Specials Curriculum Update

November/December 2018


The Art program in the months of November and December included several long term projects combined with seasonal lessons.

The Rustin, Penn and Fox Classes completed their creation of a city. We discussed urban planning and set up a city of 80 plus buildings in the exhibition space. We created roads and varying elevations for the layout of the city. The Rustin Class painted and cut out large cloud formations to illustrate the backdrop of the city. The Fox and Penn Classes made paper people, cars, buses, airplanes, and trees. These creations were mounted on wooden platforms to facilitate standing. These students later created animal sculptures from tin foil and then “fleshed them out “ using plaster bandage materials. The sculptures were painted when dried. For the seasonal life studies, students drew and painted colored glass Christmas balls in a still life in glass bowls.

The Anthony Class completed their building contributions to the city and did a follow up assemblage in a cigar box. We looked at several different assemblage artists and discussed the properties that the cigar box offered. We considered depth and layering and whether the viewer would open the box on their own or view it already propped open. The students were encouraged to go beyond a diorama effect and to consider a more conceptual approach to the project. The Anthony Class had two seasonal life studies in watercolor. One was the glass ball drawing and the other was a study of a lighted votive candle. The votive candle was viewed in a darkened art room.

The Helman/Osborn Class created an assemblage in a cigar box as detailed above. This class did a printmaking day using live plant materials, printers ink, and brayers to make beautiful nature study cards. The H/O students made plaster bowls for a presentation for Meeting for Worship. They created seasonal floral arrangements for a holiday breakfast that they hosted for the school. The H/O students also did two still life studies: the votive candle and the glass ball in glass bowls study. The still life with glass was a study of multiple reflections and mirroring.

Library/Information and Technology Literacy

Mott - Preschool

In November, we read several Fall and Thanksgiving stories including The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli. We have also read several stories about how to be kind to our friends including Bully by Jennifer Sattler and That’s What Friends Are For by Valeri Gorbachev. We also read stories about the winter holidays in December. Students continued to practice selecting and checking out books in the library.

Rustin - Kindergarten

The Rustin Class read books about kindness, Thanksgiving, and winter holidays. We read Bully by Jennifer Sattler, The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig, and Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano. We also continued to learn where books of interest are in the library and practiced the book checkout routine.

Penn - 1st and 2nd Grades

The Penn Class read several books including The Tappletons Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli, Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, and The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. Students have also been practicing computer and keyboarding skills using the program learning.com. The class continued to practice using OPALS to select library books.

Fox - 2nd and 3rd Grades

The Fox Class read several books including The Tappletons Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, and The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. In connection with the class’s insect study, we read Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg. Students then selected and found information about an insect to create a short story similar to the ants’ adventure in the story. Students continued to practice selecting books using OPALS and the book’s call number.

Anthony - 4th and 5th Grades

The Anthony Class has been learning about Melvil Dewey and the Dewey Decimal System of Library Classification. After learning about his life and the system he created, students have been learning and researching about the topics in each of the ten main categories. Students are currently working on creating a poster on Google Slides about the categories they are researching. We also read stories about winter holidays.

Helman/Osborn - 6th-8th Grades

In ITL class, students have completed their book jacket project for their R2S2 assignment and have been sharing their books with their classmates. In robotics class, students are continuing to learn the Lua programming language on the Calisto boards and are learning additional commands.


Mott and Rustin Classes are doing a wonderful job with their body awareness in music classes. During movement activities, it can be very challenging to move our bodies freely without invading other people’s space. We are having more success in sensing this during these activities and, in doing so, are able to be more creative with choices of how we move and express the music kinesthetically.

Penn and Fox Classes are avid singers. This month we learned a few songs that work particularly well with the Thanksgiving holiday, such as “5 Fat Turkeys” and “Great Big House.” These simple folk songs utilize quarter and eighth note rhythms which we continue to use in echo composition activities and sight reading. We have even begun to identify and practice how to correctly notate simple rhythms using manipulatives and are beginning to write them as well.

