Did you know that we start every Friday with our Prekindergarten Buddies? Kindergartners are working extremely hard on their daily reading strategies. Our job each week is to teach our PK friends one of our reading strategies that we are focusing on in the classroom. This week it is finding two “wow” pages in our books of interest and then sharing them with our partners. What fun it is to begin our public speaking and learn to use our voices in the classroom. We are using an “I think…” statement about our “wow” page and learn to share and identify interesting parts of our reading.

First Grade language arts time is underway in a major way! Each day the students are given choices of how they would like to work on their reading skills. They rotate between reading with a partner, reading alone, listening to reading, working with words and working on written language skills. Research proves that when students have choice in their learning it enhances their attention and engagement. It is great to watch the students make their choices, not only what they read, but the activities that they choose to enhance their reading with. One-on-one conferring has grown and either myself or Mrs. Adams are conferring with students every other day. This gives us the opportunity to individualize our instruction for exactly what your child needs. It also helps build a strong trusting relationship with each student. I encourage to go online to canvas and look at the reading and writing conferring comments to view the specifics of what your child is working on. You can see from the pictures below we have all been working hard and having a lot of fun during reading time.

This past week we were also able to go on our first field trip. Along with PK and 2nd grade, we visited the High Desert Museum for their annual water festival. Field trips are a great way to make learning come to life and to connect the real world with classroom learning. The kids visited  a variety of learning centers which covered topics including: the water cycle, ground water (permeable vs. impermeable), surface tension, invertebrates, clouds, density and aquifers. See below for some great shots that Mrs. Adams captured during our trip! Gotta love having a fantastic photographer with us! Thanks Andrea Adams for capturing our amazing kids.

In Music, 1st grade has been introduced to Quaver Music – our new curriculum and they’re having a blast! We’ve learned about strong and weak beats (ask them about Mr. Muscles as the “strong beat” and Tiny as the “weak beat”), meter and rhythm, in addition to singing with our portable instrument – our voice! Students have loved the vast array of learning experiences available on Quaver, and I would encourage you to log on to your individual student account from home with your child to explore even more!

HUMANITIES

The students continue to work on our unit on the “America Becomes a World Power” with a focus to the Spanish-American War. To express their learning, students are focusing on how to properly compose expository paragraphs. This helps students learn to select the most important information and how to present details concisely. In addition, students are expressing the main idea of their paragraph in cartoon form. This is leading into the understanding and creation of political cartoons; how to form and present an opinion. We have learned how Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst may have influenced America to go to war through their style of writing known as “yellow journalism”. We learned about Cuban revolutionary Jose Marti and are now learning about a little known figure in history Alfred Thayer Mahan. We will be moving into reading a book on Teddy Roosevelt and wrapping up the unit by creating a portfolio to showcase their work.

LANGUAGES ARTS

We’re wrapping up our study of key literary elements and moving into two independent reading projects based on short stories the students have chosen. Research shows that when students have choices in their learning, they are not only more highly engaged and productive but also more likely to think more deeply and creatively, work with more persistence, and be more excited about sharing their knowledge. Next week in class, students will begin working on a character analysis, a 5-paragraph informative essay that builds on the expository writing foundation they’ve established in Humanities. I’m looking forward to seeing how they pour the creativity and enthusiasm I’ve been seeing in their journals into a more formal essay!

SCIENCE

We started a new unit this week – Chemistry! In this unit, students learn about atomic structure, chemical bonding, and chemical reactions. This unit is one of my favorites because of all the hands-on learning that occurs. To start off the unit I wanted to do something that was fun and applicable to students’ lives, and the changing fall leaves gave us the perfect opportunity to do that! On Monday we went for a short nature walk, observed the changing colors, predicted why the colors change, and collected a few leaves to study. Upon returning to class, we had a class discussion and learned the chemical processes that determine the beautiful changing colors we see each and every fall. Sometimes students learn topics that are exciting but are rarely used or seen in their everyday life. My goal was to connect the science they learn in my class to the real-life experiences they have every day during this season! Science is around us every day, and in so many different ways, as long as you know where to look for it 🙂 Happy Fall!!

