Specials Curriculum Update

October 2018


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

Middle School students worked with paper patterns to create paper masks. They were challenged to upsize the paper patterns or to create custom patterns.

This month, Helman/Osborn students were also tasked with two community projects: the creation of a haunted bus for Fall Fest and a Haunted house for the Halloween Party.

For our current assemblage project, we looked at the works of Louise Nevelson, Joseph Cornell, Weird Amiga, and other assemblage artists. The students selected a cigar box and are working on creating an assemblage which addresses the following problems:

-How to use the depth

-How to create a feeling

-How the viewer confronts the box

Rustin, Penn, Fox, and Anthony Classes - Kindergarten through 5th Grade

The Rustin through Anthony Classes have been working on the creation of a city of 66 buildings. The students began with an outdoor drawing of our immediate neighborhood. They used pencil, color pencil and watercolor to depict the relationship between buildings in a town/city environment.

Each student started with a cardboard box and then created their building with paint, balsa wood, other small cardboard boxes and many other materials. At the Anthony Class level, the students worked on both the interiors and exteriors of their buildings. The installation of the buildings in the city gave an opportunity to explore questions of city planning.

Library/Information and Technology Literacy

Mott - Preschool

This month in the Library, the Mott class enjoyed books about scarecrows, pumpkins, and Halloween. We read In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting and The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano. When we read The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, students made scary faces to help the Little Scarecrow Boy scare the crows away! We continued to practice ways to keep our books safe and ways to hold books when reading them.

Rustin - Kindergarten

This month, the Rustin class read books about pumpkins, fall, and Halloween. We read The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano, Earl the Squirrel by Don Freeman, and various Halloween stories. Students also decorated a pumpkin using the SMART Board. We continued to practice our book selection routines.

Penn - 1st and 2nd Grades

The Penn class read several books including The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Yacowitz, and The Experiments of Dr. Vermin by Tim Egan. Students learned how to add shapes and color them in on the computer when they designed a jack-o-lantern. The class continued to practice using OPALS to select library books.

Fox - 2nd and 3rd Grades

This month, the Fox class read Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Yacowitz and The Experiments of Dr. Vermin by Tim Egan. Students then used Google Slides to draw a scarecrow. They learned how to add shapes and lines to their drawing and color in their scarecrow pictures. Students continued to practice selecting books using OPALS and the book’s call number.

Anthony - 4th and 5th Grades

This month, the Anthony class read books about Halloween and Fall including Did you Hear Something? by Michael Teitelbaum. After reading the story, students participated in a circle story activity to write a new ending to the story. In the activity, students took turns adding to their classmates’ endings. Students also continued to practice the routines for locating and checking out books.

Helman/Osborn - 6th-8th Grades

In ITL class, students have been working on creating and designing their book jacket as part of their final project for their R2S2 assignment. We also discussed ways to evaluate a website when researching to ensure the information is trustworthy current, and accurate. In robotics class, students are learning the Lua programming language on the Calisto boards to turn on and off LED lights, to make the lights blink, and other various commands.


This month of music has flown by!

Mott and Rustin Classes continue to settle into our routines and are singing more confidently when we greet each other. Much of our time this month was spent learning fun songs about pumpkins and working to use our body movements to support proper singing. We have also been experimenting with basic rhythm instruments such as lummi sticks and egg shakers to explore steady beat, tempo and volume.

Penn and Fox Classes have also been learning fall celebration songs. Singing and playing instruments together is a wonderful way to foster community. We have been enjoying our music listening times when we complete composition practice. This month we enjoyed "spooky music" from the Harry Potter soundtrack.

Anthony and Helman-Osborn Classes delved into programmatic music this past month. Students listened to and studied music that tells a story such as Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and portions of the Peer Gynt suite by Edvard Grieg. We utilized listening maps and illustrations to focus our listening in order to identify key elements of these pieces.

Students involved in instrumental music are growing comfortable and confident in handling their instruments. Students are more consistently creating solid starting tones on their instrument of choice and reading the notation in their books as they practice assigned exercises. Many students are well on their way to earning their "White Belt" as outlined in their achievement chart if not moving to the next levels of play.

