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1st Quarter Update 2023

4th/5th Grade Writing:

Our 4th and 5th grade writers are taking off! We started with some work in the trait of Ideas, discussing such things as where writers get their ideas and the importance of details. We came to the realization that stories are all around us, in our experiences, and in our everyday life. Our students have learned that writing starts with a Bold Beginning as our attention grabber, continues with a Mighty Middle with lots of good details, and wraps up with an Excellent Ending. Students wrote about a special memory. As we move on to the writing trait of Organization next week, Personal Narratives will soon be in the works. Ask your child to share their writing planning page with you. This will serve as their roadmap to their writing. Thank you for sharing your children with us at HSAP. We certainly enjoy teaching them each day. We also encourage you to check in with them on a regular basis. Ask them to share what they’re learning about and writing in their writer's notebooks.


6th-12th Writing:

Students will be interviewing an older relative or family friend about their life.  Students will then be writing a personal narrative about their interviewee focusing on a specific story or event from their past.  We are looking to really get a sense of who their interviewee is as a person and how that person has influenced the writer rather than telling their entire life story.  We have been practicing our interviewing skills and now it’s time to conduct the interview.  We will then spend some time in class pre-writing and organizing our essays, drafting, conducting peer reviews, and sharing our work with others.  Class materials are listed in our Canvas class which is also where students will submit their essays.  We will continue our exploration of the 6 Traits of Writing as we offer feedback to each other.  Later this year, we will be writing reviews and present speeches as well as other writing assignments.

Image by Solstice Hannan
Yellow Roller Coaster
Image by Solstice Hannan

K-1st grade: We have been busy learning all about and practicing using our senses. We have identified mystery sounds, smells, and objects in our “touch” bags. We will put all of our senses together to investigate a milkweed pod and take a nature scavenger hunt around the Rex Mathes campus. We will start to learn about clouds, precipitation, and weather instruments leading up to winter break. We also get to meet our adopted cow from a dairy farm in Ely, IA. We will follow its growth over the next 6 months.


2nd-7th grade: We have been learning all about the weather. We started with types of clouds and what kinds of weather they predict or bring to an area. We learned about six types of weather instruments and what information meteorologists collect with each one. We are now learning about the four main types of precipitation and how meteorologists predict the weather. We will use our map skills and find out how meteorologists use satellites and radar to show us what type of weather conditions we can expect in the future. 


8th-12th grade: We started the year with some team-building activities to work on the science skills we will use this year during class…following directions, making observations, trial and error, working with a group, and problem solving. We are focusing our year on STEM activities. Students collaborated to see who could build the biggest boat that would float in water and hold the most pennies. We then spent the past two weeks learning about and building roller coasters for quarters. It was so fun to see the creativity and science in action. We will now learn about and build pumpkin catapults to see who can launch theirs the furthest. 


January dissection topics this year:

Many families have asked, so I wanted to share this information with you ahead of time. 


K-1st grade: Adopt a cow and owl pellets

2nd-3rd grade: Cow eyes 

4th-5th grade: Sheep brains

6th-7th grade: Sheep hearts

8th-12th grade: Fetal pig dissection (Thursday 8th grade) and STEM career day (Friday classes)

Sketching Materials
Drawing a Storyboard
Girl Drawing


What a wonderful beginning to the school year it has been!  Students have been very creative and are enjoying learning about various approaches to our year’s theme in Art…”PERSPECTIVES.”

Here’s what we’ve been working on:

K-1st Grades:

  “Mirror, Mirror..A Paper Collage Portrait”

2ne-3rd Grades:

  Getting to know…PABLO PICASSO, “Cubism”  Ask them about the “Perfect Potato head / Picasso Head” game show activity and song. We are creating an abstract Picasso-like portrait.

4th - 7th Grades:

  Getting to know…MARC CHAGALL, “Expressionism”  Ask your students to name 5 “Fast Facts” they have learned about Marc Chagall.  We are creating a multimedia drawing / painting with images that represent themselves.

