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Archive | October, 2013

Director’s Note: October 2013

Dear Families,
        One of my greatest pleasures is to walk through the classrooms and see so many students actively engaged in learning, and my observations lead me to conclude that there is much learning going on. Based on the number of you who turned out on curriculum night, I know this learning is being supported at home, and I encourage you to follow up with your child’s teacher should you ever have any concern.
      One concern that has already been brought to my attention is parking lot safety. There are a few things that each of us can do to increase the safety for all of our building users. First, the speed limit on campus is fifteen miles per hour. As we have many small children entering and leaving the building throughout the day, it is important not to exceed that limit. Most of us can remember a time when an impulsive three or four year old broke away from us, only to run into the street. Also, I’ve noticed cars parked directly over the crosswalk at the front of the building. This requires pedestrians to walk outside of the crosswalk, and it restricts access to the building for our friends in wheelchairs.  If you need to leave your car at any time, please park in the lot. We have handicapped students from many other schools brought to High Point throughout the day, and the bus lane must remain clear to provide them with safe access. Finally, during pick-up hour, we have many children moving between and among cars. Some of these children are not tall enough to be seen as they pass between parked cars. Please exercise extra caution when leaving the pick-up line.
I’d also like to remind you that our annual walk/run-a-thon is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This PTO sponsored event supports both school and PTO activities. I’ll look forward to seeing you there.
All the best,
Al

PTO News: October 2013

The PTO meets on the second Friday of every month at 8:30, in the Pit.

Every member of the Honey Creek community is welcome to participate, at any level and at any time.  There are many ways to get involved, and you do not have to be present at the monthly meetings.  To learn more, contact a Theme Committee, ask your room parent, or visit the PTO website: http://honeycreekpto.wordpress.com/ .

At the September meeting, we heard about Theme Committee plans, reviewed upcoming fall fundraising activities and events, and discussed the annual PTO budget proposed for 2013-14.  This year’s budget is very tight and a new method of presenting and tracking budget items has been proposed.  The proposed budgets are on the PTO website and we are asking for comments there.  If you cannot attend the meeting, we would still like your feedback.  We will be voting on the finalized budget at the October meeting, as well as a new Co-Chair, and urge everyone to come to the meeting if you can.

The Theme Committees – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Wellness, and Fine Arts – assist the Honey Creek community by planning and implementing enrichment activities and events.  Examples include Try It-Thursday and the Harvest Dinner by the Wellness Committee, Lunch with an Expert and the STEM Fair by the STEM Committee, and a Fine Arts Fair and extra field trips by the Fine Arts Committee.  To become involved with one or more of the committees,   contact Deb Lentz or Jane Pacheco (Wellness), Karen Andrews (STEM), or Sherri Borer (Fine Arts).

While it is impossible to acknowledge everyone who has contributed, we’d like to thank Laurie-Anne Boldrin and Rick Meader, for organizing the Summer Picnic, and Matt Cyrulnik, who is continuing to run Bagel Sales.  Thank you, also, to Angie Tracey, who again organized the Walk’N-Run-A-Thon, and to all the room parents, who have been handling signups for classroom needs and activities, planned grade level potlucks, and organized the Middle School Dance.

UPCOMING PTO EVENTS

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 and juice, OH MY! There are also toasters available for use.

• October PTO Meeting: Friday, October 11, 8:30-10:30 AM

• Fall Festival: Friday, October 25, 6-8 PM.  Planning is underway!  Help the middle school students make a fabulous haunted house, design and run activity tables and games,or talk to STEM about their pumpkin trebuchet.  Contact Fall Festival Chair Ann Kovacs if you would like to help.

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, Catie Wells, cgbwells@gmail.com.

