PRE Specials Newsletter

January 6, 2022

Art

Prairie Ridge artists have been learning about so many new artists, techniques, and working with hands on concepts with the elements of art in the art studio! We can’t wait to kick off the upcoming semester with some new projects in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, here are some summaries of the learning that has been accomplished!


Kindergarten


Kindergarten artists loved learning about color theory this quarter. We learned how to mix the primary colors to make the secondary colors to create a fall forest and a painted pumpkin. We used warm and cool colors to create a seascape rendered with a variety of lines and we made colorful, fall leaves with color diffusing paper. We got to watch two primary colors of our choice mix together before our eyes!

Students worked with their peers with hands-on, experiential stations for 2 art classes working with the elements of art. The elements of art include: line, shape, color, form, value, texture and space. Students enjoyed the open-ended nature of the stations and simultaneously learned how the elements of art apply to so much of the world around us. Students explored many of the elements of art by making a ceramic snowflake ornament. We used variety of found objects to make symmetrical textures in the clay before firing them in the kiln, glazing them and creating a gift bag for someone special in our life to give our snowflake to.

We wrapped up the semester with exploring the element of “space.” Students learned the critical elements of a landscape: horizon line, foreground, middleground and background before creating a snowy winter landscape and changing the size of the trees to indicate near and far.


1st Grade

Students worked with their peers with hands-on, experiential stations for 2 art classes working with the elements of art. The elements of art include: line, shape, color, form, value, texture and space. Students enjoyed the open-ended nature of the stations and simultaneously learned how the elements of art apply to so much of the world around us. Students explored many of the elements of art by making a ceramic snowflake ornament. We used variety of found objects to make symmetrical textures in the clay before firing them in the kiln, glazing them and creating a gift bag for someone special in our life to give our snowflake to.


We wrapped up the semester with exploring the element of “space.” Students learned the critical elements of a landscape: horizon line, foreground, middleground and background before creating a snowy winter landscape and changing the size of the trees to indicate near and far.


2nd Grade

Students worked with their peers with hands-on, experiential stations for 2 art classes working with the elements of art. They include: line, shape, color, form, value, texture and space. Students enjoyed the open-ended nature of the stations and simultaneously learned how the elements of art apply to so much of the world around us. Students explored many of the elements of art by making a ceramic snowflake ornament. We used variety of found objects to make symmetrical textures in the clay before firing them in the kiln, glazing them and creating a gift bag for someone special in our life to give our snowflake to.


We wrapped up the semester with exploring the element of “space.” Students learned the critical elements of a landscape: horizon line, foreground, middleground and background before creating a snowy winter landscape and changing the size of the trees to indicate near and far.


3rd Grade

Color Family Candy Corn

Students demonstrated understanding of color theory by illustrating three dimensional candy corn using 4 different color families: primary, secondary, warm and cold. Students added shadows and reflections to make their drawings look dimensional before adding faces and details to their work.

Flint Corn Drawing from Observation

After thinking about how different food is rooted in tradition, rituals, culture and history, students learned about the history of flint corn. Flint corn was one of the many varieties of corn that was cultivated in the area of Mexico 7,000 years ago. The indigenous people taught the colonists how to plant and grow flint corn. Flint corn gets it’s name because the kernels are as hard as flint. Students used observational drawing skills to draw a large ear of corn before adding a colorful wash of watercolor to finish their work.

Creative Facial Expression Illustrations

Students created a composition full of unique shades of colored dots in various sizes before learning how to create expressive facial expressions. Students had so much fun coming up with different ways to convey emotions in the “dot people” inspired by the story, “Mixed,” and learned that there are much more interesting ways to draw faces for people that go beyond the typical happy face.


4th Grade

Students have been practicing using a professional grade colored pencil called Prismacolor pencils. Students made a value scale with the pencils, learned how to mix colors using various techniques, and practiced coloring craftsmanship. 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.


Winter Village

Students created a picturesque winter village after reading the story, “The Perfect Day.” Practicing creative use of line, students drew a variety of buildings to create a winter village using a white colored pencil on black paper. To finish their work, we added values with our pencil to create snow drifts and shadows.


