CLASS UPDATES

April, 2021
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SCIENCE

Students have been busy dissecting the past few weeks in science. They are all doing a wonderful job being respectful and working together to learn about each animal or structure.

Here is what each grade is currently learning about and dissecting:

Kindergarten-1st grade: Owl pellets

2nd-3rd grade: Cow eyes

4th-5th grade: Grass frogs

6th-7th grade: Bull frogs

8th-12th grade: Fetal pigs

 

After students finish dissection, they will spend time learning more about food chains, food webs, and the organization of an ecosystem. Unfortunately, I will be out of school for the next 3 weeks due to a knee surgery on my left knee. I am very sad to miss time with your wonderful children, but they will be in the best hands with their sub, Mr. Ellis. I have carefully planned activities for students to continue with dissection (lots of diagrams and videos of me showing dissections) to help reinforce what I would do if I was here in the classroom. 

 

Looking ahead to next year, I am planning to cover the following topics in science:

*Fall semester: metric system/science equipment and chemistry/periodic table of the elements 

*Spring semester: dissection/crayfish and plants

 
SPANISH 

K - 5th grade - Piñata Parties!

6th/7th grade - SALSA Parties!

8th grade - Restaurant!

K/1st grade students are studying the family members and pets.  Ask them how to say bird in Spanish .  (You will get a giggle from how they say their answer.)  2nd - 5th graders are deep into their animal unit, having studied zoo animals, farm animals, and now house pets.  The culmination of the unit will be writing (in Spanish) about their favorite animal.  Since I cannot display their work during the drama performances, watch for this to come home, and have them read it to you!  Spanish A students are beginning a new unit on “the school day.”  Spanish B students are continuing their study of nutrition and healthy habits.  

 

Our tentative end-of-year celebrations will consist of the following:

K - 5th grade - Piñata Parties!  I will send home a flier soon with an explanation of what we need.

6th/7th grade - SALSA Parties!  This will consist of a salsa tasting and learning to dance the salsa.

8th grade - Restaurant!  We typically GO to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate, but this year, we will order take-out and enjoy lunches at Rex Mathes.  Each child will need $14 for their lunch, drink, and tip.  I will send home a flier with the specific instructions and menu choices! 

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WRITING
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Kindergarten/First Grade Writing

We are so happy to be back at Rex Mathes! In Writing we have been busy with all things Spring. This includes writing our new spring words in stories (1st), on Easter Eggs (K/1), and kites (K). The first grade students have also been working the Voice Trait and writing in happy, surprised, sad, excited, etc. voice tones. In May we will work on writing special surprises for our moms (!!) and doing some fun collaborative writing activities and games as a whole class. This summer please continue to read lots and lots of books to your child and have them listen to audiobooks. This will help them become more comfortable with the world of print.  Being a reader is a big step toward being a good writer!


2nd/3rd Grade Writing

In writing the second and third graders are approaching the completion of each 6 traits of writing, and we have just wrapped up the Voice and Sentence Fluency Trait. A few of the great mentor texts we read were, Too Many Toys, by David Shannon and Wherever You Go, by Pat Zietlow Miller. The students had fun writing opinion pieces on their favorite toy, best place to go and best book to read. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read them, ask your student to show you. They did a wonderful job writing their opinions using opinion transitions with each of their reasons. 

 

We will begin our final writing project soon by researching and writing a biography about someone they would like to learn more about. Please send a cereal box with your child for this special final writing assignment. 


4th/5th Grade Writing

We’re sure enjoying being back in our school. Your child has been learning about the components that make up an Opinion piece of writing. We discussed the definition of “opinion.” Then, we learned the acronym OREO. These three simple letters help us remember that we will start our writing by stating our opinion. Then we’ll develop three reasons, with descriptive examples to explain our reasons. Finally, we will restate our opinion, after summarizing our reasons. I’m looking forward to hearing these great writing pieces this week in class. 

 

Please ask your child about our final project. They will bring home a yellow packet that outlines the expectations for our special project. It’s going to be an exciting and busy next several weeks of class. We have a lot to look forward to!

6th-12th Writing

We have been spending this semester learning about news writing.  News writing differs from other writing in that the paragraphs are shorter, word choice is simpler, and the information is presented much more matter of factly without offering an opinion or bias.  News writing uses an inverted pyramid design in that students present the most important information first (the 5Ws and One H) and place lesser important information towards the end of the article.  

Students have completed writing feature articles and are currently working on their news articles.  For each article, we have been using Canvas to conduct anonymous peer reviews using the 6 Traits of Writing to offer feedback on each other's writing.  Canvas has been a great tool for this and the students are becoming pros at it.  

