Elementary News and Views – May 2014

I believe we can finally say the school year is drawing to a close!!! It’s wonderful being able to get outside and play and enjoy the sun. As we begin our final month of school, know that we are still focused on curriculum and getting students to meet grade level outcomes. We also have some fun activities planned for these last few weeks, so please check your child’s take-home folder for specific activities related to your child(ren).
A Thought for you to consider……….May 5th thru May 9th- Teacher Appreciation Week!
When you look back on your educational experiences there always comes to mind one or two teachers – teachers who truly made a difference and left an indelible impression on us. There is no doubt that when our students look back they will have that same feeling of appreciation and gratification. We have so many talented and dedicated teachers who truly care about students. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our staff and students and their parents. These teachers bring great enthusiasm to their classrooms; students engage wholeheartedly in learning; and parents that clearly demonstrate a passion for their child’s education. Thanks for making Johnson Creek Elementary a great place to learn and grow!
Upcoming Events…
Wednesday, April 30th-  4th grade Farm Trip/ County Agriculture Days
Friday, May 2nd- Pioneer Days for Grade 3 at Community Center
Tuesday, May 6th – 4th Grade to Old World Wisconsin (Rescheduled from May 1st due to the rainy weather)
Wednesday, May 7th- Walk or Ride To School Day (raindate May 8th)
Thursday, May 8th- 4K and Early Childhood to Ebert’s
Friday, May 9th-    Kindergarten Mother’s Day Spa
                           4K Round-Up day/class visitation
Sunday , May 11th –  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Tuesday, May 13th – 5K to Betty Brinn Museum
Weeks of May 6th and May 13th- MAP testing for elementary students/PALS testing for 4K,5K and grade 1.
Please check your child’s folder for dates that your child’s class will be taking the test.
Please try to have them well-rested and ready to show us all they have learned!
May 14th- Early Release. Students dismissed at 11:30

Thursday, May 22nd – School Cook-Out (see insert for more details)
Wednesday, May 28th- ALL SCHOOL Field trip to UW- Whitewater- Track and Field Day

Friday, May 30th- 3rd Grade to Webster House
Monday, June 2- 1st Grade to Milwaukee Zoo
Friday, June 6- Last Day of School. Children dismissed at 11:30AM
                     9 AM Grade 4-5 Awards Ceremony
On Wednesday, May 7th students from Johnson Creek Elementary School are encouraged to participate in the national “Walk Bike to School” program.  This event benefits our community with   an increase of exercise, a reduction in pollution, and traffic reduction.  Students who ride their bikes to school on that day can simply park them in the bike racks outside of the school. As the elementary physical education teacher, I will be visiting classrooms to find out which students did participate. While we realize that it is not possible or logical for all students to participate in this event, ALL students will be entered into raffle prize drawings to celebrate our success at the next POPS assembly!
A rain date for Thursday, May 8th has been set in the event of uncooperative weather.  If you have any further questions,  please let Mr. Probst know!

As the weather warms, more and more students are riding bikes and walking to school. Parents, please be very careful as you drive near the school and in the school parking lots. Please remember to follow the circular route established in the Fall and be VERY aware of students moving.  Do not leave cars unattended in the circle and stay within the single line for pick-up and drop-off. Also, watch for crossing guards and follow their directives in regards to children crossing the roads. Everyone should cross roads at the crossing guard locations. We want everyone to be safe. Thanks for your attention to this important matter.


PLANT SALE PICK-UP- May 23, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Friends of Our School is looking for volunteers and product donations for our Pernat’s Brat Fry on Saturday, June 28. We are in need of condiments, plates, napkins, chips and beverages (soda and bottled water). If you are interested in volunteering or donating please contact Jean Skogman (jean.skogman@gmail.com).


