PRE Specials Newsletter

October 16, 2019

Learning in the Library

We’ve had a great first quarter in the library! Below are a few of the things we working on throughout second quarter!

Kindergarten: We have started Kindergarten stations and the students are loving it! At the stations students are working on sight word and literacy skills and listening to reading on an app called EPIC. We will be reading books and completing activities around the topics of fall and the holidays coming up. We will complete an author study of Lois Ehlert who has great children’s picture books about nature, animals and science. Students are learning to use shelf markers and have begun to check out from the shelves!

First Grade: We have started our author study of Gail Gibbons who writes amazing literary non-fiction books for children. Students will be completing research in “expert” groups using Gail Gibbons books on different topics. We will also move into an author study on Jan Brett, who has some great books related to the upcoming holiday season. We are continuing to work on responsibility with getting books turned in on time and checking out a variety of fiction and non-fiction.

Second Grade: We are learning about the Caldecott Medal for the next few weeks. We read the 2019 winning book, Hello, Lighthouse. Now we will read and do various activities with past Caldecott winners such as Beekle and Owl Moon. After Thanksgiving, we will complete an author study on Marc Brown and read many of his books with the beloved character, Arthur! Some library skills we will focus on are elements of nonfiction as well as call numbers and how they are used in the library.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade: We will be introducing the William Allen White Award nominees for the 2019-20 school year! Students will be excited to read the books on this year’s list. We are reading aloud at least one for each grade and will have voting in the spring. In order to vote, your student must have read at least two of the ten books. We are continuing to use our online catalog, Destiny, and encouraging students to look up their own books and find books on their own. This will continue to be a skill we work on all year. We will also be discussing the Newbery Award, reviewing the different genres and learning about the Dewey Decimal System!

Be on the lookout for information for our brand new reading program One Book, One School in December! We will kick off this program in January and pass out books to families so we can all read a book together. Thanks to our PTO in advance for their support in purchasing books for each family!

Kerri Ptacek- Lindsey Sudac-

Magical Music

I can’t believe we have already wrapped up Quarter 1 and are about a week into Quarter 2! It has been a joy to create musical moments and learn with your students. We have been busy in all music classes – here are some things we’ve been up to:

Kindergarten: What a joy it has been to have your students in music! Your students are so sweet and excited about learning everything – I love it! We have been learning and playing all sorts of instruments like finger cymbals, triangles, cowbells, maracas, wood blocks, and many more! We have also had a chance to do some creative movement with scarves, locomotor and non-locomotor movement to classical works! We have been having a lot of fun. Throughout the rest of this quarter, we will continue working on steady beat, using instruments, playing singing games based on monthly celebrations, and learning a folk dance or two!

First Grade: The past quarter has been packed with lots of rhythmic poems, internalizing steady beat, playing some new instruments for the first time, and working on singing in our head voices! Coming up next in music: singing games, more experimenting on the big xylophones, new folk dances, partner singing, and learning about instrument families!

Second Grade: We have been busy in 2nd grade music class! This past quarter we practiced steady beat through speech, body percussion, and singing games! We also learned two new rhythms – quarter note and eighth notes! Continuing into this next quarter we will be practicing our new rhythms, learning another new rhythm, playing our xylophones, and then… beginning to practice for our upcoming program in January!

Third Grade: This past quarter we have been busy practicing the rhythms we learned last year, dictating/notating our rhythms, and creating our own compositions! We have been learning melodies to songs on our barred instruments, learning and playing bass lines and also learning ostinatos. Your third graders are playing 3-part orchestrations on instruments and it is amazing! This next quarter we will be learning about half notes and whole notes as new rhythms! We will also be playing singing games, doing instrument orchestrations, and talking about musical traditions from all over the world to prep for our program after the New Year!

Fourth Grade: I hope you are ready for an amazing program coming up on November 7th – your students have been working so hard learning songs, choreography and speaking parts! We are so excited to present our program, “Thank You Veterans”, coming up soon! After our program, we will be working on learning our staff lines and space notes, revisiting rhythms from last year and then learning new! We have been busy!

Fifth Grade: Your 5th graders have been so much fun to make music with. We have been rocking it on barred instruments, bass bars, and boomwhackers. We also have been singing in canons, 2-parts, and reviewing rhythms. We are currently learning and practicing for our upcoming program on December 12th! Students finished listening through our new program and will now begin learning our songs, choreography and everything else. This will be an incredible show and we can’t wait to share it with you soon!

As always, if you ever have any questions or need anything, please feel free to email me at: Thank you for trusting us with your students to help them grow in life and knowledge! I am so happy to be their music teacher.

Tech Time


2nd quarter students will continue to work on basic computer and mouse skills: one finger vs. two finger click, click and drag, volume, battery percentage, time, start menu, task bar, and icons on the desktop. In addition, we will learn different keys on the keyboard and their functions: backspace, delete, enter, caps lock, shift key, space bar, punctuation marks, and mouse pad. Many of these skills will be reinforced through the use of different games and activities. Towards the end of the quarter we will work on basic coding skills.

