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April 4, 2022
by: Janet Weyandt

In Etude’s 1st Grade Space Unit, There are as Many Questions as Stars in the Sky

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Questioning

Anyone who’s ever known a first grader knows that inviting them to ask questions can be a mixed blessing. After all, young children are famous for peppering their adults with hundreds of questions every day. 

In Logan McLaughlin’s first-grade class at Etude Elementary School, however, that’s exactly what he’s hoping for. It’s the whole point of the space unit, where the students learn about the universe. 

A big part of the unit is asking the kids what they want to know, and they never disappoint, McLaughlin said. 

“I’ve never seen kids so tirelessly asking questions,” he said. “They have that thirst for knowledge.”

As part of the unit, the students make their own study journal in which every page is a new planet or new concept. They learn the significant facts about all the planets and discuss at length what makes them suitable or unsuitable for people to live on. 

 A major part of every lesson is the opportunity to explore more, McLaughlin said. 

“We ask them ‘What do you want to know about?’” he said. “If we need to take two days to talk about Titan, let’s do it. It’s OK to ask questions you don’t have the answers to. I think we do a lot to help them discover those answers.”

This is the second year for the space unit; before that, the first trimester scientific exploration unit was about monarch butterflies. 

The unit is about more than planets and moons (hint: Titan is Saturn’s largest moon), however. They also talk in-depth about things like stars, states of matter, space exploration, the International Space Station and just about any other related topic that comes up.  

One of those is the Goldilocks Zone: Earth is not too hot and not too cold, but just right. 

“I want them to understand the central question: Why is the Earth unique?” McLaughlin said. “I want them to have an understanding of those concepts.” 

Because it’s Etude, the specials classes were related to the theme as well. For music, the students made their own songs about space or the planets. In movement, they developed a routine capturing concepts such as gravity, rotation and revolution. For drama, the class created a fictional story and used expressive actions to show what might happen on each planet.

The current project is about the community, complete with field trips to different kinds of places and lots of discussion about what makes a community. 

It’s also a good topic and first graders are invariably interested, but it doesn’t have the oomph of the space unit. 

McLaughlin said he has heard from many parents about their kids’ interest. 

“There’s something about space that kind of captures the imagination,” he said. “This is not something they put in a box and go home and don’t think about. They’re truly taking it home with them – they share facts and ask questions at home.”

For more information about Étude Elementary, feel free to visit our Enrollment Page


April 4, 2022
by: Janet Weyandt

Students get Hands-on Look at How the World Works with 4th/5th Grade World Peace Game

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DSC 1893 Imagine this: One day in the future, world leaders will be sitting together to work out a thorny international problem and one of the voices at the table will say “When I was in fourth grade, this is how we handled a global water shortage.”

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April 4, 2022
by: Janet Weyandt

Elementary Preview Night

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** DSC 2218 *Please join us!*

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February 3, 2022
by: Janet Weyandt

Beautiful Bugs: Science and Literacy Come Together in Special Kindergarten Unit

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March 31, 2021
by: Ted Hamm

Flags of Resilience

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As you look down 9th St. at Étude Middle School, you will see something a bit different flying from our flag pole. Flying just under the American flag are flags our students created in partnership with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. The flags represent resilience. Or, I should say the flags represent what our students view as resilience.

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March 24, 2021
by: Janet Weyandt

Building Real Community in the Virtual Classroom

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When the nation shut down last year and students and teachers were abruptly prevented from being in classrooms together, it was a serious blow on every level – to teachers’ workload and planning, to students’ socialization and education progress and a thousand other ways.

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February 16, 2021
by: Special Contribution to the Étude Group

Etude Group Receives New Charter for 5-year Contract

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Etude Group has been awarded its fourth charter with the Sheboygan Area School District, which means the elementary, middle and high schools can continue meeting and exceeding their goals for another five years.

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November 6, 2020
by: Janet Weyandt

Mindfulness Builds Resilience at Étude Elementary

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After lunch at Étude Elementary School, the students come back into the building, pick their favorite spot to sit or lie down and then spend a few minutes breathing, thinking and paying attention to how they feel.

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May 30, 2020
by: Janet Weyandt

Wilderness Wednesday takes learning into the great outdoors

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In the beginning, Wilderness Wednesday at Etude was simply a way for teacher Ali McKeone to get herself and her first graders outside and enjoy a little fresh air.

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April 22, 2020
by: Janet Weyandt

Teachers bring new ‘Mindset’ to math class after workshop

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If there’s one thing that’s become more important than ever in education over the last month, it’s flexibility. Teachers have initiated online learning on the fly, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and students and parents have risen to the challenge.

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