Archive | May, 2013

School Board News: May 2013

The Honey Creek Board of Trustees met on Wednesday April 24, 2013.
Director’s Report: Al reviewed the overall Terra Nova scores and anticipates sending individual results home within the next couple of weeks. The first two middle school transition meetings were held 4/23. Al also shared the results of the CIMS (Continuous Improvement Monitoring System) report which was a survey of parents of children with IEPs. Age/Grade level placement for general and special education students was also discussed.
The Fund Development Committee continues on the process of gaining 501c3 status. The attorney is reviewing the information and will submit it to the IRS for approval. The committee is generating a fundraising letter which will be mailed to the HCCS community in May.
The Outreach Committee: Nina continues to work on the HCCS story with the ultimate goal to use the information for public relation purposes including a brochure as well as a power point presentation. This can be used for prospective parents as well as for fundraising. The plan is to make this a live document which can continue to be updated.
The Governance Committee reports the director’s evaluation will remain unchanged for this year and have completed a new evaluation for review.
There will be three vacancies on the Board for the 2012-2013 school year. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Kelly Krawcke at kkrawcke@umich.edu for additional information. Information and the application were sent via email in March and will be presented the week of 4/15/13.
Full minutes of the board meetings are available on the HCCS web site for review.
Respectfully submitted,
Kelly Krawcke, Secretary

Director’s Note: May 2013

Greetings all,
It is hard to believe that May is here and that there are only six weeks remaining in the school year, but these will be a very busy six weeks!
This Friday, May 3rd is Staff Recognition Day and students will be dismissed at noon. We will hold our Spring Curriculum Celebration from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on May 17, and our Spring Performance will take place from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on May 21. We will hold school board elections during the performance. If you are interested in running for a seat on our school board, please contact me.
TerraNova results arrived late last week, and I will be providing the community with aggregated results in the next few days. Individual results will be sent home in your child’s planner or Friday folder on Friday, May 10.
Enjoy the warm weather!

Middle School Math News: May 2013

The end of the year is coming quickly in Middle School Math.  All of the regular classes are working on geometry in one way or another – from the basics of what is a point to what is the volume and surface area of a pyramid.  Course 1 is currently finishing up their geometry unit with an exploration of three-dimensional shapes, wrapping up with a couple of reports on normal household 3-D items we use everyday.  Course 2 is taking geometry into right triangles and how the Pythagorean Theorem relates to them.  Course 3 is looking at transformational geometry – translations, reflections, rotations, and dilations.

In Algebra we are experimenting with the flipped learning style – this is where the students listen to videos and take notes at home and work in groups or with me on various problems in class.  This has allowed us to work a little more with the TI – Nspire, graphing our quadratic functions.  Quadratic functions and their graphs, parabolas, are the topic of discussion and exploration these days.

As the end of the year approaches we will all be preparing for a cumulative final.  Each class will be reviewing their old test and making notecards.  It’s a lot of material, but it’s good experience to prepare for high school.  Happy studying…

Art News: May 2013

Our last full month of school has begun, and we are working on the last couple of projects in all of our classes right now.  K/1 classes are working on a project inspired by Eric Carle, which involves painting and coloring several pieces of paper and creating cut-out shapes.  2/3 classes are learning about Wayne Thiebaud and his famous paintings of cakes.  They are learning the steps to draw several types of cakes using simple shapes and designs.  4/5 classes are finishing up their Jellyfish project, and will be starting a project on the planets and solar system soon.  Middle School is finishing up their unit on the art of India/Tibet with a project in which they design a glove in the same way that a henna artist works with mehndi designs on the hands and feet.  Elective is moving from their color project, to their sculpture project in the coming weeks.

Earlier last month, I announced that I would not be returning next school year so that I can pursue my graduate degree in art history at Wayne State and begin work writing for a Detroit-based music website.  It has been three years of hard work, wonderful learning experiences, and bonding with some of the most intelligent, respectful, and humorous students that I will ever come across, and I will never forget the kindness and generosity of the amazing community I have been able to work with.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart — not only have I enjoyed spending time with your students helping them learn about and create art, but I have genuinely enjoyed spending time getting to know them as the individuals and watching them grow and mature.  I am really looking forward to how much fun we are going to have this last month!

Middle School Social Studies News: May 2013

To wrap up our unit on Guatemala, students participated in a very intriguing debate, analyzing the United States’ decision to overthrow Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.  Some dressed like landless Mayan peasants, United Fruit executives, American citizens, CIA operatives and Arbenz himself.  We even had a student dress like a banana in first hour.
We are currently transitioning between units focusing on the role of government.  Students already analyzed the decisions in Guatemala; soon they will begin theorizing what a responsible government should do and whether or not our current government is meeting citizens’ expectations.  We will look at various types of governments, the uniqueness of the American democracy, and finally how special interests play a part in the decision-making process.  This is a completely new unit for me, but one that seems very relevant.

