The 2016 PTO sponsored Hawthorn Variety Show is Sunday, March 6. Click here to showcase your special talent and to fill out an entry form. There is a mandatory practice Saturday, March 5. The last day to register is Thursday, February 18.
Hawthorn School District 73 has become a full day kindergarten center for all of its students. In the fall, close to 400 kindergartners will attend full day kindergarten throughout the district’s five elementary schools.
As part of returning its elementary schools to neighborhood schools, the district believed full day kindergarten was a vital part of helping children become successful life long learners. As a result, the Board of Education made a commitment to offering such a program to all its families.
“The more we do for children early in their education careers, the more it will sustain them throughout their academic career,” said Lisa Cerauli, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. In keeping children all day, it allows teachers to probe deeper into the curriculum to help children master the basics of literacy and math skills,” Dr. Cerauli said.
“We believe that by allowing teachers to slow down and teach the material more thoroughly less time will be spent on intervention strategies as they move up through the grades,” she said. While each student is tested against his or her own abilities, teachers are expected to show that students have achieved a year’s academic growth from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year using the district’s academic standards for kindergarten.
Kindergarteners will not be expected to know more material at the end of the year. But, it will allow teachers to help children adjust to school at an earlier age through learning through play. Children will also know expectations for hallway, cafeteria and playground behavior, an area first grade teachers won’t have to teach children.
What 20 year veteran kindergarten teacher Lisa Lasko loves about full day is the slower pace. She has been piloting full day kindergarten in District 73 for the past two years.
“There’s definitely more time to teach an integrated curriculum – at a child-centered pace,” Ms. Lasko said. A full day program allows for a more relaxed atmosphere and more varied experiences. She said it provides more opportunities for structured playtime. “At this age a lot of what children learn is through play and they can apply what is learned to their everyday experiences. They learn the proper way to ask for something. They learn how to resolve disputes over a classmate grabbing a crayon out of their hand or refusing to share a toy. There is time to teach what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior and the art of cooperation”.
Academically, Ms. Lasko believes children will be much more prepared for first grade because she has the time to offer small group and individualized instruction when needed and ensure students meet the academic benchmarks of kindergarten.
Of course Ms. Lasko watches for signs of when children need a rest or a break. Children will ask to go to the bathroom more frequently, act silly in their chair, get up for drinks of water, etc. Then the teacher will take a quiet music break, read a book to the class or take the children on a walk around the building to look at the changing seasons outside.
Parents should watch for communication from their child’s school about building tours. Parents will be invited to an evening program on the kindergarten program in the fall for their child’s school.
Hawthorn Middle School South students head into the locker rooms with what appears like a skip in their step. They quickly change into gym uniforms, which also include a Polar H7 heart rate monitor.
In the gym PE teachers Chris Crandall and Brian Rude have the students’ names projected on a giant screen and on their iPads. The heart rates of all students are tracked using the Polar GoFit app.
The monitors are being introduced this year to Middle School South seventh and eighth graders. Whatever they are doing in physical education class – basketball, fitness testing, cardiovascular equipment, soccer – students wear the monitors and track their physical activity. Typically students are expected to be between 140 to 200 beats per minute for 20 minutes during their physical education period. This technology allows physical education teachers to take the guesswork out of deciding which students are truly physically active in class. Grading is more “objective”. It also allow teachers to differentiate instruction. Students are all at different levels of fitness. The Polar technology allow students to work at their own activity levels.
During Health classes, part of the curriculum allows students to track their food, calories, nutrients, and physical activity through supertracker.usda.gov. They analyze and create a plan to improve their findings.
“We purchased the monitors because we wanted to motivate the students to improve their workouts and subsequently heighten their heart rates,” said Mr. Crandall. He said the decision came out of the national movement of the high rate of childhood obesity and heart disease being the number one killer, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Students are motivated to increase their heart rate and keep it elevated for longer periods of their gym class,” said Mr. Rude.
The teachers have found the heart rate monitor a huge motivational tool for students. On the sidelines of a team game students can be seen doing jumping jacks or push-ups, they said.
In the Middle School South classrooms, teachers are noticing the benefits as well, said Principal Robert Natale. “Raising their heart rates gets that flow of oxygen going through students’ systems. They are in a better state of mind for learning and taking on rigorous academic instruction,” Mr. Natale said.
Teachers reported that students and parents can monitor daily workouts through personal accounts on the Polar GoFit website. According to the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 website, children should get 60 minutes of exercise a day.
What students have to say
“The monitors make me push myself harder,” said Damian Herrera, 12, “At home now I go outside and play soccer with friends as a way to keep my heart rate up longer.”
Jordan Krasner and Aiden Isaacson, both 12, participate regularly in sports outside of school. But seeing how high they can elevate their heart rates has made them tougher competitors on the basketball court.
“I was dumbfounded that I could get my heart rate so high. In basketball I feel like I can move faster and I don’t tire as quickly on the court,” Jordan said.
The goal is for Middle School South to offer Polar Heart Rate technology to all the physical education classes next year. Hawthorn School District 73 will consider expanding the program to Middle School North at a later date.
The following sixth, seventh and eighth grade students have been named to honor rolls at Hawthorn Middle South and Hawthorn Middle North for the first trimester of the 2013-14 school year. Congratulations.
Students – it is important to keep your minds active over the summer break. Students going into middle school (and high school) have a reading assignment to complete before returning to school in the fall. Teachers have also put together a list of reading suggestions for students going into grades 1 through 5. For more information, please read on…
Reading is an important way to keep your mind active over the summer break. Our local public libraries offer not only a tremendous selection of resources, but also assistance in picking out just the right books for every interest. (The libraries also offer lots of great reading clubs and activities.)
Students going into Hawthorn Middle Schools in the fall (grades 6, 7 and 8) must read at least one book over the summer. While teachers have compiled a list of reading suggestions, students are free to read whatever books interest them – then log the titles on the chart to turn in when they return to school in the fall.
- School Summer Reading Assignment Cover Letter and Log Sheet
- School Summer Reading Assignment Suggested Reading List
- Some Summer Reading Suggestions for Students in Grades 1 through 5
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