McKinley Monthly

December 2021

Dear McKinley Community,

I hope you had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving weekend. It is hard to believe that we are already into the start of Trimester 2. Some of you may have heard about new friends joining our classrooms, so I want to take a moment to acknowledge and welcome returning and new families to our McKinley community!

Here is the link to this week’s DISTRICT NEWS. The first item is a Vaccine Clinic Interest Form. Please check it out and fill out the form so the District knows how to plan. Other items of interest include information about accessing prior years’ report cards, an upcoming virtual Stress and Anxiety in Youth program (Dec. 7), and opportunities to judge middle school STEM challenges. Check it out!

We began this week with a “Recess Rodeo” hosted by Lee Recreation to reboot our playground rules. Students learned about how to play safely and were encouraged to take care of the playground and the area around it. Little reminders, such as keeping the rocks in the rock beds (and picking up three each day to return to the beds), having fun on the equipment without abusing it, and taking it slow once the snow starts to fall were some of the key take-aways. One piece of knowledge that came as a surprise to me was that our JK classes should be only on the small play structure during school hours. When families visit outside of school hours, it is fine for your child to play on the equipment they most enjoy; but be aware that the smaller playscape is designed for 0-5 year-olds, and the larger is approved for ages 5-12. As always, I want to remind everyone that we do not have supervision before or after school, so if you allow your child to play during these times you are responsible for supervision and helping kids problem solve through conflicts if they come up.

One tradition that is returning this year will be the City of Wauwatosa Tree-Lighting Ceremony, tonight, December 3rd from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Our choir students will provide music beginning at 5:45. Trolley rides will be available, there will be a visit from the mayor, and, of course, Santa.

One tradition that is still on hold is the winter concerts. These will be videoed and distributed later in December. Even though we will not have a live audience, the teachers ask that for the video performance days students dress nicely since this is a special event.

Thursday December 9th will be the videotaping of these General Music classes: Petitt, Sperl, Elrod, Schwaab, Osman, Wendland, Nero, Michlig

Friday December 10th will be the videotaping of these General Music classes: Durand, Farin, Danmeier, Loechler, S. Brown, Berg, P. Brown, Marshall, Wendland

Friday, December 17th will be the videotaping of Band, Choir, and Orchestra

Our winter break begins December 23rd, and we return on January 3rd. I know that the next few weeks up to that break will fly by! I wish all of you health, light, peace, and harmony throughout the month. We have been through some difficult times, but the community ties us all together! I am so glad to be your partner through it all!

Happy December!

Dr. Hoffmann

Visitors and Volunteering at McKinley

Every person that comes in and will be in a classroom having contact with students, needs to have the district background check completed. It can be found here.

Upcoming Dates to Know

Dec 3 - Tosa Tree Lighting

Dec 23 - First Day of Winter Break

Jan 3 - First Day Back in School


Please make sure you are aware of important things going on in the district!

Welcome to McKinley!

Welcom, Kurt and Julia Kaiser, McKinley's new lunch/recess supervisors. Both Kurt and Julia were raised in the greater Milwaukee area. They recently retired from their full-time positions. Kurt spent 35 years as a building technician. Julia spent 20 years in the car industry. They were actively involved with Boy Scouts of America while raising their twin sons. After hearing about the need for lunchroom and playground staff at McKinley, they decided this was something they could add to their daily schedule. In their off time, they are looking forward to the festivals next summer and doing some traveling, as well as spending time with family.

Art Room Needs:

Materials needed for upcycling in the art room!

Small cardboard boxes, paper board tubes, cardboard or plastic egg cartons, clean styrofoam produce trays, small plastic containers with lids, and any other material a student can make into a recycled piece of art!

Human Rights Day

Hello Families,

Did you know that on December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims 30 inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world. Here is a link to a document which includes the original text as well as plain language.

The theme for December 10, 2021 is “Equality - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.” This year there are 6 goals:

  • A human rights-based economy can break cycles of poverty

  • Rebuilding Fairer: A New Social Contract

  • Equal Opportunities for Youth

  • Reversing Vaccine Inequality and Injustice

  • Advancing the Right to a Healthy Environment and Climate Justice

  • Preventing Conflict and Building Resilience through Equality, Inclusion and Human Rights

Here is a link to learn more about them.

