| WC Elementary |

Mr. Herbold Spotlight

By Becca Gebel

As Woodbury Central students in Mr. Herbold’s fifth grade classes learn about the Civil War, they write journals as if they lived during that time period. Each student chooses to be either from the North or South, and if their stories will be sad or funny. “It’s really fun and I really like it,” says Lilly Ofert about her journal project.

The students read about life during the Civil War, and watch videos to give them ideas for their writings. Mr. Herbold adds, “I am finding that as more and more kids get books and watch movies about it, they are really getting into it.” They also learn about the quilt designs that homeowners sewed for fugitives hiding in "Safe Houses."

This helps "humanize the effects of the war and to help the students realize what happened during that time," explains Mr. Herbold. This Civil War Unit lasts an about three weeks; the journal writing is about two weeks of that. Once students are finished, they will post their journals at the Fine Arts Festival on May 12 at the school. 

Cutline (left to right): Front Row: Rylie Peterson, Aleks Crow, Emma King, Ava Paulsen, Kellen Benson, Sam Monk, Lane Benedix; Back Row: Cade Ploen, Deisani Gomez, Zoe Muckey, Miranda Morales, Keaton Gernhart, Wyatt Fickbohm,

A Balancing Act

By Dawson Petersen


On Friday, Mrs. Anderson’s second grade students were eager to build and use beam balances in her classroom. They used beams and a fulcrum as the beam balance, and placed Unifix Cubes in one bucket and a cup in the other bucket on the beam to explore ways to balance them. Once the cubes were placed in the bucket, the students decided how many cubes would be needed to balance the object on the beam. “The students benefited because they were able to investigate the relationship between balance and weight,” says Mrs. Anderson.

This 3-day project is an introduction to a unit about weights and balances. About the project Mrs. Anderson adds, “This is a great hands-on way to begin our unit.” Once the students finish their beam balances experiments, they will take additional days to learn about weights and how they balance, occasionally using the same beams. 


Cutline- Malachi Thomas’s Cat in the Hat poster

Mrs. Countryman Spotlight

By Lyndzy Flewelling


A Dr. Seuss author study keeps Woodbury Central first graders busy this year. “Many projects are done throughout the month of March to go along with all the Dr. Seuss books,” said Mrs. Countryman, one of WC’s first grade teachers. The children have read a collection of stories such as “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “The Foot Book,” and “Daisy-Head Mayzie.” The children also create little projects to go along with the books, such as making Cat and the Hat posters, and writing a story about what they would do if the Cat and the Hat came to their houses. This project helps the children work on their reading fluency.

Mr. Kobliska Spotlight

Cutline (Left to right): Noah O’Mara and Jared Cooper

By Dawson Petersen


During third grade science class, Mr. Kobliska’s students dissect owl pellets to discover what they eat.

These young Woodbury Central students found mice bones in the owl pellets. Owl pellets are the droppings of an owl that contain what they eat. They thought the remains were quite "gross."  

Over the course of two weeks, Mr. Kobliska’s students dissect owl pellets and match the bones found in them with a model of a mouse skeleton. Sometimes the students end up with more bones than needed, and sometimes they don't have enough bones to complete their model, depending on what the owl ate for lunch.

After students match the bones with the mouse model, they write a paragraph to describe the dissection procedure. The paragraph describes the steps these young scientists go through, and how they feel about the project. Mr. Kobliska is pleased that students improve their writing skills while writing their paragraphs.

Then students compare the bones of various animals to each other to learn the differences between them. Through these comparisons, they discovered that mouse bones are smaller and shaped differently than those of a human. Mr. Kobliska says, “It fits in with our study of the human body as compared to various animal bones.”



 Cutline: Around the table to the right; Lydia Bracy, Kaylee Mcfarland, Cheyenne Libke, Ava Ofert, Ella O’mara, and Chloe Konye

Reading Recovery

By Becca Gebel

            Woodbury Central has an intense program for first graders called Reading Recovery.

            Reading Recovery is a 30 minute one-on-one lesson with first graders who may need a little bit more support for reading. The lesson is based on building skills and knowledge upon what those they already have, and what they already know. “Watching them grow is truly amazing," explains Mrs. Dennison. "I love my job.”

            Students’ focus on reading begins in preschool and works its way through the grades. The Reading Recovery program lasts about 15-20 weeks per student. All first grade students meet in a reading group formed by a Reading Recovery teacher and another teacher so they have lots of reading time. Mrs. Dennison says, “We are very lucky to have such an amazing team that works together, and an administration that supports it."

            “It is an amazing program and helps so many students,” Mrs. Dennison adds. "Our first grade readers are very fortunate to have this opportunity. It is phenomenal to watch them grow.”  


Mr. Herbold Elementary Spotlight        

Dominick and Grace are bartering in the picture.


By Drew Widman

As Mr. Herbold’s Woodbury Central students study the Revolutionary War, they realize that during this time period, inflation was a major problem and the prices of wheat and beef doubled within two months. One of the most common ways for colonists to cope was to barter for objects.

