Kindergartener Deciphering the Code

Kindergarteners have been practicing listening for all the sounds in words.  For adults, this can be tricky because we think about how many letters spell the word.  For our new readers, they have the advantage of not necessarily knowing how to spell words, so they can focus on just the sounds.


There are two ways we work on listening for these sounds.  One way is by moving objects into sound boxed for each sound heard.  Another way is to finger stretch.  Students learn this particular method in class during Blast time.  To finger stretch, first say the word.  Then, starting with the thumb, put up a finger for each sound you hear.
I tell kids to use the hand they do not write with so when they do write their words, they can write as they stretch.  Plus, for older students still needing to stretch, they can “hide” this under the desk and still write.
Amanda Reynolds

Crime Scene 1-H?

20170317_123232Friday-St. Patrick’s Day- 1-H returned from lunch to find a crime scene! Chairs were tipped over, books were thrown on the floor, desks were open, etc.  Students quickly went to work being detectives to try and figure out who messed up our room. They found clues like gold and green glitter scattered around the room, rainbow beads, little tiny green footprints, and gold chocolate. Based on their investigation, we believe it was a tiny man dressed in green and bright orange hair…aka The Leprechaun! We are still on the lookout to capture him, so if you have seen him, please let the first grade classroom know 😉

From the Principals’s Office

Dear Van Allen Community:

 For this week, on Wednesday, the Old Creamery Theatre, the oldest professional theater company in the State of Iowa is coming to Mount Pleasant and will perform at 2:15 for all Van Allen students in our gym. The Old Creamery offers five mini plays focusing on attributes to guide about making decisions by using PRIDE values as their foundation for Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 10.02.48 PMmaking their decisions.

Van Allen’s Book Fair starts on Tuesday March 28 and ends on Wednesday April 5th. The Book Fair will be open daily from 8:00 to 3:30, and on our Parent Conference Nights, the Book Fair will remain open until 7:00 pm.

Van Allen’s Elementary Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled March 30 and April 4 starting at 4:00 and ending at 8:00 pm. If you are unsure about your conference time, please call the Office at 385-7771. And for some reason, if you are unable to attend please call the Office, so we can rely the message to your child’s teacher. Our goal is to communicate with 100% of our students’ parents during this parent-teacher conference time.

Enjoy your week,

Donald P. LeBlanc

Counselor’s Corner

How toScreen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.18.30 PM Defeat Worry Wall!      Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.18.07 PM

This week students took on “Worry Wall” as we read and discussed the story; Wilma Jean the Worry Machine written by Julia Cook and illustrated by Anita DuFalla.  Students learned to identify what they could and could not control within their lives.  For those situations students could control, they came up with a plan to deal with the issue.  For example, one cannot control the weather, but students can listen to the weathScreen Shot 2017-03-17 at 1.18.11 PMer report and dres appropriately for the day.  For those things we could not control, we placed them in our “Worry Hat” and focused on issues we could solve.

Here are some excellent sites to help your child control his/her own “Worry Wall.”

Sara Le Blanc, Elementary School Counselor, MPCSD


Counselor’s Corner


This week students in Grades Third through Fifth practice more for keeping Brain Eater at bay in the classroom.  Students discussed Expected Behaviors for Learning in a Group and Unexpected Behaviors That Prevent Learning.  Our focus was:


EXPECTED BEHAVIORS FOR LEARNING                                     Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 6.16.01 PM

Body is calm and turned toward the teacher or speaker.

Brain is thinking about the lesson and the person speaking.

Eyes are looking and thinking about the person speaking.



Body is turned away or has left the group.

Brain is thinking about other things, not focused on the lesson.

Eyes are looking and thinking about details in the room but not the lesson.

Please reinforce expected behaviors for learning in your home.  Articles to help your child focus in and out of class.

 Sara Le Blanc, Elementary School Counselor, MPCSD