Women, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, played an important role in the development of the document. If you would like to learn more about that, click here

Children’s books are another way to learn more and have conversations about human rights. A few that are available in our Tosa school libraries are:

  • The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles - Ruby must confront the hostility of white parents when she becomes the first African American girl to integrate Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.

  • For the Right to Learn, Malala Yousafzai’s Story by Rebecca Langston-George - Tells Malala Yousafzai's harrowing story of standing up for girls' education against the Taliban, being shot in the head, and surviving to continue the fight

  • We are all Born Free by Amnesty International - About the basics of human dignity as elaborated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Waiting for BiblioBurro by Monica Brown (author) and John Parra (illustrator)-Inspired by the real-life story of Luis Soriano, who started a mobile library with donkeys carrying hundreds of books over long distances for children in rural areas of Colombia.

Please reach out to Tracy Carus or Meegan Archambo with questions.

Welcome to McKinley!

Hello! My name is Jonathan Thomas and I am excited to be joining McKinley as a volunteer. I am from Wales, United Kingdom, and recently moved to the area. I was a primary school teacher in the U.K and I am looking forward to experiencing the American education system. Since moving to Milwaukee, I have been spending my time reading, walking my two dogs (Henry and Walter) and learning the rules of American football. I first came to America to work at a summer camp in the Wisconsin Dells, and I am excited to be back in Wisconsin.
PTO Newsletter

Click here to read our PTO's newsletter.

Ms. Kumferman’s Korner- News from your School Social Worker

Welcome to December! The cold Wisconsin weather and snow will be upon us soon and so I wanted to provide some family-friendly ideas of things that you can maybe do around Milwaukee County. I have included a link about warming shelters should you or someone else need that resource. I am also sharing a link to a presentation being held next week in Brookfield via Parents United (see info about registration below).

We also want our students to be safe and warm coming to school and during recess, so please reach out to me if your child is in need of some gently used winter gear (not usually provided just for one day when something is forgotten) and I can try to help out. We have limited items/sizes in donations but work between elementary schools to try to help with any needs. Feel free to contact me: *We do have extra mittens/gloves in the main office for students to borrow if theirs are too wet or if they are forgotten/lost.

Lastly, thank you to all who provided emergency snack donations! Snacks are provided when students are unable to eat breakfast or bring a daily snack, and for those who forget a snack on a particular day. Donations of packaged snacks will still be accepted all year long so just drop them off in the office or to your child’s teacher marked ‘Kumferman’. Some suggestions are: Cheez-Its, Teddy Grahams, granola bars (nut free if possible), fruit snacks. Popcorn. Thank you!!


One great resource in our community for families and educators is Parents United of Wisconsin. Parents United is a nonprofit organization that supports families who have children with disabilities of any kind through the sharing of resources and informational workshops. The next workshop will be on December 7th and will address stress and anxiety in youth. With a continuous increase in diagnosed anxiety disorders, this topic is relevant for many. Click here for more details about the workshop, which can be attended in-person or on zoom.


Check out these links for Family-Friendly ideas to get you through another Wisconsin winter:

Milwaukee County Free Days-Zoo and Milwaukee Public Museum

Winter Events in Milwaukee County, Holiday Guide to Events, Discounts and more

Free or Low-cost things to check out around Milwaukee

Tips on cold weather safety and warming shelters in Milwaukee County

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2021 Holiday Gift List

Kelly Norton, OT & Kelly Starsky, PT

What is the Holiday Gift List?

Each year, as the holidays approach, “the Kellys” put together a list of fun, educational gifts to make your holiday shopping a little easier. We add some new ideas and keep some favorites on the list, too. There are items to work on both fine and gross motor skills, indoor and outdoor play, and includes items for both younger and older kids. The prices and locations listed below are approximate; please call ahead or check online for current availability. (Watch some games for small parts if you have children who chew, or younger siblings.)

Enjoy the season!

