We are posting a picture that Cheryl Keller, paraprofessional at Nerstrand, photographed. I loved that when I saw it, I knew exactly where it was because the views around our school have become so familiar to me over these last 19 years. Some of the most spectacular sunrises I've seen in my life have been in and around Nerstrand. I never get tired of the beauty I see coming to work each day. Our physical setting has always had a huge impact on the curriculum of our school as well as the personality of it. We are nearing the half way point of this school year, which doesn't seem possible. Although January can be a quieter month around the building, there is always something special going on here. Our annual trip to the Faribault High School for their Children's play is coming up on the 20th and our school carnival is on the 29th. I think moving the carnival to January has been a good way to space out the special traditions we have at our school.
We will also be starting our second round of NWEA/MAP testing beginning 1/19. This time kindergartners will also be tested for reading and math. These results will be shared with you during the March conferences. Your child's classroom teachers will be letting you know the testing schedule in their Weekly Peeks. We hope that children are rested for testing days so we get the most accurate snap shot of their academic progress.
We have another special activity coming up this month too. Our 3-5 graders are going to be given a wonderful opportunity to help take part in the building of an authentic Dakota dug out canoe. Larry Richie has been working with students at the Faribault STEM school building this canoe and Larry wanted Nerstrand students to participate in this once in a lifetime experience. On Jan 25th, 27th and 29th Larry will bring the canoe to Nerstrand so that small groups of 3-5th graders can come outside and help with the digging out of the canoe. The Dakota people used fire as a tool with this construction and so a small, controlled fire is placed in the canoe for up to an hour and then moved to another section of the canoe. Students will be helping Larry to carve out the charcoal left from the burn. This canoe is from a cottonwood tree and measures 22 ft. long and 32 in. wide. Permission forms will be coming home for students who are old enough to be part of this activity. All students will be able to see the canoe. This is a project ties in nicely with our tipi experience that will be happening in the fall of 2016.
Even though the Peace Garden is covered in a blanket of snow, and the temperature this morning read -11 we are climbing up towards spring. By the end of this month we will have almost 10 hours of daylight! Still, there's plenty of winter left so we ask that you check to make sure your children have all their winter clothes. We have students go out at recess unless the temperature, or wind chill is under 0.