In Junior Kindergarten, we celebrated our “inner genius” by participating in Genius Hour. We kicked off this hour of innovation by reading “What Do You Do With An Idea” by Kobi Yamada. Then students talked with one another about what they would really like to learn more about and wrote down ideas. The Prekindergarteners were so excited about their ideas that we decided to journal and create drawings of our idea in our digital portfolios. Our 3rd grade buddies helped us to research more about our idea online which led us to the best part…CREATIVITY! The kids worked together to design and create projects that aligned with what they were passionate about learning. Kids were engaged, curious and excited about learning. It was truly amazing!

Music

PK and Kindergarten music students have been working on keeping the beat to various songs as well as expressing our emotions through music with rhythm sticks, ribbon wands and drums. We had a pretty cool thing happen one day – as we were dancing to music that makes us happy, a giant double rainbow appeared just out the music class window. We stopped and marveled at the beauty in the midst of the rainstorm and danced it out together. It is a joy to teach these energetic young people!

In Kindergarten, we are wrapping up our Fairy Tales Unit with some time on Little Red Riding Hood! The students worked actively on the setting of Little Red Riding Hood and making silhouettes of the main characters. They then worked on character sticks so that they can retell the story in partners. In addition, we learned that the middle schoolers created a Spanish retelling of Little Red Riding Hood! The middle schoolers were so appropriate and lovely in their play acting. It was fun to hear their Spanish retelling and then amazing to see the kindergartners loving the storyline! The kindergartners were delighted with the play and we cannot wait for more!

Music

PK and Kindergarten music have been working on keeping the beat to various songs as well as expressing our emotions through music with rhythm sticks, ribbon wands and drums. We had a pretty cool thing happen one day – as we were dancing to music that makes us happy, a giant double rainbow appeared just out the music class window. We stopped and marveled at the beauty in the midst of the rainstorm and danced it out together. It is a joy to teach these energetic young people!

Core virtues are an everyday part of life in first grade. Kindness is one that we focus on as we explore and learn about friendships and classroom dynamics. We were lucky enough to have local business owner Heather Nashelle, owner of Nashelle Jewelry, visit our classroom and share her message of kindness and the ripple effect with the class. She then shared her gift of jewelry making! They each chose one word that spoke to them and hand hammered it into their necklace. These pieces will help remind each student how their kindness can affect others. We believe that social emotional learning needs to be explicitly taught and modeling and teaching students how to treat others is a core part of the first grade classroom. The students had a blast and we appreciate the time Heather spent  with our class!

Music

For the last month or so, first grade has been working their way through our Carnival of the Animals unit. Camille Saint-Saëns composed this piece in 1886 with 14 humorous suites, designed to mimic the sounds of various animals. While he designed for this 25 minute work to be a joke, it is an excellent teaching tool for learning about a variety of musical basics like fast and slow (largo and presto), high and low, and various instruments. The students have been working their way through a listening journal that allows them to color each animal as we listen to the music from that suite. Additionally, we incorporate literacy and movement by reading a classic children’s book associated with each animal depicted and move like the animals. This is one of my favorite units to teach and your students have been a joy to work with.

 

 

The 3rd graders enjoyed a day on Mt. Bachelor while studying winter ecology. During our snowshoe adventure, we learned about winter ecology at Mt. Bachelor and the geology of Central Oregon, the Deschutes National Forest watershed and the plants and animals found throughout the area. Enjoy pictures of or snowshoeing adventure!

The 3rd graders engaged in productive struggles as they learned a new hobby this month! Students were assigned the task to teach themselves a new hobby. The requirement was that this had to be something they had never done before and was entirely new for them. Each student was asked to keep a journal tracking their progress, noting struggles they encountered along the way, and how they navigated these hardships. Students were able to share their new hobbies with the class and reflect on their progress and perseverance.

