Congratulations Sixth Grade Math Bee Winners!

Lori Mueller, Math Consultant

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The Great Prairie AEA Sixth Grade Math Bee was held on May 3, 2016 at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. Twenty-one schools districts sent a total of fifty teams of sixths graders to participate in the event.

This year’s winners:
First Place
: Daniel Wilkerson – Central Lee Middle School
Second Place: Macy Watkins – Central Lee Middle School
Second Place: Andrew Drost – Oskaloosa Middle School
There was a tie for second place that we couldn’t seem to break so we awarded two second places.
Third Place: Michael Hellman – Holy Trinity Catholic

These students placed in the top ten:
Allison Dowd – Danville Elementary School
Thomas Spoelstra – North Mahaska Elementary School
Autumn McMahan – North Mahaska Elementary School
Bella Steffensmeier – Central Lee Middle School
Miles Breon – Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont Community School District
Tyler Garnder – Mt Pleasant Middle School
Hayley Chase – Danville Elementary School
Cale Leonard – Evans Middle School
Eden Svoboda – Danville Elementary School
Spencer Hilger – Fairfield Middle School

GPAEA Sixth Grade Math Bee 2016 Top Ten Medalists
Allison Dowd – Danville Elementary School
Thomas Spoelstra – North Mahaska Elementary School
Autumn McMahan – North Mahaska Elementary School
Bella Steffensmeier – Central Lee Middle School
Miles Breon – Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont Community School District
Tyler Garnder – Mt Pleasant Middle School
Hayley Chase – Danville Elementary School
Cale Leonard – Evans Middle School
Eden Svoboda – Danville Elementary School
Spencer Hilger – Fairfield Middle School

Top Six Teams for the GPAEA Sixth Grade Math Bee 2016

First Place Team – Central Lee Middle School: Xandra Abel, Sydney Jones, Macy Watkins, Daniel Wilkerson

Second Place Team – Oskaloosa Middle School: Andrew Drost, Ella Roach, Shannon Linder, Charlie North

Third Place Team – Danville Elementary School: Elizabeth Smith, Eden Svoboda, Allison Dowd, Hayley Chase

Fourth Place Team – North Mahaska Elementary: Thomas Spoelstra, Sam Terpstra, Sean Knockel, Garrett Lamb

Fifth Place Team – Central Lee Middle School: Drew Conlee, Emmy Liu, Bella Steffensmeier, Emma Youngbeck

Sixth Place Team – Eddyville-Blakesburg- Fremont School District: Ethan Davis, Lauren Wells, Miles Breon, Katie Fairfield

National History Day Regional Winners

Great Prairie AEA hosted a district History Day on April 14, 2015 in Fairfield. Congratulations to the following Junior & Senior division winners who participated in the State competition on Monday, April 25th at the Iowa Events Center. Learn more at http://ia.nhd.org/index.htm.

Congratulations also goes out to Mt. Pleasant Middle School National Qualifying Team of Aurora Vansickel and Claire Holtkamp for their Jr Group Exhibit. Jennifer Stater is the teacher that has been facilitating their work. Good luck in Washington DC this summer!

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JUNIOR DIVISION Continue reading

Keokuk Places in Iowa High School Battle of the Books Contest

Martha Marsot, Keokuk High School Teacher, Keokuk, IA

Helena Snyder, Samantha West, Rachal Starr, Madeline Berner

Keokuk HS Students: Helena Snyder, Samantha West, Rachal Starr, Madeline Berner

“What item did Evie first use her powers on?” “No, it wasn’t a belt buckle! It was a shoe buckle!”*

“Which one of these steps in preparing mushrooms is incorrect?” Washing them.*

A trivia contest? Well, sort of. These questions were a part of the Iowa High School Battle of the Books contest, which is sponsored annually by two Marshalltown, Iowa high school educators, teacher librarian Sue Inhelder, and TAG teacher Susan Fritzell. For the first time ever, Keokuk High School sponsored a team who participated in this contest.

The mission of the IHSBOB is to introduce Iowa students, grades 9-12, to award-winning literature. The list of 28 books is comprised of national award-winning books of multiple reading and interest levels, as well as the Iowa High School Book Award nominees. Senior Madeline Berner has wanted to “battle” ever since she learned about the contest, and she finally persuaded a few other bibliophiles to join her. Team members Madeline, Rachal Starr, Helena Snyder, and Samantha West had to read 28 novels, memorize authors and titles, and remember myriad details from the books. That might sound like a lot of work, but according to Madeline, “It was super fun to get together and do something that we all love!”

A preliminary online battle, which was a multiple choice and author name test, determined the top 16 teams in the state, who then travelled to Marshalltown, Iowa on April 26 to compete in a quiz-bowl type contest. “We had never done this before, and honestly didn’t expect to make it to the finals, so we were really excited to find out we made the top 16 for the final battle!” commented sponsor Barb Edler.