To understand this, Mr. Herbold's fifth graders experiment with bartering and bring items to class that they don’t want or need, and trade with another fifth-grader for something they do. Mr. Herbold stated that "items like collectables, books, homemade bracelets, and gently-used items were traded."

Throughout the year, this fifth-grade class studies several economic systems. Overall, a majority of the students gave the bartering system unit a thumbs up.

Dominick Steffens wants to do it again; he said, “I was ready to try it the next week.” When another student was asked how well the trades went, Grace Bennett explained, “I started with just a few worthless things, and ended up with lots of great stuff!”

Mr. Herbold added, “Both classes were amazed that online bartering is growing in popularity and maybe one day it may be as popular as it once was.”




Mr Kobliska's Third Grade

Woodbury Central Elementary Spotlight

By Kyler Christiansen


Mr. Kobliska’s third grade social studies class here at Woodbury Central is up to something new: the students are learning about communities and how they work.

For the next three weeks, Mr. Kobliska’s social studies classes will design their own communities with a flat box and their own belongings. The children may create anything, including farms, militaries, cities, and zoos. Upon completion, says Mr. Kobliska, “The students are better able to understand what a community is and how they differ.”

Mr. Kobliska’s students will compare their own projects with those of others, as well as compare them to the communities they read about in their books.



Spotlight on Mrs. Grays Kindergarten class

Lyndzy Flewelling


Woodbury Central’s kindergarten class taught by Mrs. Gray is practicing how to add.


As Woodbury Central kindergarten students learn to add, they learn vocabulary words such as “add,” “equals,” “more,” and “all together.” Mrs. Gray’s students get hands-on learning by using manipulatives and practicing how to add. To practice adding, they start by using their hands and then use sea creatures she explains. They also have access to an interactive white board to practice this new concept.

“The students love to learn and I tell them that this love adds to their life on a daily basis,” says Mrs. Gray. Iowa Core requires children to understand addition such as how to put things together and add them together. “We will work on addition until the end of the year,” Mrs. Gray explains. “We will start subtraction when the kids are ready for their next stop in their learning adventures.” 



Cutline: Alex Crow & Zoey Muckey, reading the book Molly’s Pilgrim

Elementary Spotlight Thanksgiving

By Shane Funk

It’s a classic Thanksgiving story and Mrs. Anderson’s second graders are reading it. The book, Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen, is about a girl’s first Thanksgiving in the New World. The main character, Molly, finds a place for herself in America in a very unexpected way. “Reading this book usually helps the students reflect on what they are truly thankful for before they celebrate with their families,” said Mrs. Anderson. With the holidays coming up it allows the students to get a multi-cultural view of how other countries celebrate holidays and their customs. “It’s a great Social Studies lesson,” added Mrs. Anderson. “The students benefit by realizing it takes all kinds of Pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving,”

The Woodbury Central students will spend about a week to complete this project, from Nov. 17 to Nov. 21 in. The students will watch a short video afterwards.

First graders learn about mealworms

By Becca Gebel

Would you hold a mealworm in your bare hand? Well, Woodbury Central’s first grade students are playing with mealworms as they investigate and study them for 10-12 weeks.

 While doing this project, the children learn all about the life cycle of the insect through the daily observations.  Each table of students has its own mealworm to look after and care for as they observe their mealworms change from larvae to pupae to adult darkling beetles. It also helps them learn to meet the mealworm’s needs such as for food, water, space and air.

 As the students learn about mealworms, they come to appreciate the diversity of life and the importance of respecting all life. This project is part of the science curriculum for all first graders. “Along with our butterfly study, this has been another great opportunity for our students to learn about the needs of living things and a hands-on experience to study the life cycle of an insect,” says Mrs. Countryman. ”The first graders were excited to observe the changes in their mealworms daily and weekly.” The first graders also wrote and drew about their mealworms in journals.

Click HERE to watch Mrs Rapp and Ms. Wordekemper's 2nd Grade Class doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Miss Shever
 Miss Shever, student teacher Interview

By Ashton Eaton

Miss Shever, a student teacher at Woodbury Central, loves working with elementary children. She explains that she is most satisfied “when the ‘light-bulb’ comes on and my students understand a concept.” Miss Shever thinks outside of the box to develop creative ideas whenever “I differentiate instruction to meet the needs of my diverse learners.”

Miss Shever chose Woodbury Central “because it is close to home, the staff is great, and the community is welcoming.” She values her “faith, family/friends, and her career in life.” She knows that the hardest part about leaving WC later this fall will be “saying good-bye to my students and to Mrs. Paulsen.”

Miss Shever’s teaching experiences includes 80+ hours of classroom practicum experience in Sioux City schools. She also “taught a class of second grade students” at Camp Imagination last summer.