Later Elementary News: May 2013

It’s spring, and in our voyage through this year, spring brings us to the long journey of writing.  In language arts, each class has gathered research for individual student biography projects.  Students are now busy turning this information into polished biographies and planning how to “be” their figure for our wax museum showcase on May 17 (be on the lookout for more information!).  This writing process, as well as the one students are going through writing their literary analysis of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, has really pushed students to identify ways to strengthen their writing.

For literature, students are also working on science fiction book projects at home.  There will be some amazing work at this month’s curriculum celebration!  In class, everyone is preparing to read another science fiction book with a smaller literature circle.

In science student are continuing the journey through the Human Body!  We’ve been learning about the digestive system, nervous system, respiratory system and its close relationship with the circulatory system.  We’ve had some experiments as well as some non-fiction reading, but the best part has been the awesome guest speakers who have been willing to give up a whole morning to speak to each class about their area of expertise!  The experiments we will be running connect science to mathematics through use of graphing, averaging, measuring and finding proportions.  We’re also connecting language arts through non-fiction reading about different aspects of the human body, and special topics related to the system we are studying.  Through it all, we talk about our body at the cellular level – seeing it as a group of systems that work together to create a larger system, and relating that to our other science studies this year!

The Math III focus has really been a journey of “why.”  Why can you work this operation and why does it work?  We’ve just completed a thorough, albeit long journey through fractions and algebra through inequalities and one step problems.  We are moving onto a quick study of ordered pairs and how to use them to graph a simple equation.  We’ll move into a study of measurement and geometry to round out the year.

Social Studies classes have been working in three large groups (spanning the base classes,) to continue their understanding of the three cultures which influenced the growth of the early Americas.  Students have been creating large maps of the different continents and making connections in respect to the fundamental building blocks of culture: geography, resources, and belief systems.  They have planned various ways of showcasing those connections, as well as some of their more in-depth research into those cultures, for the Curriculum Celebration in mid-May. When all is finished, it will be a project of truly global proportions.

We can’t wait to see everyone on May 18!


PTO News: May 2013

We are still looking for a SECRETARY for next year’s PTO Executive Committee. The Secretary is responsible for taking minutes at all meetings, maintaining a permanent file of meeting minutes, sending out correspondence as needed, and taking care of other paperwork as needed. Executive Committee members have one additional meeting per month, to organize information and to plan for the all-school meetings. The co-Chair, Chair, and the Treasurer also serve on the committee.

We would like to vote in the new officers at the May meeting. Vacancies are filled by a majority vote of members present at the meeting.

April has been an intense Earth and Science month for the PTO. In addition to Earth Day, the Science Olympiad, and the STEM Fair, the NASA team has won first place for the 9th grade level, large team division. (3 divisions per grade level, 7th – 12th). This is a national competition, through NASA and the National Space Society.  The team – composed of current Honey Creek Students Zoe Jackson, Evan Fortson, and Patrick Quinn and HCCS alumni Laria Reynolds, Kaya Kurdak, Alex Quinn, Matthew Koziol, and Will Brighton – has been invited to attend the International Space Development Conference in San Diego and present their project at the conference.

Earth Day: We had a wonderful Earth Day, with collaboration and participation from all of the teachers, from the school staff and administration, from the PTO committees, and from a hoard of volunteer parents. This was a gigantic effort, and we appreciate everyone’s help and contributions over the past year. In particular, thank you Jody Klein for making it all come together, the Middle School team for running Save the Recycling, Andy for the obstacle course, Doug and Bill for setting up and taking down, then setting up and taking down again, and the 34 additional parents and teachers who volunteered their Friday to make it work.

Science Olympiad: Honey Creek teams had a great time again this year at the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad. Students and coaches worked hard for the months leading up to the Olympiad, with fifteen teams learning about architecture, aerodynamics, birds, circuits, chemistry, space, rockets, and more. We’d like to give a huge thanks to Sara Brintnall for coordinating the Honey Creek effort, to Karen Andrews for a huge commitment to coaching and support, and to all of the coaches, students, and families whose hours of effort paid off in fun and knowledge.

STEM Fair: Congratulations to all the kids (and parents) who participated in the 4th Honey creek STEM Fair, for their creativity, scientific curiosity, and hard work! We had an amazing array of STEM fair projects, from dissolution tests to video games to investigations on mummies, microscopic minerals, invasive species, volcanoes, oil spills, geocaching and all sorts of engineering marvels, science experiments, and many more. A huge thank you to all the wonderful members of the STEM Committee and Honey Creek community who worked so hard to make the STEM fair happen: Serena Poli, Nadine Wang, Karen and Tim Andrews, Bruce Worden and Vanessa Mayesky, Bill VanLoo, Adam Druckman, Alicia Schuster, Al, Shellee, Karen, and Doug. We also couldn’t have done it without the many volunteers who signed up to help run the fair itself and to help make the potluck a success. Thank you!


