GCIS Weekly News 1/13/17

Weekly Celebrations, Successes, and Up Coming Events!

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

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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

Our lost and found table is starting to pile up. Please check your child's wardrobe at home and remind them to check the table if you are missing anything.

Anyone coming to school without boots or proper clothing to be in the snow, will be spending recess on the cement area in front of the building. This is the only area that is scooped daily and free of snow. Please remind students to bring their winter clothing on a daily basis. Especially as our winter weather is reeving up!

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!

Lit- These week introduced another piece of a good book review, the opinion. We have spent quite a bit of time learning how to support opinions with reasons and details. Next week we will begin our FAST testing. This is an assessment that shows us how fluently your child reads. Your child will be reading aloud to their teacher- having your child read aloud to you at home could help them prepare for this assessment.

Math- We have been learning all about Multiplicative Comparison Number Stories. Students have been solving comparison number stories and writing equations representing the comparisons. Our multiplication facts are becoming more and more important as we progress throughout the year, continue to practice these facts at home with your children.

Science- In Science we have moved on from plants and are currently studying animals and their adaptations. What do animals do to survive in their habitats? What is the difference between behavioral and structural adaptations? Students will be focusing on an animal of their choice and researching what adaptations it has to fit the environment it lives in.

5th Grade Happenings!

Lit/SS- In our Lit classes we are working on making inferences. The kids are catching on to this, and doing a great job! In Social Studies the students are doing a mini research project on one of the Native American groups of their choice. They will present these to the class once these are completed!

Some of our students are starting to receive letters back from the author’s they wrote to. This is super exciting for the students!!

Math: We are diving into the fraction unit. Working with equivalents and simplifying fractions. Good luck to us.

Science: We are working on reading and notetaking in our animal adaptation unit. A few videos showing how animals survive in different environments have helped us with our learning.

6th Grade Happenings!

In science, students are still learning about matter. They are using an online simulation to collect data about different types of atoms. They are then analyzing this data to answer questions they have about atoms. This will help them answer their original question about the differences between atoms, elements, molecules, and particles.

In math, students are working on writing and simplifying algebraic expressions.

Music News!

4th Grade General Music: We are taking time to reflect on note values, note names and demonstrating through words and showing how to finger certain notes on their recorders. Music vocabulary the students will be discussing, defining, and demonstrating are steady beat and rhythm.

5th Grade General Music: Students are learning strategies to begin reading music and by analyzing melodic contours of songs. If they can see the directions in which the notes ascend or descend, it makes sight singing a bit easier.

6th Grade General Music: This week students concluded discussion on Jazz and were introduced to the Swing Era. They are realizing that many of the great musicians’ lives spanned over several eras of music in the United States making them very influential to music we hear today. i.e. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie


6th grade art students are creating 3D animal sculptures with model magic.

5th grade art students have started giant stick figures to hang in the hallway like the artwork of Keith Haring.

4th grade art students are finishing their glaciers by adding northern lights and an arctic animal of their choice.


Some 4th grade TAG students made a working rubber band race car! They've been experimenting with it by changing little things to see what will make it go farther. The other group made an Artbot - a robot that creates ART!

5th grade TAG students are doing a project based on sounds animals make in nature.

6th grade TAG students have finished their marble run and are still working on a poster to help them present the scientific forces to their classrooms.

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Media & Tech Lit

Our students are moving forward in their lessons on Tinkercad. By the end of this week, they should all have learned their basic tools, such as navigation, shapes, workplane, and how to move objects into the workplane. They are also beginning to learn to resize an object and how to convert a shape into a hole. By combining a shape and a hole (which is a negative space), they can create an entirely new shape!

It is so interesting to watch these students while they work. They are helping each other with logging in, collaborating on the steps of the lessons, and encouraging each other. The anticipation of what will be created in the coming weeks is hardly bearable! What an exciting opportunity for our students!

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Physical Education

We have had a good start back from Christmas. Spending some time with an activity called fitness concentration, where they have to work together as a team to solve their goal. Our bowling unit will be coming up the first week of February. This year we will be going over the Spare Lanes in Jefferson instead of Grand Junction, since it’s much cheaper.

Counseling News

A Word on Cyberbullying…

Teaching kids how to be responsible online includes having conversations with them about preventing cyberbullying from happening. Basic online safety guidelines go a long way in keeping our kids safe, but we can take additional steps to prevent cyberbullying by teaching kids how to responsibly identify and prevent it.

StaySafeOnline.org, offers the following tips to protect ourselves and our families from online threats:

  • Limit where your children post personal information.

  • Avoid escalating the situation by not responding to unwanted email messages.

  • Document cyberbullying by keeping a record of any online activity.

  • Report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities if you or your child are being harassed or threatened.

Visit Stay Safe Online.org to read about this and other articles concerning online security:


Nurse News!

Healthy Living Tips for 2017 from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
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