K-4 News and Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Fourth grade students in Bridget Mathiowetz’s class at North Elementary had the chance to meet

   Local children's book author Julie Gilbert (upper 
   right with her son, Jesse) recently met with 
   Bridget Mathiowetz's (upper left corner) fourth
   grade class.

virtually with local children’s book author Julie Gilbert, who also is the mother of one of their classmates, Jesse Gilbert.

“Learning and connecting with my students and their families during this time of distance learning has really been amazing,” Mathiowetz said. “Through conversations with one of my students, Jesse Gilbert, I learned about how his mother is a published author for Capstone Publishing out of North Mankato. I dug and did a little research and ordered her books for my classroom shelves. 

“Julie Gilbert writes various genres and has awesome series books for elementary aged students. We decided that a virtual author visit would be a fun way to engage readers and writers.”

During her visit Gilbert showed the class her very first book she wrote in seventh grade and also the published books she's worked on recently. 

“We also talked about the process of writing a book and how a book goes from an idea, to written words, to edited words, and put together into the final product,” Mathiowetz said.

Some books Gilbert has either written or helped write include, the Girls Survive series, Cemetery Songs, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, and the Dark Waters series.

To learn more about the author Julie Gilbert and the books she has written please check out her website at https://www.juliegilbertbooks.com/

Saint Peter Public Schools logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

This is the third year for holiday gift program for kids started by Saint Peter Schools’ SRO Jon Hughes

 SPPS School Resource Office Jon Hughes presents
 a gift card to this youngster through his Shop With
 A Hero program, while fellow officers (and SPHS
 alums) Roman Hagen and Matt Grochow were also
 on hand for the presentation.

St. Peter Police Officer and Saint Peter Public Schools’ Resource Officer (SRO) Jon Hughes had the honor of passing out seventeen $100 gift cards, for Fleet Farm of Mankato recently to 13 students from Saint Peter Public Schools, and two each from Nicollet Public Schools and Dakota Meadows Middle School as part of his Shop With A Hero program during the holiday season.

This is the third year Officer Hughes has organized this event for students in need. Funding for the program comes from the following sponsors: Fleet Farm (Mankato), $500: Minnesota South Central Investigators Coalition (MSCIC), $500: St. Peter Lion’s Club, $150; and charitable gambling proceeds from the Red Men Bar, Embassy Bar, and The Flame Bar, all of St. Peter, $1,000.

“I am so grateful for the sponsors who make this program possible and hopefully bring some holiday cheer to these kids in Nicollet County,” Officer Hughes said. “I started this program two years ago through Shopko here in St. Peter but switched over to Fleet Farm last year after Shopko closed, and they were kind enough again to help out this year.” 

Because of the pandemic situation this year, Officer Hughes, along with some of his fellow law enforcement officers, did deliveries of the card in person this year, adhering to social distancing protocols, instead of shopping with the kids in person as he did in the two previous years. Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lange handed out the two gift cards in Nicollet, and North Mankato Police Chief Ross Gullickson handed out the two for Dakota Meadows.  

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to shop together in person during the holidays in 2021,” Hughes said. 

Middle school logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Each month, teachers will be nominating two students from their house who show Saints PRIDE to become our school’s All Stars. These are students who show Preparedness, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy in their learning, attitude, and behavior.

The following students have been nominated for the month of October. Congratulations and keep up the amazing work!

Oak House: Maya King & Ethan Harbitz

Spruce House: Sammy Rubisko, Saul Ramirez & Charlotte Hagen

Maple House: Isabelle Mish & Keira Friedrich

Pine House: Robin Hibscher & Marcie Severson

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Parent Tech Support Nights were held recently at 
  South Elementary for the school's Somali-
  speaking and Spanish-speaking families to
  familiarize them with Seesaw, South's online
  learning platform. 

Parent Tech Support Nights were held at South Elementary School on October 1st for Saint Peter Public Schools' Somali families and on October 12th for SPPS's Spanish families. The purpose of these events was to familiarize families with South's online learning platform called Seesaw.

Translation services were provided at both sessions, which were facilitated by South staff members Kaari Bly and Laura Zender. Affey Sigat (Somali) and Maripsa Romero (Spanish) served as translators, while Reading Corps tutors and leadership team member Liz Welter provided childcare. 

During the evening, staff members walked students and their parents through the step by step process of recording the student's attendance and using Seesaw to access assignments on digital learning days. 

"One of the biggest lessons we learned from last year's distance learning experience was that we did not have the opportunity to properly instruct our students and families on the tool that we used to deliver instruction," South Principal Doreen Oelke said. "Our goal this fall was to integrate the technology when we have the students in session and support families in using the technology so that they can be successful during distance learning days. These sessions are one way to address language barriers that may prevent students from engaging in their learning. It was wonderful to see so many attend."

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary students (grades 2-4) recently had the opportunity to get a first-hand look at how an election is run, even getting the chance to participate by casting a ballot in a mock election of some of the more popular federal, state and local races.

  Iris Sharstrom and Silas Larson cast their ballots
  β€‹β€‹β€‹β€‹in North Elementary’s election on Nov. 3rd while
  Kalyse Hawker awaits her turn to vote.

Voting booths were set up in various locations around the building giving students the chance to cast the ballot, but not before they learned more about the election process through YMCA of the North’s “Kids Voting” program. Through this program teachers presented a host of nonpartisan lessons, resources, educational tools and hands-on activities for K-12 students that support state benchmarks and encourage the development of civic knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors.

“For social studies we thought it would be a great idea to do an election unit with our upcoming presidential election right around the corner,” North fourth grade teacher, Jennie Friedrich, said. “We had three major learning objectives in the unit: 1.) Students can describe how candidates take action to inform voters on a specific issue 2.) Students can explain what an election is and participate in an election. 3.) Students can explain the importance of voting.” 

“We did a unit on the election process that was led by my student teacher Ms. Annie Fox from Gustavus,” North second grade teacher, Jodi Nixon, said. “We learned the different rules that there are if you want to run for President. We talked about the different jobs that the President has. We had the students fill out a voter registration card and we had them write about what they would do if they were the President.”

In Friedrich’s class, the unit was taught by her student teacher, Gustavus student Liz Kvebak. She taught the students about election objectives by participating in a mock election in which every student got the opportunity to run for class president.

“Students worked together to compile a list of issues that are relevant to North Elementary and their lives,” she said. “A few examples they came up with included: 10 more minutes of recess, pet visit day, more playground equipment for recess, school garden and many more.  The students then took these issues and had to either create a poster, mailout, speech, recording, or commercial to inform their voters aka their classmates.”

To see the results for how the North students voted as well as how students across the state voted please see the following link --> https://studentsvoting.civicengine.com/results