GCIS Weekly News 1/6/17

Weekly Celebrations, Successes, and Up Coming Events!

We're not here to be average; We're here to be AWESOME!

Awesome Students of the Week!

Here is a photo of our awesome students of the week! These students have worked hard demonstrating safe, respectful, and responsible behaviors throughout the week! Keep Being Awesome!
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GCIS Office News

Welcome back!

Please remember that students need to dress appropriately for outdoor play. Here is what that should look like.

-Temps ranging from 50 degrees and above: Short sleeves are acceptable.

-Temps ranging from 45-50 degrees: Long sleeves, light jacket, hats encouraged

-Temps ranging from 45 degrees and below: Warm winter gear (hats, gloves, winter jacket, and snow-pants and boots)

-If temps are ZERO or ABOVE: outdoor play

-If temps are BELOW ZERO: indoor play

*If for any reason you need any of the above mentioned items, please don’t hesitate to let us know how we might help. We have various resources that we can access to ensure all students have what they need for the coming winter months.

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Sheriff Williams came and spoke to our students about internet and social media safety. This was a powerful message to students about when using social media, technology, and the internet. Officer Williams also went into detail about phone usage, gaming chat rooms, and in general being safe when using all forms of technology.

Below I have included a few links for parents that want to explore ways to monitor and what to look for as students begin to use texting apps and phones. Both articles are very informative and helpful as you determine the boundaries you set with your child.

Being able to use Sheriff Williams as an expert in our community allows us to partner with community members to enhance how we educate students and families around real life experiences that we can never talk enough about! One of our biggest goals that we strive for on a daily basis is safety and educating students with real world challenges and problems. Please take time to talk with your child about safety. Monitor technology and social media usage. We shared with students and staff the wisdom and conversation with Sheriff Williams is not to scare anyone, it's to develop safe, healthy students, prepared for the world beyond the walls of our building.

Not only did Officer Williams help students at GCIS understand the dangers of technology use and social media, his talk reminds all of us as educators and parents the importance of setting our students and families up for success. Every year this collaboration with local law enforcement generates rich discussion with students and families. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. We desire to partner with you as educators to unsure the highest level of safety for our AWESOME students!

Principal Shoutout!

Our building goal this year is to increase real world learning experiences for GCIS students. We have started to make that shift with implementing performances tasks that range in length from 1-3 days. I have included an example of a performance task HERE.

Performance tasks are like mini units that focus on a problem or question. They allow us to start to design the learning around real world problems that exist, and allow for students to take on a role of a real life job or profession. The key part of a performance task is the audience. Instead of the audience just being the teacher, we try to access community experts to fill in and help launch or provide feedback for students and groups that present to the expert the product or presentation they create.

Below I include a few statements that help frame the "WHY" of project based learning (PBL) & the idea behind this shift to performance tasks that result in increasing real world learning experiences for our students. 21st Century Skills are the foundation and interwoven throughout this way of teaching and learning also!

  • “PBL makes school learning more like real-world learning.”

  • “PBL helps students learn the same content—just in a different way.”

  • “Besides learning content, PBL has additional valuable components like helping learners collaborate, problem-solve, make presentations, and talk with experts—many of the things they'll be doing as adults.”

  • “PBL motivates many students to dig deeper and get ‘hooked’ into issues; they may actually want to go to the library or go online to get more information!”

  • “Think about the times in your life when you have really learned something. Often this learning is related to a problem you were facing. The PBL approach encourages students to learn because they want or need to solve a problem, too.”

  • “Students don't ask, ‘Why do I need to know this?’ in PBL. The answer is clear: They need to know it to solve the problem.”

We will be diving more into this at our next Parent Advisory that I have tentatively set for Monday February 20th. Please join me as we will gather from 6:30-7:30 pm at the Greene County Administrative Building (weather permitting).

One of our biggest needs is to connect with parents and business people within Greene County to enhance the learning for our students and develop the authentic audience and experts! Let me know if you want to help us out! We want and desire to partner with you!

Mrs. Van Cleave

4th Grade Happenings!

Hello and welcome to 2017. We wanted to thank all of the 4th graders who participated in the winter break reading challenge. We will be getting information out to you as to when we will go sledding. ( We have to get some snow first!)

Math - Before break, we were working on our multiplication facts. Keep working as now we are using our facts in everyday real world problems. We are working on remembering what prime numbers, factors, and multiples are. They all tie in with our multiplication facts!

Language Arts- We are using our persuasive writing skills to write book reviews for the public libraries. We are also working on summarizing and characterization through our read aloud, Hatchet.

Science- We are learning about structural and behavioral adaptations of plants and animals. We learned to adapt without any thumbs and later on this week we will be using senses to infer about our surroundings.

5th Grade Happenings!

