DeWitt Clinton Elementary School

February 2018 Newsletter

Principal's Message

Dear Clinton School Community,

January has been a busy month at Clinton! We completed our mid-year testing and just ended our second quarter of school. Next week we are gearing up to celebrate the 100th day of school. It is unbelievable how fast time has gone!

On Sunday, January 28th I was invited by Mayor Emmanuel to attend the groundbreaking of the new library and senior housing project. This new facility located at 6800 N. Western will host a new library and 44 units of senior housing. The new 16,000 square feet state-of-the-art library will be much larger than the current Northtown branch.

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I grew up in West Rogers Park and reading was a passion of mine. I remember spending many hours at the current Northtown branch. Since the time of my childhood the branch has remained very similar though the needs of our community have increased. The community has needed an upgrade to the Northtown Library for many years. The librarians who work there do a wonderful job reaching out to our students and providing after school and summer programs, but the facility cannot handle the current size of our community. This new library will be much larger than the current library and will provide more technology and meeting space for our community. We are grateful to Mayor Emmanuel and 50th Ward Alderman Debra Silverstein for making this project a reality.
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Below you will find our two January Donors Choose projects have been fully funded! Thank you to those who donated to fund these valuable projects. We are grateful for your support and generosity.


Maureen Delgado


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Fully Funded! Ms. Zacks Donors Choose - Games for Education! Project

Thank you for donating to my classroom! Games can help students learn in interactive ways and can help get their brains active in a socially engaging activity. Word games will help our English Language Learning students, financial planning games will help students with financial literacy, our social studies games will help enhance their understandings of the content, and checkers will help them with problem solving.

The students will surely enjoy learning through these games. When we have done games in the past, the students did not even realize the learning taking place until after the fact. It is a wonderful way to engage students in learning the content. Thank you for supporting public education!

Fully Funded! Mrs. Mary Icho's Donors Choose - Readers Become Great Leaders

My students have sparked interest in the book Wonder. I have created a unit to focus on close reads, vocabulary instruction, theme, character traits, and social emotion learning. I want my students to become more independent readers so they will engage in literature circles.

Thank you so much for your generosity. My students will be so excited once I tell them they will each get a copy of Wonder! You've given the best gift of all. As Stephen King once said, "Books are a uniquely portable magic." I can not wait for my students to engage in this wonderful book. Thanks again!

Curriculum Updates

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This month in Pre-K, we are learning all about buildings! We will be learning about different types of buildings, how they are built, what buildings are made of and much more. We will begin our unit by reading different versions of the 3 Little Pigs and exploring why certain materials are sturdier than others as well as comparing these different stories. We will also be using different materials to create our own buildings and structures. Children will use creativity and problem-solving skills as they test out different ways to make their buildings as tall as they can without falling over. Students also develop a sense of accomplishment and increased self-esteem when they successfully build and create in the classroom.

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Kindergarten can’t believe how fast the first half of the year has by. Our kinder kids have grown from little children entering school, to becoming independent lifelong learners. We are so incredibly proud of your students and we know that they will continue to grow and flourish over the next semester. They have learned to identify emotions and have learned many tools to deal with their feelings. This is something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

In reading our kinder kids are learning about problems and solutions. They are learning about the main events in stories, and also about what the main idea may be. Students are reading level B and C books independently and are able to decode words using many strategies.

In math we are still working on addition as well as numbers to 100. We are amazed at how quickly our kids are grasping the subject and how excited they are to learn more about numbers. We are noticing a real love for math and are thrilled about it.

Science and social studies are very fun this time of the year. We are focusing on wood and natural materials. We are doing hands on activities to understand how paper and other wood products are made. We are also continuing to talk about culture and how it is important in our community and school. Our students will be creating projects for Black History Month, and will present them to the class. We are very excited about that!

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1st Grade

Happy 2018 from first grade!

In reading, students continued learning about non-fiction books, including text features and asking and answering questions to learn more information. We have been using our new Wordly Wise vocabulary words daily in our classrooms and trying to incorporate them into everyday conversations! In Writer's Workshop, we are working on completing our non-fiction chapter books in which we taught others about a topic we knew a lot about.

In math, first graders are returning to learning about addition and subtraction. We are now focusing on adding and subtracting to 20 and learning different strategies to help us do that!

In Social Studies, students learned all about Martin Luther King and how to spread kindness through not only our words, but also through our actions . First graders have been exploring sound and light in science and how sound is made using vibrations. Ask them about all the fun experiments we've done in class to find out more!

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2nd Grade

Second grade is off to a great start this year!

In reading, we continued to read nonfiction informational texts and learned how text features found in these texts can help us understand more information. We also learned how to identify main idea and details, distinguish between facts and opinions, and determine the author's purpose for writing a text. In Writer's Workshop, we continued writing our very own informational texts. Second graders each chose a topic they know a lot about and created their own All About Books.

In math, second graders continued 2- and 3-digit addition and subtraction with and without regrouping. We were also engaged in fun, meaningful, and differentiated activities during Math Centers!

