LS Special Area Update

January 2016


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How does what we learn in art class help us in other parts of the school?

Ahhhhh, the welcome of a new year, let the January magic begin! I simply love this time of year when the students come back to school after having spent time with family and loved ones. They are so ready for a new adventure in learning at school.

In the Fine Arts, we are planning a school wide Spring event to celebrate the arts at Maclay. Stay tuned for more information on this and the Auction as well as the end of the year Pre-K and Lower School art show. The Visual Arts teachers have also spent some time together collaborating and developing a Keith Haring unit for the three divisions to teach to the whole school before the Spring Celebration of the Arts. So, if your children start talking about Pop Art, Keith Haring, or drawing little chubby faceless figures jumping all around with boundless energy, you’ll know why.

February: Maclay Auction, Jet Set Fete: February 27, 2016

April: Celebration of the Arts, a whole school event: April 1, 2016

April/May: Pre-K and Lower School Art Show: TBA


What can we do to make our band music sound more interesting?

The Fifth Grade Band members are working hard to produce beautiful sounds and to play in tune with each other. They will soon begin to work on more complex band music. They will learn about eighth notes and rests, and new rhythm patterns. They will learn how to make their music more interesting by varying the dynamics, tempos, and articulations.

The band members are listening to music by the composer John Williams. He has composed the music for some of their favorite movies. They are eager to start working on some John Williams pieces.
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What does it take to put on a production?

How does participating in and practicing for a show help us with basic life skills?

What is the purpose of auditioning?

How does teamwork affect a show?

How can we support one another?

Second - fifth grade students are busy gearing up for our spring production of ‘The Lion King Kids’. We will begin by exploring the characters and the plot of The Lion King and then preparing the students for auditions. The students will understand the importance of the process of putting on a production, the steps for creating the play and the guidelines for effective rehearsals We always emphasize the importance of each role – EVERY PART IS ESSENTIAL to the success of the show. There are many valuable life skills that will be gained from participating in a production, such as collaboration, self-confidence, communication, critical thinking, imagination, self-discipline, empathy and teamwork. We are looking forward to jumping into rehearsals. Stay tuned for more information to come soon… Hakuna matata!

In kindergarten and first grade, students will demonstrate the understanding that theatre is the art of telling stories through acting, and how observing the world around you is a first step to becoming a great actor. We will continue to have fun using the drama skills the children have learned to practice focus, expressions and movement through several acting activities and by acting out various stories.

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How does literature enrich your life?

How does information literacy help me become an independent, lifelong learner?

How do the illustrations and words tell the story?

In December students in kindergarten, first, and second grade

began to learn about genres. Our genre for December was fantasy. Students enjoyed listening to three fantasy stories A Bad Case of Stripes, Tops and Bottoms, and Merry UnChristmas. We discussed the elements of fantasy and how stories can be altered from fantasy to reality.

In third, fourth, and fifth grades students learned about plagiarism. After discussing what they know and wonder about the topic, students learned why plagiarism is wrong, and ways to be sure it does not happen unexpectedly. Students enjoyed an insightful discussion on the topic.

We will continue our monthly genre study by learning about biographies. We will read a biography about Andy Warhol and another about Martin Luther King Jr. This month we will also discuss snow and read a few picture books on the topic! We will end the month by completing an author study on H.A. Rey, who is the author and illustrator of Curious George.

Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade will be learning about paraphrasing. Students will work in small groups, partners, and individually to practice this skill. This knowledge will help students when taking notes during research.

Book of the Month Kindergarten-2nd Grade

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Josh Funk

This silly and clever story describes the panic that sets in between two friends, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, when they discover there is one drop of syrup left in the fridge! The story takes the two friends throughout the depths of the fridge including the Broccoli Forest and Potato Mash Mountain. Come check out this brand new book in the library!

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Book of the Month 3rd-5th Grade


Katherine Applegate

This is the newest book from the same author as The One and Only Ivan. Crenshaw is an oversize cat who is Jackson’s imaginary friend. The story describes the ways in which Crenshaw helps Jackson through all parts of life. Miss Armstrong is excited to soon read this newest book from an awesome author!
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How do musicians improve the quality of their performance?

How can instruments be classified?

In December, 2nd – 5th grade students participated in an assembly where they were introduced to the music of The Lion King. In addition, 4th and 5th grade completed their unit on the Classical period and began a unit on notes and rests. 3rd grade finished units about pitch and sound production, and about the orchestra and the brass family. 2nd grade started a unit about melody and the lines and spaces of the staff. 1st grade learned about beat, and Kindergarten explored melodic direction.

In January, 2nd – 5th grade will start learning music for their spring production of The Lion King. To help with at-home practice, lyrics and music are available on Mrs. Hughes’ website. In addition, 4th and 5th grade will continue their unit on notes and rests. 3rd grade will begin a unit on melody and improvisation. 2nd grade will finish their melody unit. 1st grade will begin learning about meter, and Kindergarten will start a unit about instrument families.

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Why is it important to control your power and speed?

In December, we focused on developing our ability to work as a team and show good sportsmanship. Presidential Fitness testing was also done before the Winter Break. Our Essential Question was, “What does it mean to be part of a team?”

This January, we are focusing on agility, footwork, balancing, motor skills, striking, and hand eye coordination. During the first week of classes, we are testing for Presidential Fitness.

