Life in the WDMCS 2/11/13

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.

Crestview Elementary
Crestview students have started the dance unit in physical education. Fifth and sixth graders will be working on a social dance.  This unit consists of learning three partner dances – the foxtrot, the cha cha, and the swing.  At the end of the unit, the students will perform in a competition called Dancing with the Tigers.  Grades K-4 are working on different dances and dance games on the Wii. Students at Crestview do many fun activities throughout the school year.  You can follow Crestview physical education on Twitter @CrestviewPE.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Fifth grade students have been busy this year and particularly over the last month reading and writing poetry.  Each week students receive a focus poem in which they infer, visualize and mull over meaning and vocabulary. They add these to a journal and record their thinking about the poem. They develop understanding of the text features of glossary and table of contents by creating and adding to these in their poetry journals.  The Being a Writer program also includes a unit on poetry. Students create object poems, movement poems and scranimals modeled after the book “Scranimals” by Jack Prelutsky.  Some sections are also integrating technology into poetry. Using a website called Tagxedo, students created “Me” poems from the idea of a list poem in which they listed adjectives and words that tell about them. The words were incorporated into pictures of students creating a great image poem.  In addition to the shape poem, some students worked with theme to create a poetry video on an animation site called Animoto. Students put together production teams consisting of themselves as the poetry reader, a cameraperson and a cue card prompter.  Students chose or wrote the poem to be produced into a video. They had to select an appropriate setting to film their video, select images, style, font and music that all depict the theme of their chosen poem. They also had to read their poem fluently and with good volume in front of the camera.  The final multimedia productions were quite impressive. The genre of poetry forces a student to think deeply to get meaning out of it. They learn the importance of reading it once, reading it again and again. They learn that even the shortest poem can have a deep meaning.  They make connections between poetry and other texts. One student who once said he didn’t like poetry is coming around and saying he is becoming more “tolerant of it now and sometimes I even like some poems.” Others are discovering they are poets, and didn’t even know it.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Congratulations to Fairmeadows sixth graders Garrett Gallagher and Jack Basart-Morse for being selected to participate in the All-District Honor Handbell Choir!  These fine young musicians begin rehearsals on February 13 in order to perform at the Honors Festival on May 7 at Valley High School.  Olivia Rainey-Madonia and Jordan Andrus were selected as Fairmeadows’ alternate bell ringers.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Hillside Elementary hosted the WDMCS solo festival where contestants performed a prepared solo or an ensemble in front of a judge.  Each performer was judged on their tone, technique, musicianship, and appearance. The ratings are I+ – highly superior, I – excellent, II – good, and III – fair. Congratulations to the Jordan Creek students who participated: Flute Solo: Payton Cooper – I, Dahlia Cutler – I+, Natalie Morgan – I and Rachel Wrenn – I; Clarinet Solo: Kaylie Bocook – I, Carrie Cassidy – I, Mekhia Hillgren – I, Riley Kuennen – I+, Sarah Mele – I+, Jessica Olander – I+, Emily Schulz – I, Madeline Smith – I+ and Rachel Steim – I+; Alto Saxophone Solo: Christopher Altemeier – I+ and Will Sanders – I+; Trumpet Solo: Daniel Dickerson – I+, Jackson Froscheiser – I+, Cameron McCawley – I+ and Evan Porter – I; Trombone Solo – Dave Head – I+ and Connor Smith – I; Baritone Horn Solo: Steven Vorrath – I+; Tuba Solo: Ana Johnson – I and Shuvethan Sivagurunathan – I+; Mallet Solo – Radha Velamuri – I+.

All Jordan Creek first grade classrooms celebrated the 100th Day of School with each class enjoying healthy snacks of bananas. Students learned a song about 100 Days of School and rotated through different activities in each of the four classrooms. They made colorful glasses that had them peeking through the holes in the zeros in 100, sang and danced more than 100 steps to fun music videos, used the math number grid to make the number 100 that was as tall as the whole number grid and wrote newspaper articles that answered fun headlines like, what would you like to have 100 of? How about things you would NOT want to have 100 of? How would you spend 100 dollars? What will you look like in 100 years? What a great way to celebrate on a cold winter day!