Science: Happy New Year!!! This week we have started our animal adaptations unit. We have been discussing how scientists are looking at animals to help improve our technology. We are also working on doing accurate work. There are many jobs in which accuracy is extremely important.

Lit/SS: What a great start to the new year!! Students came back fresh and recharged! We are wrapping up our unit on main idea(s), supporting details, and summarizing in reading. Next we will start our unit on inferencing and quoting accurately from the text to support our thinking. In writing, we are starting a mini-project on researching. In social studies, we have been studying the life and culture of the Eastern Woodland Natives.

6th Grade Happenings!

In science, students are learning about matter. Students have developed a definition of matter and are able to determine whether or not something is matter. We are now working on determining the difference between particles, atoms, and molecules.

In math, students are working with algebraic expressions. Students are simplifying expressions as well as solving expressions.

Music News!

4th Grade General Music: We are working on the National Music Standard #2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music. Most of the students have passed the Level 2 in Recorder Karate. We are taking time out to work on recognizing notes and clapping varying rhythmic patterns to reinforce reading music.

5th Grade General Music: We are working on the National Music Standard #6: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music. Our Objectives include verbalizing the difference between beat and rhythm. Many times it is easy to demonstrate how these two terms are different, but difficult to explain. While working on music vocabulary, students are also introduced to varying musical examples to reinforce the concepts. We will work into pitch and melodic direction.

6th Grade General Music: 6th graders are working the on the National Music Standard #9: Understanding music in relation to history and culture. In studying music in America, the students have been introduced to American Folk Music, Spirituals, Ragtime, Blues and now… JAZZ. With the fusion of Spirituals, Ragtime and the Blues, Jazz is one of the greatest American art forms with its greatest element being improvisation. Students are introduced to cultural happenings, great musicians and musical pieces created in the “Age of Jazz”.


6th grade students are making a sculpture based on the art of Dale Chihuly. He is an artist that works with glass and creates beautiful sculptures! We are going to use clear water bottles and color them with permanent markers. We might make them into a chandelier or a tree sculpture, we haven’t decided yet. If you have any water bottles at home that you would like to donate, we would appreciate them!

5th grade art students are making snowmen from different perspectives. We discussed what perspective means and they have the choice to create a snowman work of art from a mouse’s perspective or from a bird’s perspective. We talked about how some things look closer and others look far away.

4th grade students are learning about glaciers and how even though they are made of snow and ice, they are not just white. We are creating a glacier with blues and purples and are also incorporating the colors of the northern lights that reflect onto the glacier. It is fun learning about the arctic habitat in art class!

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6th Grade TAG Students did not meet, but they did finish the marble run last time and are going to be working on a poster to go along with it so they can present the scientific forces that are involved with the marbles.

5th grade TAG students will meet Friday and will brainstorm ideas for a project that has to do with sounds of nature. Our hope is to tie it in with an exhibit that is currently at the Science Center of Iowa… Wild Music - Songs and Sounds of Life!

4th grade TAG students put together a Tinker Crate using rubber bands to propel a race car and another group made a robot that creates art and experimented with it to make it draw different types of lines!

Media & Tech Lit

The Intermediate building is introducing a new technology concept called TinkerCad. TinkerCad will help learners gain hands-on experience with new software and hardware to build literacy in design, 3D, electronics, programming and more. The students will also complete projects through the Project Ignite learning platform, where they will collaborate and discuss different projects with their peers.

Physical Education

Special Education News

Counseling News

Welcome 2017! Our Word-of-the-Month for


We all have the ability to be responsible and since Officer Williams spoke about Tech Safety at GCIS on Wednesday, we are discussing that topic in depth during Life Skills this week

Here is a perfect example to share with kids of being responsible for using the Internet Safely:

Each of us is responsible for our own personal safety, which means we are expected to avoid putting ourselves in danger. Because of this, teachers and parents expect kids to use the Internet responsibly. We teach kids how to only view sites that are safe and we expect kids to avoid sites where they might find content that isn’t appropriate or healthy for young people. Being responsible in how we use the Internet, means students do as teachers and parents instruct and only go to the sites they know are safe.

Positive Consequence: Kids see content that is safe and avoid people who might want to harm them. Students can be trusted to use the computer independently.

Negative Consequence: Kids may see things that aren’t healthy for a young person to see, or they might interact with people who want to harm them. Parents and teachers take away their freedom on the Internet and kids must ask for permission and only use the computer when supervised.

Nurse News!

I wanted to thank Daira from Hy-Vee Fit Kids and our local Hy-Vee for hosting the winners of the squat challenge from the 4th grade class and 6th grade class at the Men’s Iowa State Basketball game in December. Everyone had a good time. Remember you can continue to exercise with Hy-Vee Fit Kids by logging on to their site. www.hy-veekidsfit.com
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