Kelly Norton, OT (Wauwatosa), and Kelly Starsky, PT (Glendale/River Hills)

(including contributions from OTs Kristen Paxson and Ana Schuessler)

Fine & Visual Motor Fun

1. Squigz: Squigz are suction cup toys that can connect to each other and any solid, non-porous surface. Great for creating, fine motor skills and hand strengthening! Amazon &Target, $25-27 for the starter set.

2. Kinetic Sand (New to the List): It’s easy to shape and mold! Use tools and molds, spoons from around the house, or try a kit to make a new creation! Great for hand strength and sensory exploration.

  • Assorted Colors: Target & Amazon $10

  • Sandwhirlz Play Set: Target, $20

  • Dig & Demolish Play Set: Amazon, $15

  • Construction Site Play Set: Amazon, $25

  • Bake Shop Play Set: Target, $10

3. Don’t Break the Ice: Like the classic version, after setting up the ice rink (great for fine motor skills!), players use hammers to tap ice pieces. Be careful to keep the penguin on top! Target, Amazon, $15.

4. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game: Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with tongs and place it on your log. Good for fine motor dexterity and hand strengthening, as the squirrel tongs give your hands a workout! (Note: this is not the same as the card game by a similar name.) Amazon & Target, $17-22.

5. Operation (New to the List): A game of patience and control. Players “operate” on a patient (with tweezers to remove the broken parts) to help them feel better. Watch out for the buzz! Good for motor coordination and control. Amazon & Walmart, $14-15.

6. Animal Upon Animal (New to the List): Players race to stack their wooden animals on the animal pile before the other players. Watch out - don’t let them fall! Great for developing fine and visual motor skills. Amazon, $25.

7. Magnetic Drawing Tablets: Such as the one created by Picasso Tiles or Bmag, these tablets allow kids to write with the magnetic pen and erase with the pen or fingers. Portable fine and visual motor fun! Amazon, $19-20.

8. Magna-Tiles (expanded versions new to the list): Develop spatial and tactile skills while following patterns, creating your own designs, or by playing a game!

  • Classic Pack: Amazon, $49

  • Cars Expansion Pack: Amazon, $15

  • Treasure Hunt Game: Play 3 games in 1 while building fine motor skills! Target, $18

  • Geomag: Designed for kids 8 and up, these take building to a new level! Build complex structures with these magnetic building pieces. Great for fine motor skills. Target, $40

9. Feed the Woozle: Cooperative game where you feed the Woozle silly snacks with a spoon before the time is up! The spinner adds a gross motor movement to the task. Fine and gross motor fun! Amazon & Walmart, $21-23.

10. Avalanche Fruit Stand Game: Use jumbo tweezers to pick or place fruit on a stand in this spin the wheel game. You can place the board at different angles to adjust the difficulty of the game. Great for developing fine motor skills! Amazon & Walmart, $20-25.

11. Peg Games (New to the List):

  • Peacock Pals: Build fine motor skills with these new, smaller pegs! Pinch and pull the feathers, match colors, and explore different textures with these fun peacock pals! Amazon & Target, $28-40.

  • Perfection Popping Shapes and Pieces: A classic game, modified with shapes and pieces for ages 4 and up. Great for shape identification, fine motor skills, and visual-perceptual skills. Amazon, $11.

  • Lite Brite: A classic! Inspires creativity and develops fine motor skills. Promotes hand/eye coordination and peg play. Amazon & Target, $15.

12. Light Board Activities (New to the List):

  • Crayola Light Up Tracing Pad: Get creative with this drawing board! Tracing pictures is a great way to develop drawing skills, and a fun way to make a picture your own. Great for visual perception and fine motor skills. Target & Amazon, $25.

  • Transparent Letters and Numbers (New to the List): Practice identifying letters and numbers, letter and number formation, and building words on the light board! Amazon, $12.

13. I Spy Books & Games (New to the List): Develop visual perceptual skills with these fun books and games. Play as a team or play against each other to see who can find the pictures first! Amazon & Target.