5th Grade

Wire Gesture Sculpture

Students observed the wire sculpture work of Alexander Calder and the use of found objects in his work. We also practiced gesture drawing of figures. Gestural drawing conveys movement with quick, simple pencil strokes and lines. We practiced several gestural poses in our sketchbooks. Then, we used a cork and the wire cage to sculpt into a figure of our choice that represented our identity in some way. We added colored wire to accentuate our figure and their action. These expressive, lively sculptures would look lovely on display in any nook or cranny in your home!

Drawing from Observation

Students have been practicing using a professional grade colored pencil called Prismacolor pencils. Students made a value scale with the pencils, learned how to mix colors using various techniques, and practiced coloring craftsmanship. For our final project, students selected a colorful fall leaf to draw from observation. Students learned how to draw with accuracy before using the shading and blending techniques to add color to their work.

Music

Kindergarten:

Kindergarten music has been a flurry of instruments, rhythms, books, puppets, and giggles. We’ve continued working on keeping a steady beat – a truly important concept that will affect everything else we do in music. We’ve patted, clapped, and stomped the steady beat. We’ve walked, tiptoed, jumped, and moved with the steady beat. We’ve played instruments to the steady beat and we’ve even taught others (our beanie baby buddies) how to keep the steady beat. One day we looked for form in music by exploring Edward Elgar’s famous song “Faeries and Giants” and we added a little movement to go with each section. We’ve been counting like crazy as we helped “Johnny” with his one hammer, counted the “Five Little Pumpkins” and read about the “Ten Fat Turkeys” sitting in a tree. Most exciting of all, we’ve been exploring and playing instruments like the xylophone with inspirational books like “Up, Up, Down” by Robert Munsch. Here are a few songs and poems we’ve learned that you can ask your child to teach you: Five Little Pumpkins, Johnny Works With One Hammer, Highway No. 1, and No More Pie.


First Grade:

We’ve been busy bees in first grade music singing songs, playing instruments, creating new variations, and dancing up a storm. One of our favorite books/songs this year was “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” We first experienced this song back in September but since then we’ve learned about the old lady who… swallowed a pie, swallowed a dreidel, swallowed some leaves, and lots more. And did you know that there was a “Shy Fellow who Swallowed a Cello” or an “Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight” or “A Cowpoke who Swallowed a Fly.”? So many variations! We’ve seen a lot of favorite songs get a new twist. One day we learned “Who’s That Tapping At the Window” and for a week or two we came up with all sorts of variations of the song (zoo animals, aquatic creatures, superheroes, and bugs all came knocking at the music room door according to our song). We played instruments with the “Naughty Kitty Cat,” we helped the Turkey escape with “Run Turkey, Run,” we marched with the Nutcrackers, and we even kept a steady beat with sleigh bells. It’s been a busy semester!

Here are a few songs and poems we’ve learned that you can ask your child to teach you: Who’s That Tapping at the Window, Naughty Kitty Cat, Shoo Turkey, Five Fat Turkeys, and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.


Second Grade:

We’ve been splashing around the musical ocean in second grade music. We took our first plunge into the deep blue sea when we learned the song “Bickle Bockle, Blue Bottle.” That first little song taught us about musical form, took us to the barred percussion instruments (like xylophones and glockenspiels), and even gave us a chance to break out our ribbon wands. After that we explored ostinati (short repeating patterns) through the book “Wendell the Narwhal” by Emily Dove. Wendell also taught us about the role of the conductor and each kid was able to control and conduct the class as we played the barred percussion instruments. We also explored how waves move and splash together and as we sang we created waves with scarves and the ginormous stretchy band. Other highlights include creating our own crazy creations with the folk song “Aiken Drum” and waving ribbon wands with the “Trepak” from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”.


Here are a few songs and poems we’ve learned that you can ask your child to teach you: Little Miss Muffet, Bickle Bockle, BINGO (non-traditional melody), Aiken Drum, Frosty the Snowman, and The Grubby Pirate Song.


Third Grade:

In third grade music we’ve been creating and moving nonstop! We’ve been playing the barred percussion instruments (xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels) almost every day and we’ve used them to create quiet and slow accompaniments with songs like “Skin and Bone” and we’ve quicker more excited accompaniments with songs like “Tideo.” We’ve also been learning the legend of the Nutcracker, have listened to Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker suite, and have watched portions of “The Nutcracker” ballet. Through this process we’ve spent some time learning about ballet, how it works, what’s required of a ballet dancer, and how musicians are involved. Here are a few songs and poems we’ve learned that you can ask your child to teach you: Skin & Bone, O Tannenbaum, Tideo.


