The Morris Minute

January 2019

Welcome to The Morris Minute!

This is the place to find updates for staff, parents, and families of Morris Elementary. Thank you for checking it out!

From The Desk of Mr. Anderson...

Hello Morris Families!

As you can imagine, our growth over the last five-plus years has led to many challenges. There are many teachers here that can recall the two, three, or four-section grade levels. As of right now, we are currently sitting at nine kindergarten (plus one Developmental Kindergarten), eight first grade, and seven second grade sections. Along with finding space for all of our students at Morris, the challenges of teamwork and common planning run deep throughout the school year.

Our grade levels operate in Blue and White teams. Basically, half of the teachers at each grade level operate on relatively the same schedule. They plan together, go over student data together, and discuss ways to respond to students that may, or may not be, progressing adequately toward proficiency on the standards being taught. We also allow some time each Monday for Blue/White teams to collaborate together and maintain somewhat of a "big picture" schedule.

How does this impact you? It may not be uncommon for a student from a teacher that is on the Blue Team to come home with an assignment at a different time as a student that is placed in a teacher's room that works with the White Team. They may not even be the same assignment, but may be working on the same skill. That is OK! Each team may be using a different "check-up" to determine if they are reaching their students or not. At the end of a "unit", the teachers are all using the same assessment to do the same thing: to see if our students are understanding the concepts being taught.

Our teachers are working hard throughout the school year building capacity in many areas. Our Professional Learning Communities are constantly working collaboratively to reach our students. If you have any questions regarding your child and the work they are sharing with you, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher. As the person who works with your child day in and day out, they would have a greater knowledge and picture to help you understand!

I cannot believe we are in January already! The new addition is going well and we hope to remain on schedule to be able to decide if we want to occupy it this spring, or wait until fall to use it. The gymnasium addition will not be done in time to use it this year, but we may be able to utilize the parking lot in the late spring to offer a trial run of how pick up and drop off may go on the south end of the building. I will be in touch with some families, not all families, if we would choose to do that. Stay tuned! The construction process has been a wild ride thus far and amazing to watch!

Happy 2019 to all of you! I hope that your 2018 was a year filled with whatever you wanted and needed it to be, and that your 2019 is filled with many of the same! Goals are great challenges to all of us, and I am certainly no stranger to failing at them for sure. Keep trying and stay positive! Your best is all you can do, right? Have a great January! Spring Break will be here before we know it!


Mr. Anderson

Important Dates to Remember

January 3 - First Day back for students for 2019!

January 3 - PTO Meeting - 6:30pm - Morris Library

January 7 - 2pm Dismissal

January 14 - 2pm Dismissal

January 18 - Vocabulary Parade

January 21 - 2pm Dismissal

January 28 - 2pm Dismissal

January 28 - Tentative 100th Day of School

February 4 - 2pm Dismissal

February 5 - First Grade Field Trip to CY Stephens in Ames

February 11 - 2pm Dismissal

Traffic! Traffic! Traffic!

In case you missed it, or would like to review, click HERE to view the traffic update Mr. Anderson sent out in December. Student safety is our number one priority - please follow the traffic plan in order to keep students safe and keep our pick up line moving!

Morris Elementary's 3rd Annual Vocabulary Parade Info

Who: Kindergarten through 2nd Grade students at Morris Elementary

(With regret, parents are not be able to attend our parade. Don’t worry! Teachers will be taking photos of students dressed up and sharing those later.)

What: Morris Elementary’s 3rd Annual Vocabulary Parade! Your student will need to select a word and create a costume to match. How would you show the word BLIZZARD? Or CROOKED? Or ILLUMINATE? From A to Z, consider the entire dictionary your playground! There are TONS of ideas online or ask your student about a word that interests them. Students should also have a sign showing their word and definition. The sign can be attached to their costume, worn on a string or name-tag, or carried with them. *No hair-dye or face paint, please!*

When: Our parade will be on FRIDAY, JANUARY 18TH! You may send your student to school in their costume. Each teacher will decide when to hold their parade. After the parade is finished, students may continue to wear their costumes as long as they do not interfere with their learning. While it is not required to participate, we hope everyone joins in on the fun! Be sure to have a costume that is easy to move in or easily removable so your student can fully participate in gym and recess, and be able to sit at their desk and at the lunch table. :)

Why: Our school and teachers are always looking for fun, interactive ways to get kids learning! A vocabulary parade is a great way to allow kids a dress-up day that also gives meaning/teaches students new words. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they take ownership for their word and how well they can explain and describe what it means!

If you have any questions, please ask your student’s teacher!

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Please remember to save Box Tops for Morris Elementary! Our school puts all box top money towards new library books. Last year, we were able to get more than $500 worth of awesome new books for our students! Your students can turn box tops in at the office, or to their classroom teacher.

Backpack Program

The Backpack Program is a partnership between The Food Bank of Iowa and Bondurant-Farrar Elementary Schools. The goal of this program is to help end childhood hunger in Iowa and assist preschool through fifth grade families that are experiencing financial hardship or food insecurity. On Fridays, a Backpack food bundle is put into the backpack of each participating student. The Backpack bundles are made up of packaged food items that can easily be opened or prepared by children for a two-day weekend. If you are a family who would like to participate in this program or have more questions, please contact Mrs. McConnell at

A few notes from Ms. Jen

Hope your New Year is off to a great start - you will notice the PE Schedule is missing from this issue. Mr. Wiersma was on Jury Duty and is now ill. I will get it out to you as soon as we have it. Just know that January 3 is Day 1 and we go on from there. When in doubt, make sure your child always has gym shoes available to them. :)

Life just gets in the way sometimes to have everything perfect all of the time. As I'm sure it does with all of you. Please don't ever think anyone is judging you for forgetting to call or email to let us know what is going on with your student. We all understand (far too well, at least for me) that our brains take a little break sometimes and forget things two seconds after we thought we should do them. (Hello, turning the car around to go back for my purse after the big holiday gathering at my parents' house...) That being said, it is my job to remind you of things here at Morris, so here goes:

  • Please be sure to send an extra set of clothes (winter, not summer) in case of any accidents, sickness, or spills.
  • The Vocabulary Parade is meant to be a fun way to introduce students to new words - it is NOT required, but students love to participate. You do not need to spend any money on this project - just come up with something fun with what you have at home. (The first year, I dressed in all blue since it fell on a jeans day, and my word was Monochromatic.)
  • The 100th Day of the School Year is tentatively scheduled for Monday, January 28 - if we have any snow days, this date will move. Our teachers always come up with fun ways to get the students engaged in counting to 100. Again, nothing that costs money - but fun activities for everyone to enjoy. (Just wanted to get it on your radar - often times the kids bring in items to count.)
  • Bear with us as our construction projects continue - hard to believe, but we will be done in five short months!

Have a great rest of the month and we will chat again soon!


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