October, 2019


What fun we have had kicking off the year’s theme in Art: “Sand, Surf, and Sun.”

All students began the year by receiving their sketchpad and designing the cover with reference materials related to drawing “Sea Life” imagery.  For the past four weeks, all students have been creatively engaged in Printmaking units. Artists in grades K-5 were given the option to bring their work home or to hang them up in the hallways at Rex.  It was fun to try different techniques in grades K-5 which included printing with crayon rubbings, bubble wrap prints, “coral” with broccoli, as well as many options to print mini fish, starfish, and sea stars.  We also tried some ink stampers and bingo daubers. Those who chose to leave them will see them going up within the next week.  

Our “older students” (grades 6-12) had an opportunity to carve their individual stamp into a material called “safety-kut,” and are currently wrapping up that unit printing with brayers and thick water based inks.  The works are fantastic, and Mrs. Craven hopes to plan a display showcasing those soon.


Currently, in case you have not yet heard..we are beginning the much anticipated CLAY Units!!  Students are very excited to get going on their respective grade level projects. In some cases, we have already begun. The students in grades 6-12 are finishing up their Printmaking Unit, and will join with the clay soon.

Here is a sneak peek… Kindergarten, Mini “tea” cups (Literature, “The Little Lump of Clay” by Diana Engel.)

1st grade, “Rainbow Fish” (Literature, “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister.)

2-5 grade, Freedom to choose their own sculptural representation of our Ocean theme based on either a sphere or egg / potato shaped form.  Clay vocabulary terms used.

Grades 6-12, Hanging pots with special attention to detailed impressions and carving related to our Ocean theme.

The Art room is pretty cozy with many materials, yet we do have a request for large amounts of newspapers (minus the shiny ads if possible,) and we will be glad to take some seashells off your hands if you find that you have an abundance.

Thanks for sharing your children with me. We are having a wonderful first semester! ~Mrs. C.


We always start the semester of drama in a fun way!  Depending on the age of students, we played name games, get-to-know-you games, performed vocal warm-ups, learned how to move on stage, etc.!  We also spent time reading the books that were eventually turned into scripts OR read the actual script if it was ready (this is most often the case for the older students).  Then we got scripts into the hands of the students and let actors try out SEVERAL parts before holding mini-auditions and casting each play! Every cast (but one) is chosen by now and we are now moving to the next step in the process.  We are blocking our shows (where to move when on stage), practicing projection (being LOUD on stage), and just beginning to memorize lines. NEXT up—getting lines fully memorized and planning out costumes (more details and dates will be emailed home). 

  • Thursday, December 5th: performances for all 2nd-3rd graders

  • Tuesday, December 10th: performances for kids who come to class on Mondays and Tuesdays (4th grade and up) 

  • Friday, December 13th: performances for kids who come to class on Wednesdays and Thursdays (4th grade and up) 


Kindergarten/First Grade Writing

We have been enjoying all things Fall related with our writing. We have loved using our Fall word list to sound out and write our words and sentences about pumpkins, scarecrows, squirrels, and turkeys. Kindergarten students also wrote their own poems about their favorite foods which they have been very proud to read aloud. First Grade students have been learning how to use their own personal word dictionaries to help them with their story ideas and writing. Ask your child to show off their Writer’s Notebook to you. It is a fantastic way to see what they are doing in class each week. They are very proud of their hard work.


2nd - 5th Grade Writing

We are off to a super start as we have been working through the Idea and Organization Traits in writing. Ask your child about how they start their stories with a BOLD Beginning as opposed to a Boring Beginning. 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 out how they get ready for school (2nd/3rd) and all about their day at Rex Mathes (4th/5th). Next month we will begin working on the trait of Word Choice which allows for a lot of fun and colorful writing!


6th-12th Grade Writing

So far this year, we have been working with the 6 Traits of Writing and practicing giving feedback in class.  Our class very much runs like a Writer’s Workshop where we share our writing and offer feedback to each other.  It’s been great reading and sharing your student’s work.  


We are about to embark on our first big writing assignment which we call “A Family Memory Project”.  Students will be interviewing a family member/family friend and learning about their history. Then will then write a personal narrative telling this person’s story.   This project will be broken down into pieces and will be worked on over several weeks. When students have homework, I will always send out an email. So look for more information/directions in the upcoming weeks.  Thanks for all of your help with this project!


PE students continue to focus on how movement and having fun can go hand-in-hand.  Game and activities are chosen, generally by students. Two activities are selected by the students designated as leaders.  The two leaders help with stretching and running prior to the games. These two also have opportunities to help set up the activities.


  Students have been playing a variety of games such as basketball, kick ball, soccer, sabaki ball, wiffle ball, capture the pin, dodge ball, and bean bag jump.  Smiles and sweat are often two of the results noticed at the end of class.




We had a busy first month of school learning about and using science equipment and the metric system. Students learned how to use metric rulers and meter sticks to measure distance, graduated cylinders to measure volume, and balances to measure mass. 


We have started our unit on rocks and minerals over the past few weeks. Students have been learning all of the different ways to identify a mineral and have been identifying common minerals found on the earth. They are doing a great job! We will spend the next several weeks learning about the rock cycle and how rocks are formed and changed in the earth. Hopefully by the end of our unit, they will be able to distinguish some of the most common rocks and minerals found in Iowa! 


Students in kindergarten and first grade have learned all of their colors and numbers to 15.  They are currently learning the names of places and items in a classroom. Ask them how to play the game: "Quince, Sientense."  :)


2nd - 5th graders have been reviewing all the basics in Spanish.  This year we added a story with a character named Isabel that helped with greetings and salutations in Spanish.  Isabel is going to show up again a little later when we begin a unit on shapes and body parts! You'll have to ask your child about Isabel and the odd things that happens to her in the shape story.  At the end of the shape unit, we will create unique and interesting shapes out of real tortillas!!


Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades (Spanish S and Spanish B) receive a review sheet at the end of class.  They are asked to look at and review this sheet three times during the week for about 5 minutes each time (or longer if they need).  Then, when they enter class the next week, they have a mini quiz over that material. This helps with retention, since we only see each other once a week for 50 minutes!  The review sheet can also be found on my website:


They each have a sticker on their Spanish folder with my website on it, so they can access it easily.  

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