Fourth Grade:

Fourth grade had an amazing semester filled with singing and creating. In November we had our big Veteran’s Day concert which featured songs like America the Beautiful, Hats Off to America, The Lights of Freedom, and The Fifty Nifty United States. Since the concert we’ve been taking time to get back to basics like singing, dancing, playing instruments, and improvising. We took a song called “The Farmer’s Dairy Key” and we added several different instrument accompaniments. We also created new, student-created variations to the song using the elemental forms (AABA, ABBA, AABB) as an inspiration. In December we took that idea of “variations on a theme” to the next level when we learned the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and made our own versions like the Twelves days of… Minecraft, basketball, shopping, Halloween, school, and cooking (just to name a few).


Fifth Grade:

In fifth grade music, much of the last quarter has been spent in preparation for our big winter concert called “December Round the World.” Each class learned lyrics, choreography, speaking parts, and prop movement for the six different songs. There were flags waving, piñatas breaking, pickles hiding in Tannenbaums, jumping at the sun, candles flickering, and Christmas trees decorated in red, white, and blue. The performance was truly spectacular so fun to share with our school community. Thanks to Mrs. Porras and her team of 4th grade videographers for helping to livestream the event.

PE

Overview: Things have been going great so far in the PRE Gym this school year. Students have been focusing on general fitness levels, which has included activities that help improve cardiovascular health, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. Students have also had the option to practice soccer, basketball, football, volleyball skills as well as badminton, frisbee, and jump rope skills every day during our skill practice portion of classes which take place once per week. This has been a very productive portion of our classes again this year as it allows me to give students direct instruction each different skill. I am looking forward to continuing this routine again this year as it has been very popular and the skill development has been great!


Kindergarten - 1st Grade: Kindergarten and 1st grade have been focusing on continued development of basic locomotor skills – this includes skipping, jumping, galloping, sliding, hopping, leaping, and running. The students have done a good job of participating and have been learning a lot. This group also had the chance to go through an obstacle course, rock wall, and rope swing day. It was a ton of fun and is great for teaching them movement patterns!


2nd - 5th Grade: This group has done a great job of improving their overall fitness levels. The main focus has been on aerobic activities and fitness games that get students active for as much of the class as possible. We had the opportunity to go through an over hand throwing unit, which included a bunch of different activities to help improve over hand throwing skill. We recently began our soccer unit and this is always one of most popular units of the year as students get the opportunity to improve their soccer skills in a fun way.

Big picture

Tech Time

Kindergarten

During the second quarter students have been focusing on coding. In Kindergarten we introduce what coding is and discuss some basic vocabulary; code, command, loop or repeat, and sequence. Students learn how to code through plugged and unplugged activities using a block format. Some of the apps we used were Tynker Jr, Code Spark, and Kodable. In addition to the plugged activities, we also worked with some robots (unplugged) and coded them to do different things. We worked with Code and Go Mouse and coding our friends to do different moves. Students had a lot of fun giving directions and following a code. By the end of our time together kids knew and could apply our different vocabulary words all while having a lot of fun!


1st Grade

During the second quarter students have been focusing on coding. In first grade we build upon our skills we learned in kindergarten. We discuss what coding is and review some basic vocabulary; code, command, loop or repeat, sequence, and bug/debugging. We also start talking about the word PERSISTENCE. This helps them understand that sometimes things don’t always work the way we want them to the first time. Students learn how to code through plugged and unplugged activities using a block format. Some of the apps we used were Tynker, Tynker Jr, Box Island, Code Spark, and Kodable. In addition to the plugged activities, we also worked with Code and Go Mouse robots (unplugged) and coded them to do different things. We took the coding piece of this activity and built upon what they learned last year. They did great at giving directions and following a code. By the end of our time together kids knew and could apply our different vocabulary words all while having a lot of fun!


