Crestview fifth-grader Haya Alsaadi reads an Iowa Children's Choice Award Book

Life in the WDMCS 01/13/15

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

Students in Ann McTaggart’s third-grade class are building reading fluency through Reader’s Theatre. The Reader’s Theatre week begins with a fluency skill focus. During the daily reading block, a mini-lesson is presented on a particular fluency skill. Students are currently working on the fluency skill of inflection and intonation. Students apply that fluency skill to the whole-group reading passage by echo reading, choral reading, and partner reading. Next, students take the current skill and apply it to their Reader’s Theatre script. Students have the opportunity to read and refine their character parts throughout the week. Students perform for their peers on the fifth day.

Crestview Elementary

Congratulations to Crestview fifth-grader Haya Alsaadi for using her winter break to finish this year’s collection of Iowa Children’s Choice Award books. Haya chose “Athlete vs. Mathlete” by W.C. Mack as her favorite. Haya is now reading “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, the true story of a gorilla who was kept in a shopping mall for 25 years.

Hillside Elementary

The kindergartners at Hillside Elementary were excited to get back to school and our daily routine. The start of a new year and many changes on the calendar present a great time to further our students’ understanding of numbers into the double digits using the calendar and the hundreds chart. We will also extend our exploration of numbers to the clock, reinforcing numbers to 12, counting by fives, and beginning concepts of telling time. January and February are always months of great growth in academic understanding for kindergartners. With routines established and behaviors developed, young children are open to new challenges and eagerly make connections across the curriculum. We are all excited to move into the next phase of our school year and anticipate a very productive 2015.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Sixth-grade news, by Cate Dolphin: In social studies, taught by Judy Geiken, we are starting our government unit. We learned about government in fifth grade, as well. We are now learning about the different types of government, such as non-democratic and democratic. Non-democratic governments include dictatorships and monarchies, and democratic governments include republics and direct democracies. In language arts, taught by Jory Smith, we are working on our biographies, something we also did in fifth grade. Students are researching scientists, authors, sports stars, YouTubers, and more. Sixth-graders are using the presentation setting on Google Drive to present to their language arts period classmates. In science, taught by Emily Hanson, we are starting the optics unit. The unit includes learning about eyes, light, and color. We will dissect a cow’s eye and make mirror mazes. We have also experimented with color filters. In math, taught by Aaron Witt, we are in the middle of unit 4. Sixth-graders have also been working to complete the sixth-grade mission on Khan Academy. We use Khan Academy almost daily in math.

Jordan Creek art teacher Julie Martinez is very proud of the students’ artwork. The following children will have their artwork on display through Feb. 23 at the Learning Resource Center. Art history projects: Ava Feeney, 6D; Grace Heitman, 6A; Nathan Buzzell, 6C; Aditi Tripathy, 6A; Kaelyn Lawrence, 6B; Makayla Houston, 6C; Julianne VanArnum, 6C; Andy Kuster, 6A; Dylan McBroom, 6A. Pumpkins: Brody Johnson, 2C. Grant Wood-inspired paintings: Mackenzie Erickson, 3C; Paige Christenson, 3D; Jacob Forney, 3D; Gavin Knudsen, 3B; Grady Walston, 3B; Lucas Kueter, 3D. Mixed-color clown paintings: Lyric DeWeerd, 1A; Kaylee Plummer, 1C; Tealey Schwingendorf, 1C; Trent Grevengoed, 1C; Johnny Reynolds, 1C; Nick Eklov, 1D; David Hawbaker III, 1D; Lizzy Kummet, 1D; Benjamin Qi, 1D; Adrian Phelps, 1D; Anakarina Rogers, 1B; Leia Woo, 1B; Andy Rickert, 1B; Elijah Thatcher, 1B; Dustin Herzberg, 1A; Landen Chen, 1B. Ofrenda displays: Joshua Nichols, Ayden Hall, Jackie Robinson, and Josh Mueldener; and Regan Kuennen, Ellie Burke, Anna Jacob and Asmi Patel; all 6D. Masks: Sophia Hansen, 6C; Will Fisher, 6A; Jacie Stewart, 6C; Abby Feldmann, 6A.

Westridge Elementary

Too bad a trip to Australia is not in the budget. However, third-graders were treated to the next best thing — a presentation from a recent traveler to Australia. Melanie Perry, a naturalist from the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge, served as our “tour guide” by sharing her first-hand experiences from a trip to Adelaide, Australia. Students learned similarities and differences between the United States and Australia. The presentation was filled with many exciting things to view: a PowerPoint, videos, and artifacts. Some students were daring enough to try a taste of Vegemite.

Valley High School

Six students studying Chinese at Valley have been chosen as semi-finalists for the National Security Language Initiatives for Youth scholarship program: sophomore Arjun Ganga; juniors Abigail Smith, Cameron Hillsman, Katie Weedman, and Bronwyn Wright; and senior Tej Akavaram. The students are currently taking part in the interview process for the honors and the finalists are expected to be notified in early March. All the Valley students except Akavaram are vying for scholarships to study in China for six weeks this summer. Akavaram won a scholarship for the summer program in 2013 and is now competing for an award providing an entire year of study.