Jordan Creek students won first place at a recent archery tournament in Diagonal with 2,785 points while sweeping first through fourth place individually. Will Golay shot 269 for first place, Austin Emans placed second with 263, Kyle Westhoff was third with 258 and Dave Head was fourth with 247. Other Jordan Creek archers who contributed to the team score were Nyah Rieckhoff with 241, Katherine Van Arnum with 221, Tishara  Slater with 220, Hailey Butterwegge with 199, Jack Roush with 224, Cooper Johnson with 216, Benji Renken with 215 and Braden Wallace with 212. Other Jordan Creek archers were Lauren Anderson 123, Angela Kinzie 185, Avery Merkley 145 , Jessica Olander 170, Sam Tooman-Hamrock 145, , Gretchen Triplett 139, Julianne  Van Arnum 128, Callie Warner 178, Kara Westhoff 158, Nathan Buzzell 192, Kade Copple 211, Hunter Edgington 198, Sam Hall 171, Kadin Jensen 145, Tyler Johnston 142, Jon Rinehart 185, Griffin Satre 149 and Shuvethan Sivagurunathan 200.

Phenix Elementary
Feet will be jumping and hearts will be pounding as students at Phenix Elementary raise money for the American Heart Association’s program Jump Rope for Heart. During their Physical Education classes students will be learning about the benefits of exercise and making healthy choices while also learning how to jump rope.  Students will have the opportunity to learn new steps and work on endurance jumping (1-3 minutes of continuous jumping).  They will also have the opportunity to learn long rope skills and jumping rhymes!  Jumping rope is an easy, inexpensive way to get fit and have fun!  If you would like any information on how to get started jumping or Jump Rope for Heart feel free to contact Martha Wilson at 633-6215 or

Westridge Elementary
Kindergarten roundup at Westridge Elementary will be held on Thursday, April 4 from 6-7 p.m. for parents only. If you know anyone that needs to sign up for kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year, please ask them to call the Registrar’s office at 633-5101 as soon as possible.

Award-winning author and illustrator Eric Rohmann will be coming to Westridge February 28 and March 1.  Mr. Rohmann has been the winner of two Caldecott awards for his wonderful illustrations.  He will make grade level presentations to all students at Westridge.

Fourth grade students at Westridge Elementary have been exploring Russia during social studies.  Students have learned about Russian culture, geography, history, and economics of this region.  They also got to see what life is like living in the Russian cities and attending Russian schools.  We visited Kamchatka, a volcanic peninsula and saw the many types of animals that live in this area.  Ms. Rachel Ong spoke to us about her experiences in the Lake Baikal area.  Students got to taste borscht, a Russian beet soup, and bliny, Russian pancakes.  We have had so much fun traveling and learning about Russia!

Indian Hills Junior High
Congratulations to Lauren Johnson from the Dream team for winning the Indian Hills Spelling Bee!  Lauren will go on to compete in the state competition at Iowa State University on March 2. There was a four way tie for second between Sarah Freund, Linh Tran, Aarushi Dervesh and Brain Gu. Other team winners were:  Zephyr team – Catherine Larson, Alpha team – Nathan Conte, Legacy  team – Owen Snyder and Trent Gilbert, Fusion team – Mark Zimmerman and Endeavor team – Nic Lovan and Marcel Leger.  Congrats to all team winners and thanks for participating!

Stilwell Junior High
Students on the S team became mythological characters in social studies and English classes during the beginning of the third quarter. The Create a Character projects were a culmination of an interdisciplinary project which combined the classical Greek studies with the mythology research and reading of myths during English class. During all classes, students had time to research and explore the tales of characters and beings. They were encouraged to “become” the character; tell about their history, their legacy, and discover symbols that each represent in today’s world. With a trident, caduceus, or a thunderbolt in hand, students took the audience of their peers back to Greek times. Cherie Gold and Leslie Nedved are the English and social studies teachers for the S team.

