Life in the WDMCS 2/17/14

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

The Clive Elementary first graders attended “Spirit of Uganda “at the Des Moines Civic Center. The performers were ages 8-18 and were ambassadors of Uganda’s orphans. They sang and danced to traditional native songs and played drums and a xylophone that was played by six people at one time because of its size. This group has been touring in the United States since December. Students had the opportunity to dance to the African music during the performance and ask the performers questions at the end.

Sixth graders at Clive completed their job interviews for JA Biztown, and they have all been placed in their jobs. They are spending this week preparing for their new job which they will do when they go on their field trip later this week.

Crestview Elementary

Sixty singers participated in the Crestview Tiger Choir Valentine’s Day rehearsal and party on February 14 in the Crestview music room. Due to several cancelled rehearsals in January, singers made up for lost time, working on the songs and choreography for their spring show entitled “Seize the Day!” The concert will be held on Tuesday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Crestview gym and will feature songs from famous musicals about orphans. Selections will be included from the musicals “Annie,” “Newsies” and “Oliver.”

Fairmeadows Elementary

Fourth graders at Fairmeadows are putting together a garage band. In theirupcoming show entitled, “Making the Band,” the class is looking for percussionists, guitar players, bass guitar players, keyboard players and a lead singer. Why not come on out and see! The show is scheduled for Thursday, February 20 in the Fairmeadows gym. There will be one performance at 3 p.m. for the Fairmeadows students and then another at 6:30 p.m. for family and friends.

Hillside Elementary

Kindergartners at Hillside are exploring their second Artful Learning Unit of the year. They spent some time in late January exploring the concept of communication and getting to know the work of our featured artist, Norman Rockwell. Students are now in the inquiry stage, investigating the many ways we communicate with one another. Artful Learning allows students to learn many of the Common Core State Standards under the umbrella of a unifying concept. The focus statement for this unit explains: “We use communication to share with and learn from the world around us. We communicate to express what we know and feel, and to understand the knowledge and feelings of others. All living things communicate through many forms. Kindergartners come to school able to communicate verbally and nonverbally. Improving verbal skills and awareness of nonverbal cues is critical to educational development. The first year of formal education provides opportunities for children to communicate through writing and to read the writing of others. Improving skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening is essential and at the core of kindergarten learning.” Hillside kindergartners will conclude their inquiry with an original news report from a Norman Rockwell scene, using verbal, nonverbal and written communication to tell their stories.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Music students at Jordan Creek have been busy singing and playing instruments. First graders have been playing xylophones while singing about winter. They played notes of the pentatonic scale, improvising and saying what they liked to do in the winter. Each student had a turn. Then a group of students played chords while the whole class sang the verse of the song. Jordan Creek third graders have been working on a piece of music that incorporates movement and instrument playing. They are playing a chord bordun on the bass and alto xylophones, with wood block and glockenspiel accompaniments. The classes are divided into small groups that create actions and movements to a special poem. They put it all together making it into a RONDO form. For the finale, they will be presenting it to their kindergarten friends. Kindergartners have been singing fun Valentine’s Day songs. Fourth graders have been singing African American spirituals. They have been learning how to sing and clap various rhythm patterns with eighth notes and sixteenth notes. Second graders have been singing solos about winter and have enjoyed the Chicken Soup with Rice song by Maurice Sendak and Carole King.

Thank you Jordan Creek for your generosity in supporting our J.C. Kids Care Club Heart Connection Collection this past week as the February service project. The donations of shampoo, soap or body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes, chapstick, deodorant, toilet paper, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer and facial tissues were greatly appreciated. The school collected a total of 792 items that will be donated to the WDMCS Heart Connection Collection.

Phenix Elementary

After school on Tuesdays students have the opportunity to be a part of the Lego Club. Students from different schools signed up meet at Phenix Early Childhood center to work on problem solving, comprehension and retelling, and social skills, all through the exploration of Legos. Ronna McGrann, the facilitator, reads the group a story. They work together to retell the story and find the big ideas. After brainstorming something they could build from the story, the creations start to take shape. At the end, each student shares their product, and how they built it. The figures are put on display in the case each week.

Westridge Elementary

Westridge Elementary is participating in a jump rope unit in physical education class during the month of February. During this unit, the students may raise funds for the American Heart Association and participate in Jump Rope for Heart. Jump Rope for Heart is a fun effective way to teach heart-healthy living. The money raised will be due February 21. Since students are jumping in class, we are only accepting flat donations and not worrying about pledge per minute. Online donations are encouraged this year by visiting

Stilwell Junior High

Students from Stilwell’s HyperStream club with their mentors from FBL Financial showcased their projects and interest in technology at the STEM Day at the Capitol on February 13. STEM Day at the Capitol has become an annual tradition as a means for communicating to Iowa’s lawmakers and the general public the many impactful ways that the excitement and opportunity of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) are being brought to youth. Governor Branstad and Governor’s STEM Advisory Council co-chair Lt. Gov. Reynolds along with Council member Senator Schoenjahn reinforced their commitment to STEM education by speaking at this event.

Valley High School

Rae Gernant won a Silver Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her poem, “The Crystaline Palace.” Gernant’s entry was selected from 250 writing entries from grades 7-12 from the Iowa Region.

Hannah-Kate Fox will be representing Valley High School at the state Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. She will be performing three poems at the competition held at the Historical Building on March 5 at 1 p.m.

Valley debaters attended the National Qualifying Tournament at DM Lincoln High School, with six advancing to the Grand Nationals. They were junior Gina Scorpiniti in Lincoln-Douglas , freshman Trent Gilbert in Lincoln-Douglas, the team of juniors Brody Diehn and Rishi Shah in policy debate, and the team of juniors Alexis Takla and Tanner Barkley in public forum.Valley qualified more students than any other school in the West Iowa district and won the Team Sweepstakes award.