Jefferson Elementary Newsletter

December, 2017

Message from Principal Kluver

As we head into the colder months of the school year, it is important to remember pick up and drop off safety for students. Please remain watchful as you drive near our building.

Every morning buses use Payne Street to drop students off. We ask that parents use the parking lot or the drop off lane between Jefferson and St. Paul's during that time. This ensures safe arrivals by keeping Payne Street clear of traffic. For safety reasons, make sure to drop students off between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. Jefferson doors do not open for students until 7:30 a.m.

At dismissal, buses use the parking lot to pick up students. If you plan to pick up your child(ren) after school, please use Payne Street, or 3rd and 4th Avenues to park your car. This will help keep congestion minimal during dismissal times. Students will wait outside near the building until the person picking them up comes to the building to meet them. Any students who are not picked up by 3:15 will be brought to the office to call for a ride. They will then be sent back outside to wait for their ride.

As always, make sure your child(ren) has appropriate clothing for the weather. Thank you for your cooperation in keeping everyone safe.

PBIS Place

At Jefferson Elementary School we take pride in demonstrating our SOAR expectations. This year we put our pride into lyrics. We have been singing our school song/pledge since the first week of school. Ask your child to demonstrate it for you!

As Eagles we aim for the sky,

Using self-control as we fly by.

We do our best, on-task we stay,

In school to learn all through the day.

Being accountable will give us all great pride,

On the wings of respect we ride.

We SOAR to great heights,

and why do we SOAR?

Because we're the Eagles and

“We Expect More!”

Students have picked "I promise" statements as part of developing class pledges that will support our whole school initiative to support acceptance, kindness, and inclusion Our November topic was “Dealing with Strong Emotions.”

Upcoming Events

December 1st- No school (workshop day)

December 5th- PBIS assembly

December 8th- All school pajama day

December 14th- Last day to donate to Santa's closet

December 22nd- Red and Green Day

December 25th-Jan 1st- No school (winter break)

1st Grade

Literacy instruction for first graders has focused on the digraphs ph, wh, ck, wr, and kn. Along with working on digraphs, we learned how to read words with r-controlled vowels ar, or, er, ir, and ur. The mentor texts for the month were The Relatives Came, Wemberly Worried, Scaredy Squirrel, and Turkey Trouble. These books help develop our comprehension skills. The first graders also read non-fiction texts about turkeys. They used their research to create individual fact books to share with their families. In grammar, we are writing complete sentences beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period, question mark, or exclamation point.

In math, we used the math mountain strategy to problem solve. We created mountains and equations for many different kinds of story problems. It can help us with addition, subtraction, and the missing addend. An example of a missing addend problem is 4+__= 9. The biggest number, (king of the hill), goes on the top. The partners for the biggest number go on the bottom parts of the mountain. We can count on from 4 to 9 and get the answer of 5. We include story problems with money also. The children were wonderful problem solvers!!

Social Studies units this month included learning about Veterans Day, Native Americans, Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving. The children compared life today with long ago times.

2nd Grade

Time has flown by and we are already finished with the third month of school for second grade. In November we worked hard to continue to become better readers, writers and mathematicians.

Mentor Sentences

Each week we read a focus book and look at a mentor sentence from the text. We focus and work with that mentor sentence all week by looking at what makes it excellent. We also look at the parts of speech in the sentence and we work to create a sentence much like the one we have been studying. Using mentor sentences helps us develop skills to become better writers and editors.

Veteran's Day

This month we learned about and celebrated veterans. We learned who they are and what they do. We made placemats for veterans to use for their meal at HyVee. In writing we focused on friendly letters, so we wrote letters to veterans we knew. These letters expressed our thanks for their service that keeps us safe and free.


November is a month for thanks and giving back. In our readings this month we took a look at the first Thanksgiving and where all the traditions started. Who knew that a turkey could have almost been our state bird! With all the talk about Thanksgiving, it left us with time to reflect on the things we are thankful for.

Meet Ms. Erb

This is Ms. Erb's first year teaching second grade. She finished grad school last May while teaching in a first grade classroom. She moved from the suburbs to New Ulm in August and is enjoying finding activities to do around this new city. Please say hello to her if you see her in the hall. Things she loves: spending time with family and friends, traveling, yoga, reading and watching the Vikings.