Also speaking of productive struggles, the 3rd graders were recently given a math problem-solving task as part of our fractions unit. They were asked to figure out how many small post it notes it would take to cover an entire “big pad” post it note. It was amazing to watch kids go through a trial and error process while experimenting with and estimating using wholes and parts of wholes (fractions at work!). They all approached this problem differently and it was very rewarding to watch these kids embrace mistakes, share ideas, and persevere in their problem-solving efforts.

Music

Third grade has been excelling at their Recorder Karate, as well as focusing this past week on research of an instrument in groups of two. Their research is documented on Google Slides, and they’ll present their findings after we return from Spring Break. It has been fun to assist the students with ways to utilize the technology available to us, like co-working on the same document on their own Chromebook, learning how to insert videos and change backgrounds. These students are going to be vastly prepared for their middle and high school years with knowledge of presentation skills such as these.

We also have had a good amount of students audition for our Spring Show, which is called Summer Camp this year! We’re heading out for lots of fun at Camp Runamok on June 1! Please encourage your student to hop on Canvas (click on MUSIC) from their homeroom page and listen to our songs. The more they listen at home, the more fun we get to work on in class with our choreography and movement. Please put this very special evening on your calendars now – we’ll also be celebrating Beth Basham’s Retirement that same evening.

Recently, the fourth grade class went to Camp Hancock in Fossil, Oregon. Camp Hancock is an annual trip and is an OMSI run field station focused on the study of Geology (and more) in our area. Since we are studying Geology in Core Knowledge right now, this experience is a perfect fit. The class made a 2 ½ hour trek (by bus) to Camp Hancock. Once we arrived, it was go-time. First, we unpacked our gear into one of the two cabins, Coyote for the girls and Beaver for the boys. Then, we hiked to the crest of two nearby summits in order to study the many rock layers present and how they were formed (Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic), plus to locate various fossils in the area. After our descent, it was time for dinner at Berry Hall. At night, we attended a “Birds of Prey” discussion with a real great horned owl, named Stu and participated in one crazy campfire filled with songs and laughter. Bedtime arrived and was welcomed by our young campers.

The following morning, the class went on hike starting at 6:30 and in total darkness and finishing with a most gorgeous pink and purple sunrise. Following breakfast and some clean-up duties we attended two last interest groups: Rocks/Minerals and Insects/Spiders. During these activities, we identified rocks by their characteristics and we began to understand the intricate and complicated rock cycle. In addition, the class searched for arthropods and identified their unique characteristics, then had an arthropod race! Sadly, it was already time to head back to Bend (with a civilization stop at the Madras DQ). The 4th grade overnight trip was such a success! The class learned all about Geology and more, but more importantly they learned about each other. We are quite the close knit crew.

More news… 4th graders represented the Seven Peaks’ Elementary program on March 11th at the Battle of the Books Regionals Competition in Sisters, OR. The “Reading Rockstars” team, including Finley Chapple, Madeline Hall, Allison Holdredge, Tenner Reagan and Alicia Watson, competed against and beat 4th and 5th grade teams at Seven Peaks to qualify for the Regionals competition. The Reading Rockstars shone brightly at Regionals and made it to the 3rd round of the competition. Congratulations girls!

Music

Fourth grade has been diligently working on passing as many levels possible in our Recorder Karate unit.

Many of our 4th grade students have auditioned for and received speaking roles in our upcoming Spring Show called Summer Camp. Please encourage your student to practice their lines AND music at home via Canvas (click MUSIC from your homepage). We are very excited about this fun night, as in addition to our presentation, we will also be celebrating Beth Basham’s Retirement. Please add June 1 from 6:30-8:30 on your calendar now to join us for this very special evening.

Humanities

6th grade students have just finished an investigation of the three major monotheistic religions that culminated in a poster collage. Students conducted independent research and used creativity to show what they learned about these religions. The collage included symbols and creative images from all three religions, and answered inquiry questions such as “What can learning about other religions help us learn about people around the world?” When we return from Spring Break we continue our study of how belief systems can change the identity of a society.