  • I Spy Books: Classic and new books available. $9-15

  • I Spy Dig In: A fast paced game of find and match. $15-30

  • I Spy Eagle Eye: Be the first to find all the pictures from your card on the board. $15-30

14. Jumbo Aquadoodle Mat: Create art again and again, and avoid the mess and clean-up with this water painting mat. Watch for the colors to appear when the water hits the mat, and create a new masterpiece each time. Great for fine motor skills! Amazon, $20-30.

15. Coogam Wooden Tower Stacking Game: This game is Jenga with a twist! Roll the dice to find out which block you have to remove and put on top without your tower falling down. Great for fine motor, visual spatial, and problem solving skill development. Amazon, $14.

16. Scratch Art Paper: The creative possibilities are endless! Practice drawing skills, grasp development, and visual spatial skills while making art on these classic scratch art sheets. Target, Amazon, $10-20.

17. Kerplunk: A classic game! The object of the game is to skillfully remove the sticks from the tube while dropping the fewest marbles possible. Good for developing fine motor control. Amazon, Target & Walmart, $15.

18. AND (an easier version of Kerplunk) Honey Bee Tree: Helps kids to develop fine and visual motor skills by carefully removing leaves on the tree without waking the sleeping bees. Amazon & Walmart, $18.

Movement and Motor Fun

1. Smash Pong Game (by Educational Insights): Make the ping pong ball pop and set up your trick shots according to the pictures shown on the cards. Amazon, $25.

2. True Balance: A hand-held coordination game. Stack the magnet discs and then don’t let them fall as you try to get to your destination. Amazon, $18-25.

3. Soccer Kick Trainer (by Umbro): Attach your soccer ball, hold the other end in your hand and it puts your ball on a string so you never have to chase it down. Walmart, $6.

4. Playz 5-Piece Kids Pop up Play Tent Crawl Tunnel and Ball Pit with Basketball Hoop Playhouse Hours of fun as your child crawls, rolls, tosses, and creates their own playland with these interchangeable pieces. Amazon, $60.

5. Sleds, snowboards, snowshoes, and shovels: Don’t hibernate! Explore the modes of snow transportation, go exploring and get your child burning some energy as they push their shovel up/down the driveway/sidewalks. Fleet Farm, Target, Costco, range of prices.

6. The original Stomp Rockets, LED Stomp Rockets, Dueling Stomp Rocket, and MotoWorx Toy Rocket Launcher: Fun for everyone--how much power do you have to send your rocket flying? Now they have light up ones so you can chase and find your rocket in the dark! Target, Amazon, Walmart, $18-28.

7. Franklin Sports MLB 2 in 1 grow with me batting tee: Start with the ball hanging (via velcro) and transition to hitting it off the tee. Target, $30.

8. Mini Trampoline: I’ve kept this one on the list every has the Starsky family seal of approval! Work on jumping, marching, jogging, and building endurance to get that heart pumping, also good for throwing and catching (bounces back) if you tip it up against the wall. When my kids would watch TV, I would make them jump during the commercials!, Fleet Farm, Walmart & sporting goods stores, $40-70.

9. Dirty Dunk Laundry Hamper: This one will make parents happy too! Hanging on the back of the door, it makes laundry time a game! Amazon, Walmart $25-30 OR Spalding Over-the-door Mini Slam Jam Hoop and Ball. Target, $35.

10. Boochie: It’s bocce for the whole family with a few twists, Amazon & Target, $25.

11. Portable Pickle Ball Set (by Zume Games): Easy to set up portable net/paddle/balls. Make room in the basement or driveway for some fun! Target & Amazon, $42.

12. Wiggle N Giggle Travel Card Game (by Trunk Works): A Fun Gross Motor Skill Development Game Using Animal Movements. Amazon, $11.

13. Cardboard Block Set (by Melissa & Doug): These blocks can be stacked in play, or stepped on as roads/balance beams. These sturdy blocks will provide hours of fun and facilitate imaginations. Amazon & Target, $32-37.

14. The Floor is Lava (by Endless Games): Players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava, while spinning for their color and jumping along foam game pieces in order to reach safety. Sounds like fun to me! Meijer, Walmart, & Target, $20.

15. Scavenger Hunt for Kids $20 Fleet Farm. These games will get you MOVING as you try to be the first to find the items!

