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Middle School Teacher Joe Griffith Receives Education Excellence Award

Joe Griffith, Honey Creek’s middle school Social Studies instructor, has been recognized for his work on Homelessness and Microeconomics with an Education Excellence Award, given by the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and SET SEG School Insurance Specialists. The Education Excellence Award recognizes original, innovative programs that positively affect student achievement. Homelessness and Microeconomics aims to raise awareness, challenge students’ views on society, alleviate stereotypes and provide an opportunity for students to participate in activities that help to better the community.

Director’s Report for December, 2011


With cold and snowy weather setting in, our students are wearing and losing quite a bit
of clothing. Our Lost and Found is located on the coat racks in the hallway outside the
cafeteria, and if you have walked by it lately, you’ve probably noticed that numerous
articles of clothing are added to it each day. Please take some time during the next two
weeks to look through the Lost and Found for any clothing your child may have
misplaced. While it is unfortunate, we cannot continue to store all of the clothing that has
not been claimed. We need to make room for all of the clothing that will be lost in the next
few months. Therefore, any clothing that is not claimed by December 21 will be donated to

I’d also like to make you aware of our upcoming events. On December 15 we will be
holding our annual Holiday Craft Sale as well as our Winter Performance. The
performance is scheduled from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Our Curriculum Celebration will be held
on January13 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

We will also be holding two enrollment meetings in January. Meetings begin at 5:30 pm
on January 17 and January 23 and generally run about two hours. If you know a family
that is interested in enrolling a child in Honey Creek, please urge them to attend one of
these meetings, as it is the first step in our enrollment process.

Have a healthy and safe holiday season!


MS Social Studies update for December, 2011

In Social Studies we are in the heart of the Cambodia unit, studying life under the Khmer Rouge. Students are learning about five aspects of daily life: evacuation of Phnom Penh, work, food/sickness, propaganda and terror. Each class has aspects of both political and social history and is filled with stories from firsthand accounts, cartoons, songs and activities. Students are being asked on a daily basis to simulate the experience of the average Cambodian under the regime by making decisions about work, food, resistance and survival. If they do well, they will see rewards for our next project called “Building a Dwelling,” which will be introduced at the end of December. The Life Under the Khmer Rouge project is due December 16th. Some of the best work I’ve ever seen has come from this project, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the kids produce.

Also in the middle of December, I hope to get some guest speakers in from U of M to discuss modern Cambodia and the citizens’ struggle to deal with its violent past. In an ideal world, we’ll get a Khmer Rouge survivor to come in and speak, but I have not had much luck connecting with her this year.

Finally, parents, you are more than welcome to join us at the Curriculum Celebration where the Middle School will be putting on a Khmer Rouge simulation. Afterwards, we’ll have a question and answer session so that you can truly gauge their level of understanding of this country’s history.

Media Center update for November, 2011

The Media Center has been a busy place this fall! We’ve welcomed the Middle School students doing the research for their Integrated Project, and the topics are very interesting. The addition of two more computers to the Media Center has been a great help (thanks, Bill!). Marion also went with the Middle School students to the Ann Arbor District Library on a research field trip. This was a great opportunity for our students to have access to a large collection in support of their project. Many questions were fielded and good information gathered on the trip.

The Fall Book Fair occurred during Fall Festival, and was well received. Many thanks to our local bookseller, Nicola’s Books, for providing such a nice selection of items. The Media Center will benefit by having credits to spend at the store for new materials for our collection. Thanks also to those who helped the sale run smoothly and be cleaned up quickly. We’re planning a spring event for 2012 in conjunction with the Curriculum Celebration on May 18.

The Media Center’s web page has been improved with the addition of some links to appropriate databases for student research. A selection of the databases aimed at students in K-8 have been linked to our page from the state-wide resource, the Michigan eLibrary (MeL). These resources offer full-text of magazine articles, newspaper stories, audio and video clips, broadcast transcripts, and other things that support research projects and reports. Having the databases linked to our page makes the research process more of a onestop- shop for our students; they can access the materials catalog, the databases, and a good group of appropriate web sites all from the Media Center home page.