In Social Studies, we began reading biographies as we roll into Black History Month! Last, but not least, the second graders wrapped up our Solids and Liquids Unit and began our new science unit called Pebbles, Sand, and Silt. Students will continue to participate in hands-on investigations as they discover properties of these natural materials. We are looking forward to a great 3rd quarter!

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3rd Grade

2018 is off to a great start for third graders!

In reading, Ms. Patel’s students began their biography unit, with a special focus on inventors and inventions. In writers workshop, students are wrapping up their informational books! Ms. Luevano’s students have been studying illustrations in Greek mythology and comparing fairy tales. In writing they are using information from text features to write narratives about classic characters from traditional literature.

In math, third graders are wrapping up their division unit and getting ready to start learning all about fractions! They are excited to begin a new science unit on Motion and Matter, and this week they worked with magnets to see how they interact with other magnets and paper clips. In Second Step, third graders have been discussing feelings, how they affect us, and helpful steps to manage them!
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4th Grade

In literacy, students have been reading about biographies. Students had read about Gandhi, Malala, and Martin Luther King Jr. Students using the skills of the main idea, summarizing, cause and effect, fact and opinion, and text details to annotate biographies. Students engaged in research using primary and secondary sources. In writing, students are revising their essays and getting ready for publishing.

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In math, students started their fraction unit focusing on equivalent fractions. Students wrote fractions in lowest terms, found common denominators, compared fractions, and placed fraction in order from least to greatest. In science, students concluded the energy unit with learning about force and speed. Students used flashlights and mirrors to investigate how light travels.

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5th & 6th Grade

Literacy & Social Science - 5th and 6th graders are off to an awesome start this new year! In social studies, 5th grade continues to learn about and debate the ethics of colonization in the Americas. 6th graders are enjoying investigating Ancient Egypt through inquiry projects. 6th graders are also embarking on history fair projects. In these, students can refine and apply their research and information writing skills to learn and report about events in history which involved conflict and compromise. Both 5th and 6th grade students are learning about poetry in literacy and writing. Students are analyzing different types of poetry for a variety of purpose and applying those skills in creating original pieces. We are excited for students to present all their hard work in the upcoming weeks!

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Science & Math - 5th and 6th grade Math and science is going strong! In 5th grade, we have mastered adding and subtracting fractions using our new favorite tools: fraction talks and quizizz, and now we are working on mathematical discourse as we explore multiplication of fractions. In science, are moving on to explore the earth’s water systems. We have also been working with Ms. Jaimes’ Kindergarten and helped the students practice making tens! In 6th grade we have mastered seveler Algebra 1 skills, and have moved into Geometry concepts. In science we are exploring the ethics of storing nuclear waste, and the earth processes that affect those decisions. We have started modeling volcanoes, and will continue to model earthquakes and explore the theory of plate tectonics.

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7th & 8th Grade

In seventh grade, students just completed their historical fiction stories. We celebrated their work with a publishing party in which students shared their writing with the class. Students worked hard to research the dialect of the eras in which they were writing about. We are looking forward to our next unit where we will be exploring informational texts. Students will be examining not only the words within the text, but the context and source of the writing. Students have also begun their research for their history fair projects which follow the fair's theme of Conflict and Compromise. In conjunction with this exploration, we will be examining slave narratives and creating a children's book based on this information. Students will consider the foundations of slavery and the perspective of those brought over as slaves. We will also examine how this institution continues to reverberate in our current society.

In eighth grade, students are finishing up their Geometry units and beginning their study of functions. In Science, students are continuing their study of force and motion. Literacy classes are beginning the novel Animal Farm and argument writing. Our social studies classes are moving into units about the roaring twenties in addition to beginning their research for history fair. Eighth graders are finishing up their essays for Mr. Mills on the best thing the American government has ever done.

Library Program

The new year started out strong in the library, with 6th-8th grade classes beginning their annual History Fair projects. These students have been learning how to select interesting and complex historical topics, ask detailed questions about those topics, and then begin to find information to answer their questions. We have added several new library resources, such as an online collection of encyclopedias and a research organization tool, to help students through this process. History Fair activities will continue throughout February and into March.

In the primary grades, we focused on award-winning literature, looking at the different reasons books win awards and how that can help us find great books to read. We also used these books to explore synonyms, story elements, detailed illustrations, and more. February means we are approaching the end of Readers’ Choice Awards contests, with voting taking place in about a month. This year’s contest has already been successful in helping many students discover great reads they might not otherwise have picked up.​​

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Music Education

Halfway there! This year has been incredibly successful so far and we thank you for your support! Your students were amazing in their concerts over the past two quarters!

We begin teaching a new cohort of students 3rd quarter and they will begin learning about the basic building blocks of music, while responding, creating, performing and connecting to different areas of their worlds based on their grade level. Please join us on March 21st, April 23rd and May 14th for concerts featuring YOUR CHILDREN!!! We are excited to share their growth and performances with you!

