December, 2019


Children are sure creative in “Craven’s Corner!” 

This past semester has allowed us the time to enjoy creating 3 main projects which have revolved around our theme “Sand, Surf, and Sun.”  Those included Sketchpad cover design with an Ocean type theme, a Printmaking unit, and most recently our always anticipated CLAY unit!  We have also just had our exciting “Free Choice Day Art Buffet!”  This is designed as a “Maker Space” where students may choose various materials and design their own projects for a day!  Some even choose to make gifts for family members and friends.  It is a high energy, fast paced day...yet, 

in the’s always worth it and validates the students as artists, and creative, critical thinkers. The second Art Buffet day will take place in May.


Coming up next…

When we return to classes in January, students will wrap up the CLAY Units.  The kiln seems to be firing non-stop these past few weeks, and happily, we are almost caught up!  We are so thankful and lucky to have such an amazing and powerful kiln!

Here is a peek at what each grade level has worked on during the CLAY unit:

Grade K…”The Little Lump of Clay”  Students will receive their glaze fired cups as soon as all have come out of the kiln firings.

Grade 1… “The Rainbow Fish” Students are now able to bring these home.  We teamed up with Mrs. Weis during writing and created a lovely little display which was enjoyed during the Drama Performance nights.

Grades 2,3,4,&5...  Students have created their choice of sea life animal, mermaid, treasure chest, etc.  It has been truly amazing to watch this process and have them understand the stages clay goes through from beginning to completion.  Patience has been key.

Grades 6-12... These Artists have recently completed the first stage of a personalized hanging pot with impressions, carvings, and/or add-ons.  Works are currently in the leather hard and bone dry phases and will be fired throughout January. After we glaze them, they will be re-fired and ready to go home. 

After clay, focus will be on weaving and the other two components of our theme: Sand and Sun!

Thank you for the opportunity to spend my days with such caring, creative, and kind children! 

See you in 2020!! ~Mrs. C.


In High School Book Club, we just finished reading the play All My Sons by Arthur Miller.  We really enjoy reading plays out loud in class, and this play is one of the best.  We will start second semester reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  A classic!


Middle School Book Club is finishing reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt.  It’s a great book, and the students have really enjoyed it.  We will start second semester reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.  This book has been on all of the “Best of…” reading lists the past few years.  It is a great read!


We finished up learning about minerals and rocks. We have spent the past two weeks doing some fun chemistry with baking soda and cornstarch leading into winter break.


We will begin our animal studies unit in January. This is a time for the students to learn about different animals and systems and dissect various specimens. We have been talking about it in classes, but here is a list of what each grade/group will be doing during this time:


K/1: Live Crayfish care and owl pellet dissection

2/3: Live Crayfish care and Eye study/cow eye dissection

4/5: Sheep Brain study and dissection *NEW this year!

6/7: Sheep Heart study and dissection *NEW this year!

8-12: Fetal Pig study and dissection


As you may be planning trips for this spring and summer, I want to make sure families are aware of a great opportunity if you have a current 4th grader! If you are planning a trip to a National Park between now and the end of August 2020, there is a program called Every Kid Outdoors where your 4th grader and family can gain free admission to the parks. Please click on the link below for more information.


Kindergarten/First Grade Writing

We are having lots of fun with our Winter themed writing! Please check your child’s Writer’s Notebook for their Gingerbread writing (K) and “if their favorite toy could talk” stories (1st). After Winter break in Kindergarten, we will begin our author study of Jan Brett. We will enjoy several of her stories including The Mitten, which we will use for writing ideas and acting out the story! In First Grade we will begin our Letter Writing Unit which is a fun opportunity to practice writing letters to different people. 


2nd and 3rd Grade Writing

Our 2nd and 3rd graders just wrapped up their Dream Bedroom writing pieces. Students worked on using awesome adjectives as they described the details of what their dream bedroom would look like. When we head back from break, we’ll wrap up the Word Choice writing trait by stretching our sentences to include more details and awesome adjectives. Later, we’ll move to learning about the Voice trait. Students will write a perspective piece after reading the mentor text The House That Took a Vacation by Jacqueline Davies.


4th and 5th Grade Writing

Our 4th and 5th graders finished up their restaurant menus. The students enjoyed creating a restaurant name and theme before they developed unique food items to include in their menu. Our goal was to challenge ourselves to include new and descriptive adjectives to tell about each dish. When we return from break, we will wrap up Word Choice and move on to the Voice trait. Students will write a fictional piece, demonstrating this trait. 


6th-12th Grade Writing

We spent several weeks interviewing relatives and writing their personal narratives.  We just turned those in, and I am enjoying reading them and providing feedback. (My goal is to have them all read by the end of Winter Break.)  Most classes spent the last week of class writing 6 Word Memoirs. Ask your student to share his/hers with you. When we return from Winter Break, we will start working on persuasive writing.  We will write Position Papers where your student(s) will have to take a position on a topic and argue for their position and against the other. This will be great practice to help those students who plan to take the ISASP and ACT.  We will be hosting a Modern Woodmen Speech Contest in April. This will be an optional activity, but would be a great experience for your student. More information will come later.


The focus in PE is still to move and have fun.  At the same time, there is an emphasis on experiencing leadership.  Students are encouraged to make personal selections for activities in the PE setting.  These leaders are responsible for the running and stretching activities, and join the teacher at the center circle to conduct the four stretches.  Student leaders are also able to select their own stretch activity as appropriate. Two students are assigned as leaders for each class, and all students hold this position at various times throughout the year.  Once the leaders select their activities, as appropriate for the class, approximately twenty minutes is given to each of the two activities. Leaders also help with setting up for class and taking the equipment down when appropriate.




We have had so much fun with our theme of Mysteries, Adventures, and Voyages this semester.  With so many students, we had to move to three nights of performances, and this has worked out very well!  We hope you have enjoyed the performances! We have been so busy the last few weeks rehearsing for the performances that we haven’t had much time in class to play theater games.  We will have some time at the start of second semester to play some of our favorites: Kitty Wants a Corner, Why Are You Late?, Frogger, Human Knot, Bear in the Woods, and many others.  


Our tentative theme for second semester is Famous, Folk, and Fairytales.  We hope to dramatize famous stories, folk tales, and fairytales.  Mrs. Talley and Mrs. Nichols will be busy, busy, busy over Winter Break searching for scripts and books.


Kdg and 1st graders have been having fun playing “Weather Dress-Up” where they get to put on a funny weather accessory and have the class guess which kind of weather they are dressed for.  They also enjoyed learning about the cultural celebrations taking place in Mexico during December and January! We will continue with winter clothing and dressing FROGGY when we return from break!


2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders are just about finished with the combined shapes/body parts unit and enjoyed creating and writing about (in Spanish, of course) some silly shaped snowmen.  After break we will culminate the unit with a fun and delicious tortilla activity! This will involve eating tortillas with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, so please let me know if your child has any allergies.  I will have flour and corn tortillas! :)


Spanish Stories (6th/7th grade):  These students wrote their first story a couple weeks ago and hopefully shared it with you!  It is amazing to see what they can do after only 10 hours of instruction using the TPRS/CI method!  After the break, I will tell them the second story, which is about a poor monkey and a rich cow.  


Spanish B students are in the middle of a food unit from the textbook Realidades, which is what is used at the secondary schools in West Des Moines.  Remind them to study weekly for the mini-quizzes!!!

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