3rd Grade

Third graders spent most of November working on lines, classifying quadrilaterals and learning how to solve word problems. In reading, we read: Finding Winne, Princess Hyacinth, Creature Features, and Turkey Bowl. Students learned how to ask and answer questions, find the problem and solution, and facts and supporting details. The third graders searched for seeds for their seed projects, the learned about the parts of a plant, photosynthesis and traits of different plants. Social Studies has enhanced the students knowledge by learning about continents, oceans, and other different landforms.

Meet Ms. Smestad

This is Miss. Smestads’ third year of teaching and second year of teaching third grade, previously she taught kindergarten in Windom. She grew up in Windom, MN and spent most of her time at the arena where her dad put her on skates, and on the ice when she was nine months old. She has been figure skating ever since and even skated in New Ulm during the summer. If she isn’t skating you can normally find her reading a great book!

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4th Grade

Fourth graders have been working on place value to the millions place and adding/subtracting larger numbers in math class. In reading, our focus has been on skills of visualizing, summarizing, and figurative language. For writing, we are practicing persuasive writing with defending Turkey's wish to not be eaten on Thanksgiving.

We are so proud of how many books students have read during the first quarter. Way to go!

In Science, students are learning about Physical Science- Heat and Energy. Students will learn how heat transfers and generates through some fun labs. They've also been practicing how to read a thermometer in Celsius. For Social Studies, we continue our geographical study of the Midwest Region of the United States.

Fourth graders have had some exciting opportunities to enjoy the fine arts this last month. On November 16th, we were invited to New Ulm High School to watch their fall musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What an amazing way to see one of our favorite children's books on a stage! Also, for the last few weeks, students have been learning about famous artists and their work in a program called Art Adventure which is organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In December, students will be going on docent led tours at MIA to see these pieces in real life. On that same trip to Minneapolis, students will be entertained by the Children's Theatre in their production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Spotlight on Staff: Mrs. Brown

Lisa Brown has been working in the New Ulm schools since 2007 and most of that in fourth grade at Washington and Jefferson. She lives in New Ulm with her husband and two children.

Her family likes to go fishing 'Up North' together and listen to country music. Her kids are involved in baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis which keeps the family pretty busy! Go Eagles!

Jefferson Media Center

Media Minute: We have more new books in the library after our book fairs! The kids are really excited about Dogman, the new Dork Diaries and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books that recently came out. Need a Christmas present idea? BOOKS, or gift cards for books!

All students had an introduction to online books through programs like EPIC, Storyline Online and Just Books Read Aloud. This is another great way for kids to interact with books. They hear fluent readers who read with expression and they can work on comprehension and vocabulary.

First and second graders will have lessons on fiction and nonfiction books and genres of books. They will be introduced to the Dewey Decimal system as a point of reference. Third and fourth graders have learned how to search for books on our webpage. We’ve also worked on the Dewey Decimal system as they search for nonfiction books. Try this link to have them show you how! Jefferson Tech webpage

Technology Times: Students will be working on creating documents of text and pictures in Google docs as holiday wish lists get longer and longer.

Coding is the topic of December as all Jefferson students will take part in the HOUR OF CODE the week of Dec. 4-10. Kids from all over the world will join in this time of computer programming. Take a look at our Jefferson webpage and your child can show YOU how to code! Jefferson Tech webpage. If you’d like to learn more about coding click on this link Hour of Code video to learn more, or go to


Our Jefferson musicians are busy singing, playing instruments, creating rhythm patterns, dancing, and playing games! All grades started the year by learning our new Jefferson S.O.A.R.S. Song that we get to perform at all assemblies.

4th graders are getting ready to play the recorder in January by reviewing letter note names on the treble clef staff and practicing rhythm patterns. 3rd graders showed their knowledge of playing an ostinato pattern on the xylophone with the book “Old Black Fly” by Jim Aylesworth. 2nd graders are learning new rhythm patterns and focusing on sequencing with “There Was an Old Lady” series books. 1st graders are also learning new rhythm patterns and working on recognizing high and low sounds with Stars and Frogs.

