Life in the WDMCS 2/4/13

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.

Clive Elementary
The kindergartners at Clive are very excited to be learning about dinosaurs! They started the unit by making a web which displayed what they already know about dinosaurs.  They are learning specifically about the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Iguanodon, Triceratops, and Brontosaurus.  They are gathering more information through literature about each dinosaur’s characteristics such as how they move, what they eat, whether they travel alone or in herds, etc. The students are also learning about how dinosaurs are extinct.

The students at Clive Elementary spent a week celebrating their school spirit and preparing themselves for Fun Night. This week was celebrated with fun activities and dress-up days for the students and staff. On Monday, students wore apparel of their favorite teams. Tuesday was celebrated by wearing pajamas, a favorite among students. Wednesday brought out some wild, fun outfits followed by crazy hair and hat day on Thursday. On Friday, students and staff wore their Clive shirts and colors to celebrate the school.  This week continued to be one of the most anticipated week of the school year!

Crestview Elementary
During Dancin’ December, students at Crestview Elementary logged 1,378 minutes dancing.  Jumpin’ January had kids doing a variety of jumping exercises to get them moving.  Both activities are part of the wellness initiative Get Fit Crestview:  Fit Bodies Make Fit Minds.

Kindergartners at Crestview Elementary are working on the I Am Special unit. During this unit students will be learning about some very important people…themselves! Through classroom guidance discussions and activities they will be discovering how special they are and how each of us is very important. One of the favorite opening activities during each weekly lesson is to look into a mirror. As they look into the mirror they smile and say hi. Many of the students have gone to saying, “hi good looking” just like the character in the Nancy Carlson book, I Like Me! They even add a finger snap or two for an even bigger smile and giggle.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Crossroads Park students have been enjoying the new Reader’s Theater Club. The afterschool club is open to third through sixth grade students. At each meeting, students get an opportunity to read scripts, select parts to perform, and best of all, perform!  The students are learning all about accuracy in reading, voice inflection to create dramatic effect, and how to include action and facial expressions to add to the performance. The first script they practiced was called “We the Planets,” a fact filled story told from the point of view of the planets in our solar system.  Skylar Root said of the play, “It was really funny because the planets were talking.”  Of the experience in general, Ella Schlueter said, “It was nice to get to know people who aren’t in your grade.”  Interested participants can find more information at the Community Education webpage at or by calling 633-5001.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek kindergarten students have recently studied about the oceans and fresh water. To culminate the unit, the kindergarten students celebrated their learning with a beach party. The children enjoyed exchanging their boots and mittens for flip flops, t-shirts and leis while having fun playing beach related games. They concluded the party with tasty popsicle treats.

Heather Nguyen, a fourth grader at Jordan Creek Elementary, was recently chosen as a Kid of Character at Jordan Creek’s all school Character Counts assembly that focused on the character pillar of caring.  Kelly McQueen of State Savings Bank presented Heather with a Kid of Character award, and a savings certificate to State Savings Bank.

Jordan Creek students Sam Stevens, Katie Stevens and Allison Blythe won their division at the Elk’s Hoops Shoot contest and will moved on to regional competitions. Katie and Sam each made 23 of 25 shots to go on to the State Hoop Shoot in February. Sam has won the school shoot three years in a row.  Thanks to these students for representing Jordan Creek so well. Good luck!

Jordan Creek fourth graders enjoy a feast lunch and celebration inspired by the Southwest region. The students have been learning about Southwestern history and culture through books, technology, and art. They demonstrated their knowledge of the Southwestern culture by using tear art and PowerPoint. After studying the Southwest, we will be heading to the West to learn about the Gold Rush!

The Jordan Creek Archery Club participated in a small local tournament at Johnston High School Jan. 26 with Jordan Creek students taking first through third place in both girls and boys elementary division.  This was the first shoot for many of our archers and a nice way to start their season. In the girls division Katherine Van Arnum took first with a score of 229, Nyah Rieckhoff was second with a 201 and Tishara Slater took third with a 194. For the boys, Kyle Westhoff  took first with 234, Jackson Froscheiser took second with 233 and David Head took third with 229. Congratulations to all of our students!

Phenix Elementary
Students in third grade are starting their Australia unit, looking at the various styles and unique instruments from this wonderful continent.   Included will be an in depth look at the folk songs and the didgeridoo and the bullroarer. Students in second grade are beginning a unit on the music of Japan, focusing on folk music, dance and native instruments.  They will be learning to sing several songs in Japanese as they learn about the culture of the country. Students in first grade are focused on learning to read music.  They also will be learning some silly syllable songs that help with word recognition and fluency in reading. The kindergarten students will be singing songs about animals in both in English and in Spanish.  They will also be learning about ABA form as well as dynamics in music.

