top of page


2nd Quarter Update 2023

The stats:  4 nights of performances, 6 hours 15 minutes of dress rehearsal, 13-14 rehearsals/classes, 24 plays, 365 actors, and 690 programs printed!!  Whew!  What a semester!  Bravo, kids, on a job well done!  We send a BIG thank you to all the families and fellow teachers for all the help given to all the actors and directors. 


Now, the auditorium is neat and tidy–a clean slate as we look ahead to next semester. Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Talley are busy reading scripts and making the best choices for each class and age group!  We are looking at plays about pirates, bears, detectives, robots, boats, and some classic stories!  Stay tuned for title reveals in January!! :)







K/1 Writing

The Kindergarten students have been enjoying a gingerbread man kick! We have read several different versions and enjoyed comparing and contrasting them. They had fun with their special writing and adding it to their Writer’s Notebooks. In January, we will begin our special unit on author Jan Brett focusing on The Mitten. If you have any of her books at home, please feel free to share or send them with your child to Rex. Our First Graders have definitely taken their writing to the next level, and I am so proud of them! We have enjoyed our winter writing and learning how to complete self assessments with mini rubrics (we call them tickets). The students check off if they included capital letters at the start of their sentences, details, and a period at the end. They are doing an amazing job. Please be sure to check out their work in their Writer’s Notebooks!

2nd-3rd Writing

Our 2nd and 3rd graders writers wrapped up the Organization Trait at the end of November. While learning about the Organization Trait, students wrote great bold beginnings, mighty middles, and excellent endings for their writing pieces, How to Pack a Lunch, and How Turkey Escaped Thanksgiving. One of their favorite writing assignments was to write from the perspective of the deer in a wordless, short film, “Hey Deer!” We recently started the Word Choice Trait and are excited to dive into learning more about it. The students designed mittens and had fun using awesome adjectives and details to describe their self-designed mittens for the class to guess which mitten was theirs. They are doing a fabulous job writing and applying what they have learned from the previous writing traits. When we return from break, we will continue some more fun Word Choice writing activities.


4th/5th Writing

Our 4th and 5th graders finished up the Organization Trait with presentations of their great writing. We had such fun recalling a really great day or not so good day. Students captured their audience’s attention with a Bold Beginning. They continued their writing with their Mighty Middle, using specific details and transition words, and wrapped it up with an Excellent Ending. We were impressed with the beautifully formatted pieces that we received! Our students demonstrated their use of indents and spacing, while writing their paragraphs. This is a skill we work to perfect in 4th/5th grade. In December, we began our Word Choice unit. Students heard examples of stories without any thought put into the words chosen. They compared that to stories, whose words were carefully selected, and earned their place on the page. What a difference word choice makes! We learned about the FAAVS--Figurative Language, Awesome Adjectives, Attractive Adverbs, Vivid Verbs, and Super Sensory Words. These FAAVS will be referred to during this unit as ways to improve their writing. Students will work to replace Worn Out Words with Million Dollar Words, as they utilize the many resource pages in their Writer’s Notebooks. These will definitely get them off to a great start! Be sure to check in with your child and ask them to share their notebook with you.


6th-12th Writing

Mrs. Nichols finally finished offering feedback to each student’s Sharing Family Stories essay.  The feedback is in Canvas, and students know how to access it.  Thanks for your patience!  Then we did a fun collaborative creative writing assignment to finish up the semester.  Their stories are also shared in Canvas.  Check them out!


Second semester, we will start by writing Reviews (similar to the kind you might read in a newspaper article.)  They can review just about anything (books, movies, restaurants, music, etc.)  This will be a fun & unique assignment used to practice our opinion writing. As usual, the 6 + 1 Traits of Writing will be our guide.  Second semester, we will also complete some sort of public speaking project, but I am still flushing out the details on what that will be.  Thanks for sharing your writer(s) with me!


Wow!  What a fantastic quarter and end to our first semester!   The amount of creativity in the art room the past few months has been simply amazing~ This past quarter we have wrapped up units relating to our theme of “Perspectives.”  Here’s what we’ve accomplished~

K/1~ “Perspectives”  Units relating to “Above my head and Beneath my feet” have been the focus the past couple of months. We created a few projects with inspiration frombAuthor Eric Carle’s story “Little Cloud.” It was fun to use the theme of winter to paint some adorable cardinal thumbprint bird scenes on snowy branches.  

1,2,3~ We had a blast designing ROBOT paper bag robots… “Bag.bots!” The inspiration for our robot drawings and puppets came from the story “Robot Rumpus” by Sean Taylor.

2/3~ We took a look at the life and art style of Pablo Picasso. We then created a portrait (real or imaginary) in his style of cubism.  These works are laminated, on display, and will come home in January.

4/5~ We have thoroughly studied the artwork of Marc Chagall and created a composition which combines “real life” images with “dream-like” images.  Many students have taken the time to work on them at home and return them to the art room.  We hope to display some of these at upcoming community art shows as well as within the Rex Mathes hallways~  They are simply amazing and fun to look at.

6/7/8~ The Middle Schoolers also put their own spin on the study of Marc Chagall, and explored their own version of composition, medium, and artist statements relating to abstract expressionism.  We have such talented artists at HSAP!