All students had the opportunity to sing patriotic songs for Veterans Day. We sang and did activities with the songs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”, “America the Beautiful”, “Yankee Doodle”, “Star Spangled Banner”, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, and “This Land is Your Land”.

One date to remember is March 23rd for the 3rd grade music and phy. ed. program.

We look forward to having fun in music the rest of the year with your students!

Literacy Corner

This month we are going to start an exciting new Reading challenge. Students will be given the opportunity to show how they read outside of school by completing different ways of reading. Adults can snap pictures of the child reading and share them on social media with us. All students will receive the sheet during the first week of December. Please watch your child’s backpack for the challenge topics. I am very excited to see how all of ours students read outside of school! #NUEaglesRead

Book recommendations:

Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns This nonfiction book explains how butterflies are raised on farms in Costa Rica, and travel all the way to the United States.

Jefferson Reading Tutors Needed! Do you enjoy working with kids? Do you have a heart to serve and help others? Check out the Reading Corps website for more information.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime:

Nurse's Notes

Hand Washing 101 - Now that the holidays are here, we start to see an increase in illnesses because people are getting together for parties and fun and spreading germs like crazy! The number one way to stop the spread of germs is to wash your hand often and correctly.

You should wash your hands before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after sneezing into our hands, after playing with pets, and on an on! If you're sick, wash your hands often to prevent spreading your germs to others. If you ever think "Should I wash my hands?" probably should!

To wash your hands effectively...get your hands wet, lather up soap and start scrubbing! Use friction to wash palms, in between fingers, top of hands and wrist. Wash for about 20 seconds (or have kids sing the ABC song). Using friction helps to loosen germs and wash them down the drain. Thoroughly rinse your hands and dry well.

Hand sanitizers are ok to use only if you don't have access to soap, but soap and water are still the best way to wash your hands.

Title I

We’ll begin by thanking all the families who attended our Family Math Night! We enjoyed sharing math games that teach with everyone.

Here are some Fun Holiday Reading Activities from

1. Pair books with day trips – The night before you visit a museum, landmark, or special exhibition, find books and websites to read with your child to help plan your trip together.

2. Create a holiday reading list – Take a trip to the library and put together a list of books your child would like to read during the holidays. Display the list somewhere you’ll see every day, like on the refrigerator, and reward your child with something small each time they check off a new title.

3. Make ‘DEAR’ time fun time – DEAR stands for ‘Drop Everything and Read’, where everybody in the house must drop what they’re doing and read a book. Make it spontaneous and exciting, similar to announcing a special treat!

4. Read to relatives – Encourage your child to show off their new reading skills to grandparents or relatives by reading them a story. Most children love being the focus of attention, and grandparents are usually more than happy to encourage their progress.

5. Follow a recipe – Cooking together is so much fun over the holidays and provides a great opportunity for your child to read out the ingredients and steps. Afterwards, help them write a menu for guests and family members, using as many descriptive words as they can.

6. Create a family book tree – Cut out the shape of a tree from a large sheet of construction paper and invite the whole family to decorate it, adding the words ‘My Family Book Tree’. Hang up your tree near your usual reading area, and as each person reads a book they can write down the title and add a new leaf.

7. Re-enact stories and perform them for relatives – Choose a well-loved story with fun and interesting characters and re-enact it from beginning to end. Prepare some props and perform your story as a family for relatives when they come to visit. Here are some great tips for raising a reader through dramatic play.

8. Start a reading circle with some friends – Host a weekly reading circle at your house and invite your child’s friends and family to join in. They can take turns choosing which books to read together each week.

9. Play fun literacy games on long car trips – If you’re planning a long road trip during the holidays, games like ‘I Spy’ and simple category games can be great for building essential literacy skills. Don’t forget to also stock up on good books for the road!

