Archive | February, 2013

After School Programs News: February 2013

After School Programs

ON-SITE EXTENDED DAY STUDENT CARE WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE FOLLOWING “EARLY DISMISSAL & NO SCHOOL DAYS:” February 8th; March 1st & 8th; April 26th; and May 3rd.  Please register ONE WEEK BEFORE in order to receive the Early Bird Discount.  Also, please remember that you MUST give us 48-hour WRITTEN notice to cancel any pre-registered care without being held financially responsible.


REMINDER: NO ON-SITE STUDENT CARE DURING BREAKS OR ON CERTAIN HOLIDAYS.  This includes:  February 18th-22nd; April 1st-5th; May 27th; and June 12th.


SPECIAL CLUBS.  There are still openings for the following after school special clubs:






Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons Music Lessons
Spanish=FULL Italian Black Belt RECESS=FULL Chess
Basketball K-3 Art K-3 Art 4-8 Speed Stackers  
  Swim Lessons Daisies/Brownies    
  Basketball 4-8 Dance Team (4-8)    

Please pick up a registration form from the after school programs bulletin board down the hall from the parent mailboxes.  We are still working on offering the following clubs and activities (please contact us at afterschool@hc.wash.k12.mi.us if you or someone you know is interested in coaching/teaching a special club or activity):


4H, Ballet, Baseball, Breakdancing, Campfire, Capoeira, Chinese, Cooking, Crafts, Dance (K-3), Drums, Eco-Maniacs, Electronic Music, Football, French, Garden, German, Girls on the Run, Guys on the Go, Gymnastics, Harp, Hip Hop, History Club, Knitting, Open Swim, Orchestra, Photography, Pilates, Rocks & Robots, Rockets, Sewing, Skateboarding, Spanish (K-2 & MS), Spiral Scouts, Soccer (K-8), Study Skills, Tap Dance, Tech, Tennis, Theater, Tutoring, Writing, Yoga, Youth In Government, Zumba,


PLEASE CARE WHAT YOU WEAR.  Recess will be outside everyday.  Except for hazardous weather conditions (lightning, severe storms, wind chill below -10° F), we will always go outside for recess.  There is limited indoor space that allows the children opportunities to move around energetically.  Children should always dress for the weather.  Students must wear snow pants, boots, coat, hat or hood, and mittens or gloves in order to play in the snow and sled.  Students should also wear appropriate rain gear (raincoats and galoshes) on warmer, wet days.

Technology News: February 2013

In 2/3 technology, students finished up their “All About Me” presentations with Google Docs. They have been very excited about making a project that captures who they are and what they are interested in, and have been sharing these with me using the collaboration features of Google Docs. They also completed a short unit building their understanding of how to do Web-based research (finding a site or image, saving the Web address to get back to that resource, etc). We will be starting our Boat Design unit soon, which ties in to the 2/3 Science curriculum.

In the 4/5 technology classes, students have finished their “Pure Michigan” ads. Students wrote poems during Language Arts time, and recorded themselves reading these poems aloud using our USB microphones and GarageBand. They also searched the Web for images that relate to the Michigan place their poems are about, and built their final movies in iMovie, pulling these images, sounds and words together. We are about to start an exciting new hands-on project called Vibrobots in the new semester!

The Middle School technology classes finished our inquiry- based lesson dealing with the local businesses near Honey Creek, and are beginning a new engineering design-based project in which they will be designing, building, and testing solar-powered vehicles. There are nice tie-ins to science and math in this unit as well, and I am really excited about seeing what the students create!

In the Middle School technology elective, we wrapped up the Appropriate Technology elective, and are beginning our Assistive Technology unit. Students will be working on and learning about how technology can help people overcome physics or other challenges. We’re planning on partnering with a Honey Creek parent who works with patients at U-M hospital, building video games that challenge them to exercise muscles and regain flexibility during occupational therapy. We are also hoping to partner with some of the High Point classrooms.

