Hamilton Elementary School Newsletter

Fall 2017


From the Office


            It is hard to believe the first marking period is over.  Students have settled into the routine of school and working hard each day.  Teachers have finished with review materials from last year’s grade level and have now started new academic learning at their perspective grade levels.  It is very important parents attend parent conferences.  This is really the first opportunity teachers and parents have to sit and discuss academic and social progress.  It allows both the teacher and the parent to build a relationship with each other in the best interest of the child.  Conferences are being held November 20th-21st.  Conference sign up forms were sent home last week and are due back this week.  If you no longer have a form just contact your child’s teacher requesting a conference time. 

            Remember conferences aren’t just a time for teachers to share with parents it is also a time for parents to share or ask questions of teachers.  From a Principal’s prospective, below are a few questions parents can ask to help facilitate meaningful conversation about students.

1.       Is my child performing at grade level in reading?  Is my child performing at grade level in math?

2.       What are my child’s strengths?  What are my child’s challenges?

3.       Is my child working hard and putting forth their best effort? 

4.       How does my child interact with other children?  Do they seem happy and socially engaged at school?

5.       What do all these benchmark assessments tell you about my child?  What specifically do they need help with in reading and/or math?

6.       Tell the teacher how you prefer them to communicate with you and ask them how they would like you to communicate with them.

7.       Ask the teacher how they address academic and social challenges as they occur.  Has the teacher ever used these techniques with your child?

8.       Find out about the teacher’s feelings toward homework.  Do they have a homework policy?  What are their expectations concerning homework?

9.       Ask what you can do at home to support what is happening in the classroom.

10.   Don’t forget you know your child better than anyone.  Tell the teacher about your child and how they respond, learn and cope with different situations and experiences. 


Ms. Pannebaker

Reminders from Mrs. Tollett RN, CSN                                     


·         All Kindergarten students need a physical exam on file with the nurse.


·         All students in Kindergarten and 3rd grade need a dental exam on file.


·         Students who are entering a PA school for the first time also need a physical and dental exam on file with the nurse.


·         Make sure required and recommended immunizations are up to date.


·         Review hygiene tips to prevent the spread of infections.


·         Help make appropriate clothing choices, e.g., wear comfortable and safe shoes.


·         Make your child’s health concern known to the school and school nurse.


·         ** Please note I also use Class Dojo to message**


Special Points of Interest:

v  Tuesday, October 31st is our Halloween Parade to the Church of God Home.  InfoSnap must have been completed to participate.

v  Thursday, November 9th is our Family Tech Connect Night, 6:00 – 7:30 PM.

v  Wednesday, November 15th, - Picture Retake Day (9:00 AM)

v  Friday, November 10th is our Veterans Day Assembly at 9:30 (4th & 5th grade Chorus).

v  Monday, November 20th & Tuesday, November 21st - Parent/Teacher Conferences.

v  NO SCHOOL for Students Monday, November 21st through Monday, November 27th.  Back to school on Tuesday, November 28th.

v  Saturday, December 16th - Breakfast with Santa (More information to follow)

v  Tuesday, December 19th is our Winter Concert with performances at 9:45 AM & 2:00 PM.


Classroom News


Mrs. Hagg, Mrs. Johns and Mrs. Shomaker

The kindergartners are busy worker bees!  We are learning the names of both uppercase and lowercase letters, the sounds of each letter, and beginning sounds in words.  Along with letter work, we are learning many nursery rhymes.  Rhyming is a fun activity and many kids are beginning to produce rhyming words by themselves.  Along with letter work and songs, we are learning about the season of autumn and the changes that occur in fall.  Kindergartners are studying how apples and pumpkins grow.  We took a field trip to Paulus Orchard in Dillsburg to pick apples and a pumpkin.  We had a beautiful day and spent over an hour having fun with friends in the playland.  November will focus on how animals change and adapt to the season of fall and the tradition and customs of Thanksgiving.


1st Grade

Mrs. Birdwell, Mrs. Jones & Miss Spagel

            This is a busy time of year in First Grade! As first grade is finishing up Unit 3 in math, we are learning to use different strategies to help with addition and subtraction.  As we move forward into Unit 4, we will be learning about measuring the length of an object. To introduce length, we will be estimating using a variety of objects. We will then practice comparing and ordering objects by length.


            In language arts, we are working on letters you can find together in words called blends. We will be finishing up our fiction unit and moving into our nonfiction unit. As we read nonfiction texts, we will also be learning how to write to share information and spend time on understanding the difference between nouns and verbs. As always, we continue to work on our sight words. Thank you to all the families who are practicing at home!

