Life in the WDMCS 10/13/14
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.
The Polk County Health Department is sponsoring a flu clinic at Hillside on Monday, Nov. 3 from 4-7 p.m. This clinic is open to the students, faculty, and families of West Des Moines Community Schools. It is also open to all of the community, so feel free to invite family, friends and neighbors!Most insurances are accepted and some students may qualify for a free vaccine.
Fifth graders in Julie Pargeon’s class at Clive Elementary are practicing their reading pace and expression with Reader’s Theater. The kids enjoy acting out a part in a play and performing it for their classmates. They also focus on how to present effectively by speaking clearly, with appropriate volume, and making eye contact with the audience. Props and costumes are optional and give the students a chance to make the play come alive. They will do skits throughout the year, allowing students to develop fluency and presentation skills while having so much fun!
Clive Elementary had 14 students participate in the Native-Speaker Spanish Quiz Bowl at the Learning Resource Center. This quiz bowl is for students in fourth and fifth grades who already know how to speak Spanish. These students played games against other WDMCS schools, all in Spanish, and enjoyed the traditional Mexican dessert of churros for a snack. Congratulations to the following Clive Elementary students for representing their school: fourth graders Julisa Hernandez, Rogelio Barron-Madrid, Gary Grijalva, Hannia Ruiz-Ugalde, Derek Corona, Melina Reverol, Simon Mulford, Briggette Escarino; fifth graders Janet Bustos, Madvin Grijalva, Alexandra Lopez, Karina Suarez, Cesar Martinez, Citlaly Lopez.
First graders at Clive Elementary have been studying insects over the past couple of weeks. They have learned many things including the characteristics of insects, the life cycle of a butterfly, and how insects and humans are alike and different. During this unit, the students learned that insects have three body parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. They also learned that they have six legs and two antennae. One of the most exciting parts of this unit was watching our real, live caterpillars form chrysalises and come out as butterflies. It was a great learning experience to watch the life cycle happen!
Crestview fourth graders have been working on Lego Self Portraits in art class. They studied Lego mini figures to identify which geometric shapes could be used to draw a Lego style portrait. Students chose their expression and hairstyle, then designed a background that represented either a favorite place or a goal for the future.
Crossroads Park Elementary
The fourth and fifth grade Native Spanish Speakers across the District were invited to attend the Native Speakers Quiz Bowl. Attendees from Crossroads Park were Ben Lepe-Guerero, Obed Masungu, Alan Chavez, Brian Ruiz-Patino, Kenya Gomez-Rodriguez, Jasmine Villanueva, Evelin Alvarado, Abisai Garcia, Marcelo Carreras, Karime Salamanca and German Sanchez. The students learned a new dance and were treated to games and refreshments to celebrate their culture and language. Grandview University personnel and students were on hand to facilitate the activities. It was a great time to appreciate the Latino culture, learn new things, and make new friends.
On October 17, Crossroads will host its First Annual RACE Day Run/Walk! This event is one of three fundraisers the school’s PTA will sponsor this year. Instead of sales fundraisers, the PTA will be focused on fitness or education for its fundraising, as in the math and reading challenges to follow in February and April. As a result, all proceeds go directly to our school! Students will spend 30-60 minutes running and walking around the designated course. In case of inclement weather, RACE Day will be held on Monday, Oct. 20.
Crossroads Park staff and students are determined to help Iowa become the healthiest state. PE Teacher Chad Barnes mowed a 1K track behind the school. During the Healthiest State Walk on Oct. 8, 455 students and teachers took a turn walking the track.
To promote anti-bullying and a sense of community at Crossroads Park, staff have involved every student in a Cool CREW (Crossroads Respects, Everyone Welcome)! Every faculty member at Crossroads Park has a CREW of about 12 children made up of students from every grade. Each month staff spend time with their CREW participating in activities. The Cool CREW activity for the month of October will revolve around Red Ribbon Week and also talking about the character trait of trustworthiness. We plan on hanging the posters in the hallways and the classrooms with doors will have large paper posters hung on their doors.
Deb Augspurger’s general music class at Fairmeadows Elementary recently hosted Johnny Koenig, a young star accordion player who specializes in polka music. Third grade students were excited to learn how an accordion works and to see Koenig perform. A special treat was when Stephanie Wilson, WDMCS director of curriculum, showed students how to dance the polka. The students enjoyed giving it a try.
Sixth graders from Fairmeadows Elementary had the opportunity to explore the Engeldinger Marsh. At the marsh, they looked for microorganisms found in pools of water. They also did an ecology study where they found numerous crayfish and frogs. The sixth graders came back to school with muddy shoes and clothes but with a higher level of appreciation for the wetland.
Fairmeadows Elementary had 12 students participate in the Native-Speaker Spanish Quiz Bowl at the Learning Resource Center. This quiz bowl is for students in fourth and fifth grades who already know how to speak Spanish. These students played games against other WDMCS elementary schools, all in Spanish, and enjoyed the traditional Mexican dessert of churros for a snack. Congratulations to the following students for representing Fairmeadows: fourth graders Ernesto Jurado, Leslie Perez, Raquel Paz, Luca Santana, Santi Tapia; fifth graders Arturo Perez, Anjel Tapia, Alex Bacilio, Adolfo Jurado, Louis Lara, Oscar Lara, Kenneth Yanqui.
