LS Special Area Update

February 2016

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

During the month of January, the students of Lower School learned all about the Pop artist, Keith Haring. He was an American artist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980’s. Haring's imagery has become a widely recognized visual language of the 20th century. The students have become very skilled at drawing his figures with motion and emotion marks.

In February, the Fine Arts Department has several meetings lined up to further the planning of our whole school event, Celebration of the Arts, on April 1st. Be on the lookout for more information coming your way soon.

In the art room, the students will begin creating props and decorations for the Celebration of the Arts event as well as brainstorming and sketching their pictures for the Pre-K and Lower School Art Show on April 5th.

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

April 5th: Pre-K and Lower School Art Show

Cartee Gym, 12-6 pm

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How can learning music from other cultures enrich our own lives?

This month the band students will be learning about folk songs. They will learn to play songs from France, Ecuador, Holland, and England. They will be discussing the composer, Percy Grainger, and they will listen to some of his music.

The band students will also be learning two new notes, and perfecting the concert Bb scale. The drummers have been concentrating on learning to play the xylophone, but now they are ready to learn how to play a variety of percussion instruments, including the snare drum, the bass drum, the timpani, and the suspended cymbal.



How does the read through help me prepare for rehearsals?

How do I interpret a character and prepare for rehearsals?

How do different stage and body positions impact the image that is being created?

When responding to stage directions, what is important to remember?

How does teamwork affect a rehearsal?

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

In Kindergarten & First grade the children continue to learn that acting is all about pretending and using your IMAGINATION!

The children have had fun using their imagination to do some animal acting, imitating various animals', movements and sounds. We used a fun song called "Animal Action" which included a variety of animals and discussed each animal and talked about their behaviors, then incorporated those into our acting. They really seemed to enjoy participating in "Guess the Animal", an acting game where the students took turns individually acting out animals and the audience had to guess correctly. We also listened to stories 'Going on A Bear Hunt' and ‘Goldilocks & the Three Bears' and had so much fun acting out the stories!

February is all about expressing our feelings! We will practice using our face, body, and voice to convey a variety of emotions through acting games & exercises like; "Guess the Feeling" where the children take turns individually demonstrating a particular feeling, and the audience has to identify the feeling, and "Move and Freeze" where the children practice showing different feelings with their body movements and then respond why with a reason, matching their tone of voice to that emotion. The goal is for the children to be able to identify emotions and express their meaning by participating in creative play, pantomime, and improvisation.


We have completed the auditions for The Lion King Kids and the play has been cast. Now, on to rehearsals! We will begin the rehearsal process with a first read through of the entire script, the students will identify their characters and their relationship to the play. The next step is the blocking’. Blocking is the staging of the play so each actor knows when and where to go on the stage. Each week the students will write down their stage directions in their script so it will help remind them from week to week. Staging can be tedious but it is a good lesson in self-discipline.

The students will receive their own script in a folder. Each student needs to be responsible for their script. I strongly suggest making a copy to keep at home so their folder can stay at school and be used in drama class each week.

Please know that we always emphasize the importance of each role – EVERY PART IS ESSENTIAL to the success of the show!

** “Producing a show brings the arts together and provides growth opportunities for all varieties of learners. Besides being incredibly fun, musical theatre helps young people develop many of the skills necessary for success in today’s world.”
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How do pictures help tell a story?

How can books teach us about other ideas, places, people, and things?

In January students in kindergarten, first, and second grade continued to learn about genres. Our genre for January was biography. Students enjoyed listening to a biography, Uncle Andy’s, about the famous artist, Andy Warhol. We discussed the differences between a biography and an autobiography. Students also enjoyed reading a story about winter. Students shared their own winter words and learned new ones through the story, Blizzard. We read Chrysanthemum this month and had a fabulous discussion on what it means to be unique. We ended the month by completing an author study on H.A. Rey, the beloved author and illustrator of Curious George.

February will be all about the Caldecott Medal! Each year the second grade participates in a Caldecott contest. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade will hear some of Miss Armstrong’s favorite Caldecott stories. Students will also get to hear the brand new winners, which were announced last month!

Our genre for February will be realistic fiction. We will read a few books in this genre. Students will learn the elements of realistic fiction, and be able to identify them in a story.

Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade will be learning about the Caldecott and Newbery Medals. Also, students will be completing a study on genres. We will compare and contrast each genre and be able to decipher the genre of a story based on a short synopsis.

Book of the Month Kindergarten-2nd Grade

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

Lindsay Mattick

This book is the winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal! This is a true story about the bear who inspired the story, Winnie the Pooh. Winnie was rescued by a veterinarian during World War I. Winnie was named after the veterinarian’s hometown of Winnipeg. This book is on its way to the library!

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Book of the Month 3rd-5th Grade

Last Stop on Market Street

Matt de la Peña

This book is the winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal. Although it is a picture book, it does a wonderful job telling the story of a young boy riding a city bus with his grandmother. Along the way, CJ sees and meets all different kinds of people. He describes these experiences in the story. The illustrations are also fantastic! We have this book in the library, and it is available for check out.
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How does understanding the structure of music inform a response?
How does understanding the context of music inform a response?

Students in 2nd – 5th grade have been working on their singing technique. They have learned six new songs: Circle Of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to be King, Hakuna Matata, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, and Luau Hawaiian Treat. 4th and 5th grade students also completed a unit on notes and rests. 1st grade learned about meters of 2, 3, and 4. 1st graders also started a unit on rhythm. Kindergarten learned about brass, woodwinds, strings, and percussion during their unit on instrument families.