STEM Committee News: October 2013

The purpose of the STEM Committee includes providing curricular support for teachers and enrichment activities for students.  Another goal this year is to respond to the request we received from the faculty to focus more of our enrichment activities on the “M” (mathematics) in STEM this year; this also aligns with items discussed in Al’s “Focus School” letter.
Our plan to meet these goals for this school year’s activities includes variety of fun activities.  We will continue the successful “Lunch with an Expert” series, and are currently seeking experts from the Honey Creek community to come in and share their professional expertise with the students.  We will also be providing the wildly popular Trebuchet and Pumpkin launching at the Fall Festival again this year.  Additional activities include supporting the Honey Creek Science Olympiad (WESO) team, Pi Day (3/14/14) fun, math-focused games and events, and our flagship event, the STEM Fair & Guest Speaker Assembly on 5/2/14.
We have an active committee thus far this year, including new family members with students in K/1, and would welcome new members!

Scrip News: October 2013

The new year is well in progress and the Scrip booth has been busy.  In addition to the normal method of scrips card purchases, Honey Creek has instituted a new online method to request gift cards through SignUpGenius.com, which everyone subscribed to the [hccs-all] mailing list should have received. A full listing of all the cards available is posted at the following website: http://www.glscrip.com/shop/Search.aspx?SearchType=2. We are working on a large binder of these cards as well as their percentage returns for display at the scrip booth. If anyone has a particular card request from this overall list or would like a hardcopy order form similar to the SignUpGenius list, please contact Jennifer Alexander at jenaalex@gmail.com. She has plans to put together a new bulk order in the coming weeks, so get any special requests in soon!

Wellness Committee News: October 2013

The Wellness Committee started the school year off with Farm to School Day on Sept. 19, featuring tastes from the school’s own garden (tomatoes and basil) along with supplements from Tantre Farm with a delicious Caprese Salad.  Our next Farm to School day will be Oct. 3, featuring Pumpkins with our samples being Pumpkin Smoothies.  A local pumpkin grower will also be available for fun, questions, and activities.  Please “Save the Date” for our Harvest Dinner Fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 25.  Alex Young from the Zingerman’s Roadhouse will be cooking up another delicious meal for us this year.  More information will come soon.  Watch your email for future Wellness meeting dates. The October meeting will be determined soon.

Early Elementary News: October 2013

Early Elementary classrooms are off to a great start. This year, our theme is “How Things Work”.  We will use this theme to help our students develop an understanding of what systems are, how they work, and how one part of a system affects the rest of the system. We call this “teaching for understanding” and use the theme to develop our students’ broad understanding of concepts that they can then apply to all areas of their learning, rather than teaching them facts in isolation.

We began the year learning about “How I Work”. Students are learning about themselves and each other, and sharing what is special about their families. In the beginning of the year we also spend a lot of time on community-building activities and learning how to get along and work out differences using “I Statements” and “S-O-S” (Story-Options-Solution) conflict resolution.

Next we will move into a unit called “How My School Works”, in which we will explore our school community, discuss rules, democracy, and fairness. In “How My Community Works” we will learn about food systems—how food is produced, prepared, and distributed. In preparation for this we will be going on a field trip to Tantré Organic Farm, owned by Honey Creek parents Richard Andres and Deb Lentz. After examining food issues at school, our students will develop an Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) project related to healthy food at Honey Creek.

The year will end with “How the World Works”, in which we will delve into the science of how the physical world works, concluding with a unit on inventors and a field trip to Greenfield Village. We are looking forward to an exciting year!

Later Elementary News: October 2013

Welcome to Later Elementary, 2013-2014!  As the new year is beginning, we are working on getting our website up-to-date.  We will send out an e-mail when the website is set, but you may feel free to check at any time.  On the website, we have included a link for classroom wish lists.  At this point, you should have received an e-mail from our room parents about fruit bowl sign ups. If you haven’t had any e-mails come through, let us know and we will check that your e-mail is on the classroom lists.   A huge thanks to our room parents for all the time and effort they have already put into helping us make this year extra special for your children!

We’ve been working on getting to know our classes, HCRR and team building, projects, and setting up expectations for classrooms, hallways, and other places that the children are frequently visiting.  We have also been working on getting academic assessments done so we can best meet the needs of each student.  Look for content overviews in next month’s newsletter!
A reminder that the Run-Walk-a-thon is coming up on Sept 28th.  We would like to see lots of later elementary student and parent participation!  The school-wide participation we have had this far has been fantastic, but we’d like to see more 4/5 kids involved.  You don’t need to spend the whole day, or walk the entire 10 miles, but any piece of time you can give to the event makes a difference.  Get a few pledges, walk a few laps, and help us raise money for our school!

