Teacher Pages Archive

Posted on March 18, 2020

How to Access Teams

Posted on March 18, 2020

How to Access Clever

Posted on March 17, 2020

Central School Update – 3/17

Central Families:

Thank you for your support and grace over the last few days! This is an unprecedented, hectic time for everyone, and it is easy to lose sight of what is important. First and foremost, the health of your family and every family that attends Central School, the Helena School District, and in the greater Helena community is the most important factor at this time. Please be safe and make good choices as we navigate through the Cornavirus outbreak. Please continue to read for some valuable information about the next few days. Central School will close Thursday, 3/19. The plan is to open on Monday, 4/6.

Learning Packets and Technology

  • Packets and technology will be available for check out on 3/18 from 12:00 to 4:00.
  • We will label tables in the commons with grade levels. When you arrive, you will go to the appropriate table and gather packets and other materials.
  • Technology will be checked out on a first come, first serve basis. We have a shortage of charging plugs and will not be able to supply every student with technology at this point.
  • We will continue to provide Chromebooks throughout next week to those who still need technology.


Helena School District will provide grab and go meal options at eight regional sites across the district. The meal will come with lunch for that day and breakfast for the following day – so two meals at one time. Children between 1 and 18 years of age can get a meal. The children must be present in order to get the meal. Here is a list of the sites and the times the meals are available:

8 Regional Grab & Go Meal Locations/Times

  • –  Rossiter Elementary: 11:00 am to 11:30 am
  • –  Four Georgians Elementary: 11:00 am to 11:30 am
  • –  Broadwater Elementary: 11:45am to 12:15 pm
  • –  Warren Elementary: 11:50 am to 12:20 pm
  • –  Bryant Elementary: 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm
  • –  Smith Elementary: 12:45 pm to 1:15 pm
  • –  Central Elementary: 1:15 pm to 2:00 pm
  • –  Kessler Elementary: 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm


Additionally, along with many generous offers during this time of crisis, Charter Communications is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. This is just one of many thoughtful and helpful ways our community and nation can pull together in support of one another during this challenging time.

Technology Instruction Packet

Student Instructions Packet

I’ve included the district technology instruction packet to help you navigate the different digital platforms we use.

Clever is a digital clearinghouse with single sign on access for the multitude of applications a teacher might use. You don’t need to memorize login credentials for every single application, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. Teachers will be able to provide you with login credentials for any application they ask you to use.

Office 365 boasts several products the teachers might ask you to use. Outlook is the email account. Teams is a group clearinghouse allowing multiple individuals to video conference, share files and work, post to a chat. There are also other beneficial programs attached to Office 365.

All of these applications and programs will be monitored by the classroom teacher.

School and Teacher Communication

I will check email multiple time a day and try to reply within 24 hours. My email is jstilson@helenaschools.org. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Teachers will check-in with you soon about digital learning environments and content expectations, so please check your email for communication from your classroom teacher. Teachers will let you know a schedule, the communication plan, and content expectations for the students.

Final Thoughts

We are taking these steps to preserve and protect the health of the entire Helena community and Montana. Please make smart choices over the next few days. The staff at Central School cares deeply for every student that attends Central.

Our projected opening date of 4/6 is not a hard opening date, meaning we may be closed longer depending upon how the Covid 19/Coronavirus situation unfolds in Montana and across the United States. I will be sure to stay in touch with updates about our eventual return. Please let me know if you have questions or needs.

Stay safe,

John Stilson
Central School

Posted on November 8, 2019

First Quarter Music Update

It’s been a great first quarter of music class!

Students in Kindergarten have been discovering their different voices: speaking, singing, whispering, shouting, silly, and even their inner thinking voice. We have also been exploring movement, starting with moving vs. stopping, whole body vs. body parts, and traveling vs. stationary.

First and second graders have been engaging their head voice for tuneful singing and matching the steady beat while listening to a piece of music. Students also enjoyed music stations where they had a chance to play digital keyboards, read some of their favorite Songtale books, practice simple rhythm writing, and discover notes on a staff.

Third, fourth, and fifth graders as well as Montessori students have been playing the ukulele. Ukuleles are smaller and have fewer strings than the guitar, making them perfect for smaller hands. They also cost less than a guitar and are small and easy to carry. Each grade has been working on different skills, including proper ukulele posture, the difference between fingerpicking and strumming, and learning chords.

Be sure to mark your calendar for our winter concert on Thursday, December 12 at 1:00pm. We look forward to sharing our hard work with you. 

The mission of the Helena Public School Music Department is to create meaningful, memorable, and diverse musical experiences in a physically and emotionally safe environment that fosters artistic creativity. 

Posted on March 12, 2017

News for March 13, 2017

Hello everyone!  I hope we all adjust to turning the clocks back.  The good news is that light is coming back into our lives!  Here is our news for this week.

