Specials Curriculum Update

October 2017


Many of the students worked with large pieces of corrugated cardboard this past month. Middle school students created guitars after viewing Picasso’s guitar sculptures and visiting Martin Guitar Factory. Students created shields after viewing the tribal shields of Oceania.

The Rustin and Penn classes created layered collages from cardboard and painted them. The Penn, Fox and Anthony classes made standup self portraits. All of the classes designed insects that were used by middle school students to decorate the bus for Fall Fest. The Anthony, Rustin, and Fox Classes did brilliant pastel life studies from a Fall still life. Finally, in celebration of Autumn and Halloween, the students looked at Polynesian Tribal tattoos and created their own using liquid eye makeup.

Library/Information and Technology Literacy

Mott & Hicks - Preschool

This month, we’ve read several Fall and Halloween stories including Leaves by David Ezra Stein, Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert, The House that Drac Built by Judy Sierra, and The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown. Students continued to practice selecting and checking out books in the library.

Rustin - Kindergarten

We’ve read several books including The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Yacowitz, and Halloweena by Miriam Glassman. When we read The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown, students acted as scarecrows and made their scariest faces. We also continued to learn where books of interest are in the library and the book checkout routine.

Penn - 1st Grade

The Penn Class read several books including Halloweena by Miriam Glassman and The Experiments of Dr. Vermin by Tim Egan to celebrate Halloween. In addition, students went on a scavenger hunt for books to practice using the online library catalog to find books at their location using call numbers. We have also begun exploring concepts of coding using the website www.code.org.

Fox - 2nd & 3rd Grades

We’ve read several books including The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger and The Experiments of Dr. Vermin by Tim Egan to celebrate Fall and Halloween. Students have been learning about the Dewey Decimal System and why certain books are placed in certain areas of the non-fiction section of the library. Recently, students have been making posters for the Dewey Decimal System and have learned how to find, add, and format an image using Google Slides. We continue to practice locating books using the online library catalog.

Anthony - 4th & 5th Grades

The Anthony class has read several books including The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger and The Experiments of Dr. Vermin by Tim Egan to celebrate Fall and Halloween. Using Google Slides, students created signs to indicate the various sections of the library. Later in the month, students created their own versions of I-SPY pages with a Halloween theme. Can you find the hidden images in the pictures below?

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

Students have finished researching and sharing their presentations about primary and secondary sources. We had lively discussions about the benefits and challenges of using each type of source. We came to the conclusion that when researching, it is best to use both kinds. Students have also been working on reading their R2S2 book and preparing for their book commercials.


Our exploration of classroom instruments has continued through the month of October. Mott, Hicks, Rustin, and Penn Classes have been using instruments to add texture and color to spoken stories and chants. We have also continued to practice our sense of selves in space as we do movement activities within the classroom.

Fox and Anthony Classes have been learning to sing with good tone while performing an ostinato on instruments through our Ghanaian folk song “Obwisana.” We have also spent a bit of time studying and following along on a listening map, the orchestral piece, “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens and seeing how it uses instrumentation to tell a story. This piece of music has a super spooky vibe and story which pairs well as we approach the last day of the month! Listening maps encourage engaged, active, and analytical listening. Students worked on proper playing technique and embouchure for their instruments. They also worked on reading music and playing together in time. Advanced violin students worked on playing duets.

This month, middle school students did guided research where they picked their favorite artist/composer/band and did a presentation for the class. In vocal ensemble, the students continue to grow and bond as we select our repertoire and discuss our personal musical preferences. We are furthering our knowledge of proper singing position as well as our sight singing ability. We look forward to sharing our voices with the school in the coming months! Instrumental students played Yesterday by The Beatles as an ensemble, with the A section being almost mastered. They also began the first song in their movie theme medley, He’s a Pirate, the theme song from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Physical Education

We have had an outstanding month in P.E. Each class began with the Spiderman warm up, which led into activities like kayak scooter tag, fitness musical hoops, cone ball, indoor soccer, junkyard, dodge ball, the running challenge, sprint races, ab workout stations, fitness dice challenge, and so much more. The Early Childhood classes also participated in fitness and costume themed activities such as being autumn leaves, race car drivers, and firefighters. These activities give the students an opportunity to experience fitness and motor skill activities while using their imaginations. There are lots of exciting activities to come in P.E. during the month of November.


All the students have learned about “El Día de los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead). The creation of the traditional “Altar” has been an ongoing and exciting process throughout the month of October. The students have made the typical “flor de cempasúchitl” (Mexican marigold) and have produced original designs when cutting their own “papel picado.” They have created an emotional and meaningful “Altar del Día de los Muertos” by bringing in pictures and objects of loved ones who have passed. It has been an enriching experience.

Mott & Hicks - Preschool

Our friends in the Mott & Hicks Classes have been reviewing their colors and have learned to count from 1-10. Our students have learned positional words such as “arriba” and “abajo” (up & down). Our young friends know how to answer “si” and “no” (yes & no in Spanish) when responding to questions. We have been reading awesome stories in Spanish.

Rustin & Penn - Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Students in the Rustin and Penn Classes have been studying the parts of a “calabaza” (pumpkin) .They have also learned the parts of the face by decorating skulls. We have been reading Halloween books and many students have drawn their own stories.

Fox - 2nd and 3rd Grades

Our friends in the Fox Class have studied the parts of the body. We have read Halloween stories and the students have worked very hard brainstorming ideas to write their own scary stories that are displayed on the Spanish bulletin board.

Anthony - 4th and 5th Grades

Students in the Anthony Class have been reviewing the numbers 1-100 in Spanish. The students have studied the parts of the body and have learned scary vocabulary words that have been useful to write their own “Historias de Terror” that are displayed on the Spanish bulletin board.

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

The middle school classes have been the engine in the construction of the Day of the Dead Altar. They have not only made and decorated their own Mexican sugar skulls but they have also discussed the differences and similarities of how we commemorate the memory of our loved ones in different cultures. Our students have excelled in the writing of witty and eloquent “Historias de Terror” that are displayed on the Spanish bulletin board.