Crossroads Park Elementary playing on African drums

Life in the WDMCS 4/7/14

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.

Clive Elementary

April is National School Library Month and there will be many celebrations including why students think libraries are important, what students want their library to look like, and a party in the library! Kindergartners through third graders are working on making connections to books from the Iowa Goldfinch Awards. Students will also be making spine label poetry since April is National Poetry Month. Happy reading!

Crestview Elementary

Fourth grade student, Finn Nadel, recently presented an independent project on the history of the Olympics. His presentation was given to the entire fourth grade. It focused on the history of the Olympics leading up to this year. A few highlighted information was the USA men’s hockey win over Russia, Canadian coach giving skis to a Russian cross country skier and the recent Olympic Ring malfunction. To conclude the presentation, U.S. Olympic Bobsledder, Karlos Kirby, spoke to the students. He shared the background about how he became a bobsledder, the training involved, his experience on the team and his message, “The road to success starts with you: eat right, exercise and say no to drugs!”

Crossroads Park Elementary

This month, some students at Crossroads Park Elementary had the unique opportunity to experiment with African drums. Each student in fifth and sixth grades had the chance to try their rhythm on these fun and exotic instruments. Music teacher Angie Loney taught the students different drumming patterns then had them accompany fun songs like the Macarena and Kung Fu Fighting. Up to three drumming patterns were played at a time. Students from Sheila Hudson’s sixth grade class shared their feelings about these instruments. Alivia Fergus loved being able to play such a unique instrument since she has attended schools in other districts that did not provide these types of opportunities. Neal Sura thought they were fun to play, but found that pounding too hard could hurt your hands. The instruments are part of the WDMCS music program and are available for each school in the district to use.

To promote anti-bullying and a sense of community, Crossroads Park has 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 they spend time with their CREW participating in activities. The first month the CREWs played fun getting to know you games. This past month each student created a small poster telling about themselves. The CREW leaders assembled them into a large poster to display in the school hallways. Next month students and staff are looking forward to writing a rap or a cheer with their CREWs to continue building team spirit. They are also looking forward to participating in Live Healthy Iowa Spring Fitness Day by exercising with their CREW. Ask your child about their CREW today!

Hillside Elementary

Second graders from Hillside Elementary recently visited Ballet Des Moines to observe the dancers rehearse the first stages of their performance of the Cinderella story. This performance helped students develop a deeper understanding of the concept of adaptation. Hillside is an Artful Learning School which allows teachers and students to bring the arts into the classroom. Students experience an overarching concept over the course of a trimester within the interdisciplinary studies. Arts based skills and strategies are embedded throughout the entire unit. Students are exposed to a masterwork and a significant question that aligns with the concept. They are able to deepen their understanding through experiencing, inquiring, and reflecting upon their new learning. Hillside second graders will begin their Adaptation Artful Learning Unit. They will be focusing on the significant question “How does the environment effect the way of life?”. The masterwork is a photograph taken by Dorothea Lange portraying a mother and her children during the Dust Bowl. Students will explore the concept of adaptation as it relates to the environment, architecture, people, literature and performance. Ballet Des Moines invited Hillside second graders to observe a dress rehearsal onstage at the Civic Center to help us gain a better understanding of the concept of adaptation. Students will learn about how the dancers have adapted their dances to tell the story, as well as their costumes, make-up, and overall performance from the first time we watched them perform in January.

Jordan Creek Elementary

The fourth grade students in Jan Bergman’s class are learning about fractions, decimals, and percents. They will learn how to convert the “easy” fractions such as 1/4, 1/2 and 1/5 into decimals and percents. They will also use a calculator to convert any fraction into a decimal and then into a percent. They will be doing an activity in which they compare the results of a class survey and also compare population data that is reported as percents. Finally, they will learn to multiply and divide with decimals. In Reader’s Workshop, they have been practicing evaluating text in the books “Diamonds” and “Sports Math” to determine whether statements in the text are facts or opinions. They learned to look for signal words such as “think” or “believe” to help tell whether the statement is an opinion. They also learned that facts can be proved to be true. During Writer’s Workshop they have researched and written an informational book about Russia. In their lessons, they learned about the basic features of a non-fiction book: sub-heads, sidebars, captions, bold print, the Table of Contents, the Index, the glossary, etc. They learned how to take notes on note cards, and how to combine information from multiple sources into a report. In Social Studies, they have enjoyed learning about Russia from all four of our fourth grade teachers.  They have learned about Russian land and animals from Miss Bratkiewicz, Russian culture from Jan Bergman, Russian History from Betty Anderson, and Russian literature and language from Deb Flagg. On April 4, they celebrated Russia Day. They played Russian Jeopardy, watched a video about the Russian circus, danced the troika (a Russian folk dance) and participated in or watched several plays about Baba Yaga, the evil Russian witch!

Students at Jordan Creek Elementary are having a Walk-A-Thon called Rock the Walk to raise money for their school. The kids will take pledges for their participation. A “red carpet” assembly was recently held for the kick-off of this great event. There were 48 sixth grade dancers and several teachers who performed in the assembly. Principal Graham Jones played L.L. Cool J.  The walk will be held on Friday, April 25.

Phenix Elementary

During library time at Phenix Early Childhood Center students participated in musical chairs. As music was played, students moved around the circle. When the music stopped students sat in the nearest spot and read the book that was on the chair. This gave students an opportunity to look at several books and expose them to different genres and authors.

Westridge Elementary

Students at Westridge celebrated Diversity Day on March 13. First graders had guest speakers from the Philippines, Togo, Africa and Japan. Students learned about different cultures and lifestyles. They enjoyed playing games familiar to children from the Philippines. Students listened to stories from Africa and practicing dancing. Students learned about Japanese families and learned some new vocabulary. They also enjoyed learning wrapping techniques using a square cloth called Furoshiki.

Valley Southwoods

Valley Southwoods Drama proudly presents: THE SECRET GARDEN.  Performance dates are Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m.  The performances will be held in Stilwell Auditorium.  Tickets will be sold at the door: $3/$5.  We hope to see you there!