Music News: February 2013

Music classes at Honey Creek sure are making some beautiful sounds! The K-1’s are learning about music and movement as well as identifying ta, ti-ti, rest, and So, Mi, Do singing. This past week in the words of one K-1 student, “It was da bomb,” as they got to play small hand instruments for the first time. They can now identify a hand drum, tambourine, triangle, claves, and wood block. 2-3 and 4-5 students are working on learning to play recorders. This week 2-3 students learned a G and are going to be able to play everyone’s favorite, “Hot Cross Buns”. 4-5 students have sailed passed the first three notes and are about to learn C and D. They are sounding wonderful and are so excited to play. Band 1 students are continuing to work through the lesson book and learn even more difficult music. This week they are learning the Mexican Hat Dance which is always a favorite tune. Band 2 students are working on playing together as a band and developing a good middle school band sound. We are concentrating our efforts on scales and warm-ups, and the brass players are practicing chop builders to help them reach the higher notes. Choir students have just begun a new semester with new students. They just had voice placements and this week will begin reading music and working toward part singing and sounding like a choir.

Middle School Language Arts News: February 2013

In middle school Language Arts, we wrapped up literary essay writing just before curriculum celebration and started working on persuasive essays.  Students learned how to use the MeL databases to find articles to support their point, and they are working on different outlining techniques to organize the information that they found.  Watch out…  they may start to argue well…  and with supporting information.

This work will lead us up to Mid Winter Break, and we will start reading Romeo and Juliet when we return in March!

Middle School Math News: February 2013

In Course 1 the third unit will cover computing with decimal and percent, so we have been reviewing decimals and operations with decimals for the past couple of weeks.  Making the connection between fractions, decimals, and percents is definitely helpful in everyday life.

After learning about ratios and proportions Course 2 has been exploring the different ways we use them.  We will be beginning a project with dilation next week.

Course 3 has been working with exponents; properties of exponents, ways to use them in scientific notation and the Pythagorean Theorem.  We also had a first introduction to radicals (square roots)… more fun than one can stand!

Algebra has been putting to practice all they learned about linear equations in the last unit while working with Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities, what they are and how to solve them.  Once again, they just love the graphing 🙂

Middle School Science News: February 2013

The middle school takes a “journey into the body” as we look to understand both the form and function of how we are set up.  More than what each part of the body does, we will use the science of medicine and nutrition to help us diagnose some of the issues facing society today.  We will turn this into a service-learning opportunity to help our community to become more aware of our health and what we can do to foster more positive behaviors.  If you are a health professional and interested in helping out as a source of information, please feel free to email me (jbaek@hc.wash.k12.mi.us).

Middle School Social Studies News: February 2013

During this unit we will be journeying side-by-side with Hernan Cortez and other Spanish conquistadors as they approached the Aztec Empire in the early part of the sixteenth century.  The whole unit is designed in an “If you were there…” format where students share what they would have done in particular scenarios, either as Cortes, Montezuma or other major players.  This type of involvement – asking students to put themselves in the position of historical figures – has worked exceptionally well in the past.  It forces them to think and keeps their engagement.  Hindsight is easy, however, and we’re sure not to judge too heavily, at least without as much information as possible.

Throughout the unit students will be analyzing primary and secondary sources, maps, and military strategies.

Later Elementary News: February 2013

Later elementary has been busy!  With January being a short month because of  winter break and MLK day, and February being short because of mid-winter break, we’re cramming in all we can!  February 6 will be a great field trip to downtown Ann Arbor that will cover much of the 4/5 curriculum from science, social studies, art and math!  We’re really looking forward to it!


In Later Elementary Science, we have been rocking right through the Earth’s systems, and now into fossils and geologic time.  The kids are fascinated with rocks and minerals, I have loved seeing so many parts of collections come in.  We have had three speakers, Dr. Van Der Voo, a geophysicist, from the University of Michigan, Mr. John Krispin and Mr. Peter Collins from Barrett Paving and Dr. Serena Poli, a micropaleontologist at Eastern Michigan University.  We have started talking about the types of fossils that form and what can become a fossil.  We’ll be moving to learning what those fossils can tell us through the clues they leave behind about the past.  This will weave into the concept of geological time, which we have been talking about all along.  The only constant thing about the Earth is change!

As soon as we complete these topics, we’ll be starting our Human Body unit.  If you have offered to speak, look for an e-mail soon, looking to book a date.  If you would like to work with our children in this unit, I’d love to hear from you!  I’m looking forward to starting this new Journey into our human being!



In literature students are continuing to read Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  Students are asking great questions and have already gotten a lot from the first three chapters of the book.  Look for weekly homework assignments that ask students to reflect on the reading and/or find specific quotes or examples from the text.  This helps students develop necessary comprehension, inference-finding and skimming skills that will help them a great deal as they continue their school experiences.