Anthony and Helman-Osborn Classes have continued their exploration of programmatic music by learning about the composer Aaron Copland and his orchestral work “Appalachian Spring,” with a focus on the “Simple Gifts” theme and variations segment. By identifying instrumental, dynamic, melodic and rhythmic differences, students were able to piece together the form of this piece and gain insight into how a basic melody can become an expanded and interesting orchestral work. We have also worked as a group to compose both rhythmic and melodic variations of the first phrase in “Twinkle Twinkle” in preparation for a theme and variations composition project.

Instrumental music students are making great strides with their instruments. Close to half of the program has earned an achievement belt and the rest are on the cusp of doing so. Consistent practice at home, even short 10 minute sessions, makes a huge difference in the level of student playing. Please continue to praise your student when they remember to do so or request a mini-performance from them to inspire them to get their instrument out and play. Please note that I encourage students to send short video clips of their completed exercises to my UFS email address in order to maximize our instructional time instead of doing “belt testing.” The tested exercises are listed in columns in their achievement charts which are located in their method books.

The vocal ensemble is steadily preparing music for a winter concert. While the date is yet to be determined, students are anxious to share their beautiful voices with you! They are continuing to sight sing 4-5 note melodies and have begun to read from traditional choral scores that are written in 2-part harmony. We are expanding our choral range while maintaining proper vocal technique and are extending our repertoire.

Physical Education

Students in UFS Physical Education classes have been very busy moving, exercising, and having fun. Our Fitness Mondays have been filled with relays, games, circuit training, and activities that focus on building muscles while also increasing endurance, speed, and agility. Throughout the fitness activities, students have been learning how to use fitness equipment such as medicine balls and the fitness ladder. Our students have been playing handball, tag, swim fishy swim, dodgeball, and so much more during Thursday Game Days. The students in the Mott and Rustin Classes have had fun playing with the parachute, noodles, pit balls, maracas and more while using their imagination to learn new exercises and stretches, build on existing motor skills, and increase agility.

Our PE classes had so much fun learning new exercises and stretches, playing games, and participating in lots of fun activities to help build fitness level, sports skills, and valuable sportsmanship skills. A favorite activity this month was our snowman-creating relay race. Teams worked together to do a variety of exercises combined with moving pieces of equipment from one end of the Big Room to the other to create a snowman design. Every class from the Mott Class through the HO Class participated in this relay. Each class completed age appropriate exercises as they used team building skills, fitness ability, and creativity to make some pretty cool looking snowmen. It was so much fun watching our students work together and exercise during this relay. Check out our snowman pictures.

Big picture


Early Childhood continued to reinforce vocabulary for family members and more colors. With the winter holiday season, students also learned about light and good wishes for the world, such as “paz y libertad” (from a song by José-Luis Orozco). Students listened to a story about family member roles and compared the roles of people in their own families. They also identified their family members from pictures and colors from their clothes or items around the classroom. In our “light unit”, students also enjoyed finding lights and learning “Esta Pequeña Luz” (“This Little Light of Mine”).

Elementary students finished their altares for Day of the Dead, practicing vocabulary for the family members they drew to remember and honor them. Anthony students were able to ask and answer what they like to do by acting, writing, and speaking the given Spanish words. Anthony students are also in the routine of playing “snowman”, where students guess letters in Spanish to create a word or else a snowman. Fox class listened to and understood “Rodolfo el Reno” for several classes but also discovered that Noemí wants to learn Arabic. The conversation led to a bigger conversation about the Syrian War; students learned basic facts (when, why, who, and the effects) in Spanish.

Coming off of Día de los Muertos, Middle School discovered more of the history of the merging cultures behind the holiday. To begin, students watched Coco answering a movie guide in Spanish. To continue, they discussed different views of the afterlife and tried to discover, through infographics and commercials representing Aztec and Mayan views of the afterlife, the views of people celebrating Day of the Dead. They also delved into some current events in Bolivia, where the president was illegally re-elected and then investigated by the Organization of American States. For the holiday season, students learned about different Latin American traditions, including different names for Santa Claus, the alternative to frying latkes for some Latin@ Jews, and the different bringers of gifts. The Helman-Osborne class also practiced some basic getting-to-know-you questions and answers as they prepared letters for Latin American pen pals.