Pinewood Let’s Break the World Record For Summer Reading 2015!!!

Pinewood students did an amazing job setting academic goals this year and making some huge growth in both reading and math.  We want to keep that momentum going right into summer.  The Scholastic Summer Reading Program is a fun way for students to track their reading minutes and help them work towards their own personal goals.  We want every student at Pinewood to help us be one of the top Scholastic Reading Schools as well as to help us join schools nationwide in setting a new world record.  Each student will be signed up with their current class and receive a log on and a password.  During the summer they can use this log on and password to add minutes to their reading.  On the Scholastic website there are also new short stories students can read as well as encouraging videos and games.

So what is your students’ goal?  I have five books on my summer MUST read list, and my goal is to get through all of them and have time to enjoy some young adult novels with my children.  Every week this summer I will post on the blog and would love to have student’s write some blog posts and add comments this summer as well.  Mark your calendars now on Wednesday July 15, 2015 at 6:30 pm. join me and your classmates on Pinewood’s Playground for a Mid-Summer Reading Celebration each student who tells me what they have been reading will get a Popsicle and have 45 minutes to play together on the playground.

reading JR Roper's newest book The Spirit of Steel by the pool.

reading JR Roper’s newest book The Spirit of Steel by the pool.

Mrs. Brown's personal MUST read books for the summer.

Mrs. Brown’s personal MUST read books for the summer.

Winners of the PBS Writing Contest!


Our second grade has two award winning writers named Dorothy Jameslyn and Jada Vis!  Dorothy is an awesome girl who loves making songs, writing poems, and little stories.  One of those stories is “Dolphin vs. The Net”.  Jada is a sweet girl who is very creative and loves drawing illustrations.  She wrote a story entitled, “George Washington”.  As soon as Dorothy heard she won 1st place the contest, she said, ” I was very happy!”.  When Jada heard she won 3rd place, she said she was “very happy and excited”.  They have won the PBS Writing Contest!  They are super talented!  They both went to a great dinner and got to shake the hand of the President of Grand Valley State University!!!  These girls have already starting thinking about their entries for next year!!!

Article written by Alexis VanderGraaf


Fifth Grade Pepsi Visit

Last week our fifth graders here at Pinewood had the opportunity to meet and learn from a Large Format Sales Representative, Mr. Vanwagoner, from Pepsi.  We began our time with Mr. Vanwagoner giving us a small glimpse into his life experiences, from childhood to his college education, that eventually landed him in his career.

Mr. Vanwagoner then went on to explain that all education and experiences aside, while invaluable to his job and many other careers, he wouldn’t be where he is today without first learning how to make a great first impression with a great handshake.

Confidence. Eye Contact. A Firm Grip.    


Braylon K. practicing a firm handshake with Mr. Vanwagoner.

The three key components to a great first impression and handshake.  One student even got to practice his first impression with Mr. Vanwagoner in front of the class!

After our lesson in first impressions, we got to learn how a sales representative actually uses math every single day in their job.  From estimating and percentages to fractions and multiplication, Mr. Vanwagoner explained how crucial math is to success in his career and many, many other careers.

We finished our time with a session of questions, answers, and even some trivia with awesome prizes for students who were keenly listening in during his presentation.

question and answer

Jolie S. answering one of our trivia questions.

It was a fun-filled, educational afternoon and a wonderful experience!

Thank you, Mr. Vanwagoner, for teaching us about how you maintain a great attitude and use tons of math in your career!

– Mr. Lohman

A Final Message From Our BYOU (Be Your Own You) Club!

Today, the BYOU (Be Your Own You) Club met for the final time for the 2014-2015 school year!  Throughout this first year, between 10-20 girls (3rd-6th grade) met every other week with Miss Bosch, the school social worker, to talk about friendships, self-esteem, and the power of positivity.  During a previous meeting, they began the project of creating a video based off of “Kid Presidents’ 20 Things We Should Say More Often“.  They had a great discussion on the negative words and comments that they hear around school sometimes, and then each girl created a poster to share one thing she would like to hear people at Pinewood say more often in order to make Pinewood a place were kindness and positivity are celebrated.  They did an AMAZING job, and the result is the inspiring message depicted in the video below.

At the final meeting today, the girls’ also talked about ways they could continue to spread this message throughout the rest of this year and this summer. Many of them decided to create cards or letters for their teachers in order to express to them their gratitudeIMG_7500 for all that they have done for them this year.  Miss Bosch also shared with them her “Gratitude Journal Challenge”, which was found on BYOU Magazine’s blog.  This challenge invites each girl to write down 5 things a day throughout the summer for which they are thankful for.  BYOU’s message to those who participate is, “After a while, you’ll feel a difference inside and will actively search for things during your day to write about in your journal at night. Pretty soon, your negative thoughts will turn into positive thoughts and you’ll be happier and healthier – plus, since gratitude lights up your eyes and brings a smile to your face, you’ll be much prettier since your inner beauty is shining through!” (  There are also several other crafts, activities, and articles to read online if the girls are looking for something to do during the long summer months!

The first year of the BYOU Club has been a wonderful journey, which Pinewood hopes to continue in the future.  Thank you to all of the amazingly beautiful, caring, and passionate girls who participated this year!

Giant Map of North America Visits Pinewood!

Over the past couple of weeks, you might have stopped by the gym and noticed something different. That is because at Pinewood we had a National Geographic Traveling Map on our gym floor for two weeks. Thanks to the generosity of of a grant from Meemic, we were able to rent a map for two weeks for the students to explore.

Having a huge map like this was a great way to explore geography in ways that simply isn’t possible using a regular map or even an interactive map on a computer. A map you can walk on?  The students had a great time playing scavenger hunts to locate different landforms, tracing the paths of explorers, playing Simon Says to locate different states, and lots of other activities.

Take a look at some of the fun and learning below.

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