K-4 News and Notes

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

North Elementary fourth graders, along with fourth graders from John Ireland School, took part in the annual Kindness Retreat on Thursday (Feb. 27) at Johnson Hall (Nicollet County Fairgrounds).

  This small group discussion, led by SPHS National
  Honor Society members Mia Hansen & Emily
  Salfer, was part of the Kindness Retreat that North 
  fourth graders took part in on Feb. 27 at Johnson


Youth Frontiers, whose mission is to provide

schools with experiences that inspire character, civility and community puts on the event each year. Youth Frontiers staff members, Jacob Niewinski and Dahlia Jones, were on hand to provide around 150 fourth graders a high-energy day which provided them tools to develop empathy, promote kindness and prevent bullying.

A group of 35 members of Saint Peter High School's National Honor Society chapter also helped out by serving as small group leaders during the retreat.

The Kindness Retreat is made possible by a grant through the Mankato Clinic Foundation. 

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

Children age 5 on or before September 1, 2020, who reside in District 508, are eligible to enter kindergarten and should plan on attending Kindergarten Registration Night on Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m.

Children will have the opportunity to see the school, meet the kindergarten teachers and learn about programming. Parents will have a chance to submit all of the school entrance paperwork that was mailed to them in early February. 

Registration materials are also available on the Saint Peter Public Schools/District 508 website at www.stpeterschools.org. If you have any questions please call Marlene Willson at 507-934-2754, ext. 3045.

The logo for south elementary
Kurt Hildebrandt

   South first graders use virtual reality headsets to
​​​​​​​   explore the International Space Station. 

First grade students at South Elementary are currently learning about space, astronauts, and tools that are used in space to help astronauts live in zero gravity.  Students have watched a variety of short video clips of Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who creates videos of astronauts doing everyday things in the International Space Station (like brushing teeth or sleeping).  

Beyond watching astronauts in action, students have created astronaut helmets and paper rockets. Students will soon launch their paper rockets with straws and build an astronaut tool.  With these objects, the students will create a class green screen video of all of them using their tools in outer space.  

“To help bring all the perspective and mind-blowing thought of what space travel would be like to life, the students utilize their virtual reality headsets to explore the International Space Station,”  Angie Potts, South’s STEM teacher, said. “As students work in stations, they rotate through to the virtual reality headsets and get to see an up close experience of a real module and all the tools and equipment inside.  Students feel as if they can reach out and touch the astronauts.”


North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

The third annual North Elementary Clothes Closet event was held on November 23 and around 50 people came to the school to pick out cold-weather clothing. Donations of gently used coats, hats, mittens, and boots were collected at North Elementary, South Elementary, and the Middle School. 

  Around 50 people turned out at the third annual
  North Elementary's Clothes Closet event on
  Nov. 23 to pick up free cold weather clothing in
  preparation for this year's winter season.

The event was started two years ago by Quinn Rassbach, then a fourth grader at North and now a sixth grader at Saint Peter Middle School, who was motivated to help out after she saw kids on the playground at North without warm-weather clothes. She was assisted by her former third grade teacher, Breanna Steele, and some of her classmates with each of the clothing drives.

Recently, several volunteers including the Gustavus softball team, teachers, friends and family members of Quinn's, helped get all of the donated items set up in the North gym for the event. 

“We probably had about 50 or so people attend,” Breanna Steele said. “We got comments like ‘that is was an awesome idea!’ and ‘everyone should get involved in this the way kids grow out of clothes.’ It is nice to know people appreciate the event. It takes a lot of planning and prepping to make it successful!”

North elementary logo
Kurt Hildebrandt

Children’s author Mary Bleckwehl visited North Elementary School in late November and she will also be doing a presentation for students at South Elementary in mid-December.

 Children's book author Mary Bleckwehl (seated)
 signed copies of one of her books for some 
 North Elementary students.

Bleckwehl, who penned such children’s books as Claire’s Hair, Henry You’re Hungry Again, and Henry You’re Late Again,  did a presentation for each grade level at both North and South. She included info in her presentation about she became an author and how long it takes to write and publish a children’s book. 

During her time with the students, Bleckwehl involved kids in coming up with the worst things that ever happened to them and as a group they brainstormed how to turn those events into the central problem in a book. She also had samples and photos of the whole book production process including photos artists at work using both traditional materials and digital tools and samples of pages and covers before they are cut and bound.

Bleckwehl’s books are printed right at a printing business in Mankato and she had pictures of how the printing press used just four colors to make all the different color variations in her books.