Happy Holidays! Lisa Thorson, Jean Jore, Dawn Portner

Special Education

Winter Break is just around the corner! Spend time this year completing this Winter Break Challenge! These activities will help students maintain their school skills throughout the break. Think about motivating them with a special activity or treat of their choice! Not only will students have fun working to earn the reward, but everyone will be rewarded by spending quality time together. This activity may be modified to your child’s current grade level or abilities. How many of you are up to the challenge?! Happy Holidays and Good Luck from the Jefferson Special Education Team
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Rooted in nutrition

Beets, jicama, turnips, rutabaga, radishes, kohlrabi, and yucca are hardy root vegetables that pack a mean nutrient punch. These cousins to the cruciferous vegetable family provide ample disease fighting antioxidants, Vitamin C, and potassium, and can be easily roasted, boiled, or mashed like a potato. Due to their hardy nature, root veggies can survive cold weather, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month! They are a cost effective option for winter nutrition in cold climates when little else is growing. Jicama and radishes can be eaten raw and will give your salad a nice crunch, while beets, turnips and parsnips can be diced, roasted, and tossed with cinnamon for a savory side dish. Look for these versatile veggies on your next trip to the grocery store or farmers market. They’re easy to prepare (just wash, peel, chop), full of fiber, and fun to eat!

Root for Exercise

Veggie power-up your next game or workout with root vegetable fuel. These mighty veggies provide complex carbohydrates which are needed to score touchdowns, run longer, and cheer harder! Root vegetables also provide the body with protein, the building blocks used to make muscles stronger, and therefore make an excellent post-workout recovery meal. After exercise, your muscles are drained of energy and need to be replenished. Refueling with a meal balanced with protein and carbohydrates will ensure your muscles are rebuilt and ready for your next workout. Other helpful workout recovery tips include ample stretching and hydration. Keep in mind that unless you exercised for an extended period of time or in excessive heat, a sports drink isn’t really necessary. Stick to water and whole foods to give your body what it needs, without unnecessary calories and sugar from a sports drink. If plain water won’t cut it, slice fresh lemon or orange wedges into your water for a naturally flavorful drink.

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Counseling Connection

Counseling Connection

I believe there is some confusion around exactly what a School Counselor’s job entails, and I also think it’s important for me to explain to staff, families, and the community what my job duties are as Jefferson Elementary School Counselor.

Children’s mental health ---which includes their ability to cope with problems, to work cooperatively with others, and to regulate their emotions and behavior---is key to their success in school. I work to address the social and emotional needs of as many students as possible in order to support New Ulm Public Schools’ mission to “Prepare students to be successful in a 21st Century World.” My methods and curricula comply with American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national standards.

Individual Counseling

I often work with students individually in the areas of personal/social, behavior or academic concern. During sessions with students I utilize play therapy techniques, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, and other therapeutic techniques as a way to address school counseling goals as outlined by ASCA. Activities and lesson plans are designed to meet that student’s immediate needs.

Small Group Counseling

Many students benefit from small group counseling to address social concerns or to help them discover that others have similar experiences. Small group is a wonderful opportunity for students to build relationships with one another and create a support system while going through difficult experiences. Small groups are organized by specific area of focus and compatibility of personalities. Students are placed in a group when a need is seen by parent, teacher, and/or counselor. Small groups are part of Response to Intervention (RTI).

Classroom Guidance Lessons

As often as possible I am in classrooms and teaching students. My goal is to visit each classroom at Jefferson one time per month. So far this year classrooms have gotten an “Introduction to the School Counselor,” and a “STEP lesson,” where they were taught a strategy to independently solve their problem. Classroom lessons can cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to: stress, teamwork, problem solving, personal space/boundaries, test taking tips, grit/growth mindset, how to treat others/be a good friend/Upstander, etc. Classroom teachers may also request a specific type of lesson for their classroom if they are seeing a continued behavior and/or attitude that is problematic to their classroom environment.

Crisis Intervention

Being able to respond to crises means making myself available as quickly to help someone manage an urgent need or issue. Crisis situations happen with students, parents, and/or staff. Unexpected, unscheduled sessions are a fairly regular event for me at Jefferson.

As the year continues to progress I will work on numbers and publish in future newsletters my direct contact with students, and families. As well as my consultation with staff, and other outside agencies. As always, if you believe I could be of assistance to your student, do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or by phone.

Jenna Helget


Phone: (507) 233-3503