By Adam Grant
What does it take to raise a compassionate, moral child? asks Adam Grant (Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) in this New York Times article. Researchers have found that worldwide, this is parents’ number one priority – instilling caring is more important to them than their children’s achievement. But how much difference do parents make in this area? Are some children born good-natured and others mean-spirited? Studies of twins suggest that between one-quarter and one-half of people’s propensity to be kind is inherited – which means that parents and the environment account for up to three-quarters. Drawing on the psychological research, Grant has these suggestions for adults working with children:
        • Praise is more effective than rewards. If we want to reinforce caring, “Rewards run the risk of leading children to be kind only when a carrot is offered, whereas praise communicates that sharing is intrinsically worthwhile for its own sake,” says Grant.
        • With children around 8 years old, praise character, not actions. Say, for example, “You’re a very nice and helpful person,” which leads children to internalize being helpful as part of their identity. However, this approach doesn’t work with younger children, who haven’t formed a stable sense of self, and with children 10 and older, there’s no difference in whether they’re praised for character or actions.
        • Nouns work better than verbs. It’s better to encourage a child to “be a helper” than “to help,” and it’s better to say, “Please don’t be a cheater” than “Please don’t cheat.” Grant explains: “When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us.”
        • With bad behavior, evoke guilt, not shame. “Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, whereas guilt is the feeling that I have done a bad thing,” says Grant. “Shame is a negative judgment about the core self, which is devastating; shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether. In contrast, guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior. When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right.” When parents get angry, withdraw their love, and threaten punishments, children feel shame and believe they’re bad people. Some parents are so worried about this dynamic that they fail to discipline their children – which can get in the way of moral development.
        • With bad behavior, say you’re disappointed. “Expressing disappointment, explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation,” says Grant, “enables children to develop standards for judging their actions, feelings of empathy and responsibility for others, and a sense of moral identity, which are conducive to becoming a helpful person. The beauty of expressing disappointment is that it communicates disapproval of the bad behavior, coupled with high expectations and the potential for improvement: ‘You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing, and I know you can do better.’”
        • Model caring and generous behavior. Studies have shown that children pay more attention to what adults do than what they preach. “Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do,” says Grant.
[There’s an interesting contrast between these findings and Carol Dweck’s research and advocacy on praising children for working hard and being strategic rather than for being “smart” – praising actions rather than innate qualities. It seems there is a difference between the way researchers think about the development of moral character versus intelligence.  K.M.]
“Raising a Moral Child” by Adam Grant in The New York Times, April 13, 2014 (p. SR1, 6-7),

Xcel Fitness has been holding a morning boot camp  in the high school gymnasium for the past year. April’s session averaged 31 people per morning! The class is run and instructed by Trent Probst who also is our elementary physical education teacher. The fitness class is for adults of all ages and ability levels as exercises are modified to meet the diverse ranges. The May session will be held on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 5:00 A.M. until 5:50 A.M. beginning May 1st. If you would like to sign up for the class please visit www.xcel.net OR show up on May 1st to complete a registration form. The cost for the May session is $55, which includes 14 classes!
If you have any questions about the camp, please contact Mr. Probst.
The Physical Education Department of JC Elementary School has been working all year to promote healthy eating and living. To culminate all of our efforts, JC Elementary will be taking an all-school field trip to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to hold a track and field day.
Children will need to dress for running and jumping (tennis shoes and shorts). The buses will leave at 8:30 and return to school at 2:30. We will be eating sack lunches there, so students should bring a drink and lunch. If needed, you can sign up for our kitchen staff to make a sack lunch for your child at the cost of regular lunch.
We are looking for some parent volunteers to help during this event. Due to a shortage of space on the buses, parents will need to drive to UW- Whitewater themselves, be assigned a task and required to stay the whole time. If parents would just like to watch, you, too, are encouraged to come down.
Everyone plans to have a great time running, jumping and playing games
We plan to keep “Movin and Munchin’ here at JC Elementary!
Summer School registration will be coming out soon. We hope everyone will join us for continued learning.
For some time, the general feeling about summer school has been that this extra instruction provides an additional educational opportunity rather than an actual level of education, such as a grade or semester.
The educational experience some students receive during the regular school year may be less than rewarding and may leave them frustrated. Therefore, the “atmosphere” which summer school creates for your child is the opportunity to discover and develop his or her potential by taking advantage of time outside the normal school period. That’s why participation in summer school can help meet two vital student needs. The first need is the opportunity to continue learning–thereby creating an extension of the regular school year and decreasing students’ “forget factor.” In addition, the summer school experience often provides young people with an option of enrolling in classes that are either remedial or designed to provide enrichment experiences.
The second need is the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills in a much less intense or demanding environment than is encountered during the regular school year. In addition, many young people acquire new educational interests as a result of the summer school program.
Remember, learning is a journey–not a destination. As a parent, you should use teachers as guides to additional learning opportunities–and summer school should be viewed as an opportunity to continue learning well past the last regular school day of the year. For many, summer school is an important student learning vehicle that will be recognized years later as a strength in the learning equation.
We are so fortunate at JC Elementary to have a core of volunteers who come and work with our students every week. We would like to say a big