The final battle was held in the high school library at Marshalltown, with about 70 students and their sponsors. There were four rounds of oral questions, and teams had 10 seconds to come up with correct answers. Keokuk placed 7th in State! A great extra of the day was a Skype session with Mike Mullin, author of the popular book, Ashfall. Mike answered questions about his research process, and gave advice to aspiring writers. “Read a lot. And, marry someone with good health insurance.”

Keokuk’s good showing has energized the team for next year’s “battle.” The team met regularly during this school year to discuss their books, and started strategizing on the way home from Marshalltown about next year. The 2017 list is already out, and in their hands! High schools can have more than one team, and teams can have up to 6 members, so anyone interested in participating in this fun reading event should contact Mrs. Edler or Mrs. Marsot at the high school. More information about the IHSBOB is available at the official website.

*The Diviners by Libba Bray

*Relish: My life in the kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Fairfield Middle School: How Much Will We Read, How Far Will We Go?

Dee Ann Lantz, FMS Teacher Librarian

pict 1During the month of March, students and staff at the Fairfield Middle School set a goal to read around the school in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Beginning March 1, every time someone completed a book, a book slip was filled out and hung along the hallway. The goal was to read enough books to reach the end of the hallway. When we accomplished that goal in only one week, we realized that we could set a much higher goal – to read completely around our building. Students and staff took this goal to heart. By the end of the month, we had collectively read 1,696 books!! The best part was that we exactly made it around the school and ended right where we began. We DID read around FMS!

pic 2How much did we read, how far did we go?

The students and staff of FMS read 1,696 books that reached all the way around the school during the month of March, 2016!

May is School Board Recognition Month

socialsbanner

May is School Board Recognition Month. Our Agency Board of Directors and the Board members of the local school districts in our Area volunteer countless hours of their time each year to serve their communities and schools. Please consider thanking the school and AEA Board members that you know throughout our Area.

A special THANK YOU to our Great Prairie AEA Board of Directors:

Download: GPAEA Board Recognition 2016

Learn more: http://www.gpaea.org/en/about_us/board_of_directors/

Science/STEM is Alive and Well in GPAEA

Rosemary Peck, GPAEA Science Specialist

stem fesitval 9The 3rd annual STEM Festival at IHCC in Ottumwa was an evening of hands-on experiences with the highest number of area students and parents in attendance to date. If you have not attended a STEM festival there are two upcoming opportunities: the SE Iowa STEM Festival, April 23 at SCC in Burlington and the Drake/Metro STEM Festival, April 14 at Drake University. An added bonus to the Drake Festival is the opportunity to hear Bill Nye, the Science Guy, speak immediately after the Festival. The Festivals are free and family friendly. So, come join in on the interactive excitement of the STEM Festivals!

For more information on the April 23 Southeast Iowa STEM Festival: http://se.iowastem.org/southeast-ia-stem-festival

For more information on the DRAKE STEM Festival and Bill Nye appearance: https://scstemhub.drake.edu/

Challenge problem at Physics CompetitionAnother not-to-be-missed science event just took place in GPAEA. The annual GPAEA Physics Competition took place March 22 at the E3 Center in Mt Pleasant. Several GPAEA high schools competed in a variety of events for a chance to compete at State. Events included: the soda straw arm, catapult, mousetrap car, bridge building and the challenge problem. Three GPAEA schools qualified to compete at the State Physics Competition: Moravia, Ottumwa and Harmony! It was an amazing day of great designs and solving challenging problems, congratulations to all that competed!

Celebrate NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child, April 10–16!

woyc2016

The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families. More info can be found at iowaaeyc.org.

Shoutout to our Early Childhood and Early ACCESS staff for all their work with young children and families!

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Supporting Preschool Children with Disabilities – May 10 & 11

Supporting Children with DisabilitiesMay 10 & May 11, 2016
9 AM – 3 PM
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

 

Join International Consultant Kate Werling as she helps Early Childhood Teachers and other educational professionals learn how to use The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool to provide a high-quality program that is inclusive of all children.

Teachers will learn how to incorporate the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to offer children multiple ways of acquiring knowledge and skills and to provide a variety of formats for instruction, learning,and assessment in ways that will help all children communicate what they know and can do.

Register at http://bit.ly/1R1UHYf

April is Occupational Therapy Month

OT webApril has been designated as Occupational Therapy Month nationally and is celebrated throughout the country.  Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants are part of an important profession that helps people across their lifespan to participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.  Their customized approach to evaluations, interventions, and outcomes help a child with disabilities participate in school and in social situations, and offer the specialized support and services to people of all ages and in all circumstances that only occupational therapy can provide.

We want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank our own Great Prairie AEA Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants for the services they provide throughout our service area.

