The Rotary Club of West Des Moines and student Kirk Phillips holding awards

Life in the WDMCS 12/9/13

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 73rd Street Singers Choir concert will be held Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m. in the Clive Elementary gym. This will be the choir member’s first concert this year. Choir members range from fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Students will be performing an African song selection, a patriotic piece and some winter holiday songs.

During the month of October, Clive Elementary students had the neat opportunity to play African drums. The African drums are rotated throughout the district within the music classroom. Classes shared several different rhythmic patterns as well as their own rhythmic compositions.

Crestview Elementary
Fifth graders at Crestview Elementary have been learning about the American Colonies. After studying each of the three regions of colonies, students were asked to compare and contrast them using a triple Venn diagram. Students worked in groups to identify similarities and differences between the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies. They will soon begin learning about slavery in the American Colonies.

Crossroads Park Elementary
Fifth grade social studies students at Crossroads Park are learning through interactive simulations. In October, students pretended to cross the Atlantic as a 16th century explorer following the route of Christopher Columbus. They dealt with chance which allowed students to face challenges encountered by European explorers. Situations they faced included bugs in biscuits, rancid meat, getting off course and a ship running aground. Through simulations students use the vocabulary of the unit and develop a working understanding of the time period. The explorers simulation is the first of five simulations students will participate in throughout the year. Currently, students are involved with Colonization in which they learning challenges faced when establishing a colony in the 1600s.Next, the American Revolution simulation will take place in which they take on the role of Patriots and Loyalists and look at primary source documents outlining the events of April 16, 1775, when the first shot of the revolution was fired. They will deal with the frustration that the colonists felt over taxation without representation and reenact the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. Later in the year, they will also simulate traveling west in a covered wagon and finally take sides in the Civil War hoping to stay healthy and safe as they march to battle to bring the Union back together. The value of simulation is high engagement and it forces the students to think critically about situations faced by people in history. They have to make some of the same decisions that people from the past had to make. This type of learning is very motivational to the students and gives them a great base of background knowledge in understanding America’s past.

Fairmeadows Elementary
Staff and students at Fairmeadows are focusing on being people of good character. The staff at Fairmeadows chose students they felt were showing the pillars of character in all parts of the school day. These students showed the staff they are responsible, respectful, trustworthy, fair, caring and good citizens. Students received a special certificate, pencil and have their picture taken for display. Students included for the month of December are Hayden Colby, Brooke Hoffa, Ellis Lovell, Spoorthi Dyava, Brooklyn Brown, Morgan Moore, Kale Thompson, Madalyn Ellis, Klaire Lietz, Jackson Whitney, Brandon Rainey, Amanda Pascale, Meadow White, Elizabeth Hanson, Colin Madigan, Lily Johnson, Olivia Jacobson, Evan McClinton, Linkin Monson, Taylor Chapman, Sadey Leitz, Jaedon Hennessy,Zarah Worth, Emina Habibovic, Keeley Hill, Bleona Bajrami, Zach Smith, Malia Kelly, Gabby Thompson, Allie Honz, Pierson Lee, Jon Gray, Lejla Stilic, Caden Moore, Brynlea DeGroote, Emma Bork, Quin Van Wyk, Elaine Greer, Ashton Whitson, Liana Read, Preston Lee, Julie Gates, Jack Yencer, Joslin Bawek, Noah Altemeier, Tyler Mastous, Alyssa Knudson, Altin Rufati and Sydney Pearl. Congratulations!

Hillside Elementary
Kindergartners at Hillside are looking forward to meeting with their Tiger Pals this month before winter break. Each kindergartner was paired with a sixth grade buddy at the beginning of the school year. The sixth graders help the kindergarten students complete special activities they might not be able to otherwise complete independently. Last month the Tiger Pals together created a tissue paper turkey centerpiece for the recent Kindergarten Pie Feast. In December students will be working together to construct and decorate graham cracker gingerbread houses. Tiger Pal activities give kindergarten and sixth grade students an opportunity to develop caring and respectful relationships and demonstrate good citizenship skills at school.

Jordan Creek Elementary
Jordan Creek fifth grade students have been busy studying the early explorers to our country. They recently completed a simulation activity where they set sail and had to deal with fortune/misfortune along the way. Students are now studying the original thirteen colonies and identifying struggles of the early colonist. In science, using the microscope and learning the parts of the microscope has been one of the topics students have been applying. Students have also been identifying rocks and minerals. They completed research and a project to demonstrate understanding of the changing earth. The new reading curriculum has students making inferences and finding evidence for their inferences. They are also practicing their fluency using reader’s theatre. Students are also becoming very interested in the Iowa Children’s Choice books that the media specialist Mrs. Skoglund shares book talks about. In math students are working with fractions. They are adding, subtracting, comparing, and reducing fractions and mixed numbers. Students complete their study links as a way to review the daily skills. Fifth graders have also started band at Jordan Creek. They are learning about archery in PE as well.

Western Hills Elementary
Fourth graders at Western Hills were elbow deep in water with science experiments. The students were working on investigating the steps of the Scientific Method and focusing on variables. Students were given tasks to solve and needed to explore the possible variables that could affect the data of the task. One of the tasks was to find the largest possible number of passengers (pennies) a lifeboat (paper cup) could hold while floating in a bucket of water. The students experimented with changing the variables of how to load the “passengers,” the seating arrangement of the “passengers,” and the size of the “lifeboat.” The student really enjoyed using the water and getting to manipulate the materials while testing the various variables. In the end, the student discovered that the size of the lifeboat was the variable that affected the number of “passengers” their “lifeboat” would support the most. It was fun to watch the students explore with the water and test their theories throughout the lessons. Science is definitely an enjoyable subject during a rigorous day of classwork.

Westridge Elementary
The Westridge sixth grade math club had a great finish to their fall competitive season. In November, 23 Westridge students sat for the AMC 8 Math Contest. This world competition is for eighth grade and younger and usually has over 120,000 students participate worldwide. Results of scores and winners will be released in January. The math club finished its fall season with a fun Amazing Race Competition. Congratulations to the following teams: Carsen Codel, Larissa Meader, Suraj Moorjani,for fastest finishing time and Sammy Overton, Cael Sampson, Zachary Schmalz for highest score. The club will continue to practice and will compete in the February Mathcounts chapter competition. Thank you to Tracy Codel, Michael Stevens and Alina Hussain for volunteering numerous hours to help challenge these eager math students.

Valley High School/Valley Southwoods
The Valley and Valley Southwoods PTO had a great turnout for the Holiday Teacher Appreciation Cookie Boxes with more than 7,000 cookies donated. More than 400 cookie boxes, platters and bins delivered some holiday cheer to staff at Valley, Valley Southwoods and even beyond thanks to all of the generous donations. Thank you to the PTO and the students who volunteered!

Walnut Creek
The Rotary Club of West Des Moines honored Walnut Creek Campus students Kirk Phillips and Sarah Beck as Outstanding Students of the Month for November for providing leadership, making a difference and going above and beyond in their school.