropriate rate will help you read clearly – and allow for an enjoyable experience.

3. Don’t be afraid to stop reading a book if your child doesn’t seem interested. Have a backup selection ready so read-aloud can continue.

Texts to read aloud are everywhere, and many of them are free! Try reading aloud charts, letters, lists, magazines, menus, newspapers, posters, school notices, to name a few.

Consider a variety of books including alphabet books, chapter books, poetry, biographies, and informational books. Children can understand more-sophisticated and complicated books that are read to them than the books they can read alone. You can choose books for reading aloud that are a bit above their reading level; if they don’t understand something, you are right there to explain it. Reading aloud can be a time for relaxing, talking, and being together.

Here are a few ideas to get the conversation going during read-aloud:

- To help your child understand what you are reading ask, “Does that make sense to you?” or comment, “This part sounds important, I’m going to read it aloud again.”

- Encourage your child to think about the text by asking, “Do you think that could really happen?” or “What do you think the author wants us to learn?”

- Connect the story to other ideas. Discuss similarities between the story and a person or an event in your child’s life.

- Prediction is a great way to build comprehension. Ask, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think he did that?”

- Ask your child to retell small parts of the story to you.

Remember, the road to becoming a reader begins the day a child is born. You play an important role in your child becoming a successful reader and writer.

Tiffany Houghtaling:

So thankful for all of our teachers! Let's have a great December.

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So much fun at the Tiger Pride Assembly to end 2nd quarter!

Did you miss our last First Fridays for Families? No problem! This video shows what we explored!

Did you miss our November First Fridays for Families? No problem! Our next one will be on January 10th and we'd love to see you there!

First Fridays for Families

Friday, Jan. 10th, 7-8am

4595 West Farm Road 140

Springfield, MO

Come enjoy a free breakfast with your child(ren), work together to complete a task as a family, and have fun.
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Follow us on Twitter at @WOHETIGERS for more building updates and photos!