Wildwood Elem Specialist Newsletter

Art, Library-Media, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish

New Format of Specialist Newsletter

Hello! Because we send out our newsletter electronically, we needed to find a tool that would allow live links and options to embed multi-media. We also like this S'more newsletter for the ease of reading on mobile devices. We hope you find this newsletter an improvement over our former type. Feel free to send us any comments: jean.oswald@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us


Kindergarten Music Notes:

Students continue to practice music elements such as steady beat, long/short sounds, high/low sounds, song forms through songs and games. Students have added folk songs, poems and games to their repertoire like A Tisket, A Tasket, Bling Blang, Cuckoo, This Old Man, Mr. Sun, Miss Lucy, London Bridge, A Sailor Went to Sea and Here We Sit. Classroom instruments like triangle, wood blocks, drums and glockenspiel continue to be used to accompany songs and games, focusing on naming the instruments, describing how they make sound and how to correctly play them.

Kindergarteners are also focusing on proper vocal production and pitch-matching as they sing and play their favorite songs and games. Ask your student to show you their Best Singing, especially the Wildwood School Song. They can tell you what it should look like and sound like!

Kindergarteners will next expand their learning to include studying those orchestral instruments used in telling Prokofiev's classic "Peter and the Wolf."

First Grade Music Notes:

First graders have been immersed in singing. Preparing for the March program required extensive focus on posture and sound, as well as the concentration necessary for singing in a two-part round, singing in two parts, and adding harmony to melody. Though still at an introductory level, these skills form the foundation for a multitude of singing experiences in the years to come.

Beyond their evident successful learning about group singing, we have recently completed a major project requiring that each student demonstrate what their best individual singing looks and sounds like in first grade. Following the development of their own class rubric for what constitutes excellence in singing, each student made a video of their best singing. They each reviewed their video, and assessed their performance against the rubric they had developed. The videos are being archived as part of a district-wide initiative to compile audio and video music performances of each student in an electronic portfolio.

Balancing this serious work, we have also learned dances from America and Africa, improvised on xylophones, and did our best to imitate Singing Kangaroos (we are pretty good!). Next up: preparing for our Ordway field trip (see separate article), and beginning an African drumming unit.

Second Grade Music Notes:

Second Graders successfully performed in their concert "2nd Grade's Got Talent" on March 7 for family and friends. The program culminated many weeks of preparation, focusing on best singing practices, good group singing as well as demonstrating newly learned music skills, concepts, dances and songs. 2nd Graders are continuing to practice their best singing (what it looks and sounds like) and recording individual singing videos for their on-going electronic music portfolios. Families can view these videos by appointment with Mrs. Schwister at any time. Ask your student if he/she has recorded yet!

In early April, students reviewed instruments of the western orchestra (strings, percussion, winds). Our unit culminated in attending a performance of the Parker String Quartet at Wildwood on April 10. This performance of the Grammy-Award winning quartet was sponsored by our awesome PTO! Thank you PTO!

Talent Day for First and Second Graders is coming up!

In mid-May, first and second graders will have their second opportunity to perform in music class for their classmates a musical talent or share a musical interest. Watch for information coming via email about your child’s Talent Day Part 2 date!

DVDs of First and Second Grade Music Programs now available!

Thanks to parent John Lengyel, we now have DVD copies of our First and Second Grade Music Programs recorded on March 5 and 7 at Chautauqua Auditorium. If you would like a DVD copy of a program, please click on this LINK for ordering forms and information. The DVDs are a wonderful keepsake for students and families to remember these excellent music programs for this year.



Kindergarten – This winter Kindergarteners used what they learned about the forms; sphere and cone to draw a multi-scooped ice cream cone. We also created a fish themed artwork that focused on exploring different textures. Recently we painted our own papers like author/illustrator Eric Carle to create our own “very hungry caterpillar” collage. Currently we are using our pincher fingers to build a pinch pot using clay. We will be turning these pinch pots into colorful and silly bugs.

1st Grade – This winter first grade students completed a landscape drawing inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night. Students learned how background, middle ground and foreground work together to create depth in a landscape. Recently students created and painted a pinch pot fish using clay. We also created an abstract portrait in the style of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Currently students are creating a mobile that will hang and move freely.

2nd Grade – This winter students used what they have learned about the forms; sphere, cylinder and cone to complete a “zoom-in” or close-up painting of a snowperson. It was fun to see this familiar image from a different perspective. Recently students completed a “pet head” using the pinch and coil method of hand-building with clay. Currently students are exploring the African culture and creating a unique African inspired mask. Students are using paint, tubes, beads, pipe cleaners, raffia, feathers and paper to embellish their masks.


In Spanish K-2nd grade just completed a unit about body parts. We learned several songs including “head, shoulders, knees and toes”, manos, cabeza, pies by Juanes and “Cara-Cabeza” which is sung to the tune of “Are you Sleeping?”. We also played several games to practice learning body parts. We played Bingo, Simon says and a matching game on the smart board. Kindergarten played a “Slap Jack” game with a partner while 1st and 2nd graders studied the phrase “me duele” which means “it hurts”. We used the phrase “me duele” and “me duelen” and even learned the grammatical difference between the two. Students had fun creating sentences for different “pains” they had. We also read a cartoon/comic strip about a boy who fell and got hurt. Students read and translated the comic strip.

During this unit, kindergarten learned about Mexico and 1st and 2nd graders learned about Chile and Paraguay. We learned a few basic facts about each country and watched a video clip to see what life is like in each country. I was quite impressed with the number of facts the 1st and 2nd graders learned about Chile!