Mark your calendars:

• Bagel Fridays: Relax with breakfast at the school on Friday mornings (or the last school day of the week). Bagels, cream cheese juice, and SCRIP.  Oh, my!

• May PTO Meeting: Friday, May 10th, 8:30-10:30 AM

If you would like to add an item to the PTO meeting agenda or have a concern with which the PTO may be able to help, please contact the PTO Chair, Mike Birdsall, m.g.birdsall@mbirdsall.com, or co-Chair Catie Wells, cgbwells@gmail.com.

STEM Committee News: May 2013

Congratulations to all our Honey Creekers who participated in the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad.  This science olympiad is the largest in the country and we are so proud of the effort put forth by our Honey Creek team. Special congrats go to our medalists, Fourth Grade On Target:  Katharine Andrews, Kate Meader & Jackson Brintnall and Third Grade Aerodynamics team:  Elliot Algase and Jack Wells.  Thank you to all the parent volunteers and coaches who also made this day possible.
Congratulations also to all the kids (and parents) who participated in the 4th Honey creek STEM Fair on Friday, April 26 for their creativity, scientific curiosity, and hard work! We had an amazing array of STEM fair projects, from dissolution tests to video games to investigations on mummies, microscopic minerals, invasive species, volcanoes, oil spills, geocatching and all sorts of engineering marvels, science experiments, and much more.
A huge thank you to all the wonderful members of the STEM Committee and Honey Creek community who worked so hard to make the STEM fair happen, to all the volunteers who helped during the fair, and to the Honey Creek staff who contributed to make this event a success.

Middle School Language Arts News: May 2013

April was Poetry Month, right?  And we kicked it off properly with studying both classic and contemporary poems, and even worked to imitate some of the masters.  What’s coming up?  Come to the cafeteria during curriculum celebration to see student productions of Romeo and Juliet (condensed), and look for a link in your email in late May to purchase your own copy of the middle school poetry anthology.  Spring is in the air, indeed!

Wellness Committee News: May 2013

Edible Garden 
The 4/5 students planted seeds in seed trays on April 11 with the help of parent volunteers Sara Brintnall & Deb Lentz. The seedlings are shooting up like crazy in the green house and may even need to be transplanted in larger containers before they can be planted in the garden. The students also planted beans, squash, and popcorn seeds for the Native American custom of the “3 Sisters” Garden, which will be transplanted into the A-wing garden. A work day was held on Sunday, April 14 to help prep the gardens for planting. Several Honey Creek families cleaned out the playground garden and the A-wing garden just in time for planting.
Earth Day 

Thank you to all of our wonderful parent volunteers and our fabulous staff as well who put extra effort into helping make Earth Day a wonderful day for our children!!!  It would not have been possible without each and every one of you!!! Michigan artist/entertainer Joel Schoon Tanis and his partner Steven spent the day with our kids to help them celebrate Earth Day.

During the day our children ran an obstacle course, created sculptures with recycling, cleaned up the school yard habitat, learned about oil spills, played Save the Recycling (Capture the Flag), participated in a game show with Steve, and wrote Earth Day pledges directly onto the painting boards. Joel took the Earth Day pledge boards and made two paintings out of them. The first painting shows our children’s ideas coming together and taking root as a young tree. The second painting is the completed tree, symbolizing what we can accomplish when we all work together. Al and Jody discussed how nice it would be to have the paintings framed before they are placed in the main entrance. Please email Jody at jodyscout@gmail.com if you can help in any way with getting them framed.

Farm to School/Try It Thursday

The April 11 Farm to School feature was mixed greens with strawberry vinaigrette. The greens came from Ferris Farms in Dixboro. The following week the mixed greens were put in the salad bar and prepared steamed with dressing for Try it Thursday. Because of our cool spring, rhubarb will not be ready for the previously scheduled Farm to School day on May 2. Therefore we’ll wait a week and serve the featured veggie, rhubarb, on May as a tea with sweetener.

Fruit & Veggie Bowls – Bananas were provided by WC the week of April 22.

Wellness Committee Meeting –  Please join us for the end-of-the-school-year off-site wrap-up meeting on Friday evening, June 7. Location TBA. Please contact Jane Pacheco (janeden@sbcglobal.net) or Deb Lentz (tantrefarm@hotmail.com) if you are interested in joining us.

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