MATH

Have you ever made a batch of pancakes, sat down to eat them and only found crumbs left on the plate because the recipe you followed didn’t make enough to feed everyone in the family?

In our current unit of study we are learning about the importance of ratios and how we can use proportions to solve problems like the one above. How does adding one extra egg to a recipe affect all the other ingredients?  When I mix gas and oil for my motorcycle, how much gas would I need to mix if I only had 3 oz of oil left? A pitcher in the Little League World Series was throwing 80 mph from 46 feet, how does that compare to a major league pitcher who throws from 60 feet 6 inches?

It has been fun watching the students learn how to solve these problems and appreciating the practical applications for what we are learning. As students finish their recipe project this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if you woke up Saturday morning to a breakfast of pancakes or waffles that would feed everyone in the family, including the cook.

MUSIC

7th grade students are hard at work in class on their Create-A-Band project. They’ve currently created fictional characters and descriptions for their bands and are working on producing a complete history for their band. This coming week, they’ll finalize their CD cover and lyrics and choose to complete three of five projects – creating original lyrics for a song, compiling a touring schedule with venues and dates, choosing interview questions for a major appearance, writing a newspaper review with both positive and negative opinions of their band or writing a gossip column, similar to what would be seen in a magazine. This project will culminate with group music videos and a class presentation in full costume and character. The creativity is flowing, and we’re learning a lot about the costs involved in being a professional musician.

What a great group of fifth graders!  We have been establishing routines and expectations as we work toward being a true community of learners.  We know that kids learn best when they are happy and unstressed, and feel supported by their teachers and their peers.

Please enjoy these videos of fifth graders bonding:

Mrs. Landolt, Physical Education

Hello!  I am your child’s physical education teacher.  This is my 7th year at Seven Peaks and my 10th year teaching PE.  I am a Central Oregon native who grew up in Madras.  I have lived in Bend for 15 years with my husband.  I enjoy watching and playing all types of sports.  During the summer I love to travel and hang out at our beautiful lakes. This year my classes are going to learn and practice many skills. They will be encouraged to be physically active, develop cooperation and teamwork, increase personal fitness and motor development, and participate in many fun games and activities. Please encourage your child to wear tennis shoes on the Tuesdays and Thursdays when they have PE. I am looking forward to a fun and active year!

Ms. Royes, 4th – 8th Visual Arts Teacher

We are gearing up for a great year in the art room! I have been teaching at Seven Peaks for 10 years now and have worked to develop and art program that allows students to explore a wide range of mediums, artists and art movements. We will start out the year with a unit reviewing the elements of art while designing each students name tags. We have a lot of exciting projects this year and I am looking forward to getting to know each student as we kick off the school year. Please email me with any questions you might have about the art program at hroyes@sevenpeaksschool.org. If you are interested in volunteering in the art room you can find the website to sign up through the SPS website under Volunteer.

Important 5th Grade Dates

Friday, 9/30 Hatchet Day event at Athletic Club of Bend (morning)

Monday, 10/17 – 10/19 Camp Tamarack Outdoor School outdoor field trip

Wednesday, 4/26 – 4/27 Oregon Zoo/BizTown overnight field trip

The fourth grade class began a new SPS/ Touchmark partnership last week. At SPS we strongly believe in making positive community connections. Visiting the residents at Touchmark is a perfect way for the class to give back to our community and more importantly for our students to learn from “The Greatest Generation”. On the first Wednesday of each month we will walk down to Touchmark to meet with our  new “buddies” to work on a variety of projects together.

Our first visit was a huge success. The class immediately bonded with their buddies discussing all of the attributes they had in common plus their differences. We so look forward to deepening these special bonds. The population at Touchmark has so much to offer the 4th graders and the fourth graders sure know how to fill the buckets of the elders at Touchmark.

Our third graders culminated their unit of study on the Solar System by visiting the Oregon Observatory in Sunriver. The kids were able to do a solar viewing and learned about Earth’s place in the Solar System. This unit of study truly fostered the children’s sense wonder and curiosity at the marvels of space.