8th Grade on Thursdays:

  Getting to know…MARC CHAGALL, “Abstract Expressionism”  Ask your students about how they are arranging their multimedia “composition.” (Real life / Dreamy images.)

8-12th Grades on Fridays:

  Getting to know…CHUCK CLOSE, “Photorealism”  Ask your high schooler how we will be using their photograph to create a portrait titled “Off the Grid.”


Collecting appropriate magazines for collage projects as well as newspapers.  

Thanks!!  🙂



K-1st Grade Writing:

We have been enjoying all things Fall related to our writing. In Kindergarten we have loved using our Fall word list to sound out and write words about pumpkins, apples, and scarecrows. Some of our favorite read aloud books and writing projects have been with: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and The LIttle Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything. First Grade students have been learning how to use their own personal Spelling Dictionaries to help them with their story ideas and writing. We add new words each week to their dictionaries, and they are feeling much more confident with their writing!  Feel free to add words and use it at home to help with their writing. Ask your child to show off their Writer’s Notebook to you. It is a fantastic way to see what they have been doing and learning.

2nd-3rd Writing:

We are off to a super start as we have been working through the Idea and Organization Traits in writing. Ask your child how they start their stories with a BOLD Beginning to hook their reader. They have been doing a dynamite job with this! We have also practiced using transition words to make our writing more interesting and organized. Be sure to take a peek at their Writer’s Notebooks. There you will find stories they have written using bold beginnings and their retelling of The Runaway Pumpkin, by Kevin Lewis. In the next few weeks, we will be working on writing Excellent Endings and will continue onto the Word Choice trait. The Word Choice trait allows for a lot of fun and colorful writing!

Chalkboard with Different Languages


Kindergarten and 1st graders are finishing their color and number study.  Next up will be days of the week, months, and weather!  Ask them about the fun game we played called, “¡Quince, Siéntense!”


2nd - 5th graders are also finishing their review of the basics (which we do every year!).  Our first NEW unit will be shapes and body, with a culminating short study of Pablo Picasso.


6th/7th graders (Spanish Stories) have just been introduced to their first story of the year.  Ask your student what happens in the cat story, and ask them to tell you some of the words they know in Spanish from that story!  


8th graders (Spanish B) have been reviewing the conjugation of “AR” verbs and will now begin studying the prepositions in Spanish.  We will be creating a class video with demonstrations of those prepositions.  😉

Rex Stage.jpg

All the shows are cast!  How exciting!  We have characters including the letter E, a mouse, George Washington, Pinocchio, a pirate, a candy maker, and a coconut!! Your child(ren) can start memorizing their lines at any time (except narrators) and start thinking about costumes!  More details to follow. 


When we have time, we still play drama games like “Who Started the Motion” and “Why are you Late?”  


The dress rehearsal (for 4th graders and up) shows (for all) will be in December–please be sure to have your calendars marked!! Times for each show will be announced next month.  Thanks for your support from home!!


Drama Dates listed here:

December Drama Productions 

Friday, Dec.1 -

Dress Rehearsal for 4th-12th grades


Friday students on Dec. 1

Tuesday, Dec. 5 -

Tuesday Classes Perform

Friday, Dec. 8 -

Wed. & Fri. Classes Perform

Monday, Dec. 11 -

Monday Classes Perform

Thursday, Dec. 14 -

Thursday Classes Perform

Watch your email for more details as we get closer to performance dates.



In Kindergarten through 3rd grade, students have focused on movement activities.  For example, some form of tag has been played.  In addition, students also have the opportunity to play other activities such as Capture the Pin, Sharks and Minnows, Parachute (sharks and lifeguards), and Dancing Dots.

All students have the opportunity to have some free time fun during the beginning of class where students can choose a favorite game or activity and enjoy it.


Students in 4-8 P.E. have experienced a combination of fun games as well as skill development.  As an example, a student leader of the day might have chosen the game Capture the Flag (Pin), and then the entire class reviewed or learned a skill in football or soccer.  In addition, some fundamental terms are covered so that a conversation could be held showing some understanding of the sport. 

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