Miss Shever grew up on a farm outside of Cushing, IA with her parents Craig and LeeAnn Shever, and brother Skylar. She has studied at SDSU and Morningside College. Miss Shever is currently earning her reading endorsement and getting her B.S. in elementary education. Her goal is to graduate from college in December and get a mid-year job or be a substitute teacher.


Mrs. Wright Elementary Spot

By Dawson Petersen

As fourth grade students at Woodbury Central research their family’s ancestral history, they create a family tree. They record an oral history of their family and the country their ancestors came from. “I got to learn that I was from Germany and England,” said Katelyn Archer.

Mrs. Wright and Mr. Alfredson’s fourth grade classes have been participating in this  heritage project for three and a half weeks.

“Students gain a better understanding of why America is thought of as a melting pot or mosaic of cultures,” says Mrs. Wright.

The project introduces the concept of “cause and effect” to the classes. Mrs. Wright adds, “Helps them (the students) to understand historical patterns and the effects of human migration.” Then the students display all the information on a poster that is hung in the hallway to be viewed during Parent Teacher Conferences.


Mrs. Guthridge’s Elementary Spotlight

By Nic Scheelhaase

Recently at Woodbury Central, Mrs. Guthridge’s T-K students have partnered up and have been very busy learning in their Life Science class. “The students have been searching through non-fiction books for what all living things need,” comments Mrs. Guthridge, adding that one of the student benefits of this project is to learn to work with a partner. She also believes that “learning what makes something a living thing and what they need to live (air, food, water, sunlight)” benefits the students as they look at pictures and matching it to the text.”

The bulk of the Life Science class deals with learning about the different characteristics of living things compared to non-living things. The T-K students spend roughly 30 minutes a week studying Life Science. When not working with a partner they can be seen researching non-fiction books on their own k

Elementary spot light

By Lyndzy Flewelling


            In the Woodbury Central elementary, Mrs. Rapp’s second grade class has been planting seeds as a science experiment.

            To create their own seedbeds, the students planted different kinds of seeds close to the outside of a clear cup; the seeds they chose were to grow pumpkins, sunflowers, peas and kidney beans. “Did you know the kidney bean has a coat?” asks Rylee Vohs.

            Because these second graders are responsible for taking care of their plants, they watch the seed beds closely: “The seeds split open and the roots grow down and the stems grow up” says Josie Hagemann. The students also draw pictures and write descriptions of their plants, which helps them practice writing in sequence and with descriptive words.

This hands-on activity pertains to real life, says Mrs. Rapp. As well as studying plants, the students also learn to classify animals, and learn about lifecycles and the characteristics of organisms. “I love growing plants because it is fun to see what it turns out like,” says Colton Warren. 

Elementary and Middle School Q&A

By McKenna Alitz

What is your favorite season and why?

“Spring, because the flowers are blooming.” Payton Petersen, eighth grade

“Winter, I like to go sledding.” Madison Ploen, seventh grade

“Fall, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it’s football season.” Jase Manker, sixth grade

“I like summer because the pool is open and I like winter because it’s Christmas and you get presents and you can build snowmen.” Gunnar Pate, second grade


Choquette Elementary Spotlight Butterflies

By McKenna Alitz

“My favorite part was when the butterfly came out of his chrysalis,” said Jenna Widman, a student in Mrs. Choquette’s first grade class. Jenna and her classmates have been observing the life cycle of a butterflies, mealworms, waxworms, and milkweed bugs.

According to Mrs. Choquette, first graders “are capable of identifying the four stages of the life-cycle of an insect” and “realize the importance of having milkweed in our fields and ditches.” Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed, and monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed leaves. So the students have learned that “if we have no milkweed, we have no monarchs.”

Mrs. Choquette explained that all students “make observations and record them in their journals.” Most “observed the transformation that takes place during the life cycle of the butterfly.”  

Students also learned about insect migration and hibernation. “Our first Monarch Butterfly emerged on Sept. 10” and shortly thereafter, the students released it. “We hope he makes it to Mexico for the winter,” stated Mrs. Choquette.

The project fits perfectly with the science curriculum; the class will spend six-eight weeks observing the life cycle of different insects during their science classes.

Student-Teacher Interview Ms. Wordekemper

By Dawson Petersen

Ms. Wordekemper, who uses binders to stay organized, is a student teacher for Mrs. Rapp’s second grade students.

 “When my students understand what I am teaching and the looks on their faces,” is what Ms. Wordekemper says satisfies her most in her job.

Ms. Wordekemper describes herself as out-going, determined, and fun, and values “her family and friends.” Her baby sister’s volleyball game was the last sporting event she attended.

  “I heard great things about the school district and the community,” is why Ms. Wordekemper decided to teach at Woodbury Central. She is currently working toward her goal of becoming a teacher.

Ms. Wordekemper has grown up in Bronson, IA, and loves it there because it is “small, but a huge community.” She will graduate from Wayne State College in December 2014 with a coaching endorsement. She is currently reading the book What Teachers Make. The last book she read was Book Whisper.