            In social studies, we are beginning to prepare for our Thanksgiving Feast! We will spend two weeks learning about Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. The week before we cook our own food for our feast on November 17th at 1:30* here at school. All families are invited to attend! We hope to see you there!


*Even though this event is in the afternoon, children are not allowed to leave until regular school dismissal.


2nd Grade

Miss Hollenbach

                In Miss Hollenbach’s class, we are working on many different addition and subtraction strategies. We have also practiced with function machines which has been really fun! In writing, we finished up our very silly fairy tales and are now working on a personal narrative. We are paragraph pros. In reading, we have been analyzing the different points of view of characters and comparing and contrasting how this can change a story. 

Mr. Kilmer

In Mr. Kilmer’s second grade class we have been hard at work!  In math we are learning different addition and subtraction strategies.  We are finding how addition and subtraction are related to each other using fact triangles.  In reading we are working on different elements of fiction stories.  Students were able to perform a play in small groups using the voice and point of view of their specific character.  In science we have been learning about weather and how it affects us.

A great way to support your child at home is to practice their addition and subtraction facts to 20.  The faster they can recall them, the better!  Also, READ READ READ!  Reading with your child for 20 minutes each night and asking them questions about what they read is the best was to support their literacy development at school. 

Mrs. Staub

            Good citizens abound in 2nd grade!!  November is rolling in as we finish up our unit on Civics.  Next they’ll be rolling through the PA countryside as we learn about the business of agriculture and farming in Pennsylvania.  The students have enjoyed reading the twists on classic fairy tales like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying in order to compare and contrast fiction stories.  We are continuing to learn addition and subtraction strategies in math so be sure to make time each night to practice and let your second grader show you their stuff!






3rd Grade

Mrs. Hasse, Miss Hensel and Mr. Slusser

            It’s been a great start to third grade!  We started the year off with a bang—or drop—by using the steps of the scientific method to design a sturdy container to protect our eggs as we dropped them from a height of about 8 feet!  To our surprise, many of our designs were a success! Along with learning and applying the steps of the scientific method, this experience taught us that successful learners, like scientists, have to reflect and persevere in order to succeed. 


            Third grade has also spent time learning about the Elements of Fiction and analyzing characters using many wonderful stories.  We have even written a few of our own!  We are really excited to dive into non-fiction text as we analyze text structure in the upcoming weeks.  We are fortunate in third grade to have one-to-one ipads, and love using them to enhance our learning in reading, writing, math, and science!


            Last, but certainly not least, Ms. Hensel, Mrs. Haase, and Mr. Slusser have all been working hard to foster an environment of not only academic success, but social and emotional success by focusing on our 3 Cougar Commitments: be safe, be respectful, and be responsible.  We are proud to award our students with Cougar Paws when we see stellar commitment to the Big Three!   


4th Grade

Mrs. Mogill

Mrs. Mogill’s class has been hard at work this year.  In reading, we studied the metacognitive thinking strategies and story elements.  In writing, we reviewed the writing process, including adding hooks and thesis statements to our introductory paragraph, and transition words between paragraphs.  In math, we studied place value, estimation, multiplication, and geometry.  In social studies, we studied Pennsylvania history, going back 10,000 years!  We are also working hard at being respectful, responsible, and safe, at all times.  We are paying attention to the expectations in all areas of the school.  So far, it has been a very good year!

Mr. Kennedy

            Hello from 4th grade!  We’ve been working on a lot of fun and exciting things during this marking period.  In reading, we moved through metacognitive thinking skills to elements of fiction.  Students worked on developing their thinking skills for reading and how to decipher what they are reading.  In our elements of fiction unit, students worked on understanding how a story is constructed and deconstructed to better understand what the author is telling the reader.  In writing, we’ve started with writer’s workshop and worked into narrative writing.  We developed our writing skills and learned how to compose a narrative story by developing the story’s point of view, sequence the story correctly and developing good transitions to help the story flow.  In math, students moved throughout the year so far in reviewing multi digit addition and subtraction, multiplication, geometry and are currently working on fractions. 


            We have also been following different news stories happening around the world.  We’ve had discussions based around the floods of Houston, the wild fires in California and learned about refugees from Syria that had a second lease on life in the US.  We had a homework assignment based around refugees so I hope your child told you a little bit about what we’ve learned about refugees.  Some upcoming events are the Halloween Parade and the classroom party.  Also, Parent-Teacher Conferences are on November 20-21.  The Parent-Teacher Conferences will mark the end of Mr. Kennedy’s time at Hamilton.  Mrs. Abdramane will be coming back after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Please welcome her back!  Mr. Kennedy will miss everyone very much.  Thank you very much for all of your support during the beginning of the school year.