Work continues on the long process of getting the Fiction and Easy Books collections more userfriendly with labels indicating both interest/reading level and genre. Having these labels on our material enables students and their teachers to select books more easily and find that just-right book more quickly.

The Media Center encourages our students to bring in pieces of their art, to be displayed as the “Student Artist of the Week.” We show student’s work in the Media Center for the Honey Creek community to admire. If your student would like to display a piece of their work, please let Marion know, and it will be put up for its week in the spotlight.

As you plan your holiday shopping, please remember that the Media Center is grateful for donations of books. We keep a wishlist on Amazon.com for those items we could especially use. To make finding this list easy, we’ve included a link on the Media Center’s home page to it, found near the bottom of the page. Thanks to everyone who supports the Honey Creek Media Center! We appreciate you!

Art update for November, 2011

October has brought about some wonderful art projects for the students at Honey Creek. Everyone has been working hard since the beginning of school and we are finally seeing projects on our Artsonia website! Thank you again to all of the parents, family and friends who have left comments for our artists and have purchased gifts that raise money for new art books and posters! You can visit our school’s page at www.artsonia.com/ HoneyCreekCommunity1. New art projects will continue to appear throughout the school year as they are completed. If your student does not have an Artsonia account yet, you can e-mail me at lparrish@hc.wash.k12.mi.us and I will be sure to send home a permission slip for your student.

K/1 students are currently working on collages inspired by Henri Matisse’s “Beasts of the Sea.” 2/3 students are finishing up a project in which they are learning about tints and silhouettes and creating their own city skyline scenes. 4/5 students are learning about the work of Keith Haring, and learning about drawing figures and showing movement using positive and negative space. Middle School students are beginning a unit about Japanese art and design, in which they will complete projects exploring printmaking, mask-making, and calligraphy/brush painting. Middle School elective is currently working on surrealist drawings, after completing their unit on abstract art and painting.

I also want to extend a thank you to the PTO for their help with supplies and donations, and to the parents who have donated things like trays, lids, and cups for painting — it is a big help for both myself and the students. Having the right tools and supplies allows them to create even more beautiful artwork. Thank you for all of your help and support!

Physical Education/Swimming update for November, 2011

We have had another great month in PE and Swimming! We practiced our basketball skills at all levels, focusing on correct form for dribbling, passing and shooting and adding in layups, defense, and games in the 4.5’s and MS. All students showed tremendous improvement throughout the course of this unit.

In swimming we have continued to work on front crawl and back crawl and added in the elementary back stroke for the 2.3’s and 4.5’s. The students are working very hard with 77% of 2.3’s as deep end swimmers and 92% of 4.5’s. We really strive to help students pass this test because we feel confident that if they ever found themselves in a sticky situation the knowledge and skills required to pass this test could help them save their lives. The K/1’s are working hard as well as we have 4 deep end swimmers and 5 middle area swimmers! We have been focusing on breathing and kicking with this age group.

Coming up in PE this month for the K/1’s will be locomotor skills (skipping, galloping, jumping, hopping, leaping, sliding). These skills should be in complete, mature form by the end of 2nd grade. The other levels will begin learning a sport called pickleball. Pickleball is a played on a court similar to a badminton court and uses a racquet made of wood or plastic (we have plastic racquets). It uses a heavier type of whiffle ball and is usually played 2 vs 2. We will have 2 courts and will play 4 vs. 4 to allow everyone ample playing time. Check out this link to learn more about pickleball: http://www.usapa.org/ .

Field hockey has wrapped up the season with an astounding record of 7-3-1! We really pulled together as a team and worked hard to accomplish our goals. If your child in interested in playing field hockey there are plenty of opportunities to continue or start playing before the beginning of the fall season. Check out usafieldhockey.com , pinnaclefieldhockey.com , and the Ann Arbors rec and ed homepage. Thanks for all of your support!

