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Life in the WDMCS 9/17/13

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week

Clive Elementary
First through third grade families were treated to a Family literacy Night a Clive Elementary. A free dinner was provided by WDMCS Nutritional Services.  A representative from Benchmark presented on Questioning and Making Connection strategies.  Family take-home kits will be made available throughout the year for families to read together and work on vocabulary activities at home.   This evening and materials were funded from an Early Literacy Grant from United Way of Central Iowa.   The grant’s two focuses are increase the percentage of students in grades 1-3 who are proficient in reading and therefore increase the likelihood for graduation from high school; and to expand the parent involvement and partnership that focus on reading achievement.   Families and staff enjoyed an evening of food and learning!

“Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference.

“Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference.

Crestview Elementary
Have you filled a bucket today? This is a question asked at the beginning of the year of Crestview students. It is also a book by Carol McCloud. “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” is read to the students to help launch positive interactions throughout the school day by children and adults. Those who understand bucket filling and make a daily habit of genuinely and specifically filling other’s buckets, truly make a positive difference. It’s difficult to really know the impact we have on the lives of others, but helping others feel good about who they are is a wonderful thing. Bucket filling is contagious! Catch it!

Morgan Moore tells the story “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” to her family during Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Morgan Moore tells the story “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” to her family during Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Kindergarten Open House was held on at Fairmeadows Elementary.  The kindergarten students were very excited to show their family around the classroom.  The students shared what they have been learning and introduced their families to some of their new friends. It was a fun evening for all who attended.

Amelia Bylund shares her cut-up sentence with her mom during the Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Amelia Bylund shares her cut-up sentence with her mom during the Kindergarten Open House at Fairmeadows.

Hillside Elementary
Kindergarten teachers recently presented Curriculum Night to parents, which began with a walk-through of a typical day in kindergarten.  The teachers shared information about reading, writing, math and artful learning in their presentations.  To reinforce learning at home, a booklet was prepared for the families that would help their children succeed in their learning.  The Classroom Management Plan shared the components for providing a productive learning environment.   To help the children become readers and writers, the “ABC’s of Reading to and with Your Child” were included in the book.  A sample of a kindergarten report card provided information about the expectations for students during each trimester.   Parents and relatives also had the opportunity to communicate with their children’s teachers during this special event for kindergarten.

With the strong interest shown by the community towards Hillside Elementary, it seemed natural for the students, teachers and support staff to begin developing relationships with each other. The teachers have begun modeling and facilitating class meetings for the students providing opportunities for them to participate in learning the process of sharing and developing ideas.  As the students learn about belonging to the class and sharing a voice, they will feel a sense of connection which is personal, has meaning and is relevant to their world.  It will be rewarding for the Hillside staff and parents to observe the initial steps of building relationships as the students mature in their learning communities.

The docent for students in Mrs. Anderson’s class challenged them to mimic a dancing pose in the sculpture by Keith Haring, Untitled but nicknamed by the students as “Primary Colored Dancing People.”

The docent for students in Mrs. Anderson’s class challenged them to mimic a dancing pose in the sculpture by Keith Haring, Untitled but nicknamed by the students as “Primary Colored Dancing People.”

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek fourth graders visited the downtown Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center. Students were guided by their docent, a person trained by the Art Center to tell the students about the artists and stories behind the artwork that they are seeing. The field trip is a yearly trip by all WDMCS fourth graders and is sponsored by a joint effort between the WDMCS and the Des Moines Art Center and it’s benefactors.  It offers students the opportunity to visit the Art Center and sculpture park in a guided setting and learn more about the artwork and the stories behind the art, hopefully sparking students to bring their families and friends and continue to explore some of the free resources that the arts have to offer in Des Moines and the surrounding areas.  Admissions to the Art Center and the sculpture park are FREE!

Western Hills Elementary
Kindergartners at Western Hills have just started the full day schedule this week.  Thank you to the Western Hills kindergarten parents for taking time to meet your child’s teacher and associate during home visits.   It has been an amazing experience and all the teachers have loved getting to know each child and family on a personal level.  Now that we are full days, we are enjoying our extra time together learning and growing.

