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3rd Quarter Update 2024

K/1st: We finished learning about owls and dissecting owl pellets before spring break. Students also got an update about Happy the Cow, took a virtual tour of Take's Family Dairy Farm, and read a story about Clover the Cow. We cut out a picture of Clover and students brought it home to take with them on any adventure they chose! They are welcome to email a picture ( to share with their classmates of their adventures with Clover! 

*Thirteen adult crayfish arrived this week to join our classroom for the rest of the year. We will spend time learning about and taking care of them. 

*We will also spend some time learning some simple characteristics of rocks and minerals to finish out the school year. 


2nd/3rd: We have been learning about our eyes and how they work. Students learned how to find their blind spots and to identify different parts of their eyes and what they do. We finished our learning by dissecting a cow eye. We will spend time between now and the end of the year learning about minerals, rocks and the rock cycle. 


4th/5th: We have been learning all about the brain. We identified the 3 main parts and what each part does for our bodies through a variety of activities. We finished our brain investigations by dissecting a sheep brain. We will finish the semester learning about minerals, rocks, and the rock cycle.  


6th/7th: We have been learning about our hearts. We started the unit with an activity to find out what happens to our hearts when we do different activities. We learned about the structure of our heart and the pathway a blood cell takes through the heart and lungs. We finished our unit by dissecting a sheep heart. We will finish the semester learning about minerals, rocks and the rock cycle. 


8th (Thursday): The Thursday 8th grade students also participated in a STEM activity to design and build an indoor mini-golf course (see 8-12th grade detailed description below). They did a wonderful job and were so creative!

*We started our fetal pig dissection before spring break. We took time identifying the external features of the pig and started with the shallow layer organs of both the thoracic and abdominal cavities. We will finish with the organs of the digestive system and excretory system. We will round out the year learning about minerals, rocks and the rock cycle. 


8-12th (Friday): Friday students spent their time participating in a STEM activity to build an indoor mini golf course. Each group was in charge of designing and building one hole. They had to have a theme for their hole and design a path for the ball to travel within a 5 meter distance. They were so creative and we culminated the activity with students playing a round of indoor mini-golf on their course. I was so impressed with their creativity and engineering skills during this activity! We will spend time between  now and the end of the year designing and building an ecosystem in a bottle. Please save and bring 2 liter pop bottles with lids. THANK YOU! 


 **SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL STUDENTS…On Monday, April 8, 2024, there will be a partial solar eclipse visible here in Iowa. We will learn more about this in class, what it means, and how to safely observe the eclipse. 

Meat Tacos


Happy Friends

Kdg/1st Grade:  We are currently working on a unit about the family!  Ask your child which family dress-up prop they chose when we did family dress up!  This week we practiced having conversations in Spanish with family and pet finger puppets!


2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Grade:  We are just finishing our clothing unit. Ask your child how we played PASSWORD with the clothing items…all in Spanish!  Next up, we will begin a unit on landforms.  We will be studying about the “Biblioburro,” a real man who travels the mountain towns of Columbia with a library on the back of his burros! The story that students will learn in Spanish is about a pirate searching the landscape for treasure!  


Spanish A (6th/7th grade):  Each student just wrote the second story entitled, “El mono y la vaca.”  Ask to see the story that your child wrote in all Spanish!  Our next story is called, “El libro perdido,” or “The Lost Book.”  We will learn the vocabulary, practice acting out the story, practice retelling the story, practice sequencing the story, and ultimately…write the story…ALL IN SPANISH!  Please remember students should be studying for their mini quizzes each week using the review sheet that I have provided, or by going to my website: 

Spanish B (8th grade):  We recently completed our unit on breakfast and lunch foods.  We have moved on to our health unit, which discusses how to live a healthy life!  We will end the year with a trip to a Mexican restaurant where we place our orders in Spanish!  Please remember students should be studying for their mini quizzes each week using the review sheet that I have provided, or going to my website:

Image by Green Chameleon
Laptop Writing

Kindergarten Writing:  The students are very proud of all of their work they have done so far in their Writer’s Notebooks. We are working hard on learning how to sound out words, rhyming, and creating word families. Favorites lately have been Sneezy the Snowman, Rainbow Fish, and Green Eggs & Ham. Coming up we will be playing a fun Rainbow Roll Game with sight words and go on a word hunt with our Spring, “Write Around the Room”. The Kindergarten students are making wonderful growth and have been very excited to learn!


First Grade:  We have been busy trying out some new strategies for sounding out unknown words, adding details to our writing, and including punctuation. We also love adding new words in our spelling dictionaries each week. Favorite writing pieces include “When I Grow Up,” “All About Me,” and our “Adventure Stories”. These First Graders always try their best, and they have become incredible writers with lots of ideas!


2nd/3rd Grade:  We have been learning about the Voice Trait for the past several weeks. During this time we’ve practiced writing a few opinion pieces such as, “The Best Book,” “My Favorite Toy,” and “The Best Place to Go”. We will be finishing up the Voice trait with some personification writing before moving on to our final trait of the year, Sentence Fluency. If you haven’t had a chance to look at your student’s writing, I encourage you to look through their writer’s notebook and find their wonderful opinion writing pieces. 


4th/5th Grade:  Our 4th and 5th graders had a ball during our “I Survived…” writing unit. Students discovered a new favorite genre of writing--Realistic Fiction! Our focus was on Word Choice. Each adjective, verb, adverb, etc. was carefully selected to earn its place on the page. Author of the “I Survived…” popular & captivating chapter book series, Lauren Tarshis, modeled for us how authors write with suspense and continue with action, as well as great description. We were so proud of each student’s work that they proudly presented before Spring Break. Each writing piece was filled with “Million Dollar” descriptive words that kept us wanting to hear more. This week we’re rolling out the writing trait of Voice, where students will learn to speak right to their reader in a new and engaging way. They will be doing all of this while determining the tone that our description can set in place.