My hope is that you have noticed a shift in your child’s relationship toward reading this year. The 3rd graders have set themselves up to make sure this is their best reading year EVER!  Reading instruction in our classroom relies on research that shows that kids need to read a lot of texts, with high comprehension, in order to move up levels of text complexity. I hope you’ve had a chance to review your child’s reading level on Canvas. Our reading workshop is structured to allow for students to read (eyes on print) every day for 35-45 minutes. Volume is vigilantly watched through our classroom observations, conferences and regular review of your child’s reading log. There is research evidence which suggests that volume of reading is linked to attaining higher-order literacy proficiencies. Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) researched the relationship between the amount of reading done and reading achievement. They found that the amount of time reading was the best predictor of reading achievement, including a child’s growth as a reader from the second to the fifth grade.

Third grade has been working hard with our new curriculum called Quaver Music – and enjoying the journey to learning more about music theory basics like strong and weak beats, rhythm, notation, meter, ostinatos and the names of the notes on the grand staff, starting with the treble clef. We’ve even been able to have some time on the iPads in our classroom working on Treble Champion – a Quaver game that encourages students to quickly learn these basics.

WELCOME to 5th Grade Math & Science!

I am so looking forward to working with you all this year!  Fifth grade is an exciting time for kids. They are finally the oldest kids in the elementary wing, and ready for new responsibilities. Mr. Wenger and I value teaching kids to be more autonomous, as they are preparing for middle school, and learning life-skills around managing their own behavior, relationships, supplies, and learning experiences. Thank you for partnering with us to make this a great year!

Parents, we would love for you to drop by with your students at SPS on Thursday, 9/1, between 3:00 and 4:00.  This is a great opportunity to get more comfortable with the teachers and fellow students, as well as the 5th grade classrooms. Also, for all new families to SPS, join your buddy parents, SPS Staff and Board Members at an “adult evening social” on Thursday, 9/1 from 6:30 – 8:00pm in the SPS Commons. Mark your calendar for our Elementary Back-to-School Night on Thursday, 9/15. There will be a parent social from 5:00-5:30 followed by elementary sessions from 5:30-6:00 and 6:00-6:30.  The large group meeting will be held in the gym from 6:30-7:15 pm. Childcare is available.

A Message from Mr. Jamie Wenger

WELCOME to 5th Grade Language Arts & Humanities!

Hello parents and incoming 5th graders! I am so excited to reconnect with returning faces from last year’s 4th grade and meet new members of our 7 Peaks community. We are in for a productive and action packed year full of exciting learning experiences. Parents and kids, get ready for a lot of fun field trips!

I look forward to getting to know each student as an individual, both academically and socially. Ms. Wenndorf and I look at our 5th grade as one big family, as opposed to two separate classes and we will be spending much of our first week bonding as a large group before separating into flexible homerooms.

Seven Peaks students have unique opportunities throughout the year to participate in various field trips. This is an important aspect of extending their learning, and a high emphasis is placed on creating opportunities outside the classroom. Finding these awesome learning opportunities in the community allow students to apply their knowledge learned in the classroom to the real world around them, both in Central Oregon and beyond. Our first field trip this year was the annual Water Festival at the High Desert Museum. We just wrapped up our unit study on water so it was fitting for the students to attend, “show what they know,” and learn some deeper concepts/applications. Students participated in a variety of stations, covering topics like: surface tension, invertebrates, water cycle (evaporation/condensation/precipitation), groundwater, clouds, density and aquifers which we were already equipped with background knowledge. Below are some photos of a few groups in action!

We just started our rainforest unit on Monday and with this we will also be incorporating the study of various rainforest animals/insects/bugs. After a general introduction this week and next, students will select one rainforest animal/bug/insect. Then, they will research facts and create a presentation to show the class. Using a kid-safe search engine (www.kiddle.co), students will be allowed class time for self-exploration; gathering facts on their chosen animal. They will then be instructed on how to create a presentation using Google Slides to incorporate their facts into a readable, viewer-friendly presentation with pictures.

Second grade has been working hard with our new curriculum called Quaver Music – and enjoying the journey to learning more about music theory basics like strong and weak beats, rhythm, notation, meter, ostinatos and the names of the notes on the grand staff, starting with the treble clef. We’ve even been able to have some time on the iPads in our classroom working on Treble Champion – a Quaver game that encourages students to quickly learn these basics.