In February, 2nd – 5th grade will continue working on music for The Lion King. Parents, please help your child download the practice music from Mrs. Hughes’ website so they can memorize their songs. 4th and 5th grade will also be starting a unit on woodwind instruments. 3rd grade will begin a unit on the Baroque Period. 1st grade will complete their unit on rhythm and ostinato. Kindergarten will learn about finding patterns of 2, 3, and 4 in music.

Winter Orchestra Concert – Wednesday, February 10th at 6:00 pm on Cartee Stage

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Is it better to use both hands and feet? Why?

How can a group overcome problems?

This past January, we focused on developing our agility, footwork, balancing, motor skills, striking, and hand eye coordination skills. During the first week of classes, we tested for Presidential Fitness. In January, our Essential Question was, “Why is it important to control your power and speed?”

This February, we are focusing on:

K-2nd Grade Upcoming December Units:

Coach Surratt – Basketball, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee

Coach Harris – Pillo Pollo, Kickball, Soccer, Scooters, Baseball/Softball

Coach McGrotha – Golf, Basketball, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee

Coach Sherrod – Whiffle Ball, Kickball, Rocket Relay, Flag Tag, Indoor Games

Coach Clayton – Whiffle Ball, Kickball, Team Work

Coach Droze – Throwing & Catching, Kicking, Striking

3rd-5th Grade Upcoming Units:

Coach Clayton – Whiffle Ball, Kickball, Team Work

Coach Harris – Pillo Pollo, Kickball, Soccer, Scooters, Baseball/Softball

Coach McGrotha – Golf, Basketball, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee

Friday, May 13, 2016 – LS Field Day


Science Lab

kindergarten: Why is Green Energy and Solar Energy important? How is soil important to plant life and habitats?

1st grade: How does energy from the Sun affect the weather?

2nd grade: What makes a good home?

3rd grade: How does Earth’s position in the solar system affect my life?

4th grade: What evidence can be used to show how the Earth has changed over time?

5th grade: How can the transfer of energy alter systems? Why is it useful to classify elements on the periodic table?

In science lab this past month, kindergarten learned about states of matter and worked together on our science lab garden. First grade learned about health and the body. We learned about several food groups such as proteins and vegetables. The second grade learned about ways to classify vertebrates. Third grade learned about natural resources and began our next unit on habitats. 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.

February will be an exciting month in the science lab! New units will begin in every grade level, and the students will deepen their understanding of the material with hands-on explorations in the lab. Kindergarteners are learning about what solar energy is and how it relates to green energy. They will experience how to work as a team to solve a problem as they build a pizza box solar oven and experiment with heating s’mores in it. We will continue to learn about our outdoor classroom and Science Lab habitat area with a visit from an Environmental Engineer and Professional Geologist to help our class obtain a soil-boring sample from our habitat area. First grade has been studying the Moon and the Sun, and they will conclude their earth science studies with a unit on the water cycle. In the lab, students will build models to simulate different parts of the water cycle. Second grade will create a YardMap of our outdoor space and then use the results to decide on a collaborative project to benefit animals in our community. Third grade is beginning their solar system unit and will work outside with the iPad app, ‘Sky Guide’, to map out our February sky. A night sky experience will be made possible with a visit from the mobile Starlab!

Fourth grade students are beginning their study of Earth science. Students will apply their knowledge of the Earth by designing a new hiking trail on campus! Students work in a group to design a hiking trail system on a real topographic map using specific criteria. Fifth graders are moving in to their study of matter. Parents, get ready to hear all about dry ice, bouncing bubbles, can crushers, and much more!

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- Where is Spanish spoken in my community?

Queridos padres de familia,

We just finished the month of January and accomplished many goals in our Spanish class. Your student learned to ask and answer questions related to the topics studied in class. Also, grades 3rd through 5th had conversational dialogues that were summarized, and used to answer comprehension questions.

Finally, we learned and practiced reciting poems from famous Spanish and Mexican authors. Students who felt comfortable reciting the poems by memory, volunteered to represent Maclay and participate in the upcoming Modern Language Expo of Leon County. I am very pleased with the amount of students that decided to enter the contest.

Grades Kindergarten through second grade learned vocabulary by singing songs. The vocabulary was used to answer questions asked by a classmate or me.

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

- Kindergarten: Places to go, say where you like to go

- 1st grade: Continue our unit about food and fruits, how to say what they want and what they like to eat

“Jugo de naranja” song

- 2nd grade: Continue our unit about clothing, Describe what you and someone else is wearing; going shopping, and learning about traditional clothing in the Spanish speaking countries

“Muñeca azul” song

- 3rd grade: Seasons and weather

Learn about Costa Rica

Poem “Los ratones” by Lope de Vega

- 4th grade: Describe parts, rooms and things around the house

Spanish architecture

Learn about “El Salvador”

Poem “Hombre pequeñito” by Alfonsina Storni

- 5th grade: Telling time, transportation, names and capitals of all Latin American countries, and nationalities

Learn more than just facts – project about a Latin American country

Grammar: Verbs ser vs estar

Poem “Puella Mea” by Amado Nervo

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

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How can learning coding concepts help educational development and creative/computational thinking?

ABC’s, 123’s and Coding…in a digitally driven society the fundamental need for understanding coding concepts has never been greater. The shift in Computer Science has students going from primarily only being consumers to becoming innovative creators. Excellent tools are available for all ages – fundamental concepts are being taught at early ages so that students today are growing up with a solid understanding of tools and skills that will be instrumental for tomorrow! Every student K-5 are given their own Code Studio account and assigned a Course based on appropriate age and skill level – these accounts are web based and accessible from anywhere there is an Internet connection – links are on my Maclay Website; I encourage students to work on their coursework outside of school as much as possible…The Need for CODERS has hit CODE RED!!!

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