Specials Curriculum Update

November/December 2017


In the first several weeks of November, we concentrated on seasonal arts. Middle School students created unique pie crust designs for the Food For Friends program. The lower school classes did paintings of the pies in the style of Wayne Thiebaud. They also did outdoor resist paintings and pastel studies on black paper of the bounty of the Harvest. All students created large tempera wall paintings based on the idea of a repeated circle as a design tool.

Helman/Osborn and Anthony Classes worked on a 3d "set design " using clay, wire and wood. All of the lower school students made "pop out houses" and collaged figures with fabric clothing. Two of the classes did collaborative work with the classroom curriculum; Penn Class made handmade paper in conjunction with their recycle unit and Anthony colorized their nature notebooks.

Middle School students have begun weavings on CD's as part of an installation for the MS hallway . We will close out the year with festive linen napkin folding, learning to create roses, trees, candles etc for the holiday table.

Library/Information and Technology Literacy

Mott & Hicks - Preschool

In November, we read several Fall and Thanksgiving stories including Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli. We read stories about light and winter holidays in December. Students continue to practice selecting and checking out books in the library.

Rustin - Kindergarten

To learn about popular children’s authors, we read several stories by William Steig including Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Dr. DeSoto. We also read a Thanksgiving story and have been learning about the author/illustrator Jan Brett and reading some of her books. Students continue to learn where books of interest are in the library and practice the book checkout routine.

Penn - 1st Grade

To learn about popular children’s authors, we read several stories by William Steig including Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. We read a Thanksgiving story and have been learning about the author/illustrator Jan Brett and reading some of her books. We have also begun exploring concepts of coding using the website www.code.org and practicing keyboarding skills using the program learning.com. Students continue to use OPALS to look for books during book checkout time.

Fox - 2nd & 3rd Grades

In early November, students practiced locating books using OPALS to find Just Right Books. We discussed what makes a book ‘just right’ and ways to figure out how to locate them in the library. We also read a Thanksgiving story and most recently, students learned and used the BIG 6 research method to research information about a winter holiday. Students also practiced their keyboarding skills using the program learning.com.

Anthony - 4th & 5th Grades

In early November, students learned how to use Powtoon, an online program used to create animated videos. They used this program to create short trailers for the scary stories they wrote in their classroom. After Thanksgiving break, students worked in pairs and used OPALS to select a winter holiday book. After reading the book, each pair of students worked together to create digital book commercials using any of the programs and tools they have learned this year.

Helman-Osborn - 6th, 7th, & 8th Grades

Students in the H/O class learned about thesis statements used when writing essays and research papers. We looked at examples of various papers and identified text in the papers that supported the thesis statement. Students also practiced writing a thesis statement and provided supporting details. They worked on their book commercial projects and have begun sharing them with the class.


Both November and December have been filled with spectacular singing in music class! We've really begun to feel comfortable with our singing voices in both large and small group settings. Holiday songs are hard to resist!

Mott, Hicks, Rustin and Penn Classes have been doing a wonderful job reading rhythm patterns with long and short sounds and performing them on various classroom instruments. We were even able to try out some actual jingle bells before our break!

Fox and Anthony Classes have been doing more music reading and performing on resonator bells and Boomwhackers. They have spent some time listening to and interacting with famous pieces of music like "Autumn" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and "Trepak" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. This is done in several ways including movement patterns that correspond to the musical form and also following and designing our own listening maps. Anthony Class students began working on their first performance piece: An arrangement of the “Ode to Joy” melody arranged by Stephen Meyer. This piece will both challenge the students to reach their next level of technical playing and understanding of musical expression.

Middle School general music students completed their guided research and presentation on an artist(s) of their choosing. They then began and are completing their end-of-semester music projects. These projects involve a choice of three specific music tracks: music history, composition, critical review and evaluation. Students will upload them onto their website at the end of the month.

Middle School vocal ensemble is sounding better than ever and we can't wait to share the pieces we have been working on next month. We are working on building our confidence coming into our first official performance and concert etiquette.

Students in the Middle School Instrumental ensemble have learned "Yesterday" from The Beatles and have begun to add musical expression marks: dynamics, tempo changes, and melody awareness. In the Pirates of the Caribbean portion of the medley they worked on the ostinato rhythms, playing in time with the conductor, and playing in time with each other. They also assisted in arranging the song.

Physical Education

Physical Education classes have been very busy and fun! In our Preschool and Rustin Classes, we have been learning a variety of sports skills such as floor hockey, soccer, and bowling. Students have also participated in a fun fitness obstacle course. Our Penn, Fox, Anthony, and HO classes have been reviewing floor hockey skills and playing tournament style scrimmages. It's been fun watching all students using the skills they learned while applying them to game play. In addition, students have been starting to complete fitness assessments such as the PACER running assessment and flexibility assessment. All students have been working hard and having a ton of fun doing it.


¡Hola queridos amigos!

Mott & Hicks - Preschool

Our friends in the Mott & Hicks Classes have been reviewing their colors and numbers. Students have been practicing positional words such as arriba, abajo, al frente, and atrás (up, down, in front and behind) accompanied by corresponding bodily movements. The students enjoy saying si and no (yes & no in Spanish) when answering questions.

Rustin & Penn - Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Students have talked about the many things they give thanks for and have created and decorated bracelets with the word Gracias (thanks).

Fox - 2nd and 3rd Grades

Our friends in the Fox Class learned useful vocabulary and phrases for their visit to the Blooming Glen Farm, where they conversed with some of the workers in Spanish. They have also written a book about the many things they are thankful for.

Anthony - 4th and 5th Grades

Our friends in the Anthony Class have been studying the masculine, feminine, singular and plural forms in Spanish. They have also created warm-hearted, humorous, and thoughtful Thanksgiving books.

Helman-Osborn - 6th, 7th, and 8th Grades

Middle School students have been reviewing the Spanish article/adjective/noun agreement rule. After reflecting upon their many blessings, our students have written wonderful Thanksgiving books. They have been studying for the Spanish Test and have dedicated themselves to prepare for their oral presentation about a famous person from the Hispanic community.