School Board update for November, 2011

The Honey Creek Community School Board of Trustees met Wednesday October 26th, 2011. The Board minutes are available on the HCCS website for your review.

Members of the 2011-2012 Board include:

  • Patrick Conlin, Trustee
  • Brian Hockley, Treasurer
  • Linda Knox , Vice President
  • Kelly Krawcke , Secretary
  • Scott Mahler, President
  • Lisa Wozniak, Trustee

This month’s meeting included reviews of the operating committee reports from:

  • The Fund Development Committee, who are working on establishing 501c3 status separate from the school’s, to help expand the school’s fund-raising capabilities
  • The Governance Committee, who finalized the Directors Assessment which was approved by the Board
  • The Outreach Committee who, amongst other things, are actively working with Bill VanLoo to develop a new website
  • The Strategy Committee who continue their efforts with regards to the schools strategic plan.

The Board would like to extend a heart felt “Thank You” to Libby Sheldon, who, after serving on the Board for the past two years, has decided to step down. Her knowledge, advocacy and passion for the Honey Creek community will be missed on the Board, though she remains an active part of HCCS.

The Governance Committee will select a candidate to complete the remainder of the 2011-2012 term. This candidate will be appointed by the board at the next Board Meeting scheduled for November 16, 2011 at 5:30 in the Pit.


With appreciation,

Kelly Krawcke, Secretary

Middle Elementary News for November, 2011

Tammy, Mary and Salli hope you are enjoying and reading our blogs posts. There is a lot of information in these that can inform you of what we’re doing each week. Please know that our lessons and plans are best used as a forecast for the coming week or month. All three 2/3 teachers look at what we need to do for our curriculum and what our students are experiencing during the current month, week, day or hour. If things don’t seem to be flowing well, we may make the decision to shift our lesson plan.

We are ready to launch our intense study of communities, how they work and how our Honey Creek community functions. Our classes will hear personal narratives about the history of High Point and Honey Creek, with a specific focus on the playground. Students will map the playground, as well, and begin designing their own playgrounds. Designing a playground also asks the students to consider the earth’s features, landforms and bodies of water as well, so science is strongly represented in this unit. On November 7th, we will head to the Ann Arbor District Library to hear their free presentation on how a library fits into a community.

During the playground design, students will be using many measurements and our math focus will be on this strand. Mapping places also asks students to use their geometry skills, so many of these math skills will be practiced as well. The 2/3 classes have begun switching up children each week to conquer grade-level math skills. We are still looking for a way to efficiently and effectively communicate the specific skills taught each week.

All middle elementary students are building stamina each day during Read to Self. All teachers read out loud and daily use this time and text to teach many comprehension skills. After using and exploring comprehension strategies like Visualize, Ask Questions and Make Predictions, these strategies are posted on a class CAFE menu. C is for Comprehension, A for Accuracy, F for Fluency and E for Expand our vocabulary.

Children are writing up a storm and mastering the writing process at the same time. Different classes have explored different genres. We generally ask 2 nd grader to edit for COPS and 3rd graders to use this as well as show some revision. COPS ask students to look for Capital letters at the beginning of sentences, do an Overall check for missing or misused words, make sure they have Punctuation (end marks are the most important and make sure frequently used words are Spelled correctly.

We are so grateful for all of your help recycling. If you are able to pitch in, please sign up outside of A6.

Honey Creek Legomaniacs compete in FLL & JrFLL competitions

Honey Creek’s Lego Robotics teams, the Honey Creek Legomaniacs, competed in two separate tournaments this fall. The three FLL teams (grades 4-8) competed at the Monroe High School tournament, with 21 students participating. The three JrFLL teams (grades 1-3) participated at the White Lake tournament, with 13 students participating. Congratulations to all 6 teams!

Honey Creek Students Participate in First Annual Walk and Run-a-Thon

On Saturday, October 1, 2011, over X number of Honey Creek students participated in the first annual Walk and Run-a-Thon! Students raised almost $6000, which was used to partially fund the school’s new iPad cart. Great job, Honey Creek!

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