2nd Grade

During the second quarter students have been focusing on coding. In second grade we build upon our skills we learned in kindergarten and first grade. We discuss what coding is and review some basic vocabulary; Computer Science, code, command, loop or repeat, sequence, and bug/debugging. We also start talking about the word PERSISTENCE. This helps them understand that sometimes things don’t always work the way we want them to the first time. Students learn how to code through plugged and unplugged activities using a block format. Some of the apps we used were Tynker, Lightbot, Scratch Jr, Code Spark, and Kodable. If we had some extra time the kids were able to code on apps they had worked on in previous years or get out the Code and Go mouse and Botley robots. They loved these as well. Whether it was on the apps or with the robots, students did great at giving directions and following a code. By the end of our time together kids knew and could apply our different vocabulary words all while having a lot of fun!


3rd Grade


During the second quarter students got to do a few different things. First, we learned how to work Google Earth. We learned how to look up different places, reviewed directions, and learned how to take a virtual tour of public places. Next, we spent some time coding! We reviewed different vocabulary words that they had been learning for the past 3 years. Boy are they getting good at those. We discussed what Computer science is and what kind of real-world jobs use computer science (coding). We worked in an app called Scratch Jr. They learned how to use this app in 2nd grade so this year they stepped it up a notch and made a complete 4 scene story! Lastly, we put the iPad down and did some work with our Ozobots. Students worked on coding the robots using 4 different colors (black, red, blue, green) and lines to perform different actions and travel in specific directions. We also had a lot of fun doing a little Ozobot Bowling! Ask them about it!


4th Grade

During the 2nd quarter students had a lot of fun doing all kinds of coding! We started each class by reviewing a bunch of vocabulary. We reviewed different vocabulary words that they had been learning for the past 4 years. Boy are they getting good at those. We discussed what Computer science is and what kind of real-world jobs use computer science (coding). In 4th grade we go to two websites that really take their coding foundation one step further, Code.org and Scratch.mit.org. Both sites are safe and allow the students to really push themselves into becoming better at coding. We watched great instructional video about how Scratch.com works and created a scene where they had to code something to move. Sounds easy, but it actually takes a lot of work and thought. They got very good! In Code.org students participated in the Hour of Code. They had so much fun. Lastly, to top off our coding time we got out the Osmo’s. Students could choose between Coding Awabi or Coding Jam. They got really good at collecting strawberries or creating music!


5th Grade


5th grade students worked on two different projects during the 2nd quarter. The first one was through the site called Tinker CAD. Students got to use this free online CAD program to design something of their choice. They then sent their designs to me via email and I will print it with our school 3D printer. This program takes a lot of patience and persistence. Their designs turned out great! They will bring them home once they are printed. The next project they worked on is a mini research project about an Early Explorer. Once students completed their research about their Explorer they learned how to use a Newsletter template in Pages (Apple’s version of Word). There are so many cool things you can do in Pages! This will really help them as they go into middle school and high school and need to make presentations. This application will also be on their MacBook they receive in 6th grade. Once they completed their presentation they shared it with the class. They did awesome!

Counseling

Kindergarten

  • Responsible Decision Making - students learned the steps in the decision-making process, demonstrated anticipating consequences of choices, and discussed personal responsibility in making positive choices. Students practiced Stopping and Thinking before making decisions so they can make the best decision possible! We used our Teddy Bear puppet Tuggles and a picture book starring him.
  • Identifying and Managing Emotions - students were able to name a variety of different feelings and discussed how people show their emotions with their face, body and words. They were able to practice expressing feelings verbally and non-verbally. Our puppet Tuggles joined us and we read another book starring him and a day full of different feelings.
  • Effective Communication - We learned how to use our ears, eyes and bodies to be a good active listener. We practiced being good listeners through an interactive song with Tuggles.


First Grade

  • Making responsible decisions - We learned about the benefits of stopping to think before making a decision, and how to anticipate consequences before deciding what to do.
  • Identifying and Managing Emotions - students were able to name a variety of feelings and comprehend feelings as natural responses that are neither right nor wrong. We also discussed the difference between feelings and actions and learned the beginning steps of forming an I-Message to express feelings in a healthy way.
  • Effective Communication - Using our cat puppet, Carmen, we demonstrated using one's eyes, ears, body and brain to listen. Students were able to identify the body language of an active listener and practice verbal and non-verbal communication.


Second Grade

  • Making responsible decisions - as a class, we discussed the benefits of stopping to think before making a decision. Students learned the definition of a consequence and how to predict possible consequences prior to making a decision.
  • Identifying and managing emotions - students were able to name a variety of feelings and comprehend feelings as natural responses that are neither right nor wrong. We also discussed the difference between feelings and actions and learned the beginning steps of forming an I-Message to express feelings in a healthy way.
  • Effective Communication - students were able to learn the social skill of making introductions. The class was able to demonstrate polite, assertive communication using I-messages and demonstrate active listening skills.


