Life in the WDMCS 1/22/13

Life in the WDMCS is a new 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.

If you have a student who will be starting kindergarten in the fall of 2013-14, please visit the district website at and click on the Kindergarten link in the Newcomers tab (below the LIFE graphic) and follow the steps listed to get your child’s name placed on the kindergarten list.  All kindergarten students must register with the District Registrar. If you have questions about the steps listed on the district website or do not have internet access, please call 633-5101. Schools are assigned based on the student’s home address. Our kindergarten classrooms are limited to 26 students per classroom. Because of this, some of the district’s elementary buildings do get full. If a neighborhood school is full, a newly enrolled student may be assigned or “capped-out” to another elementary building in our district. Students who are capped-out receive free transportation. If you have questions about this process, please call the office of school/community relations at 633-5022.

Clive Elementary
Clive Elementary implements the PBIS system, giving students the opportunity to be recognized for being respectful, responsible, safe and caring. Students in Allie Kirk’s classroom use a class punch card with 40 punches that they have the opportunity to fill up each time Kirk notices the class being respectful, responsible, safe or caring. The class recently filled an entire punch card. Kirk was so proud of her second graders for showing respect around Clive Elementary and more specifically in the classroom. As a reward, the class got to choose a class party for this exciting achievement. As a class they decided they wanted to have a marshmallow toss outdoors. Before the party, students discussed their pride in showing respect toward others, being responsible in our classroom, maintaining a safe classroom environment, and caring for each other. 2K loves showing Clive Pride!

Crestview Elementary
Crestview fifth graders have been studying the American Revolution.  Students participated in a simulation to help them understand how the colonists felt about being taxed by the British King. Students were given candy and then were “taxed” for items they ate that contained sugar.  This was extended to paper products and other taxable materials.  Students enjoyed this real-life simulation, however were frustrated that they didn’t get to keep the candy.  By the end of the activity, students understood the frustration of the colonists and the unfairness that the king imposed on them.

First graders at Crestview Elementary went on an imaginary safari through the deserts of Mexico and Chile with their Spanish teacher, Señora Tammy Dann.  They flew to the two deserts, talked about what they saw, told desert stories and sang songs.  Many pictures were taken.  During a different Spanish class, Sra. Dann brought copies of the pictures they took on their trip.  The students labeled the plants and animals they saw in the desert.  These pictures will go home so the students can share their knowledge of the desert in Spanish with their parents.

Crestview Elementary had two teams participate in the Jr. FIRST Lego League Competition at Iowa State last weekend. The fifth and sixth grade teams participated in the regional competition in December and won Outstanding Team Performance. Team 1 focused on ways to use technology to help our seniors enjoy everyday life. They researched on the computer for changes in technology; created models of cars, trains, airplanes and other modes of transportation which have changed immensely over the years. Team 2 enjoyed learning about how safety through technological advancement has evolved over the years to make so many wonderful improvements in our lives. They researched about advancement in technology that brought things like security systems, lifeline pagers, the Internet – and all the ways we can stay connected with family and friends, and so many more. Congrats!

Crossroads Park Elementary
Mark your calendar for the annual Crossroads Park Open House on January 29 from 5-7 p.m. Chris Cakes will be back this year with extra griddles to serve delicious pancakes. Come visit your child’s classroom and enjoy a meal together. Kindergarten, first and second grade will also be performing mini concerts. Kindergarten performs at 5:15 p.m., first grade performs at 5:40 p.m. and second grade performs at 6 p.m. The fifth grade band will be performing at 7 p.m.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Third graders at Jordan Creek are excited to investigate magnetism hands-on!  In this activity the students are trying to measure the force of attraction between two permanent magnets.  On one side of the scale two magnets are held by the force of attraction.  On the opposite side, the students carefully add the weight of one iron washer at a time until the magnets separate.  In addition to the forces of attraction and repulsion, students will learn about the poles of a magnet and how they can be used with electricity to create an electromagnet.  The unit is always a third grade favorite!

Phenix Elementary
The Phenix Tiger Cubs Preschool classes have started a new topic of study about shoes.  They have set up a shoe store and a shoe fixing shop and have used shoes to create works of art.  Staff members and families have helped create a collection of shoes for students to explore in the classroom.  This topic was initiated through student interest and throughout the study students will be learning important concepts in math, literacy, science, social studies, technology and the arts.  Students will also use thinking skills to investigate, solve problems, and make predictions.  At the conclusion of the study, students will present their learning to their families.

Western Hills Elementary
The second graders in Susan Buising’s class recently completed a science unit on oceans. They studied the ocean zones, located the 5 oceans on a map and experimented with ocean spills. They extended the unit into writing by choosing an ocean animal to study. Their sixth grade buddies helped create an ocean animal into 3D and place it in the correct ocean zone on a class bulletin board. The sixth graders also helped the second graders take notes on the ocean animal and write a rough draft for an ocean report. Once the reports were in their final form, the students typed them. They will be displayed in a class book.

Westridge Elementary
Westridge students are showing good character while waiting for their buses to arrive at the end of the day. The related arts teachers, along with art teacher Deb Leventhal and her students, created and painted  a book box and filled it with books for students to read while sitting and waiting for the buses to arrive. We are proud to now find our students frequently  choosing to read at the end of a busy school day, as well as demonstrating great behavior!

During the past holiday season, many students and families at Westridge Elementary discovered the joy of giving. Westridge once again held its annual  Giving Tree campaign. Several Westridge families were adopted, as students helped to make their holiday season a happy one. The Giving Tree, which was located in the Westridge lobby, was decorated with cards describing items needed by our adopted families. Anyone wishing to purchase something for one of our adopted family members  took a card, and returned the item with the card attached. The joys of the giving season were celebrated by many of the families at Westridge Elementary.

Stilwell Junior High
Select eighth grade art students from Stilwell Junior High display their portrait drawings that are on display at the Des Moines Art Center for the WDMCS annual student art exhibit.  These students were Elizabeth Forney, Taylor Jones, Samantha Kobberdahl, Colin Tracy, Jack Standefer and Brennan Mastous.