Language Arts

The Central Oregon Regional Battle of the Books competition took place in Sisters, OR on March 11th. The following sixth graders competed:

Alex Laakmann, Lola Mora Moreno, Stella Hannagan, Kate Holdredge, (Luke Neilson competing with this team in the school wide battle but was unable to attend Regionals).

This sixth grade team, The Wisdom Warriors, made it to the 3rd round at regionals. The Wisdom Warriors beat seventh & eighth grade Seven Peaks teams to qualify for the Central Oregon Regional competition. Many thanks to Julie Zipper and Hazel Chapple for supporting the team!

Math

The 6th graders have done a wonderful job of with the last math unit! I am very pleased with their understanding around factoring and properties of exponents. We will take a short review unit into operations with fractions then continue on to Decimals, Percents and Proportions. This is probably my favorite math unit of the year. It will be a fantastic time.

Remember the Noetic Learning National Math test will be April 6th. We will be preparing for this after spring break and I know the students will do well.

Science

Science has been a blast lately. We have started an engineering unit and a “passion project.” Students have loved the hands on activities of building structures and testing them out. A good spring break project would be for students to build a structure that can hold as many books as possible. We did this in class and one group was able to get 11 math textbooks. Wow!!

The “Passion Project” is an activity in which is similar to Genius Hour. Students are able to pick a topic in which they want to learn more about. Students will be presenting their topic of research in mid-April.

Music

Our 6th grade students have been keeping busy in music this spring! Twice a week, students are expected to journal for 10 minutes on a given musical prompt – and reading their writing each month is a highlight for me – to see more inside their hearts and hear what drives them. It’s a privilege to teach these burgeoning young adults – thank you so much for sharing them with us here at SPS!

We completed our original Pop Opera, in which we wrote, directed, and scored a Pop Opera where the customer database of Sephora was hacked and our narrative was able to create a solution to their problem. Students worked in teams and did a beautiful job! Thank you to those parents that were able to join us for our performance.

We are now working on our stick routines, which we’ll showcase during our Middle School Spring Show on Thursday, May 25 at 2:00pm. Your students will be performing a variety of work that you’re sure to enjoy. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us!

 

Science

7th graders are finishing up My Future My Choice. The program went wonderfully this year, and I’m so impressed with the way students showed maturity during all the lessons. I encourage you to talk to your child about what they’ve learned during the 10 lesson series. When we return from Spring Break, we will be delving into an exploration of DNA and genetics. Students will participate in a research project about some simple dominant/recessive traits, and learn how traits are passed on from generation to generation. This is one of my favorite topics within science and I’m looking forward to sharing it with students! Have a great Spring Break!

Humanities

The seventh grade students are continuing to work on their historical character. The research they have conducted is being used to create a “character brochure” to express the interesting information of their character, focusing on a connection to the era. Students recently worked to write a brief connection to the era that was then placed on their brochure. This information is connected to Language Arts and Mrs. Holdredge’s classes. Students will be using the researched information to write a personal narrative based on their character. The personal narrative will be used in turn to create a skit connected to the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.

We are just now beginning learning about the Great Depression. There are many connections to current times we will be exploring especially how President Franklin Roosevelt led our country in a new direction. There are many current news articles about President Trump and his new directions that I will work to bring into discussion.

Parents, this is a great time to remind students of continuing their work ethic and best efforts in class until the end of the year. Please help support their education at home by checking in with them, keeping up with completed assignments, and being prepared for class. Thank you.

Language Arts

Al Capone. Coco Chanel. Babe Ruth. Mary Pickford. Who needs dry, dusty textbooks when we can bring the 1920s and ‘30s to life through engaging, inquiry-based, student-led activities? The kids are making great progress on their personal narratives, told from the point of view of the historical figure they’ve been researching in Humanities. This is such a fabulous project, in which the students not only show off their research-based knowledge but also see these famous men and women as real people and serve as a conduit for the voices of the past. Stay tuned after Spring Break for an invitation to the culminating skits the students will perform for your entertainment!

