K-4 News and Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary fourth grade students in Mrs. Friedrich's and Mr. Lewis's classrooms, through the generosity of the local Domino's and McDonald's, took part in a fun math activity during an afternoon in late November.

  Abdullahi Farah waited on Principal Darin Doherty
  during Mr. Lewis’s restaurant unit as part of their
  math unit.

The classrooms set up a restaurant with the food donated from both local businesses. Students took turns selling and buying food from each restaurant.

"We used this lesson to help us apply our knowledge of fractions and decimals to real world situations," Friedrich said. "We're so thankful to Domino's and McDonald's for helping us out with this."

Students took turns being workers and patrons at the restaurant. Each student and staff member, who were patrons, were given a "debit" card with a $10 limit to purchase food. Principal Darin Doherty even stopped by to check things out and grab a quick snack!

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

  Mrs. Eyler's first grade class at South took part in
  the reading fun recently, while the Read A Thon
  Bear made sure there weren't any interruptions.

South Elementary School's Star Pride PBIS held its annual Read a Thon fundraiser in November. Students raised more than $5,000 for Star Pride activities and incentives as well as for Star Pride shirts that the school's new students (kindergarten and any new to the district first graders) receive each year.

"We have Star Pride shirt dress up days each Wednesday. Star Pride activities and incentives paid for with these funds include our Star Pride Activity Day, Winter Bingo, assemblies, as well as school, classroom, and individual incentives throughout the year for demonstrating Star Pride in our school," South PBIS committee member, Stacy Abel, said. "This includes being safe, being responsible, and being respectful.

South's Read A Thon was held on November 23. The Star Pride Bear traveled from classroom to classroom throughout the day, as at least one classroom was engaged in reading activities throughout the entire day. That day was also South's "Read My Shirt" day in honor of the Read a Thon.

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Kids in both buildings get the chance to take part in hands-on learning experiences

  These North Elementary 4th graders
  work on a STEM Challenge activity in
  which they had to stack six cups into
  a pyramid without touching the cups
  with their hands.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) students in Rachel Schweigert's classes at South Elementary and North Elementary have already been very busy with several class projects.

Schweigert spends the morning hours with students in grades 2-4 at North while moving over to South in the afternoon to work with Kindergarten and first grade students. The following is a summary of some of the work those students have been working on in her STEM classes to date.

Growth Mindset project
First grade STEM students started out the year learning about having a growth mindset, to prepare them for challenging engineering activities we will do later in the year, according to Schweigert.

  South Elementary first graders
  learning about the power of “YET”
  and having a growth mindset.

"We read the book “The Magical Yet” together and talked about how we can use the word ‘yet' when we talk about our learning," she said.

STEM Challenge
The fourth graders were given a STEM challenge. They were tasked with stacking six cups into a pyramid without touching the cups with their hands.

"They were only given four pieces of string and a rubber band to use," Schweigert said. "Using teamwork, this group created a tool to use to pick up the cups."

Car Seat Checkup event set for Sept. 25th for local families
Kurt Hildebrandt

A free Car Seat Checkup event is set for Saturday, Sept. 25th from 9 to 11 a.m. at the St. Peter Fire Department (227 West Mulberry Street). This event is presented by Saint Peter Police, River’s Edge Hospital, and Nicollet County Public Health.

“This is a great program that allows families to make sure they have their vehicle’s car seats installed properly and they are used correctly,” Officer Jon Hughes, Saint Peter Public Schools’ School Resource Officer (SRO) said. “Our number one goal with this program is to ensure your kids are safe when they are riding with you in a car seat, and by working with our families on installing their car seats correctly we can help accomplish that goal.”

Appointments for this event are preferred. To schedule a car seat check or if you need more information please contact the Saint Peter Police Department at (507) 931-1550 or via email at janett@saintpetermn.gov.

Certified child passenger safety technicians will check for recalls and ensure all child safety seats are installed by manufacturer specifications. Each seat check takes approximately 30 minutes. Participants are also asked to bring all manuals for their vehicle(s) and car seat(s).

“In Minnesota, all children must be in a child restraint until they are 4'9” tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first,” SRO Hughes said.

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

South Elementary students have been participating in a butterfly release project the past few years using Painted Lady caterpillars and they recently released the butterflies to mark the completion of the project.

   Mrs. Depuydt's kindergarten class at South
   re​​​​leases a Painted Lady butterfly on May 18.

“We have been doing this project as a whole school for the past 3 or 4 years,” South kindergarten teacher Kim Depuydt said. “We purchased butterfly habitats for each classroom teacher, and that's all we needed besides the caterpillars. For the past few years, (retired long-time South secretary) Lois Warren has been funding this project and we’re very grateful for that!” 

“I’m just so happy to be able to continue to be part of the fun at South!” Warren said.

When the Painted Lady caterpillars arrive, they are about one centimeter long and it takes about one week to grow before they make their chrysalis and then another week and a half to two weeks to hatch as butterflies.  

   Students in Mrs. Wolfe's class got a close up look     at the Painted Lady butterfly before it flew off. 

“The students' excitement about the process is incredible as they walk into the classroom each morning to check for changes in the status of the butterflies,” Depuydt said. “Some classrooms journal the whole experience while others find books and videos to learn more about the life cycle of a Painted Lady butterfly.” 

When the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis, the excitement grows even more.  The students are always eager to help with releasing the butterflies in nature, and their amazement and wonder as they fly off into the world is a joy to witness. 

In the fall, South classes often release Monarch butterflies as well if there are any remaining at the beginning of the school year.  The transformation from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly ignites students' sense of wonder as they make predictions, observe changes, and share their learning with their classmates and families.