1st Grade:

2nd quarter students be working on Microsoft word. Using Word, we will review keys on the keyboard: backspace, delete, enter, caps lock, shift key, space bar, punctuation marks, arrow keys, and mouse pad. We will also learn how to change your font style, size, and color, highlight our words, insert a picture, and discuss spacing. We will end the quarter with a unit on coding where we will go over vocabulary and do a variety of coding activities.

2nd Grade:

During 2nd quarter second grade students will be working on an animal research project. This will correlate with instruction in the classroom as they learn about different habitats. After they are done with their research they will create a presentation to share their information. We will end the quarter with a unit on coding where we will go over vocabulary and do a variety of coding activities.

3rd Grade:

To start the quarter, we will be working in Microsoft word learning how to safely search for a picture, insert a picture, change the size of a picture, and type words around a picture. We will be writing short creative Halloween stories. Next, students will learn how to be a safe, responsible, and respectful digital citizen. We will be making memes that show how to be a good digital citizen. We will end the quarter with a unit on coding where we will go over vocabulary and do a variety of coding activities.

4th Grade:

The beginning of the quarter students will be learning how to be a safe, responsible, and respectful digital citizen. Next, we will be learning how to use a presentation tool called Prezi. This will help students with a presentation they are doing in their classroom for Thanksgiving. We will end the quarter with a unit on coding where we will go over vocabulary and do a variety of coding activities.

5th Grade:

During 2nd quarter students will be learning how to be a safe, responsible, and respectful digital citizen. Officer Stirling will be visiting PRE-on October 29th to talk to 5th grade students about safety with technology and devices. After that, students will be introduced to Tinkercad. They will design something to print with the 3D printer. These will be on display in the library for a few weeks after the project is complete. We will end the quarter with a unit on coding where we will go over vocabulary and do a variety of coding activities.

News from the Art Room

The fearless artists of Prairie Ridge are exploring, experimenting and creating some amazing things in the art room! Check out our daily happenings and learning endeavors @artfulmarvels on Instagram.

In kindergarten, students are learning all about color mixing. It is important for artists to know about color theory and how colors mix to make new ones. Students learned how to mix the primary colors (red/magenta, yellow and blue/cyan) to make the secondary colors. We drew a pumpkin from observation and then painted it using only the primary colors. We added patterns to our pumpkins with oil pastel, inspired by the patterned pumpkin sculptures of Japanese contemporary artist, Yayoi Kusama Next, we will be learning about the color spectrum and how rainbows are formed in nature. We will learn about how to use watercolors and create a spiderweb that glistens with the colors of the rainbow! We will get to experiment with a technique called watercolor/wax resist. Then, we will move into learning about observational drawing and create our own simple still life. We will analyze and interpret still life artworks throughout art history and create a mixed media still life.

1st grade artists are learning about how artists utilize texture in their artwork. We learned that there are two types of texture: real texture (that we can feel!) and implied texture (that we can see with our eyes.) We participated in an activity where we got to stick our hand into a bag of textures and try to identify what they were, and we also got to try our hand at creating our own implied textures in our sketchbook. Students used the textured side of a leaf to print on a piece of paper, creating an implied texture. Then, students will use sponges to create another implied texture on their page. In our next project, students will be learning about landscape art. Students will analyze the work of contemporary artist and designer, Eloise Renouf, and understand how artists convey space within a landscape. Students will use their knowledge of texture to create a variety of painted papers to use within their landscape. Students will create a mixed media collage landscape inspired by fall colors. Finally, students will be creating a still life inspired by Thanksgiving. This advanced lesson requires students to construct and observe a still life of various forms, utilize understanding of space and overlapping to render the still life, and then apply realistic color with blending techniques using chalk pastel.

2nd grade students have wrapped up a unit on prehistoric art. We learned about the Lascaux cave in France, where art from about 15,000 years ago was found. We took a virtual tour of the cave and experimented with pigments that would have been used by the prehistoric people to create the artwork. Students worked with the big idea of “story/narrative” and “survival” to envision what life would have been like 15,000 years ago. Students used their illustrations to create a story of survival in their own cave art. We worked under dim lighting with (fake) candles and torches and listened to primitive music while creating our art.

Next we will be exploring color theory and texture in art. Students reviewed the use of real and implied texture in art before creating a composition of leaf rubbings on their page. Within each leaf, students will use watercolor to create 5 different color theory combinations. We will create the secondary colors from the primaries, and incorporate warm and cold colors. We will finish our work working with different types of complex pattern making.

3rd grade students have wrapped up a project learning about the Monarch butterfly migration to Mexico. Students observed bilateral symmetry in nature and created a symmetrical butterfly using a monoprint technique inspired by the ink blot illustrations of Andy Warhol. Students were introduced to tertiary colors (mixing a primary and a secondary color) to color their work with chalk pastel. Next, we are moving in to a study of the cultural celebration in Mexico called Dia De Los Muertos. This holiday is celebrated from October 31-November 2nd every year in Mexico and several other countries. This holiday is rooted in the idea of honoring loved ones with music, art, food and other traditions. Students will differentiate between this important cultural celebration and Halloween and identify symbols and rituals. Students will use their knowledge of symmetry to create their own calavera relief print that will be printed on several papel picados (cut paper flags).