Social Studies classes are delving deep, (and we mean deep,) into history:  back 28,000 years B.C. to the migration of our first Native Americans across North America.  19,000 years in the making, we are studying their cultures and their abilities to adapt to the Colombian Exchange.  This unit also covers the basics of European culture and explores reason why, in the 15th century, there was an explosion of activity in global social and economic expansion.  Finally, we bridge two cultures of this ‘New World’ by learning about the cultures of West Africa, and how the influence of the slave trade shaped our nation.


Across the curriculum- from Language Arts to Science, Social Studies to Math- 4/5 is the grade level where the expectations, and indeed the amount of material covered, makes an enormous leap.  While it is a big step up, we have noticed that our students have really tried their best in these academic and social growth challenges.  We do hope you have noticed the growth as much as we have!  We also hope that you share our belief that even though there are at times growing pains involved with transition and change, that they are learning… learning to try new things, learning to push themselves more, learning from mistakes, and reveling in triumphs…

We look forward to sharing some of these learning experiences with you at conferences in early March.

Middle Elementary News 2013

With report cards just being sent out, we wanted to make you aware of the standards we use to report on several areas in reading and math. While the three 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms aren’t always doing the same thing on the same day, we work really hard to have common standards and assessments for all of our students. All of HCCS has recently been involved in some vertical alignment among the K-8 levels, and Mary, Salli and Tammy continue to incorporate this into horizontally aligning our three classrooms.


To ensure that our readers meet the end-of-the-year reading standards (Level P in 2nd grade and Level T in 3rd), we developed a new scale for marking students as E (exceeding grade-level expectations), 1 (meeting grade-level expectations), 2 (making progress to meet grade-level expectations) and 3 (area of concern) . You will be able to read more about this on your child’s report card.

Seeing a “3” on a report card is not easy, but we want you to be aware of where your child is in relation to grade-level expectations. When looking at reading levels, it is important to compare the January report card level to the reading level your student had at the beginning of the year. If your child has moved from a D to an I, for example, this is fantastic progress, even if your child received 3 on his or her report card. As readers continue on down the alphabetical scale, progress happens more slowly. For example, the expectations for a 2nd grade reader are to move from J to P (six levels) and for a 3rd grader are to move from P to T (four levels).

Similar alignment is taking place in math and the new Common Core State Standards have changed a bit in the area of operations. 2nd graders need to fluently add and subtract within 20 and have all sums of two-digit numbers memorized by the end of the year and 3rd graders need to fluently multiply and divide within 100 and have all products of two-digit numbers memorized by the end of the year. If a student hasn’t memorized math facts up through 5+9 or 5×9, they earned a 3 on the related area on the report cards (addition for 2nd graders and multiplication for 3rd graders).

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns after reviewing your child’s report card. Also, please check the weekly updates to your child’s classroom blog for current information.
A9 is still collecting clean, plastic bottle caps for an eco- art project.  We will be collecting through April, 2031. Please drop in the bag outside of A9.  Thank you! 

Early Elementary News: February 2013

K-1 is finishing up the Fairness Unit in our current thematic unit “My Journey through the Community.” This portion of the larger unit provided a deeper context for the meaning and celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The children will next explore “Resource Use”, in which they learn how people get what they need to live from the environment and how our actions affect the environment and our community.

Additionally, we are continuing with work we began in our last unit “My Journey Through School.” Children made their way through the school, made observations about what they saw, and proposed some potential service projects they could carry out this year to improve their school community. The children discussed the merits of their ideas and choose several projects they will carry out with their class. Planting more in the Edible Garden, improving our wooded trails, and improving the appearance of our hallways are a few of the projects we are planning.

In math we are finishing up a unit on problem-solving strategies, and we will next begin a unit on place value and measurement. Additionally, both kindergarteners and first graders are developing fluency with math facts.

In language arts we continue to use structures such as writing workshop, reading workshop, word study, read aloud, and handwriting during our literacy blocks to introduce and reinforce skills.

The children just finished presenting book projects where they were required to identify fictional story elements and retell key details of a fictional text. Nonfiction retelling will be the focus of our next book projects. In writing workshop, the children will begin writing nonfiction in the form of “How to” and “All About” books as well.

New to our curriculum this year due to the change to the Common Core Standards is a focus on language in terms of spoken and written conventions. We will begin introducing mini-lessons twice a week during the word study portion of our literacy blocks to address these new goals. Children will be documenting their work and progress with these goals in a language notebook that will be sent home at the end of the year.

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