6th-12th Grade:   We just submitted our Reviews in Canvas.  Students selected either a product, entertainment, or a place to review and offered their reader some advice.  I will be working through those in the coming weeks and their feedback will be posted in Canvas.  


We are starting our Public Speaking unit next.  Sixth and seventh graders will be writing Blue Ribbon Speeches.  They will research a famous person who they believe deserves a blue ribbon, evaluate internet sources, organize information into an outline, practice public speaking skills, and present their speeches to their classmates.  Eighth through twelfth graders will be presenting TedTalks instead.  Students will complete the same activities as the 6th/7th graders.  However, they will be developing speeches that answer the question: “How would YOU change the world for the better?”.  Their classmates will be their audience, but they are also encouraged to present their speeches at our Share Fair in May!  


We are at that point in the semester when the plays are cast, the blocking is set, and we are working to memorize lines and adding props, set pieces, and costumes!  Be watching for communication (emails and/or papers sent home) regarding line due dates and costume details.  Many students will need to provide costumes from home, but we do sometimes have parts of costumes we can provide from Rex Mathes.  Ask your child; he/she most likely will know!!


Each semester, there are items we ask to borrow from families–we couldn’t do it without you and your contributions!! Please be watching for a sign-up genius with this semester’s needs listed!  Thanks in advance for anything you can lend us.


The shows, as you know, will be on 4 different evenings in May.  We will also have a dress rehearsal for 4th-12th graders.  Here is the information copied from our website:


4-12th Grades Drama Dress Rehearsal

Friday, May 3

Dress Rehearsal for 4th-12th grades


May Drama Productions 

All performances are in the evening.

Tuesday, May 7 - Tuesday Classes Perform

Friday, May 10 - Wed. & Fri. Classes Perform

Monday, May 13 - Monday Classes Perform

Thursday, May 16 - Thursday Classes Perform

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

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There have been many activities played and enjoyed by students during the third quarter.  Most of these have been indoor games as the weather has been cold enough to keep us in the gym.  We did have a couple days of “sneak peek” outdoor PE, and it was delightful. 


Students have enjoyed basketball, soccer, capture the flag/pin, tag, parachute, football, hula hooping, dodgeball, scatterball, baseball/softball (wiffle ball), kick ball, broomball, bean bag jump, scooter fun, floor hockey, and Newcomb.


The hope is that the weather will moderate so that classes can go outside.  Please check to see that your student has a jacket for outdoor PE.  Thank you for sharing your students with us.

50+ nature activites to connect with nat
Planning for High School ...
    It may be hard to believe, but if the high school years are in sight for your student, it's time to start planning.  There are many options out there for your home school student to explore.  The resources at the link below should help you prepare for and navigate through the high school years.
Having trouble with or needing ideas on how to use the chromebooks?  The resources at this link may help.
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This past quarter has been all about the CLAY!  🙂

Ask your child to share their knowledge of the stages clay goes through~


K/1 We have been working on completion of our tiny clay cups inspired by the children’s book The Little Lump of Clay.  Some are still being glazed and fired, yet most are coming home this week or are already there~


2/3   BUHO!!  Senora Day tells us this is the Spanish word for “Owl.”

These adorable clay owls are entering the embellishment phase using paint, feathers, googly eyes, wire…  We are excited to complete these so they may take them home very soon.


4/5 This grade level is patiently awaiting the glaze/paint phase of their works.  Each has created their own lidded clay vessel using numerous clay forming methods including slab rolling, coils, creating textures, and adding handles.


6/7  Our middle schoolers are also in line patiently awaiting their turn to have their work fired and just completed their “Sphere Bubble” art pieces which have their own spin utilizing positive/negative space additions and subtractions within their clay forms.  They’re pretty incredible~ 

Coming up.. Finishing up with choices of glaze, paint, marble melt, etc..  Ask them what they have decided to try.


6/7 DRAMA PROPS CREW is well underway creating some works you’ll see on stage across the grade levels very soon!  What a neat group to work with!


8-12 Our upper level students amaze me with their skills and teamwork.  They had a choice of constructing either a cube or cylinder and are currently working up their “IDEAtion” stage deciding how to embellish with colored glazes, paint, underglaze pastel, marble melt or a combination.  


While waiting for projects to fire, we have explored Art Tutorials which have focused on perspective drawing, as well as radial symmetry mandalas.

ON TO ROBOT MAKING in many classes, please help us by donating “Parts” such as nuts, bolts, springs, screws, thin wire, googly eyes, etc..)

Thank You in advance! It has been a pleasure to have the students in Art. 🙂





WDM Community Education

Summer Adventures - June 24-28

Art Adventures - July 8-12

Jump Start - July 22-26




4700 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312

For all ages



4218 42nd Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50310-3716

PH: 515-278-2083  Email:

Mary teaches drawing and painting.  Her website doesn’t specify ages but it looks like it would be high school age to adult. 

Register Here


West Des Moines Park and Rec

Activities can be found on their website


Ankeny Art Center

Activities can be found on their website

Art Exploration, Drawing, Pottery Sculpture and Art Exploration, Drawing, Pottery Sculpture, Pottery Wheel

Cost: $100

Dates: Vary


Kunzler Studios - Valley Junction

Check the website for Registration Information


Waukee Parks and Rec

Sunflower Fine Art

Art in the Park


Outschool Art - Offered online


Many museums all over the country are offering online studio classes.

2024 Summer Art Opportunities

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