Middle School Language Arts News: October 2013

Middle schoolers have been busy writing vignettes in classroom M3.  While reading the novel, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, students are examining what makes Esperanza who she is while also taking a close look at who they are.  We’ve had some really great discussions, and I am looking forward to seeing our own collections of vignettes come to life.  It’s been a great start to the school year.

Middle School Math News: October 2013

Welcome back to Honey Creek! or for the new families in middle school, Welcome to Honey Creek.  There is a lot planned for your students this year, especially in math (says the math teacher).  Your students have been placed in their math class and classes began once we returned from Camp Tamarack.  There were a number of considerations used to help place your child in the appropriate level of math.  One was a pre-assessment that they took the first week of school, to find out what they remember from their previous experiences.  Another was the recommendation from their previous teacher (which is me, except for the 6th graders). Lastly, I looked at results of two standardized test; MEAP and Terra Nova.  There are four different levels of math in the middle school: Course 1, Course 2, Course 3, and Algebra.
To find out what your child will be covering in math this year please take a moment to look around the Middle School Mathematics website, honeycreekschool.org/ms/mathematics.  You will find the classroom expectations, as well as each course’s outline.  You will also find the homework posted on your specific course site each day we have class.  Throughout the year I hope you and your child will find the online textbook site helpful as well, my.hrw.com.  To get on the textbook website you will need a user name (ahully) and password (s8v2).  This is not posted on the middle school website since it is a public site, but your child should have it written in at least three different places – their planner, math folder, and math composition notebook.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at cwauer@hc.wash.k12.mi.us.  Looking forward to a great year with lots of learning going on!

Technology News: October 2013

2/3 Technology

It has been a great start to the year in 2/3 technology so far! In our first session, we started with the question, “What is technology?” Students learned about our iPad cart, and used the iPads to do a video recording of each other answering that question.

2/3 Technology - September 2013

 

We’ve also done some more work towards building an understanding of what technology is by doing a drawing with pencil & paper, then doing the same drawing with a computer program. This allows us to compare & contrast between the two sets of tools and experiences.
2/3 Technology - September 2013

2/3 Technology - September 2013

 

4/5 Technology

4/5 Technology has seen our students growing and learning about the various types of technology we use here at Honey Creek. The 4/5 classes have started using a service called ClassDojo, which is a system for keeping track of students’ behavior and participation. Students got a chance to see it in action, and created their own logins and avatars. It was a lot of fun!

Example ClassDojo screenshot
Example ClassDojo screenshot

Our 4/5 students have also been getting up to speed with their Google Apps accounts, which allow them to use Google Drive and other services. They’ll be using these throughout their work in 4/5s during this year.

We’ll be starting our first major project in the next few weeks after doing a quick overview of using iMovie on the iPads, which makes for an extremely useful and easy way to shoot and edit video on the fly.

Middle School Technology

The Middle School technology classes jump straight into their first major project for the year in week 1. Each student is creating their own video diary based on their experience at Camp Tamarack (or, for those who did not attend camp, based on another memorable experience). This project is done in conjunction with the autobiographical/narrative writing unit in Language Arts, since there are major themes that overlap.

During the first week of class, students learned about the project and did a quick engineering design activity. While we were at camp, we shot a total of 2,143 photos and videos, the majority of which were taken by the students!

Each student is now using Google Drive and iMovie to sort, organize and edit these video clips and photos into a cohesive narrative describing their experience. We’ll be working on this for the next month or so.

MS Technology Elective – Web Design

The Middle School technology elective for Semester 1 is Web Design. Students enrolled in this elective will be learning the basics of designing and programming a Web site.  So far, we’ve started learning HTML and CSS, and students will be continuing to grow these skills as we progress further.

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