Our vocal ensemble is doing an amazing job sight reading pentatonic melodies and reading rhythms in both duple and triple meter. We are steadily growing more confident in our ability to sing in two and even experiment with three part harmony. A highlight of October was our first in-school performance! The choir sang the spooky folk song "Ghost of John" to close the Halloween dance. They sang the piece beautifully as a 2-part round.

Physical Education

Physical Education classes have been filled with a ton of activities this month. Our Penn, Fox, Anthony, and Middle School Classes have participated in the running challenge and fitness activities. These activities have helped our students learn exercises that will build stronger bodies through arm strength, core, and legs. We have worked on push ups, planks, crunches, squats, running endurance, and more. Our games this month have consisted of handball, relays, dodgeball, yarn ball throw, and more. Through these games, we discuss teamwork, sportsmanship, positive attitude, and leadership The students have been working on ways to encourage their teammates and peers through positive interaction and communication while in a game setting.

Our Rustin and Mott Classes have had lots of fun using their imagination through creative movement and stories. Students have participated in activities and exercises that build fitness, enhance social skills, and incorporate creative movement that is themed to a variety of topics. This month, we flew to the moon, we were firefighters, we went on a bear hunt, and played with autumn trees and leaves. We had lots of fun with colorful equipment and music. We worked on building fitness, motor skills, and sportsmanship while having a ton of fun.


Early Childhood continued practicing how to introduce their names to a puppet crocodile and with a book of their pictures. Additionally, they practice greeting everyday in a song and saying goodbye at the close of class. In preparation for Day of the Dead, students learned about family members, using finger puppets, songs, and personal pictures of the Spanish teacher and each other. Mott Class (preschool) students played a “vivo/muerto” game, in the fashion of "Red Light/Green Light" and looked at a book describing Day of the Dead. Rustin Class (kindergarten) students watched a wordless short film about the holiday and discussed what they knew about it. Both Mott and Rustin Classes celebrated by coloring paper skulls (with the option of making a mask out of it).

Elementary classes continue to practice greeting at the beginning of class and have even learned to choose their own personal response to describe how they’re truly feeling. Penn and Fox Classes (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Grades) wrapped up learning about “me gusta” (I like it), “no me gusta” (I don't like it), and “me da igual” (it’s the same to me [either way]) with emoji signs they drew and cut and used to show what they liked, didn’t like, and what they didn’t care either way about in regards to a list of actions we had been introduced to at the beginning of the year. Anthony Class (4th and 5th Grades) students practiced the same phrases by making and playing on their own personalized bingo boards full of pictures of things commonly enjoyed by people from the same list introduced at the beginning of the year. As Day of the Dead approached, students viewed personal family photos and learned to listen, repeat, and determine who was who in the family. Right before Day of the Dead, students learned about the meaning by being introduced to several vocabulary words with pictures (e.g. “vivo”/ “muerto”) and having many discussions. Anthony Class made tissue marigolds (the traditional grave flower), and are currently working on eulogies, choosing 3 positive descriptors to describe their deceased loved ones (or people they miss).

Middle School (6th, 7th, and 8th Grades) is in the practice of describing how they personally feel and why. Currently they are practicing how to differentiate greetings to people their age or younger and people older or higher in power. Students also finished making their version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (starting off with the premise of a llama with a pencil, springboarding from the vocabulary of last month). Students were given sentence frames from the original story, filling in the gaps with a continued set of vocabulary words (after learning about action words at the beginning of the year, students now learned about associated objects). 6-7th graders read their finished copy to Rustin Class while 7-8th graders read to Penn. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, students spent some time considering identity and what heritage even means, holding discussions around vocabulary in Spanish. For Day of the Dead, students began to learn/review Spanish vocabulary for family members, as well as color terminology as they decorated sugar skulls that they each made. Students also wrote eulogies choosing 3 positive descriptors to describe their deceased loved ones (or people they miss). We held a service where we turned on battery-lit candles and commemorated our deceased loved ones by reading these eulogies.