Occupational Therapists

  • Carrie Carlson
  • Lynn, Coppage
  • Carol Havelka
  • Marty Hudson
  • Kathy Jaske-Gardner
  • Shanah Sullivan

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants

  • Vonn Gould
  • Ashley Hobbs
  • Joe Hudson
  • Michelle Mihalovich
  • Deb Mueller
  • Chris Williams

Learn more about OT services from Great Prairie AEA at http://www.gpaea.org/en/services/occupational_therapy/.

Visual Arts & Iowa Core Workshop in Cedar Rapids – June 20 & 21

Visual Arts PD flyer copy

Download Form: http://www.aea10.k12.ia.us/profdev/pdf/registform.pdf

Register Online: https://www.gwaea.org/apps/ProfDev/user/signon.cfm


The dissemination of information from external organizations by Great Prairie AEA does not infer sponsorship or endorsement of the information. It is being passed on to our stakeholders for its educational value.

April is Autism Awareness Month

Today, one in 68 American children is diagnosed with autism (CDC). Great Prairie AEA provides consultative support for children birth through 21 years of age who are identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or who demonstrate autism-like characteristics. Learn more about our services at http://www.gpaea.org/en/services/autism/.

GPAEA Success Stories

Shout out to our GPAEA Challenging Behavior & Autism Staff: Teran Buettell, Crystal Hornback, Sarah McCollum & Julie Thomas. Thank you for all that you do for area students and families!

GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom in Ottumwa

Lisa Jacobs, Instructional Technology Specialist

The 21st Century Classroom in the Ottumwa Office is HERE! The primary use of the 21st Century Classroom will be for teacher professional development, student learning opportunities, and educational meetings that will benefit from using technology and collaborative spaces. You may notice the color scheme and furniture is similar to the Room21C in Burlington with the same collaboration tables and chairs, wireless connectivity to large video monitors for each group, and writable walls. There are also some unique features in Ottumwa’s Room21C. The construction began by removing the wall that was previously between the old computer lab and the ICN room. The larger room (61 ft X 31 ft) allows for additional spaces including a circular conversation “campfire”; a larger lounge area that seats fourteen adults with wheelchair access; tall café tables; casual benches and cube ottomans. The three basic design tenets for both the Ottumwa and Burlington 21c classrooms are that they be #1 moveable & flexible; #2 have video displays for each work group; #3 have writable surfaces for each work group. This link will provide more information about the 21st Century classroom design:  http://classroom21c.weebly.com Continue reading

Making Collaborative Teams Meaningful and Effective

Cory Johnson, School Improvement Consultant

Business teamwork

Throughout Great Prairie, schools have built structures and implemented processes to promote collaboration amongst the teaching staff. The models vary (Data Teams, Professional Learning Communities (PLC), etc.) but the purpose is the same: create a collaborative culture that ensures what Austin Buffum and Mike Mattos describe as the 4Cs: Collective Responsibility, Concentrated Instruction, Convergent Assessment, and Certain Access. The Great Prairie School Improvement Team has developed a new tool that schools and teams can use to monitor and improve collaborative structures and processes. Continue reading

Makerspace Movement in Ottumwa

Joni Nicholson, Elementary Teacher-Librarian for Ottumwa Community School District

maker magnetThe Makerspace movement has created a buzz in the library-media community.  Many public libraries have embraced this opportunity to add more hands-on activities to appeal to their patrons.  But in the school setting, teacher-librarians often express many concerns about how to incorporate a Makerspace into their program with so many obstacles.  These obstacles—time, space, and budget—are not new to any of us in school libraries, but they don’t have to be roadblocks that keep you from creating a great “Makerspace” of your own.

Stacy Moran and I, both elementary librarians for the Ottumwa Community School District, teamed together to do  just that.  We were both wanting to implement some form of Makerspace in our libraries, but we were both faced with those same pesky obstacles.  With classroom teachers’ schedules already being very tight, we knew it would be a challenge to find time to add another event into the school day.  In some of the older school buildings where libraries are often confined to a classroom or a converted auditorium stage, space was another issue.  And of course, adding another item to an already meager budget seemed impossible too.  These are not concerns unique to the Ottumwa Community School District.  Most other schools face these same constraints. Continue reading

March PEC Workshop on Guardianship & Conservatorship

Who Needs a Guardian or Conservator?

GUARDIAN WORKSHOP March 2016-2Families are often challenged with how much support their child may need after becoming an adult. It will depend on the person’s ability to make reasonable decisions about health, safety, and personal needs.

Those who may need a guardian or conservator include many different types of people such as:

  • a person with a developmental disability
  • a person who is mentally ill
  • a person who has experienced a stroke or a head injury which may have resulted in a mental disability
  • a person who has a disease such as Alzheimer’s which affects decision making ability

Want to learn more?   Please see the GUARDIAN WORKSHOP March 2016 for more information.