Parents, Mr. Conrad and I have conferenced with most of you but would love to see you one more time this spring. Our office hours are every Tuesday from 8:30-10:00, but we are flexible! Just let us know if you need a different time/day. Please click here to schedule a meeting: http://signup.com/go/b3j6Xe.

Math

Our annual Pi Day celebration was a huge success. This year the 7th grade students discovered how the number 3.1415926… is derived (the circumference of a circle divided by the diameter), some interesting facts about circles (why are manhole covers round), and some students participated in a contest to memorize the most digits of pi.  Oh and did I forget to mention the students also got to eat a few slices of pie.  Thank you to all those who helped make our celebration a success.

Music

7th grade is busy working on a variety of performance pieces in order to get ready for our Spring Show on Thursday, May 25th at 2:00pm. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for this fun and informational performance. This year, we’re adding bucket drumming – which has been a great way to learn rhythms and teamwork.

Students also recently completed their Composer research projects, where they put together Google slideshows sharing history, facts and famous works by their composers. We learned a lot and it’s a great exercise in assisting students with developing their academic writing skills as we study plagiarism, citing our works and how to utilize academic integrity in their writing.

Math

Our annual Pi Day celebration was a huge success. This year the 8th grade students  learned some interesting facts about circles (why are manhole covers round), some students participated in a contest to memorize the most digits of pi, and we sung Pi Day carols to the elementary school, middle school, and our wonderful office staff and administration.  Oh and did I forget to mention the students also got to eat a few slices of pie. Thank you to all those who helped make our celebration a success.

Humanities

The 8th grade students continue their work on the Cold War and building their website. If you haven’t already, be sure to have your son or daughter show you the site they are building with their teammate(s).

We recently had some fun composing a defense for false accusations. This is leading students to a summative writing where they must defend themselves before Joseph McCarthy. Students are also writing summaries of the different sections of our studies with a focus each time on the section and a relation to the statement of inquiry. This a great time for them to put into use the writing skills learned in Language Arts and supported here in Humanities. These types of writing assignments really put the skills learned in place and lead students to strengthen their critical thinking skills.

We will work to wrap up the facts and complete building the websites after Spring Break. We’ll next move into the Vietnam War that will take us to the end of the year.

Parents, this is a great time to remind students of continuing their work ethic and best efforts in class until the end of the year. Please help support their education at home by checking in with them, keeping up with completed assignments, and being prepared for class. Thank you.

Language Arts

Last week, we wrapped up our on-demand writing series. The 8th graders should feel very good about the work they’ve done in these demanding writing tasks. We’ve had some great discussions about high school (and the SAT) and engaged in hands-on activities to practice strategies for success in timed writing and working under pressure.

Speaking of stepping up to the next level, Mrs. Mulvihill shared a great resource with me that I wanted to pass along to you (see link below). Students are always asking me what book they should read next, and this page gives suggestions by genre that grow with the students’ reading level. Please note the asterisks denoting mature content on some of the higher-level selections.

http://readingandwritingproject.com/public/themes/rwproject/resources/booklists/Courses_of_Study_for_Teen_Readers.pdf

Science

8th graders have finished up an exciting study of Electricity and Magnetism with a mini-research project on renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. During this project, students researched the pros and cons of one for the 7 main energy sources, then created a short Google Slides presentation to share with the class. This promotes collaborative learning – students learning from each other and being able to share in the learning experience. I was also impressed with students’ ability to speak in front of a group and present their ideas clearly. Each student then formed an evidence-based argument on the “best” source of energy, and shared them with a small group. After we return from Spring Break we will start a unit on Light and Sound Waves!

Spanish

Our 8th grade Spanish students invited Mrs. Cauble’s Kindergarten class for their unique rendition of Los Tres Osos ( Goldilocks and The Three Bears). These upper class men and women showed leadership and creativity by putting on this fun play and entertaining our Kindergartners in Spanish! Lots of smiles and giggles were expressed by all.