  • Find and Seek Scavenger Hunt Outdoor Indoor Card Game for Kids, Amazon, $13

  • GOFINDIT (outdoor nature scavenger hunt card game for families), Amazon,$13

  • Chuckle and Roar Scavenger Hunt Game, Target, $10

16. Animal Games and Activities:

  • Animal Action Cards: Flip a card and get your duck walk on. You can use it with one of your own puzzles and set up the pieces on one side of the room---move a different way each time you go to get a new piece. Animal walks are fun and great for body awareness and balance too. Amazon, $9.

  • Heads Talk Tails Walk card game: You may be quacking like a duck while you jump like a frog! This game is sure to lead to some giggles! Amazon, $16.

17. Yoga Games:

  • Yoga Games for children-fun and fitness with postures, movements, and breath (book) by Danielle Bersma: Great for working on balance, calming, and coordination with the whole family. Amazon & Walmart, $17.

  • Yoga Spinner by Thinkfun: Simple stretching fun for the whole family! Be the first one to collect a card of each color. Yoga pose your way through the game! Amazon & Walmart, $16-20.

18. Connect 4 Shots: The classic game of Connect 4 has gotten a little more dimensional as you need to bounce the balls into the stand! Target & Amazon, $20.

19. Ninja Timer: Who doesn’t love watching Ninja Warrior? So, set up your own obstacle course in your house or outside and then use this giant Ninja Timer (just like the one on TV) to see if you can beat your own time or see if you are the fastest in your family! Walmart &, $25-30.

20. Flying Orb Ball (such as Hoverball): Interactive mini-drone that you can throw in the air and grab/flip it to stop movement. Good for hand eye coordination and visual tracking. Amazon, $20-40.

21. BALL GAMES: you say that your child just isn’t interested in ball activities? Maybe you just need a better ball! Check out these motivating ones!

  • Extreme Egg Toss (Amazon)

  • Squeezamals Freeze N Squeeze Game (Walmart)

  • Chuckle and Roar Potato Toss (Target) or Tater Toss (Amazon) or Spin Master Games Magic Unicorn Musical Party Game (Amazon)

  • Toss and Catch Ball Set with Velcro Paddles/Balls (Amazon, Target)

  • Double-Sided Dart Board for Kids (by Toy Sports) with 12 velcro Balls, (Amazon)

  • Emoji Stress Balls by Mydio (set of 24 silly faces and bright colors) (Amazon)

  • Aerobie Sonic Fin football (Target)

Old favorites, but with some new twists! Be creative--underhand throws, overhand throws, one-handed catches, between your leg passes will have you giggling while you play Target & Amazon, $10-25.

Happy Holidays!

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Our Lost and Found is Blowing Up!

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Family Resources

This is an unprecedented and challenging time for us all. But together, we will get through this. Taking care of your mental health is equally important as your physical health during this time.

Student and Family Assistance Program: District students and their families have access to six free counseling sessions through our Student and Family Assistance Program. They are teleservice at this time. Learn more.

DHS Counseling Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 provided through the Department of Health Services.

DHS Coronavirus Resources

211 Info Hotline - Dial 211 for information about COVID-19 in Wisconsin

CDC Hotline - Get facts by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO

CDC Website

This is a rapidly changing situation and we will continue to keep you updated as information is shared.

For now, Stay Safer At Home and remember, we’re in this together.

School Lunch Information

Kool-Aid and Hawaiian Punch juice boxes and bags contain contents that will destroy the polished concrete in our new cafeteria. Please do not send them to school with kids. Thank you!

* * Tosa Cares * *

Due to the spread of COVID-19, and social distancing, group distributions have been cancelled for the near future. If you need to schedule or change an appointment call, text or email Linda to leave a message for a drive-thru appointment.

Call: (414) 258-0456 x 410

Call or text: (414) 861-4725


Office Max / Office Depot Gives Back

Office Max and Office Depot stores are offering local schools the opportunity to partner in a fundraising activity. For McKinley, 5% of all purchases made by parents or teachers for the entire year will be donated to the school in the form of a merchandise credit. Our master ID # is 70113794.
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Be in the know! Check out the McKinley and community flyers on our website!