Special Area Newsletter

February and March 2015

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Library News

THANK YOU to everyone who helped and/or shopped at our Scholastic Book Fair. We had one of the best fairs in years! Thanks to your support we were able to earn $3,000 worth of books that our classroom teachers were able to have for their classrooms to use with our students. With out the support of our families who shopped and parents that volunteered we would not have seen such a huge success. Thank you!

Kindergarten and First Grade

Students were introduced to the ALA book awards. They learned specifically about the Caldecott Medal and Honor books chosen each year. We discussed criteria for the award as well as the winners that were announced for this year. We also read this year's winner, The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend, and discussed why we thought this book was selected as the winner.

Second grade

Students discussed the Caldecott and Newberry ALA book awards. We learned about the criteria for each award and discussed how the books are selected (committee narrows choices down from a large list) and announced each year. We read this year's Caldecott Medal winner, The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend, and discussed why we thought the book was selected as the winner. Students also had access to past Caldecott medal winners to view the variety of past medal winners and were also able to check out books from this group of books.

Third grade & Fourth grade

Students discussed the Caldecott and Newberry book awards. We looked at criteria for a book to be nominated and selected as a winner or honor book. We discussed what it means to be selected as an honor book instead of the medal winner. Students were also able to view book trailers to preview the winning titles as we waited for our book order to arrive to check out!

Fifth grade

Students discussed the Newberry Medal and criteria needed to win. We watched book trailers for the winner and honor books that were announced. We discussed the unique qualities of the books chosen this year as two were novels written in poetic verse and the third was a graphic novel. These choices are different from the typical narrative styles chosen as winners in the past. Students also had access to past medal winners to select as their check out books.

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STEM Lab News

Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Students have been working on improving their computer skills by utilizing various sites to master mouse movement and clicking control. Students have also learned how to use CTRL+ALT+Delete to sign on our computers independently. In order to begin to become more familiar with the keyboard, students were introduced to Microsoft Word and basic typing formatting. Students used the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story as a platform to engineer a chair for a small stuffed animal. Students used either paper or Lego blocks to build their chair. Students also learned to do very basic computer coding through the use of LightBot.

2nd Grade

Second graders were introduced to the Lexia Core5 online literacy program. They have also been online working with the Hour of Code programs. Students are learning how to create basic computer code to control fun themed characters. Learning while playing!! To tie in to their measurement lessons in math, students learned about alternate units of measurement. Using body parts based on Ancient Egyptian measurement, students measured their height and saw that it provided inconsistent data. Students are now conducting scientific experiments with plants in order to become familiar with using the scientific process. Students will also be engineering their own pollinators as a tie in with their organism unit.

3rd Grade

Third graders worked on the Hour of Code computer programming activities to learn about basic coding. A big part of the learning was focusing on how to be logical in the steps required to complete a task. The classes are taking turns using the We-Do Robotics kits. They are not only building their project, but have to program it as well. Teamwork and trial and error are all a part of the fun. Students are also working with digital microscopes to create a presentation on how it work and who uses microscopes.

4th Grade

This semester, students are working with the Mindstorm NXT robotics kits. They are learning how to program their robot to perform tasks. In order to be successful, students have to use computational thinking and math skills. They will be working on the robots until the end of April.

5th Grade

This semester, students have been working with Scratch software in order to complete a Morse Code Challenge game. Students are using computational skills to create the animated program to allow a player to guess a word that is presented in Morse Code. The student programs will be shared with the Scratch community in order to promote computational thinking lessons throughout the state of Kentucky.

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Gym News

All classes continue to improve their fitness levels through fitness activities using locomotor and non locomotor skills. We challenge ourselves at the pull up bar and with short jump ropes. The snow days put quite a dent in our schedule but all grades have been dribbling and shooting basketballs. We have tied several games to nutrition information so we learn as we play. We continue to do several activities that require teamwork, cooperation and strategy. Overall, we are constantly learning and reviewing new, fun ways to stay active for a lifetime.

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Art News

Kindergarten students continue to learn about landscapes, portraits, and still life. Students are completing the year by creating one work of art from each category. New creation methods are being introduced and the students are working with collage for the first time. We continue to review the elements of art and principles of design.

First grade students are working on painting techniques and weaving. To celebrate Read Across America week we created some of our own Dr. Suess themed artworks. We continue to review the elements of art and principles of design.

Second grade students are currently working on creating a painting and paper weaving project. Ceramic fish have been created and can be viewed on display near the front office of Clays Mill. We continue to review the elements of art and principles of design.

Third grade students have created a ceramic creature using the score and slip building method. Currently students are working on glazing these pieces. A weaving project is also in progress that focuses on color and contrast. We continue to review the elements of art and principles of design.

Fourth grade students are using perspective to create a unique drawing of a treehouse in a landscape. Every student will be using their own favorite materials to add color to this drawing. A self portrait that focuses on perspective and color is in the works as well.

Fifth grade students are working on creating a mandala. This is a circular design filled with patterns and color. Students will choose their favorite art materials to add color to this piece. We continue to review the elements of art and principles of design.

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Music News

Kindergarten students created a song using the nursery rhyme “Little Jack Horner.” They students chose a note from the solfege syllables mi, sol, or la for each rhythmic phrase of the poem. They also kept a beat with the alternating pitches of do and sol. This was combined with the poem and hand clapping game of “Chocolate.” The students perfomed the entire piece for Kindergarten Arts Night.

1st grade students completed their concert about The Cat and the Hat. They danced, played instruments, sang, and spoke into a microphone to tell the Dr. Seuss story. Each student did a fantastic job at using music and dance to help tell a story.

2nd grade learned how to dance the Jitterbug in honor of their Organism Extravaganza. They also have begun the work of a composer. Each student has been transferring their knowledge of rhythm and their knowledge of improvising into a composed piece of music. They will have a self-created melody written on staff paper at the end of this project.

3rd grade has been working on their music for their “Around the World Concert,” which happens at 6:00PM on April 30th. This concert will involve music from Kentucky, Brazil, Australia, Africa, Germany, and China. The students will sing, dance, play recorders, and play and create on Orff instruments. You will see and hear their hard work, if you attend their concert on April 30th.

4th grade has been continuing their work on recorders. They have mastered playing in extremes- sweet and aggressive, loud and soft, smooth and choppy, etc. They currently began are recorder break to sing, dance, and play Orff instruments.

5th grade has been writing their own musical. They are working on creating their own song about the storyline of a short story. This story will later be turned into a script and acted out by the students. The students are using all the information that they have learned in music to create and write their own music. This lesson also uses their creative writing skills learned from the past 6 years.