March/April Newsletter
Van Meter Elementary

Dear Parents,

We had many exciting activities for students during February. On February 16, Opera Iowa presented The Magic Flute for elementary students in grades K-5. To prepare students for the program, Mrs. Fries introduced the story and students watched the original version in German, with English subtitles. Before the program, third – fifth grade students also participated in workshops that included Singers and Vocal Styles, Let’s Make an Opera and Decide, Design, Direct. Our students really enjoyed the opera and even said “Bravo” at the end of the performance. From February 17 – 22, Van Meter Elementary hosted Star Lab. Star Lab is a mobile planetarium that is on loan from our Area Education Agency. Chris Adkins, from Dallas County Conservation, and Mrs. Thompson co-presented astronomy activities that connect with grade level curriculum. Themes included Greek and Roman Mythology, Native American Legends and the Underground Railroad. Other activities during the month included the 100th Day, Clifford Day, Science Club and Chess Club. February ended with a great Kids’ Club performance on February 25.

The month of March begins with the Fourth/Fifth Grade Music Concert on March 1. We will have Parent/Teacher Conferences on March 3 & 8. The Elementary Carnival will be on March 5. On March 7, fifth and sixth grade students will have a Science Fair.

During April, we have several special activities. On April 16, Van Meter Elementary will again host the Regional Battle of the Books. Teams from area districts read 25 Children’s Choice Award books and spend the day in exciting competition. Our teams are hoping to bring the trophy back to Van Meter. On April 21, we will have a Van Meter Elementary Parents Committee Meeting at 3:30, in the Cafeteria. Our VMEPC needs more parent and staff involvement, so please mark your calendar to attend this meeting. Old Creamery Theater is scheduled for April 25. The Old Creamery Theater creates mini-plays based on student stories written about the six traits of character. Parents are invited to attend all our April programs.

During the 2010-11 school year, teachers have integrated technology into every part of curriculum. Teachers use Skills Iowa, First in Math, and a variety of websites to supplement their instruction. Many of our classrooms have SKYPE connections with other classrooms around the country. To support our technology program, we now have a mobile MAC lab for teachers to use in their classrooms. Our teachers are regularly participating in professional development to continually improve their technology skills. Please see the attached information which shows how each teacher is integrating technology in the classroom.

The March/April Newsletter contains updates and important information about our programs. As always, we appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our elementary events.

Dr. Maribeth Arentsen
Elementary Principal