K-2nd Grade Upcoming December Units:

Coach Hall – Presidential Fitness, indoor Soccer, Dodgeball, Tennis Baseball

Coach Harris – Presidential Fitness, Flag Frenzy, Capture the Flag, Tennis

Coach McGrotha – Presidential Fitness, Fitness Circuit, Indoor Soccer, Golf

Coach Sherrod – Basketball, Presidential Fitness

Coach Clayton – Team Work, Coordination, Presidential Fitness

Coach Droze – Relays, Presidential Fitness

3rd-5th Grade Upcoming Units:

Coach Clayton – Team Work, Coordination, Presidential Fitness

Coach Harris – Presidential Fitness, Flag Frenzy, Capture the Flag, Tennis

Coach McGrotha – Presidential Fitness, Fitness Circuit, Indoor Soccer, Golf



K: How do living things adapt to survive their habitat?

K: How do states of matter change?

1st grade: How can we keep our bodies healthy?

2nd grade: How can we group animals?

3rd grade: Why do scientists gather, classify, and interpret data?

4th grade: How have animals adapted to their environment?

5th grade: How does studying the past help understand the present?

Kindergarten Science Lab is learning all about States of Matter and Arctic Animal Adaptations in January. Several new science lab activities are being implemented, including Science Journals. They will stay in the lab and the children will work on them all semester. Part of the journal work will include the Monart Art Method, to teach them realistic scientific drawing. It is a method that also improves reading, writing and math skills in children; in addition, improves their ability to focus, concentrate and problem solve. Also new is a Science Lab Word Wall to expose and reinforce scientific vocabulary. Gardening, agriculture, botany and environmental education will also be a reoccurring theme throughout the semester. Our first class project this month will be starting our Kinder GARDEN with a salad garden. This month we will be planting radishes, green onions and arugula.

In science lab this past month, first and second grade learned about health and the body. We learned about several food groups such as dairy and proteins. The second grade learned about ways to classify animals. Third grade learned about natural resources. Fourth grade learned about animal adaptations and how different animals have adapted to survive. The fifth grade learned about Florida’s natural resources and conservation.

In January, the first grade will continue our unit on health and the body as we learn about more food groups. The second grade will continue to explore different animal classifications and animals within each group. Third grade will continue our unit on natural resources. The fourth grade will continue our unit on adaptations as well. Fifth grade will begin their unit on Physical Science.

Encourage “Science Talk” at home with your child! In science lab, we will use terms like claim, observation, evidence and outcome on a regular basis. For example, if a child asks a question, a response could be, “What are your observations?” or “What is your claim?” to help them start thinking like a scientist. If you want to continue this type of conversation and vocabulary use at home, that would be wonderful!


Holiday Assembly 2015

- How can poetry help develop language and pronunciation?

- How is pronunciation important when learning another language?

Queridos padres de familia, Happy New Year! Hopefully you and your family had an enjoyable winter break. It was very pleasing to see your dear children perform during our holiday assembly; everyone seemed to have fun dancing and singing the three songs we learned for our sing along.

Welcoming the New Year, the Spanish class will focus on learning to recite poetry. Every poem will include vocabulary related to the topic that each class is currently learning.

I feel that, by teaching your children to recite poetry, they will be able to use vocabulary in context and will greatly enhance their linguistic skills.

Also, I want to challenge my 3rd grade – 5th grade students into participating in the Annual Modern Language Expo of Leon County. This year Maclay is going to be hosting The Expo on February 23rd. The event is an opportunity for students of Spanish and French to show off their foreign language skills and see other students perform. Students from many schools in this area will participate by making speeches, reciting poetry, presenting one-act plays, and offering musical entertainment in Spanish. Hopefully your child will volunteer to represent Maclay Lower School; there are a limited number of students that can participate.

The following is a brief summary of the topics that will be taught this month:

- Kindergarten: Classroom objects, “Mi mochila roja” song

- 1st grade: Food, how to say what they want and what they like, “Jugo de naranja” song

- 2nd grade: Clothing, how to say what to wear and to describe clothes by the size and color, “Muñeca azul” song

- 3rd grade: Activities to do at school (To study, to sing, to paint, to use the computer, to practice sports, to participate, to listen, to work, to speak, etc.)

Poem “Los ratones” by Lope de Vega

- 4th grade: What are you like?: Describing personalities and looks

Poem “Hombre pequeñito” by Alfonsina Storni

- 5th grade: En la ciudad, how to get around in the city, asking for directions, and describing where important places and landmarks are located

Grammar: Conjugation in present tense of to ask for, to serve, to follow, to go, and to be “estar”

Poem “El lagarto esta llorando” by Federico Garcia Lorca

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Modern Language Expo, February 23rd 9:00am – 1:00pm in the Maclay Upper School and The Cartee Gym.


How can learning to use a keyboard help express thoughts and ideas?
How do Critical Thinking Activities help educational development?

One of the first steps to computer literacy is learning how to use the keyboard! In Type to Learn Jr., the fundamental aspects of the keyboard are introduced and reinforced in fun and engaging activities that teach students everything from letter and number location, shift key functions, to typing words and short sentences complete with proper punctuation.

Students continue to create and express their ideas through Presentation Software and Lego Education Wedo kits - Code Studio Activities introduce and reinforce coding concepts and critical thinking skills.

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