Third Grade

  • WEIRD series - we completed the Weird series Trilogy and discussed all the roles in each book and what we learned about each character.
  • Making responsible decisions - Students identified the steps of the decision-making model and were able to generate alternative solutions and evaluate consequences for a range of academic and social situations. We also reviewed consequences and when a decision can be made alone vs when we need an adult's help to make a decision.
  • Identifying and Managing emotions - students demonstrated an awareness of their own physical signals associated with specific emotions and learned about ranges and intensity of different emotions. We also practiced sharing our feelings in healthy ways using I-Messages.


Fourth Grade

  • Decision Making - classes were able to identify and follow the steps of the decision-making model. We explored the benefits and consequences of various decisions and determined when to ask an adult for help making a decision.
  • Identifying and managing emotions - we reviewed feelings and the physical signs that accompany them. We identified healthy and unhealthy ways to express our emotions.


Fifth Grade

  • We completed our STEMpathy projects and presented them to the class. The students did an amazing job! This project showed us what happens when Empathy and Innovation collide, and we were so happy with the results. This activity encouraged students to empathize with others as they design creations that could remove barriers and help others access their environment.

Library


We’ve had a great second quarter in the library! It’s hard to believe we are halfway through the year. Below are a few of the things we working on throughout second quarter!


Kindergarten: Kindergarten is doing such a great job in the library! I love seeing what they want to check out and they are doing a fantastic job of being responsible with shelf markers while shopping for books! This quarter we did an author study on Lois Elhert, who has written and illustrated so many colorful and creative books for kids. We continue to talk about fiction vs nonfiction and read some fun books related to the holidays. They love doing the STEM stations during checkout and they amaze me with their creativity!


First Grade: We completed an author study of one of my favorites: Jan Brett! She has so many great books that have winter, snow and holidays as the main theme. We compared her books The Hat and The Mitten, and learned how to draw a hedge hog. We are continuing to work on responsibility with getting books turned in on time and checking out a variety of fiction and non-fiction. They also love doing the STEM stations during check out, and I love seeing them interact with each other and have time to create!


Second Grade: We completed an author study of Marc Brown, who is the creator of the Arthur series. We learned about how and why Marc Brown became an author and that he hides his children’s names in all of his books…they loved hunting for those! We even learned how draw Arthur from Marc Brown himself. This second grade group are such great readers and they are always excited about looking for books in the library!


Third Grade: Third grade focused on the different literary genres. We read, Joe Bright and the Seven Genre Dudes, where we learned about 7 different genres in the fiction and non-fiction section and then played a guessing game to see if they could identify a book’s genre. We also learned how to use our online catalog, Destiny Discover. This is an app on our I-pads where they can look to see what they have checked out on their account and search for books in the library. They are working to become independent during check out by being able to find books on their own with the book’s call number.


Fourth Grade: Fourth graders started the quarter with a review of the different types of genres by doing a book order scavenger hunt. Identifying a book’s genre can be tricky but they did an excellent job! We also reviewed call numbers and practiced locating books in the library by their call number. Finally, we reviewed the Dewey Decimal system and learned how the non-fiction books are organized. This is something we will continue next quarter as well. They are learning a lot about how to be independent in the library and this will serve them well moving forward!


Fifth Grade: This quarter we did a new and unique unit in the library and fifth graders were the first group to try this out! Mrs. Montgomery, our counselor, and I teamed up to do a “STEMpathy” project. Students were given a card that described a student who had a disability that prevented them from participating in an activity at school. The challenge was to create a device or invention that could help that student. Then they actually had to design and make the device in the Makerspace. We were so impressed with their ideas and willingness to put themselves in that person’s shoes. We also reviewed the literary genres this quarter and completed a digital breakout room to review the different types.


I love seeing your children in the library and sharing the joy of reading. My favorite question is, “Mrs Ptacek, is there something you would recommend?” It is fun to see so many students enjoying books. As a reminder, your child should have their library books with them on library day each week. I will still be sending email reminder the night before so hopefully that helps. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns!


Kerri Ptacek- kptacek@usd232.org