Math:  Students will finish corrections on their basic fraction test and Mrs. Downing and I will work to help students clear up any misunderstandings.  We will begin our next unit, which works with fractions with uncommon denominators.

Science:  We will have a heavy emphasis on science this week.  First, all 4th grade students will be taking the state science CRT this week. It will take 3 sessions that take 45 minutes.  Additionally, we will be working on a science animal and plant adaptation unit.  Finally, I will begin the conversation about possible science fair topics.  Before I do this, I will have a lesson on a “testable” question so they can begin to understand the scientific process.

Spelling and Reading:  We aren’t having a reading and spelling lesson this week due to science CRT testing.

Music:  We will be attending the Helena symphony this week.  It will be Wednesday the 15th in the afternoon.  Two thousand students from the Helena area are introduced to the symphony.  No money or special lunches are required.

Posted on February 20, 2017

News for February 20, 2017

Hello!  I hope you are enjoying the weekend.  Here is our news.  No pdf is attached since we won’t have spelling this week.

Remember that we will be going to Great Falls this Wednesday.  The bus will leave at 8:40, so students need to be to school on time.  We will return in time to catch the buses home.  The cost of the trip is $2.oo.  Students can either get a sack lunch from the school or bring one from home.  Please leave electronics at home.  If there are any parents who would like to come, the price of admission is $10.00 for adults.

Science:  We will research our Adopt-a-Species animal, the osprey.  Students will design a poster highlighting osprey in their habitat.  Instead of a reading lesson this week, we will spend that time beginning a science unit on plant and animal adaptations.

Math:  We will continue to work with fractions.  It will begin to get a little harder this week because we will add and subtract with regrouping.

Spelling:  No spelling list this week.


Posted on February 5, 2017

News for February 6 2017

Hi everyone,

Happy February!  Here is our news for this week.

Math:  We are continuing our work with algebra and problem-solving.  We will probably take the test at the end of this week.  Everyone is working very hard!

Reading:  Our reading skill this week is comparing characters and inferring character traits from their actions.

Spelling:  Spelling is focused on k, ng, and kw.

Writing:  This week, we will continue working on 2 column notes and how to use them for reading comprehension as well as writing.

Social Studies:  We will be learning about Lewis and Clark this week.  This is preparation for a field trip to the Great Falls Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.


Posted on January 29, 2017

January 30, 2017

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the last week of January!
Math: We continue to work on problem-solving and algebra. Students mostly did very well on the latest quiz understanding what operation to use. Most found it difficult to write and equation with a variable, so we will keep working on that.
Reading: Lesson 15 focuses on main idea and details. The story is Ecology for Kids and it is information text.
Spelling: The spelling skill is dropping the y and adding the ending (er, est, or es)
Science: We will finish up a chapter assignment of energy (the paper and pen-cil part of what we have been studying). We have had lots of investigations with this energy unit too. Ask your child why density make a straw look broken when you look through the glass.
Upcoming Events: This week is parent teacher conferences. I have heard back from a lot of you, so I am looking forward to visiting. I will give out 2nd quarter report cards at this time.
Field Trip: We will be seeing a live performance at HMS this Friday afternoon.

Posted on January 22, 2017

News for January 23 2017

Hi everyone,

I am looking forward to a fairly normal week.  Here are our plans.

Math:  This unit is focused on problem-solving.  We are using algebra and all 4 operations.  We are also focusing on making sense of the problem.

Reading:  The skill is working on reading diagrams, pictures, and informational text.  The lesson is 14, the Life and Times of Ant, focused on scientific ideas.

Science:  We are finishing up our energy unit

Spelling:  The skill is having the long e sound on the end of words (y, ey,).

Writing:  We will continue working on writing solid sentences.  I have found that even when copying a sentence from the board, some students are still neglecting capitals and periods.  Middle school teachers really want every student to be able to write a basic sentence independently as a requirement.  Of course, many students are also beyond this.



Posted on December 3, 2016

December 5, 2016

Hi everyone,

The weather is going to get cold!  Are you all ready?  🙂

Math:  Long Division is coming along.  If you have access to a computer, I have found Snork’s Long Division, which is on several different websites, helpful in the early stages.  One way to support your child is to talk about division real  life situations and what you do with remainders.

Reading:  This week we will begin Naya Nuki, which is a novel about a Shoshone girl who is kidnapped, taken to North Dakota, and makes here way back to her tribe in Montana.

Social Studies:  Students are to design an island,  include a key, compass, rose, 4 land forms and 4 man-made objects.  Then they are to write a 3 paragraph description of the island.  I would like this done by Thursday, so if it’s not done, you may see it come home as homework.

Spelling:  I made my own list of commonly misspelled words for this week.  There is just a basic list, but I included some challenge words for students who aren’t having trouble spelling the basic list.

Winter Program:  December 16th at 1:00.  All students will return to school on the bus and parents may check them out at Central