Western Hills Elementary
Students in Mary Burger’s class will participate in a Read to Me event sponsored by WDMCS Community Education.  They will go to the Lodge of Ashworth to meet with residents who are part of its independent living community.  During their visit, each child will interview a resident, read books and play games with math cards and iPads.  The objectives of this service experience are to develop an awareness of similarities with elders, to recognize opportunities to make a difference and to develop confidence in building relationships.

Fourth graders at Western Hills Elementary have been busy exploring the systems of our human body. We started the unit understanding how the parts of the skeletal system work together to support and protect the body. Each student was presented with a Golden Bone Challenge of memorizing the scientific names and locations of the 22 major bones of the body. If they were successful with the quiz, they received a Golden Bone as a reward. Next, they studied the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems. After the students realized the importance of the systems working together to keep our bodies healthy, they each became a doctor and learned about a disease or common illness that can affect the body systems. It was very entertaining watching the students diagnose their “patient” and present a treatment for the diagnosed illness. To end the six-week unit of study, they invited a guest speaker who works for the state medical examiner’s office to come and talk with all the fourth graders. The guest speaker was able to share knowledge about common possible outcomes if parts of our systems fail. The students were enthralled with her knowledge and were able to realize the importance of keeping our body systems healthy and running smoothly.

Westridge Elementary
The Sixth Grade Math Club had a great finish to their fall competitive season.  In November, 23 Westridge students sat for the AMC 8 Worldwide Math Contest.  Final statistics were released in January.  Kudos to the following students for top school honors: Connor Parnau – gold; Jan Berg and Shuchi Srivastava – silver; and Carsen Codel, Kyle Juist, Braedon Kirkpatrick and Brogan Kirkpatrick – bronze. The team of Parnau, Berg, and Srivastava placed 10th out of 21 (older) middle school teams.  Codel and Brogan Kirkpatrick had the second highest scores in the state for fifth graders.  All of Westridge’s gold, silver and bronze winners outscored the worldwide average for their grade levels along with their teammates Grace Maller, Haley Losh and Sasha Wallace. The Math Club finished their fall season with a fun Amazing Race Competition.  Congratulations to the following teams: Kyle Juist, Jon Shaner, and Connor Parnau for fastest finishing time and Brogan Kirkpatrick, Austin Letsch, and Hunter Underwood for highest score. The math club is continuing to practice and will compete in the February Mathcounts chapter competition.  Good luck mathletes!!

Indian Hills Junior High
Indian Hills I-Care students have been visiting three year old preschool students at Clive Elementary since September. They help with filling out folders and interacting with the children during their center time. Thanks to a generous donation from half price books, these junior high volunteers were able to present each child with a book to keep.

Stilwell Junior High
Advanced science students at Stilwell Junior High are devising their own experiments during their chemistry unit.  The soap study project involves research on ingredients and how soaps and detergents work.  The students then pick a group of products and devise testing to evaluate their effectiveness.  An example might be “If I test five different dish detergents on dried chocolate then Dawn dish detergent will work the best.” The students will then conduct the experiment at home, collect data, and write a formal lab report on their conclusions.

Students in Pam Herzberg’s technology education classes have been studying rollercoaster physics.  The students learned the laws of physics such as motion, different types of energy, positive and negative G forces, and Newton’s three laws of motion. For their final project the students were divided into four groups and were given the task of creating a 25-foot rollercoaster. After completion of the coaster, the students were put into two groups and created rollercoasters 50-feet long.  Through applying the laws of roller coaster physics, problem solving, and some trial and error the students succeeded at building both the coasters.

Valley Southwoods
Valley Southwoods students had a great showing at an archery tournament in Johnston. Matt Belling took 1st in the high school boys division and Lauren Wilson took third in the high school girls division.

Valley High School
Valley students competed in the I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa Black History Education day.  For several years, Valley has been represented by a group of students competing in the Black History Game Show, which requires students to compete using their knowledge and understanding of Black History.  While Valley didn’t place in this year’s event, our students performed with integrity, showed respect toward winning teams, and showed good sportsmanship when we stayed to cheer on our competitors in the finale.

The Valley robotics team competed in a qualifier at DM North, placing first in five qualifying matches and winning the semifinal round before bowing out in the finals. They were nominated for five of six awards at the end of the competition – Connect, Innovate, Think, PTC Design and the Inspire awards.  They received the Think Award at this match and had received the Inspire award at the December qualifier. They will compete at the Iowa Championships in Iowa City Feb. 22-23. Team members include Annie Howard, Chase Schweitzer, Daniel Miller, Jordan Burklund,  Saketh Undurty,  Sidd Somayajula and  Tanvi Yenna.