Scarlett Aeschliman and Moriah Denhart are encouraging and coaching each other as they are involved with Read to Someone.

Scarlett Aeschliman and Moriah Denhart are encouraging and coaching each other as they are involved with Read to Someone.

First graders in Laura Axman’s room at Western Hills Elementary are working hard on establishing routines for our daily literacy time. They are learning the importance of Read to Self as they engage in quiet independent reading time. They are also learning the importance of Read to Someone as they share books with a partner. Teachers and students alike encourage and coach reading partners on the way to becoming better readers. The class has also have reviewed what good readers do and are having wonderful discussions during whole class reading.

Valley High School
The Valley High School Club and Activity Fair gave representatives from the wide range of clubs and activities at Valley a chance to provide students information and recruiting new members. Students are encouraged to join in the fun and join a club! VHS club and activity representatives will be showcasing themselves at the Homecoming Carnival Thursday Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at Valley Stadium. The public is invited to see what the clubs and activities at Valley have to offer!

 

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Life in the WDMCS 9/9/13

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.

Crestview Elementary
It’s that time of year again! Returning to school. Filling out forms. Providing information. One place that collects a lot of your child’s information is the nurse’s office. Each school in the WDMCS has one. Two of the most important pieces of information collected are your child’s immunization record and a yearly health update. The immunization record is required for school and helps keep your child up to date with their immunizations. If your child is new to the district, if your child has received new immunizations over the summer or does so in the next few weeks, please provide your school nurse with a copy of their record. The health update form informs your school’s nurse of important updates to your child’s health such as recent surgery, new allergies, new medications and more. If you haven’t filled one out this year, please ask for one or find it under Forms on the WDMCS Back to School Toolkit – http://toolkit.wdmcs.org. Your school nurse is brought to you by the WDMCS and we’re here for you! Please stop in and get to know us!

Fairmeadows Elementary
The Fairmeadows Elementary Music Room has really been rockin’ to the beat with a unit on African drumming circles. This is a hands-on activity made possible by the WDMCS’ purchase of 17 African drums plus additional auxiliary percussion instruments. These drums are being used for approximately three weeks at Fairmeadows Elementary and then travel throughout the district for use by each of our elementary schools. The students experience playing polyrhythms as well as demonstrating rhythmic knowledge and abilities while having a great cooperative musical experience.

Hillside Elementary
Registration is now available for the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS) test. BESTS students in grades 4-6 take Explore®, which is designed for eighth graders. It is recommended that students have at least one score in the 95th percentile or above on a core subject of a grade-level test, such as the Iowa Assessments. Each of the four sections (English, math, reading and science) takes 30 minutes to complete. The total testing time is approximately two hours. Students in grades 4-9 are eligible for BESTS if they score at the 95th percentile or above on any subtest of a grade-level standardized test such as the Iowa Assessments. To register online, visit: http://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/students/bests/

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek third graders Ayden Price, Jack Nyberg, Zack Bessman, Reece Cooley, Rachel Heinen, Ryan Foust, Brynne Katcher and Reese Harty work in an assembly line to package food for Meals from the Heartland.
Jordan Creek third graders Ayden Price, Jack Nyberg, Zack Bessman, Reece Cooley, Rachel Heinen, Ryan Foust, Brynne Katcher and Reese Harty work in an assembly line to package food for Meals from the Heartland.

Jordan Creek third graders volunteered to help package food for Meals From the Heartland at the downtown Hy-Vee Hall. Students had to watch a training video about how to package before putting a vitamin into the bag. Then they had to put the correct amount of rice, soy and vegetables on top. The bag was then weighed and rice was either removed or added to make it the correct weight. Then the bag was sealed and packaged. Students had a great time working in an assembly line and working as a team. It was a wonderful experience for all.

Jordan Creek third graders Camryn Dilla and Camryn Bahe box up packages of food to help others in need.
Jordan Creek third graders Camryn Dilla and Camryn Bahe box up packages of food to help others in need.

Jordan Creek fifth grader Jonah Cutler runs around the track while Neal Marlett jumps rope and teammate Sejal Jain puts letters together to spell the words for the ABC Cardio game. In the background Ellie Burke, who was unable to run or jump because of an injury, was provided with an Air Dyne back where she could use her arms and still be part of her team.

