Students observing a butterfly in a volunteer's hand

Life in the WDMCS 9/29/14

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

The fourth annual Clive English Language Learner (ELL) Potluck was held recently for families and staff. Families were able to meet other Clive families that speak additional languages other than English and share some delicious foods. Over 175 people were in attendance. There was time to informally meet and talk with temporary principal, Dr. Diebel, many of Clive’s teachers, Clive’s PTO representatives and resource people from our community: DMACC ( adult ESL classes); Evelyn K. Davis; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Unity Point; West Des Moines Human Services; Hispanic Educational Resources; and district representatives. The student winner of a MP 4 Multimedia Player was Maryan Said. It was a great time where staff and families were able to meet, talk, and share dinner together in a relaxed atmosphere.

Crestview Elementary

Crestview’s Spanish teacher Tammy Dann, 2nd grade teacher Tonya McCarville and the school librarian Ann Reynolds collaborated to raise and launch 10 Monarch butterflies this fall. With handmade screen covered tomato cages in McCarville’s classroom and a hallway display case, students watched the caterpillars munch on milkweed, spin their chrysalis’ and transform into butterflies. Senora Dann utilized the opportunity to discuss the process in Spanish and students of all grades watched the daily progress between classes in the hallway display. Students of various grades saw these delicate creatures take their first flight over the course of several weeks’ time.

Kindergartners at Crestview Elementary have been busy learners. They are getting to know their new classmates and learning the routines of school. They have been learning new mathematical vocabulary, with our Everyday Math curriculum. Some activates they have been doing include measuring and comparing, sorting, learning how to create and extend patterns, and introducing the concept of volume with sand and water. Through literacy rotations, students are strengthening their knowledge of letters of the alphabet and the letter sounds. The class is also discovering how letters go together to make words and words form sentences. Learning how to draw and write a story with a main idea and details are other fun projects for the kindergartners.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Jordan Creek fourth graders recently enjoyed a day at Red Feather Prairie by Saylorville Lake. The naturalists from Polk County Conservation led the group in a variety of activities to teach students about the plants and animals found on the prairie, and how the Native Americans and early pioneers experienced prairie life. They saw first-hand some of the most common prairie grasses in Iowa, Big Blue Stem and Indian Grass. They enjoyed going on an insect hunt and playing the Thicket Game. Fourth graders also learned about animals that live on the prairie, including animals that no longer live in Iowa, such as the bison and wolf. They learned how the Native Americans used every part of the bison, even the buffalo “chips.” One of the favorite activities was working with a small group to build a tipi, and then sitting inside an actual tipi. Even though Red Feather Prairie is small, 173 acres, it gave us a good idea of how Iowa once looked when our state was once part of the Tall Grass Prairie.

Western Hills Elementary

First graders at Western Hills have been learning about insects. They have learned that insects have three body parts and six legs. They also know there are many different kinds of insects all over the world. Laura Axman’s class was visited by a classroom parent, Jennifer Burton, who brought items to share from her work as an urban beekeeper. The children learned about being a beekeeper and the work you have to do to take care of the bees. She also brought honey and some live drones, which do not have stingers. The class enjoyed her visit and is looking forward to learning more about insects in the weeks ahead.