After we finished learning some cultural facts and key vocabulary, all students participated in centers. We had 6 centers which included a “Mr. Potato Head” game where students had to take turns being the caller and call out body parts in Spanish while the students in the group each created a fun potato head. Each potato head was themed so they were very funny. There was also a body parts card game where students chose to play memory or go fish with a partner. Kindergarten had a Mexican toys center and played with several traditional handmade toys. Several of the toys involved quite a bit of coordination so it was fun to see how skilled the kindergarteners became after several chances to practice. 1st and 2nd graders played a body parts bingo game or a flyswatter game. We also had a body parts puzzle where students had to match the English body part word to the picture and then match the Spanish body part word. It was quite challenging but the groups worked together very well. Students participated in a writing center too. They had to label body parts in Spanish on a potato head picture and color it. We did a listening center too and the kids watched an episode from the language learning cartoon series called, “Muzzy”.

Overall, students enjoyed the centers but definitely had their favorites. I enjoyed watching the students practicing their Spanish in a hands-on learning environment.

Physical Education Happenings


· Fun Games: noodle wars, scatter, rainbow tag

· Square Dance: swing your partner, into the center, circle right, circle left, promenade

· Review Stations: football toss, tumbling, juggling, fitness, scooters, basketball, hula-hoop

· Health Fair Booths: Bike Safety, Self-Esteem, Sergeant Hanky, First Aid, Vote, Heart Power, Don’t Smoke and Chef Combo

· Dance Dance Revolution: beat, rhythm, dance, FUN!

The Health Fair was March 26th- 27th. The second graders did a super job running their booths and presenting materials!

Sports Week is fast approaching! I will need many wonderful parent volunteers to run the stations. Please check with your child’s classroom teacher for their scheduled time and let me know if you are available to help!

Monday, May 13th - 2nd grade

Tuesday, May 14th - 1st grade

Wednesday, May 15th - Kindergarten

Library Media

Even though it's not been very Spring-like, Kindergarteners are creating Spring/Summer projects like sandcastles (based from the book series "Butterfly Girl") in Pixie software. We've looked at FAVORITE author illustrator Mo Willems and his "Elephant & Piggie," "Knuffle Bunny," and "Pigeon" books. The students have also been very excited to be checking out from the bookshelves instead of the cart in the last month.

First graders learned how to use the iPads and worked in pairs using the iPad to scan QR (quick response) codes that I linked to booktrailers of books, series, and authors. Currently, they're using the Explain Everything app on the iPads with the work they did in literacy to explain the butterfly life cycle digitally. Also, this is the first year first graders had a programming unit. We use MIT's Scratch software and students completed a set of introductory activities. I've posted a link on the WW Media website if students want more activities. In the library, we've learned about non-fiction call numbers and the biography and poetry sections in non-fiction.

Second graders explored the characteristics of a fairytale and how these relate to fantasy genre. We also looked at the poetry/joke/riddle/tongue twister section. In the computer lab, they learned the advanced features of Kidspiration software while completing a project about their lives. They also used MIT's Scratch programming software (free) and created a Pong game. Currently, they're using the iPads to digitally display their research on elephants/cheetahs from literacy class. For this, we're using the Explain Everything app. They are doing an amazing job!

Note: I'm currently ordering ebooks for the library. They will be downloadable for free 24/7 365 days a year. There will be fiction and non-fiction resources. I will be teaching the second graders how to access them, but I'll send home directions for all K-2 students. I'm thrilled we can now offer this option for everyone!

Follow me on Twitter to learn about latest Media happenings: @mediawildwood

Mahtomedi Africa Night

Friday, April 26th, 6-8pm

O. H. Anderson Elementary School, Warner Road, Mahtomedi, MN

In late April, all music students will be studying music, games and instruments of various African nations as part of the music curriculum and in preparation for Africa Night at O.H. Anderson school on Friday, April 26. From 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., families are invited to OHA to be part of an evening of music, dance, drumming, crafts, face-painting, and of course great food. Costs are $5 per person or $20/family, payable at the door. Admission includes dinner!

First Grade field trip to the Ordway

Question: What is a Pilobolus?
A. A fungus
B. The world's fastest living organism
C. A performing dance company

Answer: All of the above.

We won't likely see the fungal variety, but the first graders will witness a performance of the award-winning Pilobolus dance company at the Ordway Music Theatre on May 3rd. Here is a description of the dance troupe:
"Creating zany moving shapes, Pilobolus opens their world of movement to the audience. Known for their unique style involving the entanglement and contortions of bodies, dancers are often seen as being able to defy the laws of gravity. Pilobolus demystifies their process of improvisation, creativity and collaboration in this truly laugh-out-loud experience. Pilobolus will stretch one's definition of modern dance through their highly athletic and inventive, performances, giving audiences a brief glimpse into the idea that movement is everywhere and is an important part of everyday life."
In preparation for this field trip, children will be introduced to concepts of modern dance during their music class, particularly as it connects to and extends dance forms into which they have already been introduced in music class. Creative use of the body to imitate forms found in nature and in the alphabet (!) will be part of our preparation. Acceptable concert hall audience behavior protocol will also be practiced in preparation to our trip.

Contact information:

Art: Kristi Eckert kristi.eckert@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us 407-2439

Library-Media: Jean Oswald jean.oswald@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us 407-2427

Music: Kathy Schwister: kathryn.schwister@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us and

Ginny Gadbois Green: virginia.green@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us 407-2456

Physical Education: Betsy Sommer betsy.sommer@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us 407-2446

Spanish: Erica Ryan erica.ryan@mahtomedi.k12.mn.us 407-2438