4th grade students have been practicing using a wonderful new media edition to the art room. Prismacolor pencils are one of the highest quality colored pencils an artist can use, and students are now able to use them thanks to some of the funds acquired from the Art to Remember program. Thank you for your support! Students made a value scale with the pencils, learned how to mix colors using various techniques, and practiced coloring craftsmanship to create a fall leaf drawing (from direct observation). Then, we had fun drawing a feather from observation inspired by a clip in Harry Potter (Wingardium Leviosa!) Students used their spell books (sketchbooks) to practice, used line variation to create a feathery texture, used a subtractive technique to erase a cast shadow and create the illusion that the feather is floating, and employed realistic drawing techniques such as starting in the center, using guide dots and comparing angles of the lines. In our next project, we will be looking at art created by Americans about America throughout time and investigating big ideas and themes within the works. We will brainstorm American symbols, both obvious and personal to inspire our own artwork that we will display for the Veteran’s Day music program, performed in November. Please look for it when you attend the concert next month!

5th grade students are wrapping up a study on blind contour drawing. This technique involves training our hand, brain and eyes to refine hand-eye coordination. Students were not allowed to look at their paper while drawing. Instead, they were to look at the item they drew, and traced the contours of it slowly while they simultaneously drew what they saw on their paper. The result is an abstracted, often silly creation. This takes the pressure out of drawing something realistically and perfectly. Students drew self-portraits and peer portraits on their page before filling in the resulting shapes with fluorescent color and using spray bottles to spray liquid watercolor on the background. Along with our study of line and contour, we took a look at the figurative sculptures of sculptor Alberto Giacometti. We practiced gesture drawing in our sketchbooks before selecting a dynamic action or emotion to sculpt into wire. Students chose to add additional props to their wire figures with colored wire. These wire figures were then mounted on a cork for display. Check them out in the main display case if you are up at PRE soon! Next, we will be learning about form and function to create our own piece of coil pottery. In this cross-curricular project, students will infuse their studies of Native American culture from their classroom into their work to design a piece of pottery that has a particular function. Students will compare and contrast hand-built pottery and their uses by Native Americans from the past and today. We will also learn about the process of deriving clay from the earth, how it turns into clay, and how it is fired into bisqueware and glazeware. Using the coiling technique, students will be designing their piece to be functional while also adding decorative visual elements to the piece.

In December and May of each school year, all works of art will be sent home with students in a portfolio. Please look for this treasure coming home in a couple of months and take the time to look at and discuss the art and learning that has taken place this semester with your child!

Thank you!

Taylor Newman

Art Educator

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Counselor's Corner

During 2nd quarter we will be celebrating Peace Week! Peace week is a week where we celebrate being drug and bully free. I will doing lessons in all grade levels on Kindness and we will be working on our Too Good for Drugs curriculum in all grades. Please see the Peace Week letter that is attached to Mrs. Fulcher's newsletter to see details and spirit week days!

K-2: All of my K-2 lessons incorporate picture books, puppets and role playing! We will do a lesson on Kindness and standing up for friends to go along with Peace Week. We will be working on goal setting by making our own personal goals. We will also be working on feelings by defining, demonstrating and sharing feelings with our classmates. Students will learn about playing safely, using self-control and manners.

3-5: My 3-5 lessons incorporate a combination of individual work, group work, and role playing. The upper grades will also do a Kindness lesson to go along with Peace Week. We will be working on goal setting using a series of goal setting steps. We will also practice responsible decision making by following a series of decision making steps. After we have demonstrated our goal setting and decision making skills, we will practice and demonstrate different emotions and how to effectively share our feelings with others.

Mandy Montgomery

What’s Happening in Physical Education?

Overview: The first quarter went very well and the students got a lot of great exercise! The focus at the beginning of the year was about aerobic fitness and activities that elevate the heart rates of the students. All students did a great job of being open to learning new things and the importance of consistent exercise in their everyday life. I am looking forward to continuing the awesome start in the second quarter!

Kindergarten: Students are making a good transition to the school environment and they have been performing lots of fun stuff in Physical Education class. The main focus for the beginning of the year has been on learning what personal space is, how to start and stop while performing activities. Students have also been learning the basic locomotor skills; walk, run, jump, skip, hop, leap, slide, and gallop. The goal of this first month was to build a solid foundation so students understand the expectations of the physical education setting. We have begun the aerobic fitness unit that 1st-5th completed during the 1st quarter and students have been doing a great job so far!

1st Grade - 5th Grade: 1st through 5th grade finished up their aerobic fitness unit as well as an overhand throwing and underhand throwing unit during the first quarter. Students did a wonderful job applying everything that was taught to them during activities. We are now moving onto our pacer test unit to begin the second quarter and then will be starting up some soccer towards the end of the first semester!

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