Fairmeadows Elementary fourth graders went to the Red Feather Prairie to learn about the prairie habitat – the animals, plants, and grasses – that used to live in Iowa. Students built tipis, caught and released insects and played a game to learn about how the ecosystem stays in balance. We also had the opportunity to see and touch a variety of animal pelts, as well as learn how the pelt was tanned. Many were surprised to learn that the animal’s brain was used to tan the hide and that every part of the bison served a purpose.
Kindergartners at Hillside recently met with their new Tiger Pals. Each kindergartner was paired with a sixth grade buddy who will be their Tiger Pal for the remainder of the school year. Tiger Pals meet once a month for 30 minutes and complete special activities the kindergartners might not be able to otherwise complete independently. Tiger Pal activities give kindergarten and sixth grade students an opportunity to develop caring and respectful relationships and demonstrate good citizenship skills at school…and who doesn’t love making a new friend!
First graders at Hillside are finding connections to each other, music, art and the world around them. On a recent field trip to Raccoon River they explored the world of insects and how many bugs live in communities just like us. Students spent time outdoors using their senses to connect to nature. The listened, looked, smelled, and felt many living things. Once they returned to Hillside they used what they had experienced to build an environmental soundscape– adding art and music to connect to the sights and sounds of nature.
Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek third graders have been studying the rainforest as their first science unit this year. They were extremely fortunate to have two culminating activities that brought the world of the rainforest to life. A zookeeper from Blank Park Zoo visited Jordan Creek and brought some of her zoo friends along. The kids were very excited to touch the animals and hear the wealth of information the zookeeper had to share. The entire school also participated in a cell phone recycling drive for the Blank Park Zoo. The zoo will take the old cell phones and recycle the materials. This will benefit the Orangutan Conservation Program to help with deforestation.
Third graders also recently travelled to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Chaperoned by many wonderful parent volunteers and the third grade teaching team, the 3rd graders enjoyed a guided tour of the Lied Rainforest exhibit where everything they had been learning in the classroom came to life. The kids got to see real examples of many of the plants and animals they had been learning about. It was a wonderful learning experience!
Learning to make a tipi, listening to Native American stories, canoeing, and building a shelter were a few of the activities fifth graders from Jordan Creek participated in during their overnight field trip to the YMCA camp near Boone. In correlation with their woodlands unit in science and their Native American studies students were able to participate in activities to reinforce their learning. Naturalist Mike organized the activities with the assistance of fifth grade teachers. Students learned about ecology and taking care of our environment. They were divided into groups and rotated to different stations where they learned the history of the tipi and set one up. They were all able to sit inside and hear how the Native Americans adapted to the world around them. Stream ecology was another area of learning where students found and identified critters in the stream. Wilderness survival had the students creating their own survival hut from lots, limbs, and leaves around them. A discovery hike and canoeing rounded out the stations and kept the students busy during their time. The fifth graders, teachers, and chaperones also participated in a night hike.
Western Hills Elementary
First grade is busy learning about insects! The class went on an insect hunt with its buddy class and found grasshoppers, butterflies, dragonflies and lots of bees. Working with a buddy class gives younger students the opportunity to learn from older students who are also studying insects. It gives the older students the chance to be “experts” and mentors to the younger students. Students then took their insects back to the room to observe them.
Sixth grade students from Westridge Elementary spent two days at Springbrook Conservation Education Center learning about the environment. Students participated in activities focusing on conservation, survival, team building and appreciation of the environment. Students studied the pond at Springbrook finding and identifying many different organisms as well as testing the health of the pond. One of the favorite activates was building survival shelters. The sixth graders also learned about how our daily lives affect the water supply as well as the effects of erosion. The final activity taught the students how to appreciate the trees and to take time to enjoy the beauty around us. Other activities that the students participated in included an Earthwalk, scavenger hunt, deer hike and campfire. Students enjoyed the hands-on learning outside of the school walls. Community and relationship building was a huge objective that was well received by all participants including students, parents, and teachers. This field trip is unique in the sense that the students spend one night away from home with parent volunteers and teachers. They enjoy the time working on academics as well as team building and building character.
Valley High School
Valley social studies teachers Dan Kelly and Kevin Neal recently presented at the Iowa Council for the Social Studies (ICSS) state conference. Their presentation was titled Back Channel, Eash Tech and Devouring Documents. It focused on using stimulus based materials and accessing interactive web sites to increase student engagement. VHS social studies teacher Kelsey Hudson presented as part of a Primarily Teaching grant from the Library of Congress. Following a summer institute on using primary documents cosponsored by the Iowa Historical Society, Kelsey’s group prepared model lesson plans that are document intensive. Kelsey’s session was titled Library of Congress of Workshop.