5th Grade                                                                                              

Mrs. Blisard

It has been a fun filled Fall in fifth grade!  We have been busy using Pixar short films to help us understand plot and themes in movies, plays, and stories.  We are currently investigating points of view in various versions of fairy tales and stories in the news.  We are enjoying writing some of the defining moments in our lives through a personal narrative essay.  In social studies, we are gaining an understanding of the past through the women’s rights and abolitionist movements.  It has been eye opening for our class and we have gained more appreciation for our rights.  In math we finished exploring multiplication and division strategies and are moving on to understanding fractions!  The more practice we get with basic facts (especially division) the more successful we will be with this unit.  Keep up the hard work and high expectations for these fabulous fifth graders!

Ms. Mann

Happy Autumn from Pacmann    Ms. Mann’s class!      

We have been busy this first marking period.  We are working on learning about the 50 states and capitals and using a Kahoot! to help us practice and take our tests.  And speaking of which, we love having our own iPads to use for reading and math.  We also have a really fun game called Stack the States that we play sometimes, too.  We are reading Winn-Dixie, Holes, and Hatchet in our small groups for reading and every group is doing a great job with their book!  In fact, we get so excited by what’s happening that we have great discussions!  In math we’ve moved from multiplication and division to fractions.  Keep an eye out for spelling lists and fluency passages, which should be practiced weekly, and math homework which comes home a few times a week.  I’m really enjoying this group and I hope they come home with great tales from 5th grade!

Mrs. Musser  

Calling All Scientists!  Tis’ the season for science.  The science fair is coming soon.  Parents, I will be sending home a letter to all 5th grade students inviting them to participate in the science fair.  If your child is interested in completing the science fair, they should return the permission slip by the due date.  Good news – I will be holding a science fair club after school twice a week for any child that would like to complete their project at school with help.  The informational letter will be sent home during the first week of November.  Thank you for your support!





News From ………

Counseling Corner Notes – Mrs. Corll

                Our Counseling special time has looked at several topics this Fall.  Our Second Step lessons look at learning behaviors which help the students become better learners – things like Listening and Focusing Attention.  We are moving to the understanding of our own feelings and those of others so that we can show empathy, caring, and respect to others.


            We also talk about our Hamilton Commitments – Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible.  Classes earn cougars and individual students earn paws when these commitments are honored.    


            We are very luck to be able to have most of our counseling classes in our beautiful new library!   That means more space for our work!  A big thank you to the librarians and library assistant for helping make this possible.


            As we move toward winter, we will focus on empathy, gratitude, caring, and compassion. 


Speech/Language Support with Mrs. Lebo

            Fall greetings are extended to you all.  Our speech/language students have been working on improving speech sound productions, sentence structures, language comprehension, classroom vocabulary, social language, and fluency strategies.  Speech/language students are earning speech/language classroom Dojo points for appropriate behavior demonstrated during their sessions. 

            Please take time with your children to communicate your thoughts and ideas together.  Use good eye contact, turn taking, and appropriate voice loudness with each other.  Turn off the technology devices for a short period of time and have a conversation with your child for enjoyment.  Read a story together and talk about it.  Play a game together.  Take a walk together and the enjoy the Fall sights.  


Mrs. Withum – Learning Support

            I have the pleasure each day to provide learning support services to Hamilton students in grades 1st – 5th that have an Individualized Education Program.  Students come to my classroom for small group reading and math.  My students receive teacher guidance and support throughout their day, but also have the opportunity to work as independently as they can in a small group setting.

            Adaptions/modifications are provided both in my classroom and in their regular education classrooms.  I also have an excellent instructional assistant that provides support in both my classroom and regular education classrooms.

            The IEP team has the opportunity to meet annually or any time a team member wants to call a meeting.  The IEP team consists of the principal/director of special education, regular education teacher, learning support teacher, reading specialist if the child receives a Tier 3 intervention, and speech/language and occupational therapists if these services are needed as well.  In addition to IEP meetings, I will be meeting with parents during parent/teacher conferences.

            My students have the opportunity to receive Dojo points throughout their day.  My rules are kindness, respect, effort, cooperation.  My students are doing a great job following these rules!

            Please contact me anytime if you have any questions or concerns about your IEP student as the year progresses.  Feel free to contact me through Class Dojo, email, or by phone.  I am looking forward to having a wonderful school year with your student(s).