 

The final step in our news writing will be to publish both articles in a front page newspaper format.  I will give each student a template as a starting point in which they can edit as they see fit.  The students will create their own title and slogan for their newspaper and list themselves as the editor.  Then they will share their front page newspapers with each other through Canvas.  Canvas has been such a wonderful tool for us this year and we will continue to use it next year!

DRAMA

We are so excited to be back at Rex Mathes and ready to use our brand new auditorium.  The church was so good to us, but our auditorium feels like home.  Actors and the Drama Props Crew have been hard at work learning their blocking, lines, deciding on costumes, and making props and set pieces. 

 

Our theme this semester is Nature and the Great Outdoors.  We will be presenting 19 plays during the week of May 10th-13th!  Students will perform during their normal class times that week.  (Check for an email to be sent soon with more specific details.)  Each performer will be allowed to invite two audience members and masks will need to be worn properly at all times.  We are so excited to be given the opportunity to perform for a live, even if limited, audience!

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BOOK CLUB

 

Middle School Book Club just finished up reading the American classic play Our Town by Thornton Wilder.  It is one of the most commonly produced plays in the world and I really hope your students will get to see it performed live at some point.  Fingers crossed some local company will choose to produce it.  It is just one of my absolute favorite plays!

 

High School Book Club is currently reading Whirligig by Paul Fleischman.  It focuses on a young man’s journey of redemption as he travels around the country creating whirligigs.  The book uses a nonlinear writing style in that it flash forwards and then flash backs.  We have really enjoyed reading it so far!

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION​

 

Our focus in PE is to get the students moving.  We start with the lifelong healthy habit of stretching and warming up.  Then we spend the majority of the class playing interactive games with an emphasis on honesty and team work.  We will be getting outside as much as possible.  Please make sure students wear shoes appropriate for running and playing outside when attending HSAP classes.

Keep moving this summer with these fun ideas:  Outdoor Activities

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ART

Hello All~ 

What a busy whirlwind of packing, unpacking, and setting up the ART Room at REX MATHES!   It has been really nice to reconnect with our space..and I’m pretty certain

that the students have loved being back in our “home” school.  The room at the church was lovely, and we were so fortunate to have that huge space to spread out in.

Here’s what has been happening in the Art room the past couple of months, and a peek into the coming fall…

In the days leading up to the move, students were involved in finishing up projects, planning for their clay construction once we returned to Rex Mathes..Making some crafts such as play dough to get us thinking about “FORM,” and some tissue paper flowers.  It was fun to hide some kindness rocks in the church before we left!!

Currently, we are smack dab in the middle of our CLAY Units!  This is pretty exciting, as we were unsure as to whether we would be able to do the clay projects this year.  Some of the works are finished and drying, and others are set to be completed this week.  As these clay projects make their way through the firing process, they will gradually be coming home.  See below for the fantastic works each grade level is making:  

K~  After hearing the story, “The Little Lump of Clay,” students are making a small pinch pot with optional handle.

1~  First graders have been creating a pinch pot bowl with the option of turning it into a form such as a heart shaped bowl, wavy top, cubed format, etc. 

      Tools were explored to create texture and most of these projects are currently drying.

2&3~ These students were asked to brainstorm a special vessel which will become a “holder” for special objects of their choice. 

       Ideas included forms to hold things such as keys, coins, earrings, pencils, paintbrushes, wrapped candies, etc.

4&5~  MUGS!!!  MANY MUGS!  :)  These students are thrilled to be able to construct their very own mug. 

       Time permitting, we will be glazing them and hope they will be finished around the time of the Share Fair for pickup!

6&7~ CLAY WHISTLES!  (“Ocarinas”)  It has been fun to brainstorm ways to join two pinch pots to create a  form that might actually whistle! 

       These fun little sculptures are almost finished, and ready to dry!

8-12~  PARTY PLATTERS!  Students in grades 8-12 were asked to think of a favorite food that they might serve to their family during a gathering. 

       We have been creating slab built bowls, platters, chips & salsa containers, etc.  It has been very fun to see all the creativity.

       The goal is to have these ready for pickup at the end of May.

 

DRAMA PROPS CLASS~  We have one more meeting time at the end of this week!  This group of 15 students have been working very hard on Fridays to create props and set pieces for the upcoming plays...in just a matter of weeks!  It is hard to believe the end of this school year is upon us!

 

NEXT FALL in Art~  Mrs. Craven is in the process of working out the theme ideas, purchasing supplies, and thinking about the awesome new structure of our HIGH SCHOOL program which will meet on Fridays next year.  These older students will have a rotational schedule, one of the rotations is an ART BLOCK for 4-5 weeks.  A couple of the ideas for our Art Units might include Stained Glass, Clay Sculpture, and / or Wood Burning.  We also look forward to the Art room makeover that will happen during the summer months!

Thanks so much for a fantastic year, despite many challenges.  It is a pleasure to spend my days with wonderfully creative and kind artists!  Take care~