Jordan Creek fifth grader Jonah Cutler runs around the track while Neal Marlett jumps rope and teammate Sejal Jain puts letters together to spell the words for the ABC Cardio game. In the background Ellie Burke, who was unable to run or jump because of an injury, was provided with an Air Dyne back where she could use her arms and still be part of her team.

 

For years now it has been shown through scientific research that we cannot maximize brain function without physical activity. Researchers at the University of Iowa indicated many years ago that the only way to build brain cells (axons, dendrites and the myelination of motor pathways) was the combination of activity and active thinking. At Jordan Creek Elementary, Lu Suarez’s physical education students play a game called ABC Cardio where students are given a word list relating to the unit of study and then accumulate letters to spell the words by choosing a type of activity. Students were learning about muscles in the body and had a list of 18 different muscles to try to spell. Fifth grade students will also study muscles in science to go deeper into the knowledge of how the body works. ABC Cardio was invented and copyrighted by Rob Chapman, Westridge Elementary physical education teacher and Valley girls soccer coach, and is now played in all WDMCS elementary schools as well as all across the country. Today’s physical education students will learn about muscles, bones and some basic physiology along with motor skills.

Phenix Elementary
Students in physical education classes at Phenix Elementary will begin assessing their fitness levels during the month of September, along with learning how to set goals for themselves for the school year. The assessments included: cardiovascular endurance, speed, agility, upper body strength, abdominal strength and flexibility. They will be learning about the components of fitness while taking turns leading their classmates through various exercises and activities to develop these fitness components. The students have just completed the Tiger Paw jog in which students can earn tiger coupons for each “heart work” lap completed. Students can jog or power walk during the class period. Phenix kids are on the road to healthy bodies and healthy choices!

Phenix Early Childhood Center uses a system called PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. The PBIS mission for Phenix is to develop an environment of dignity and respect in which students will succeed academically and socially. The PBIS philosophy for Phenix will focus on celebrating positive behaviors using corrective teaching when students make inappropriate choices. We believe our purpose is to help students positively fulfill their needs and develop into happy and productive adults. We strive to be consistent in dealing with all children. All adults will teach, model, and reinforce good choices and social skills. Last week, all students rotated through centers in which behavior expectations were taught for common areas of the building. Expectations may be rewarded by giving a student a paper Tiger Paw which is deposited in a bucket in the area. Every Wednesday there is a drawing from each bucket with a list of activities for the winners to chose.

Westridge Elementary
Third graders at Westridge Elementary are busy learning the routines of reading workshop. They are learning how to “turn and talk” about books they listen to during read-aloud. In addition, they are learning the procedures for independent reading, partner reading, reading response, word study, and listen to reading. Some read-aloud book favorites include “The Day the Crayons Quit;” “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon;” and “A Bad Case of Stripes.”

Indian Hills Junior High
The Indian Hills Magazine Fundraiser is almost here. Magazine sales begin Sept. 18 and run through Oct. 1. All seventh and eighth grade students will be involved. This is the school’s one and only fundraiser for the year with proceeds going to support clubs, activities, student entry fees, band, orchestra, vocal, the weight room, the gym area, the library, drama, school play, mimes, field trips and other special projects such as art murals and after the bell throughout the year. The fundraiser also totally supports the athletic program including uniforms, officials, workers, supplies, equipment, and transportation. Please support our students by purchasing a magazine, electronic magazine, or CD. You may also order or have a friend or family member order any time throughout the year at the Indian Hills website. Prices are the same but 45 percent of the cost goes to Indian Hills. If you would rather, you may also make a straight donation. We will count every $10 donation as a magazine order. Thank you for your support!

Valley High School
The Valley High School Club and Activity Fair will be Friday, Sept. 13 from 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. in the VHS cafeteria commons. Representatives from the wide range of clubs and activities at Valley will be providing students information and recruiting new members. Students are encouraged to join in the fun and join a club! VHS club and activity representatives will be showcasing themselves at the Homecoming Carnival Thursday Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at Valley Stadium. The public is invited to see what the clubs and activities at Valley have to offer!

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