Mrs. Guenther – Literacy Coach

Our first Family Night is coming up on Thursday, November 9th from 6-7:30 PM.  We are excited to show you some of the iPad apps we use in school and give you an opportunity to try them with your child(ren).  Every student who attends will also be given a free book at the end of the night!  We look forward to seeing you there!


Reading Support Teachers

            Students must master a set of foundational reading skills before they can become fluent readers.  These skills include the alphabet, the concept of print, phonological awareness, phonics, high-fluency words, and fluency.

Alphabet:  Students must know that the English language is based on 26 letters, each associated with one or more sounds.  They must be able to recognize, name, and form these letters in order to read and write.

Print Concepts:  Students must understand the basic organization and concepts of print:  Words have meaning, left-to-right and top-to-bottom hierarchy; letters create words and words create sentences; words are separated by spaces, and punctuation controls the pace and expression of print. 

Phonological Awareness:   Students are able to recognize the sounds of the language.  It begins with word awareness and the ability to recognize, for example, the number of words that make up a spoken sentence.  At the most detailed level, the phoneme level, students can discern the sounds that make up a word.  They can segment the sounds within a word, blend sounds together to make a word, and substitute sounds to make new words.

Phonics: Students must match a unit of sound (a phoneme) to the letter or letters that make the sound.  Separating the written word into its individual sounds and blending the individual sounds of letters to make words.

High Frequency Word Recognition: Students must be able to recognize and read a collection of high-frequency words and be able to do so with increasing automaticity.

Fluency:  Students must be able to read and comprehend text on – level accurately, and at the appropriate rate, and with correct expression. 

Please join us on Thursday, November 9 from 6 – 7:30 to learn about ways to help your child master these skills using technology.


Library News

            This fall the elementary library had the opportunity to host representatives from the United Way to participate in the United Way Day of Caring. Students were read The Giving Tree and talked about kindness, caring, and gratitude.  Students were broken into small groups and the adults read Halloween books and talked to the students about their interests.  Our United Way representatives were former students now at the high school, employees of Dickinson College, and the United Way. The United Way is hoping to make this an annual tradition.

            Our first grade students participate in the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program each year.  UGI donates money to RIF in order for RIF to provide books so our first graders will increase their reading skills and have a personal library at home.   First grade receives three books from RIF each year.  Periodically, a representative will come from UGI to read to our students.  The students have a good time learning about RIF and get really excited when they select their own book to take home.


Music at Hamilton

            Miss Betts and Mrs. Weaver have enjoyed getting to know their students this year while learning about steady beat, tempo, and rhythm.  Miss Betts and the 4th and 5th grade choruses are working hard in preparation for their first performance at the Veterans Day assembly on November 10 and are beginning to rehearse for the Winter Concert.  

            Band and Orchestra lessons are in full swing!  Mr. Wolf and Mrs. Weaver continue to teach band and orchestra lessons, respectively.  Returning students have completed their review unit of concepts from last year, and they are now learning new concepts and beginning to prepare for the Winter Concert. Beginning students have now had about 5 lessons on their instruments and are settling in to the lesson routines nicely.  We urge parents of band and orchestra students to help their children set up a predictable practice routine throughout the week so that they can be successful at their lessons.

            Miss Betts, Mrs. Weaver, and Mr. Wolf all look forward to seeing you in the audience at the Veterans Day Assembly on November 10th at 9:30 a.m. and the Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 19th at 2:00 p.m.  More information will come home as the date get closer.










Art with Ms Kapraun

            In Ms. Kapraun's 4th and 5th grade art classes, we are incorporating the 8 Studio Habits of Mind to research topics and art materials.  Our art research drives our project designs that are based around a core topic or process.  Fifth grade has created blackout poetry projects and explored oil pastel, colored pencil, and pen techniques, while fourth grade has done printmaking and researched space and the history of space art to design their own solar systems.  The younger artists in Ms. Kapraun's classes have started the year with clay: team work and pinch pots, texture necklaces and symmetry, and clay creatures inspired by the poetry of Shel Silverstein.  Third graders explored Ancient Greece and the Parthenon's drama with wars and looting!




P.E. with Mr. Mohr

            This fall in P.E. class, the students in grades K-2 have been learning different ways to move around the gym.  We have learned how to skip, gallop, side step and grapevine as well as a variety of animal walks.

            Our students in grades 3-5 have completed a soccer unit and are beginning a throwing and catching unit.  We will learn to throw and catch footballs, yarn balls, spider balls and gator balls.  This is always a popular unit with the students.








Hamilton’s ‘Dominoes’ entry in this years Carlisle Halloween Parade.  A fun time had by both staff and Cougar Council Student’s.