HS Fridays 8-12th~  Our “photorealism” grid portraits are now complete, and will be displayed in the coming weeks in the display cases at Rex Mathes.  We are hoping that some of the drawings will travel to summer art shows.

DRAMA PROPS CLUB was SO much fun.  What an incredible group of dedicated, fun, creative, problem solving kids!  THANK YOU so much to these students for giving of their time and energy to help create props and scenery for all of our drama plays this first semester.  We can’t wait to see what the second semester Drama Crew will create~


Coming up!  Beginning in January, all classes will begin the much anticipated CLAY Units!  1,000 pounds of clay await~ and we can not wait to get started on  these projects.  Ask any student, and they will tell you “Mrs. Craven’s favorite medium is CLAY!”  After our clay units…Jewelry and Fiber Arts Units.  It’s going to be a great second semester.

**We are still collecting clean aluminum cans of all sizes for our 3-D robot units coming up later in the second semester. 

Many thanks in advance~ Greatly appreciated.

Art Class
Art Supply
Art Class

K/1st Grade:  Kindergarten and 1st graders will begin the second

half of the school year studying weather and weather clothing. 

(We started a little bit of weather vocabulary right before break.)  

2nd - 5th Grade:  These students will begin the second half of the school year by finishing our shapes/body part unit.  This will culminate with a fun activity where we cut tortillas into shapes (and eat them!)  Next up, we will begin a unit on clothing, focusing on the story, “Sebastian va a las montañas.”  Body parts and a short study of Picasso will follow. 

6th/7th Grade (Spanish Stories):  Please ask your child to show you the story they wrote in Spanish at the end of 1st semester classes.  What they can do is quite amazing!  We will start the second story of the year after break.  It is about a monkey and a cow.  Remember, Spanish Stories is offered every other year, and can be taken at any time by any 6th or 7th grader.  There is no prerequisite to this class.  No Spanish experience is needed, but it is very helpful.  The class utilizes the TPRS/CI strategies which are currently sweeping the nation as the BEST way to enable language acquisition.  For more information on this teaching/learning style, watch this short video by my friend and colleague, Profe Klein:

8th Grade:  These students are just beginning a big unit on food and health.  This will culminate at the end of the year with a Mexican food fiesta at a Mexican restaurant or take-out at school!  

Reminder:  Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 have weekly mini-quizzes.  They should be studying for these each week.  Most are very short, but cover important tidbits of information that they need in order to progress in language learning.  They receive a hard copy review of what we have learned each week, AND the same content can be found on my website:  (Password is “day.”)

Mexican Street Decoration

Kindergarten-1st grade: We have been learning about the weather. We learned about the 4 types of clouds and made a diagram to take home and identify clouds in the sky. We even made a cloud in a jar using hot water, ice, and a match. We then learned about 4 types of precipitation and made it rain in a cup! When we come back in January, we will learn what a meteorologist does and the types of instruments that are used to study the weather. 


We also got to see photos of our cow, Happy, that we adopted through the Discover Dairy Program. She was born on August 31 and lives on the Takes Family Dairy Farm in Ely, IA. She has gained 100 pounds and grown 4 inches taller in the past several months. We will continue to follow her growth and learn more about dairy cows as we study animals in January.

2nd grade-7th grade:  We finished learning about the weather by reading weather maps and making weather forecast predictions. We then moved on to learning about air and how things travel through air. We took some time to find out what happens when you drop different objects from the same height and what forces act on them as they fall. We had lots of fun making different types of gliders and testing them out in the classroom.


We finished our last week by making parachutes to safely land a clothespin on the ground. We learned about the forces that act on the clothespin and what type of design worked best to slow it down as it fell to the ground. So many great designs!


8th grade-High School: We have been busy with STEM activities designing roller coasters to carry quarters down the wall, designing and building the tallest tower out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows and creating the best gliders and parachutes to fly and float through the air. Students have done a great job using prior knowledge and working with teammates to problem solve and come up with some great designs for their projects. 


Looking ahead… January is our month to learn about animals and do some dissection. Here is what we will be studying in each grade level.


*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)

Screenshot 2024-01-01 at 6.13.39 PM.png


The PE classes have been blessed with unusually nice weather.  There were classes which met outside over the final two weeks of the second quarter.  We likely will be in the gym full time for a few months.  With that thought, please encourage your student to have gym shoes to wear for Physical Education.  

During the second quarter, grades four and older received some instruction regarding soccer and football.  The focus in soccer was on dribbling and passing.  Proper throwing and catching techniques were done for football.  In addition, most classes were able to play actual football and soccer games outside.  Students also played some of the regular activities which so many enjoy– Capture the Pin, Newcomb, Scatterball Wiffle Ball,   Kickball and Dodgeball.  There will be opportunities to learn volleyball and basketball skills in the upcoming class meetings.

Second quarter activities for the younger students included many forms of Tag, Parachute activities, Sharks and Lifeguards, Sharks and Minnows, and Statue in the Garden.  There are also a few minutes dedicated for students to explore interests in other activities such as scooters, hula hoops, floor hockey, and throwing and catching balls.

Getting Ready to Run
bottom of page