Every month students who demonstrate the three cornerstones of Stilwell in their behavior are nominated by staff members to be featured in the Celebrating Stilwell Students program.  Students receive a coupon for a free lunch or a la carte menu item in addition to having their photo and accomplishments posted in the display case at school.  The cornerstones are: do your best, do the right thing, and treat others with respect.  Students now being honored are Maddy Heinen, Shamicka Delerme, Sam Cox, Erick Triana & Becca White, Alanna Maxwell,  Byranna Hawthorne, Austin Fest, Diane Thomas & Chase Henderson, Justice Jackson, Grace Lincoln, Kaleb Dale, Nick Cinnamon and Alisson Espinoza.

Valley Southwoods
Valley Southwoods debaters had a great showing at Iowa City. Nolan Dahm was first speaker and Danielle Reyes was second speaker in novice policy debate. In addition, Nolan and partner Sidney May placed second, losing in the finals on a 2-1 decision to Dowling. In public forum debate, Carolyn Hoemann and Lexy Takla placed in the top 16. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas, Grady Stein was the second-place overall speaker. In novice Lincoln-Douglas, TJ Foley was the top speaker. Southwoods students closed out the semifinals of novice Lincolnd-Douglas for the third time this season. Top finishers were Trent Gilbert, champion; Conal Thomas-McGinnis, second place; TJ Foley and Alec Frazier, semifinalists; and Evan McKinney, quarterfinalist.

Valley Southwoods students also competed well at the IHSSA state competition. Each group was judged by three judges giving them a ranking of 1-5 (1 being the best and 5 is a disqualification). The choral reading, readers theatre and group mime entries all received a 1 from all three judges. The choral reading group was directed by Katie Dorrell with state managers Kathryn Catellier and Grant Hildenbrand. The cast was Olivia Brock, Susannah Crichton, Matthew Hrdlicka, Lily DeTaeye, Ian Ksiazak, Paige Marshall, Nico Mulhern, Jason Nye, Caroline Stump, Jazlyn Talley, Pearl Tate, Maren Tuttle, Ramya Vemuapalli, Ben Willcockson and Jake Wheeler. The readers theatre group was directed by Caitlin Edwards and Erin Sheffield with cast members Shianne Anglin, Jenny Bryant, Sarah Estes, Caroline Fidler, Ashley Gettinger, Cami Hillsman, Samatha Ivie, Allison Isenhoff, Nicole Nucaro, Ali Tasler, Sarah Wickenkamp and Maggie Wildermuth. Group mime was directed by Katie Dorrell with cast members Emily Carr, Taylor Denman, Connor McCarville, Cody Thompson, Sydney Sheffield and Ramya Vemuapalli. Other entries performed well in ensemble acting, group improv, short film, group mime and musical theatre.

Valley High School
Valley Best Buddies co-presidents presented Fairmeadows fifth grader Audrey Hronich with a certificate for outstanding volunteering on Feb 3at the Valleytines event. Audrey volunteered for three hours and was fantastic help!

Valley High School Best Buddies Chapter hosted its annual Valleytines event Feb. 3. This annual event brings Best Buddies chapters together from across the metro. Students had many activities to choose from including drawing and playing games.

Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek Campus had entries of group mime, The Blacksmith and The Last Campaign of Price Llywellyn 128/2 receive all 1’s at the IHSSA state competition. Each group was judged by three judges giving them a ranking of 1-5 (1 being the best and 5 is a disqualification). Students in group mime were  Maddie Prine, Sam Mooreland, Deantre Kelly, Gabe Mason and Wyatt Mylan. The The entry in short film, The Accidental Hipster, received a II rating. Students involved were Connor Armstrong, Wyatt Mylan, Maddie Prine, Gabe Mason, Abi Kemp and Jarrod Wallace.