Thank you to everyone who responded regarding 4th grade Sweet Treats! We are looking forward to seeing everyone, and we know your students are as well!

Please do not park in the circle drive when you attend this event. There will be parking available in the front parking lot, as well as parking in the back on the playgrounds. Confirmation letters will be sent home the week before the event.


Gardner Elementary students will once again collect money for the Waterloo Rotary Tree of Lights from December 9th to December 20th. Our goal this year is to raise $1,000.00. With each donation of $0.50 or more, students will receive a candy cane. Money collected helps to assist needy families in Monroe County throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season. We will use the trees outside of the office to track our progress. The first tree will be lit up when we have over $100 in donations. The next trees will be lit when we have reached the $300, $500, $750, and $1,000 milestones. Please help us light up our forest of trees. For more information regarding the Waterloo Rotary Tree of Lights campaign please see the flyer at the end of this newsletter.


Students continue to work towards the 2nd quarter behavior incentive which will be participating in Reindeer Games on December 20th. Students who have not received three “behavior strikes” will be able to participate. Students will have an awesome time playing the games and there will be drawings for Great Behavior and Perfect Attendance.


Should I keep my child home or send him or her to school?

Consider keeping your child home if he or she:

-Has a fever of 100.4 or higher

-Has been vomiting

-Productive coughing, sneezing

-Headache, body aches, ear ache, sore throat.

A severe sore throat could be strep throat even if there is no fever . Other symptoms of strep throat in children are a headache and an upset stomach. Contact your pediatrician as your child needs a special test to determine if it is strep throat.

Keep your child home until their fever has been gone for 24 hours without medication. Returning to school too soon slows the recovery process .

Does my child have the flu?

The flu is serious! Call your pediatrician at the first sign of flu symptoms, which typically come on suddenly, including: high fever, chills, headache, body aches, dry cough, nausea and vomiting.

How do I make my child feel better?

-Make sure your child gets plenty of rest

-Encourage fluid; like water, soup, juice, and ice


4th Grade Quiz Time!! See if your learner can answer these questions:

What is the difference between parallel and perpendicular lines?

What is the theme of a story?:

Give an example of alliteration.

What makes us bend at our joints?

What river forms the western border of Illinois?

Why did the French build Fort de Chartres?

How do you turn two words into a contraction?

This is just a sampling of the enormous amount of learning going on at Gardner. We encourage you to ask your child nightly what they did in each subject. You might be amazed at what we accomplish each day!! Thank you for your continued support of the learning process.

*Note: The fourth grade classrooms do not have a Christmas gift exchange. Instead, we ask that each family make a donation to the Tree-of-Lights campaign, which benefits local families.


Your mathematicians are nearing the end of Unit 3, which focused on fraction concepts, addition, and subtraction. In reading, your learners are reading one of the following nonfiction texts, Lost Star or Frozen Man, where they applied nonfiction text features to comprehend the books. We will then be moving on to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Fifth grade explorers are busy naming and making flags for colonies they hope to establish in the New World. Ships are being loaded and they are preparing to set sail for the long voyage over the Atlantic Ocean. Your scientists have been learning all about matter! They have enjoyed the multiple experiments where they tested different chemicals to see if they had a chemical reaction. Preparation for gingerbread houses are underway! This is a tradition that the 5th graders are already looking forward to. We would love your help during this exciting time. Please reach out to your teacher if you are interested in helping out in any way!


The 5th grade Holiday Band and Chorus Concert is Thursday, December 5th. Please note the time has changed to 6:30 p.m. please join us after for the concert for cookies and milk with your student. Band members will need to be in the music room by 6:00 p.m. Chorus members will need to be in the music room by 6:20 p.m. This is a “dress-up” concert, please see the concert reminder sent home with your student for information.


The next student council meeting will be on December 12th from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m. Student council members will help collect the money for our Tree of Lights campaign. Students should be at school by 7:35 a.m. to collect money. Students will collect and hand out candy canes at the doors in the morning as students come in. Below is the schedule for members who are working. If you have any questions please ask Mrs. Jones.
Big picture


December is magical. The month of lights, snow and feasts. It’s a time to celebrate the holidays and look at life from the eyes of our children. This month is the perfect time to celebrate reading. Books make excellent gifts. Some of my favorites are: JK Rowling’s: Harry Potter collection.

Rick Riorden’s: The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.

Margaret Haddix’s: Found, Sent, Sabotaged, Torn, Caught, Risked, Revealed, and Redeemed

I always recommend books as a holiday gift because they give so much more than just words on a page. They transport the readers to a different time or place without ever leaving the comfort of their own home! If you would like recommendation for great reads, don't hesitate to ask your child’s teacher!

This month, I wanted to give tips on abstract thinking. As students get older, teachers require students to think about things in an abstract way. This can be difficult for students who are not abstract thinkers. Abstract thinking comes with mental maturity, and there is no specific time that students are able to think abstractly….it just happens. To help with students that are not abstract thinkers or who still think concretely, here are some strategies to help with abstract thinking skills:

· When working on a question or problem, have students tell what is happening in the problem. What are we trying to figure out? Look to see if there is more than one question to answer. Help students know what they are looking for before they start.

· For concrete thinkers, speak concretely or directly and specifically about a subject to ensure understanding. When checking homework or questions on homework, check to make sure your student can specifically explain what is happening. Vague answers can leave room for errors or cover up misconceptions.

· Use scenarios that your student is familiar with to make comparison to abstract subjects. By relating something concrete to something abstract, students can see the correlation between the two situations/topics.

· Think out loud with your student. Have students verbally explain what they are doing. Ask them why they think that way? Could someone else think things differently? This helps students build alternative perspectives on topics instead of just thinking of things in one way or another (black and white). Abstract thinking lives in the world of gray!

DECEMBER MINDSET--We love a challenge!

This is the perfect time of the year to continue to encourage a growth mindset! Take some time throughout the break to play games as a family. Playing games will give you natural opportunities to discuss challenges. Having a growth mindset leads to students being better at facing difficult tasks, taking turns, and never giving up! Enjoy your family time!


Dec. 5th - 5th grade Band and Chorus Concert and Cookies - 6:30

Dec. 9th - 20th - Tree of Lights collection

Dec. 10th - 12th - Sweet Treats 4th grade - 2:00 - 2:45

Dec. 12th - Student Council meeting 2:40 - 3:40

Dec. 20th - Reindeer games

Dec. 20th - Last day of school before break/full day of school

Dec. 23rd - Jan. 6th - Classes resume

Big picture