Specialists Bi-Weekly Update

January 14, 2022

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What is happening during WMS specials classes?

The specials classes are listed below.

Art: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Technology Education: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Health: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Music: 6th and 7th grade

Drama: 8th grade only

Physical Education: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

Orchestra, Band and Chorus: 6th, 7th and 8th grade by student choice

Specials classes meet for 1 term every other day with the exception of physical education; physical education meets every other day all year. There are 4 terms in the school year, so your child will have all four specials by the end of the school year.

Art Class

6th grade: Most students are working on their Animal Projects. All students chose an Animal that they are excited to learn how to draw and got reference photograph print outs to work from. Students started with Thumbnail Sketches for their Animals project. While looking at photographs of those animals, they broke them down into simple shapes and tried out different compositions until they found a favorite plan. Once students finish their Thumbnail Sketches they have a choice of making their Animals as either: Shaded Pencil, Colored Pencil, Watercolor, Oil Pastel or Collage. Each material has its own set of directions to follow. Students map out their animal composition in pencil first so that they have a chance to make edits as needed. Then they move on to the final material, adding colors, shading and details to both the animal and the background. Students have been working hard, and the results are looking quite exciting!

Learning Targets: ANIMALS

1. Artists draw realistically by breaking things down into simple shapes first.

I WILL take time to look at the animal image in front of me, SO I CAN identify the simple shapes that make it up, and start to draw my animal from those simple shapes.

2. Artists edit their work, they don’t expect the first thing they draw to look perfect right away.

I WILL take time to look at my paper, compare it to the animal image I’m looking at and be honest with myself about what looks good, and what needs fixing SO I CAN edit, refine and change what’s on my paper, to match what I’m seeing.

7th grade: Students are working on their Mandala Projects. Some students are finishing their Rough Draft steps while many have moved on to the Final Draft steps of their Mandalas. Rough Drafts map out the structure of the Mandala in pencil, then in either black or colored ink. And then

Final Drafts follow a Color Scheme that applies the Color Theory ideas we’ve learned from our Color Wheel work.

Students have a “final material” option of using Marker, Colored Pencil, Watercolors or Oil Pastels. The shading, color variations and blending is looking so FABULOUS so far!

Learning Target: MANDALAS

1. I can apply what I know about Color Theory to make my viewer notice specific things about my artwork.

2. I can apply what I learned from Zentangles to create complex patterns by fitting shapes together in interesting ways.

8th grade: Most students began their Photorealistic Portrait Projects this week. Students are learning a basic 4-box grid and are using their analyzing skills to draw a portrait based on a photograph of their choosing. This week they should have completed the head, neck and shoulders outlines and they will move on to mapping out the features guidelines and individual features next week.

Precision with the head, neck and shoulders and the guidelines lays the groundwork for drawing the features as the correct size and in the correct placement according to what we see in our photographs, this is the key to making our Portraits Photorealistic! We will tackle the specifics of the features next week.

Some students are still working on finishing up their Final Perspective Drawings as well. Because we are getting so close to the end of the term, it is important for students to turn in missing work as soon as possible! Please check with your students or check their Google Classroom Grades Report to see about missing work, incomplete work, grades, etc.

Learning Target: PORTRAITS

I can use gridding and other drawing “tricks” to analyze my portrait reference image and draw a pretty realistic version of that image. I will refine and change what is on my page as necessary until I have an image that captures the essence of my portrait.

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6th Grade: Students are embarking on their last unit of the term, ukulele! Developing their skills through chord playing and rhythmic strumming, our young musicians are becoming accomplished instrumentalists!

7th Grade: Students are deep in their study of the Blues, having learned about blues legends like Robert Johnson and Bessie Smith. Having gotten familiar with the genre, students are now tasked with composing their very own blues tunes!

8th Grade: Students are really digging into their theater tech unit, showing off their skills in lighting design using the amazing equipment in our Auditorium! They still have one more project in Props to tackle!

Technology Education

6th grade: This week students finished with class discussions and labs relating to structural loads, in preparation for their unit assessment (next week!) We have additionally been having some spirited contests with the online Bridge Designer software, created by West Point Army Corps of Engineers.

7th grade: This week we have been launching student designed rockets in Moxley Field. It has been a … blast! Next week we will explore the four forces of flight (Gravity, Thrust, Lift and Drag) as well as how an airfoil keeps an airplane in the air, and do some related experiments and demonstrations relating to fluid dynamics and air pressure, and discuss how those affect flight. Your students will then take the unit assessment the final week of the term.

8th grade: This week students built upon their work with their Lego Mindstorms robotics kits and programming software, putting into practice their understanding of the concepts of Inputs, Processing, and Outputs as they relate to the mechanical and communications systems models.

They have been designing, building and programming a number of autonomous robot configurations to experience hands-on design challenges for themselves, and are now deep into their final design challenge, the Candy Challenge, which poses the problem of navigating a timed obstacle course to collect as many rounds of candy as possible. As a team, they will need to take what they have learned through the ‘out of the box’ mini-challenge lessons and design, build, and program a custom solution to solve the course.


6th grade: This week students began talking about themselves. For some students this is a simple task and for others it is a bit more challenging. We focus on self-image in 6th grade, so that students can feel confident and comfortable with who they are. Having a positive self-image is the foundation for healthy decision making!

7th grade: The last unit of the term is Marijuana. Students are identifying short and long term effects of marijuana. We are taking a look at the laws around marijuana and defining the term “gateway drug”. A big focus when learning about marijuana is how THC affects the developing teen brain.

Next week we will be discussing mental health, depression and Signs of Suicide. The 7th grade guidance counselor will be participating in Health class for this unit. An “opt’ out letter has been sent home with students to share with their caregivers. Please email me with any questions or concerns.

8th grade: This week students began working on their final project for the term. This is a project around decision making. We have discussed positive/negative influences and who/what is affected by the choices teens make. Students are working independently on block coding to create a game around teenage decision making. This is the first time we are using “Scratch” in Health class, and I am excited to see how these projects turn out!

Physical Education

THIS WEEK IN PE: Students will continue to work on their fundamental basketball skills of dribbling, passing and shooting. Students will then demonstrate their understanding and practice these skills in stations and small games.



Our All City Orchestra started this week! This is a group for all students in 4-6th grade.

Our first annual String Spectacular concert will be on March 22, 2022. This concert will feature all students in our WPS string program from 4-12th grade!


SUPER HUGE shout out to all of our chorus kids for their hard work throughout the month of December! From their winter concert to their amazing community caroling, I couldn’t be prouder of our kiddos! Now, students are starting a new project called Teachertines! They picked pop/rock songs to rearrange and perform in school throughout the month of February. First step is learning the melody and bass line!

For recordings of either choirs, click here! More to come soon!


Please visit the Band S'MORE directly: https://www.smore.com/xsk9v


The library has been settling back into the school year. Students have been keeping me busy with book checkouts! I am so excited to see what they are reading. My after school volunteers have been amazing checking books in, shelving, and just generally keeping the library in shape!

We are currently collaborating with the 8th grade Health classes on a coding project about decision making. Before break, almost every student had the chance to come to the makerspace to make vinyl stickers and learn about different things they could try here. The makerspace was also happy to host the 7th grade science classes as they explored viruses and utilized the laser cutter.

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