Additionally, students in Ms. Chikko’s and Ms. Zuberi’s 1st grade class went on a field trip to the field museum to put their observational skills(listening, seeing, touching) to use. This learning will help them as they prepare a performance with PROFESSIONAL musicians from the Civic Orchestra Fellows.

Pictured below are 1st graders who dressed up as the animals that they were identifying using their sense of hearing!

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Visual Arts

The visual arts classrooms of Clinton Elementary have been busy during the month of January. As students returned from Winter Break they had to remain focused and productive during the last month of the Semester. Our middle school students worked hard to finalize their finely detailed pointillism drawings and create relief prints from their carefully carved linoleum blocks. Lower grades also kept busy by putting finishing touches on their own projects.

We now prepare to say goodbye and welcome a new batch of students for the second half of the year. Our student artists from the first semester have made so much progress in such a short time period and we will miss working with them. They have great pieces of artwork as evidence of the effort and persistence they developed over the past 4 months. We will wish them well in Music and look forward to working with the next round of classes. Congratulations to all the students who did such a great job this semester!

Physical Education

This past month coming back from winter break has been focused on having the students reconnect with team sports The elementary students (k-5) have been introduced to invasion type game skills. They have began to learn skills such as chasing and fleeing, ball control (dribbling, passing, and shooting) with different equipment will get them prepared to be play a multitude of team games with an invasion style concept (basketball, hockey, soccer).

An important aspect of having our students learn the skills to these sports is to be able to develop a powerful self image that allows them to conquer learning new and challenging skills. This past month it has been amazing to see the amount of growth the students undergo while learning these new abilities. At the beginning of the unit, we went from hearing the students whispering to themselves “I can’t do that” when showing them how to dribble a basketball with one hand up and down the floor. Now, we hear the students yelling to their classmates, “Watch this!” as they run down the floor dribbling with one hand and trying to cross over through their legs. They have definitely Through February, we will begin to introduce more invasion game style activities throughout the physical education department!

Our middle school students (6th-8th) just finished up their hockey unit with a culminating 4-team tournament that ended with the winners of the tournament receiving school supplies donated by the Chicago Blackhawks. For two weeks leading up to the tournament, each team appointed their own captains to orchestrate practice drills, a trainer to help struggling students learn the appropriate skills (stick handling), and an equipment manager that was in charge of sizing each student on the team with the appropriate sized hockey stick. Overall, the students took their roles on the team very seriously and we ended up with a very compelling and competitive hockey tournament that lead to a great deal of students being more interested in the sport of hockey and inquiring about joining the school hockey team starting in the spring. This unit would have been hard to do without the support of the Chicago Blackhawks donating 40 hockey sticks, plenty of hockey balls, and 2 brand new hockey goals. Special thanks to Ms. Haynes for having them visit Clinton Elementary!

For more information on what is happening in our physical education and athletic program feel free to visit!

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English Language Learner (ELL) Program

We are now at the end of the second quarter, and it has been very exciting to see the growth that our English Language Learners (ELLs) have made the first half of the year! Our newest ELL students are learning vocabulary rapidly and learning how to communicate in English. Our more experienced ELLs are honing their skills in reading and writing. Their growth has been apparent on many mid-year assessments, including the mid-year NWEA test and reading tests. Students have also started taking the ACCESS test, which will give educators valuable information about our language proficiency in different domains. We are thrilled to see what our English Learners can accomplish before the end of the year!

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)


Every week, students in grades pre-K-8 have time built-in for Social and Emotional Learning, with teachers utilizing the Second Step curriculum-a program that focuses on social skills and academic success. During this current unit, students are learning about changing relationships and friendship challenges.

SEL at Home:

As kids grow, the ground rules of friendships develop and change. Healthy relationships develop social and emotional skills, give us a sense of belonging and decrease stress. Having a great support system can help us deal with the hardships that everyone faces at some point. Parents can prepare kids for healthy relationships in several ways:

1. First, ask your kids what they would not do for friendship. What’s a ‘friend deal-breaker’? What might someone say or do that would make you realize they’re not actually your friend?

2. Second, pay attention to your own observations of your child’s friendships. Do you have questions or opinions about the way your child is treated? Wait until you’re alone with your child or teen to ask about those interactions.

3. Third, have empathy for your child. These relationships are important to her or him, and it can feel like the most important thing in the world. If you see dangerous or risky interactions, mix your concern with understanding for how important the child feels this person is.

4. Talk with your child about the traits of a good friend:

• Good friends listen to each other.

• Good friends don't put each other down or hurt each other's feelings.

• Good friends try to understand each other's feelings and moods.

• Good friends help each other solve problems.

• Good friends give each other compliments.

• Good friends can disagree without hurting each other.

• Good friends are dependable.

• Good friends give each other room to change.

The example of friendship you provide has a bigger impact on your child's friendships than anything else. Children who see their parents treat each other and their friends with kindness and respect have an advantage.

Success At School:

Helping children and teens identify healthy relationships gives them the confidence and self-esteem to deal with negative peer pressure. Most importantly, it allows them to set boundaries about what friendship behaviors are acceptable and what are not.