Tim Hunn                  CJ O’ Neil        Judy Goebel                Rita Giles
Kathleen O’Hearn     Kim Turner      Roberta Gray Leann Courtois  
Judy Behling             Our Middle and High School Volunteers              Kelly Jahn
Friends of Our School

And all of our parents who have come on field trips, events, etc.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and are truly grateful!

My friend, Dr. Foster Cline, is a very wise man. His presentations offer one brilliant piece of advice after another. One of my favorites is, “Every childhood mistake handled well can become a learning experience. Every childhood mistake handled poorly can become the source of resentment.”
Put yourself into this situation: You are a child who “borrowed” your dad’s power screwdriver. You left it out in the driveway overnight, and now it’s missing.
After finally getting up the nerve to admit this to your father, he replies, “Wow! I bet you feel pretty bad about that. I’m planning to do some repair work next weekend and I’m going to need that screwdriver back or I’m going to need a replacement. Let me know how you’re going to solve that. Give me a hug.”
How are you feeling at this moment? What are your feelings toward your dad? Are you mad at your dad or yourself? What kind of learning could take place?
Now suppose that Dad handles it this way instead and replies, “That was really stupid. What in the world were you thinking? How many times have I told you to leave my things alone? This is the kind of thing that really makes me mad. If you don’t find the screwdriver, you’re going to be grounded for two weeks, and I mean it!”
How are you feeling now? If this happens to be Dad’s typical reaction, how many repetitions of these interactions need to take place before resentment builds? How much learning takes place when you see the other person as the source of your bad feelings?
You can hear many of Dr. Cline’s wise words on the MP3 Download Allowing Kids to Choose Success. I like to listen to this audio in my car for both laughs and wisdom.
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Jim Fay

Have a Stress-Free Family Vacation
Summer’s here, and that usually means it’s time to hit the road for a vacation.
Whether your idea of relaxation involves rock climbing or lounging by the pool, you can enjoy a stress-free trip (or at least minimize the hassles) with some basic planning:
  • Involve your children. Whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teenagers, get them engaged in the preparations. Asking them what they want to see and do, and incorporating their wishes as much as possible, will lead to a smoother experience.
  • Pick your time. Flight delays and crowded airplanes rarely improve the quality of your trip. When flying, your best bet is to travel Monday through Wednesday, early in the day. Fly direct if possible to cut the chances of your luggage getting lost (or having to drag your carry-ons from one end of the airport to the other).
  • Pack some snacks. Kids and adults get cranky when they’re hungry. Carry along something healthy to eat: granola bars, raisins or other dried fruit, peanut butter crackers, and treats for when you or your kids need something special.
  • Schedule some downtime. Don’t try to cram too many activities into the day. Rushing through one museum to get to the next one, and the one after that, will quickly grow exhausting. Allow some time to relax, watch TV, read, or take a leisurely stroll.
  • Keep some routine. For small children especially, maintaining some elements of a regular routine will keep things running smoothly. Bedtimes, regular meals, and normal rules of behavior provide a comforting sense of structure.
  • Be flexible. Expect delays so they don’t stress you out. Break the schedule when something more interesting comes up. If you want to spend more time in a museum that intrigues you, do it. You may not have the chance again.
Thank you for working with us here at Johnson Creek Elementary School this school year. We have greatly appreciated your support. We look forward to ending the year on a positive note.
Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

Kris Blakeley

Elementary Principal/Director of Pupil Services

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