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Articles in Edwards Elementary

Edwards Elementary Maker Theater

On October 13, third graders at Edwards Elementary staged a theater production in front of packed classrooms full of family members and fellow students. The “maker theater” was a collaboration between Edwards teachers and Iowa State University students in the School of Education.

Professors Sara Nelson and Christa Jackson worked with students and staff to combine lessons in literacy and geometry to help develop sets and scripts within the third grade classrooms. The scripts were based on seven children’s books and performed in the form of a reader’s theater. This style gives students an opportunity to focus on fluency and to express themselves while reading. This year’s maker theater was a pilot project with both teachers and ISU professors looking to expand the concept in future versions.

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An Emphasis on Attendance

Attendance Graphic

Student attendance is an important predictor of success in the classroom. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of our education program within the Ames Community School District. Learning lost due to an absence can have a profound effect throughout the school year, and we are placing a greater emphasis on communicating absences with parents this school year.

Our previous attendance policy stated that communications would be sent home after 10 absences. The board supported a proactive approach to addressing chronic absenteeism and on August 21, revised the attendance policy to the following:

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New Fountas & Pinnell Reading Benchmarks

Fountas & Pinnell Graphic

What is the benchmarking assessment that my child takes?

Fountas & Pinnell have developed a Benchmarking Assessment System (BAS) in order to help teachers determine what reading skills your child has mastered and which she/he still needs to learn. In Ames, all K-5 students read aloud all or portions of a text and then engage in a comprehension conversation with the teacher to allow the teacher to better understand how to help the student in a variety of areas, including reading with accuracy and expression, and understanding the meaning of the text. This assessment is administered to all students twice per year.

Fountas & Pinnell have created a 3rd edition of the benchmarking materials which include revised rubrics, texts, teacher prompts, and online capabilities. ACSD purchased this 3rd edition for all elementary buildings as these improvements will allow teachers to more clearly target instruction with each student. Your child’s level may be lower than in the past as the 3rd edition materials are much more rigorous. This drop in levels has been predicted by the publisher and does not indicate that your child’s skills in reading have decreased.   

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Old Edwards Cornerstone

The original Edwards Elementary was built in 1951 and the Board of Education honored the work of David Edwards by naming the “new Fourth Ward school” after him. Edwards was the owner and operator of the Edwards Coal company in Ames and was an influential member of the school board for 18 straight years. During that time, he saw a number of building projects completed, including the construction of Louise Crawford School, the reconstruction of what was the Central Junior High, as well as the Senior High School. He passed away on January 25, 1948.

In 2012, when the Ames community approved a bond measure to rebuild or renovate all of the elementary school buildings, the fate of the old Edwards building was sealed. Unlike other school properties such as Meeker Elementary where a new structure could be built on the same site, there simply was no room on the Edwards property. The Ames Community School District took the opportunity to build a new elementary school in a growing part of town.

History has interesting ways of making itself present. After Edwards Elementary was built in 1951, Meeker Elementary was finished the next year in 1952. Both buildings were done by the same architect and have a similar floorplan. Six decades later, both buildings are new again and followed a similar pattern. The new Edwards Elementary was completed in 2014 with the new Meeker Elementary finished in 2015. They were done by the same architecture firm, and also have a similar floorplan.

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Maker Camp at Edwards School connects technology and imagination

Student demonstrates tech project

School may be out for summer, but there won’t be a learning slump for students participating in a Maker Camp hosted by Edwards Elementary School.

Technology Teacher Librarian Teresa Green, who organized the camp, said the four-day camp engages students in making unique projects using technology, recycling used materials and leftover items, and using everyday items in new and interesting ways.

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Edwards students create Unity Chain

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A paper chain stretches the width of the Edwards Elementary School Commons area, as a visual representation of unity, solidarity, and peace. Parents, teachers, and the school created the chain during the school’s Feb. 14 Friendship Party. The school supplied students with a take-home worksheet to make paper chain strips at home with their families. To honor and reflect on Black History Month and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s messages of peace and friendship, each student wrote his/her identity on the strip, along with a message promoting unity within the Edwards community. Also, the activity encouraged each student to write on additional loops the name of a leader, musician, scientist, or another person from their culture or any other culture the student and/or family views as important to them.

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Preschool registration launches Feb. 1

The youngest learners in the Ames Community School District will get a head start on enrollment with an on-site event at Northwood Preschool Center.

Northwood Principal Brandon Schrauth said it’s important for families to attend the session to provide the documentation the District needs to program planning and to form a connection with the District before school starts next August.

“We want to reach as many families as possible because early childhood education is so important,” Schrauth said. “Gathering paperwork and completing online forms is a necessary step in getting enrolled in preschool,” he said, “but it’s just as important to meet families and answer any questions they have.”

What to expect at Preschool Registration

Parents and guardians may enroll children in preschool who will be 4 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.

Parents and guardians who meet certain income guidelines may enroll children in the Early Success 3-Year-Old Preschool Program who will be 3 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.

Parents and guardians will complete an information form online.

Parents and guardians should bring proof of the child’s age such as a birth certificate or passport, student physical report and immunization records; and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.

Northwood Preschool Center is at 3012 Duff Avenue.

Learn more about preschool registration

 

 

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Kindergarten registration starts Jan. 26, 2017

Kindergarten enrollment sessions have long been a tradition for Ames Schools, and this year, Registrar Barbara Peterson is hosting the sessions at the new District Offices.

“Gathering paperwork and completing online forms is a necessary step in getting enrolled in kindergarten or preschool,” Peterson said, “But it’s just as important for us to meet families and answer any questions they have. Our new offices offer a welcoming and functional space to do that.” 

What to expect at Kindergarten Registration

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in kindergarten who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2017.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online and a Home Language Survey, 
  • Parents and guardians should bring proof of the child’s age, such as the original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal or passport,  proof of residency (lease, mortgage, house title, or utility bill with current address), and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.

The Ames Public Library will provide story time, and representatives from busing and school meal services will be available to provide information. Other community organizations with early childhood services will be on hand. District Family Ambassadors, who are parents of current students, will be available to give support and supervise a playroom for children aged 2 and over.

 

 

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Edwards Maker Faire sparks students’ creative solutions

Edwards Elementary students have embraced the Making process to create solutions to challenges and craft new games and 3D objects using a wide array of materials. Technology Teacher / Librarian Teresa Green led students in each grade to provide challenges for their projects and help them research ideas for their solution before designing and building. On Tuesday, March 29, students shared their creations with parents, friends, and their peers at the school’s second annual Maker Faire.

Green said first grade students were challenged to create a marble run from recycled materials. Second graders opted to design and build a cardboard arcade based upon the video “Cain’s Arcade”.

“Third grade students learned about Simple Machines and were challenged to create a chain reaction or a marble run in which a marble drops into a cup after using at least two simple machines in the process,” Green said.

Third grader Charles Hargrove said about his chain reaction machine, “It was hard to figure out how to make it work, but when we did, it was really fun.”

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Edwards fourth grader Adrian Cardenas demonstrates a Makey Makey Game Controller he made with classmate Spencer Hostetter.

Fourth graders learned to create circuits using LittleBits, Makey Makeys, or Snap Circuits.

“Given an open range of choices, most fifth grade students worked with Tinkercad to create or tinker with 3D objects that would be used in their projects,” Green said. Others worked with engineering and design challenges with cardboard construction.

“And others worked with animation and movie production as they created game ideas, human interest stories, and public service announcements,” she said.

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